Welsh umpire killed by cricket ball

LONDON: Welsh cricket was in mourning Sunday after an umpire died after being struck on the head by a ball

Alcywn Jenkins, 72, was standing at a game at the St Helen's ground in Swansea, south Wales, on Saturday when he died after being hit by a ball, which Britain's Press Association said it understood was thrown by a fielder.

Jenkins, who lived in the Sketty area of Swansea, was airlifted to a nearby hospital but died shortly afterwards.

The First Division match between Swansea and Llangennech in the South Wales Cricket Association (SWCA) was later abandoned.

Jenkins's death came just days before the first Test ever to be played in Wales, the Ashes opener between England and Australia in Cardiff, was due to start in the capital city of Cardiff on Wednesday.

"We are shocked and saddened to hear of the tragic accidental death of umpire Alcwyn Jenkins from an injury sustained on the field of play at St Helen's," an SWCA statement said.

"Our thoughts are with his family at this sad time."

Fellow umpire Eddie Blake, 49, also from Swansea, said Jenkins "was a smashing guy; a real character".

Blake added: "He was very popular on the local cricket scene and welcome in all of the clubs. Everybody respected Alcwyn.

"When I heard the news I was umpiring a match in Port Talbot and I couldn't believe it when I heard.

"It is just unbelievable. Luckily these things don't happen very often."

The England and Wales Cricket Board Association of Cricket Officials (ECB ACO) was today (Sunday), said it was "shocked" to hear of the death of Jenkins, who was a member of the organisation.

Roger Knight, the ECB ACO chairman, said: "We are all saddened by the news of the tragic accident at Swansea on Saturday.

"Alcwyn Jenkins was a highly respected umpire in the South Wales Cricket Community for the last 25 years and a valued member of the ECB ACO.

"We send our heartfelt condolences to his family and our thoughts are with them at this sad time."