INNINGS OVER: Jim Deem hangs up umpires hat
CRICKET: Retired Bundy umpire Jim Deem admits he’ll miss getting up every Saturday during summer to watch the next generation play the game of cricket.
But his body couldn’t take the rigours anymore of it.
This season of cricket was Deem’s last in the game.
He retired at the end of the last round of fixtures for junior cricket after almost 70 years in the game and umpiring hundreds of contests.
“My back and legs play up after I umpire,” Deem revealed.
“During the umpiring it doesn’t worry me.
“But the cramps start up after I finish.
“I didn’t expect to go this long, but it’s been a great experience.”
Deem will be remembered for being one of the greats of Bundy cricket.
And he deserves to be.
Deem started playing cricket at 13 before helping to found the Bundaberg Junior Cricket Association in 1968 to get his son into the game.
He was a registrar, treasurer, president and patron during his more than 20 years at the association.
Deem also helped to create Kendalls Flat as a cricket venue with one of the ovals named after him.
He also served as an umpire for 53 years, focusing purely in that role and other roles with administration in the last 30 years of his career.
This included roles as president of Past Highs cricket club and at Bundy Cricket.
If that wasn’t enough, Deems was a founding member of the All Blacks Hockey Club in 1971 and played hockey, football, tennis, bowls and tenpin bowling to compliment his cricket.
“It’s just happened,” Deem explained of his career
“It’s been a lot of fun, lot of reward.
“I’ve made a lot of friends. all the guys I’ve umpired against have respected me and appreciated me.”
So much so he was given a guard of honour when his final game of umpiring concluded by players, staff and everyone else at Kendalls Flat.
He was also given a plaque for his services, which he can add to his life membership with the BCA, the BJCA and the Bundaberg umpires.
He is also an Order of Australia merit winner for his services to sport.
“It was awesome, they formed a guard of honour for me,” he said.
“It was something I’ll never forget, I’m lucky I held it together.
“I never thought one day I’d end up like this, but it’s all been good.”
Deem admits he will feel weird when the next season starts later this year.
His highlights include setting up Kendalls Flats and seeing greats like Matt Hayden come through and play in Bundy before making it big.
But he isn’t going to be lost to the sport just yet.
“I’ll probably come out and give a mouthful,” he said with a smile.
It’s going to be hard, I’m going to miss these kids and the guys and all the friendships.
“The friendships won’t go but I’ll need to adapt.”
Deem said he couldn’t have done it all without the love of his life by his side – his wife.
“You can’t do these things without having a good wife,” he said.
“She’s doesn’t say ‘you should give this away.’
“Having a wife and family that supports you, you don’t go anywhere without them.”
Deem added thanks to everyone else that has helped him and wished the association and the kids well for the future in their cricket.