David Shepherd, cricket umpire, dies at 68

LONDON: David Shepherd, the popular cricket umpire famous around the world for his ruddy cheeks, sound judgment and habit of hopping on one leg when the score was 111, died last night from cancer at the age of 68.

Shepherd, known to most people as "Shep", was a West Countryman to his core. Born and brought up in Devon, his work took him around the world but he was always happiest when back home in Instow, North Devon, where he would help his brother to run the family post office and was a stalwart of the local cricket club.

He was a good enough cricketer to represent the England Schools Under-19 side and was belatedly scouted by Gloucestershire. He made his first-class debut in 1965 at the age of 24 and went on to play 282 matches, scoring 12 hundreds with a batting average in the mid-20s.

His playing career ended in 1979 and, declining a coaching job with the county, he qualified as a first-class umpire. He made his international debut at the 1983 World Cup and would stand in 92 Tests and 172 one-day internationals before retiring in 2005. Fittingly for a West Countryman, his final county match was at Bristol.