“Every time you walk out on the field, it’s a privilege.”
Umpire Tony Gillies has enjoyed this privilege for the final time, deciding to pull stumps on officiating to focus his energy outside of cricket, including putting more time into his beekeeping business.
Since debuting on the NZC National Panel in 2013/14, Gillies has officiated in 40 First-Class matches, including games on exchange in South Africa and Australia, 42 Ford Trophy matches and 34 men’s domestic T20 matches.
He also umpired international cricket, standing in six women’s ODIs and four women’s T20 internationals, while he was third umpire in the BLACKCAPS vs South Africa T20 at Eden Park in 2016/17 and fourth official in numerous T20 internationals.
“I’ve had plenty of ‘pinch yourself’ moments through my career, none more so than when I was umpiring Shahid Afridi in a Pakistan tour match. Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would umpire him,” said Gillies.
“I’ve also thoroughly enjoyed my involvement with women’s international cricket, the recent India tour was another highlight I will look back on fondly in years to come.”
But for now Gillies is looking forward to new forms of summer entertainment.
“I got into beekeeping as a side hobby when I was umpiring so I’m looking to develop the business side of things with honey and various other bee products,” he says.
“I’ve also got the boat to finish renovating - I can definitely see myself out on the water, listening to the cricket while catching a snapper!”
NZC Match Officials Manager Sheldon Eden-Whaitiri called Gillies the ‘ultimate team man’ who brought a positive attitude to umpiring and the game of cricket.
“He has been a role model for young up-and-coming New Zealand umpires, always willing to share his knowledge and experience to those early in their careers,” Eden-Whaitiri said.
“It’s great Tony has already indicated an intention to stay involved in domestic umpiring in an off-field capacity in the future.”
While his time in the middle is over, Gillies is most certainly looking forward to seeing the next crop of umpires coming through.
“If you’re focussed and stay true to yourself you can take umpiring to the next level. It’s certainly not an easy task but the biggest thing to remember is it’s a privilege to have the best seat in the house.”
NZC want to thank Tony Gillies for his years of service as an umpire and wish him well for the future.