Paddy O'Hara (CricketEurope), March 2021
John is another man who attained the “gold standard” of being a NIACUS International umpire, the former Donaghadee batsman stood five times from 1998 to 2004 in Ireland games versus MCC, Australia A , Scotland, Zimbabwe and West Indies.
And I believe he still tops the batting averages for NIACUS in the White Stick Trophy series – although a statistician might have to verify that!
It was after his umpiring career finished that he found his true calling. To this day, he works tirelessly in a number of cricket related positions – administration, statistics, photography and assistant editor of the excellent CricketEurope web site.
His involvement with admin. began in 2003 when, as assistant to Tournament Referee David Jukes in a European “A” Tournament, he established a set of protocols and systems for the various officials to follow, ensuring there was a consistent approach implemented at every venue.
Two years later with the 2005 ICC Trophy in Ireland, John as “match administrator” was in charge of the new Duckworth Lewis methodology being applied in this tournament - something that nobody in the country was yet familiar with.
In this tournament, D/L was being done centrally where John was hidden away in his little cave in the bowels of the Europa Hotel and producing the printouts for every match. He wasn’t let out until the last day , when he was ‘allowed’ to spectate at the final in Dublin where Scotland defeated Ireland to claim the Trophy.
D/L was being introduced into cricket as a scientifically proven high tec. but logical replacement for the unfair and unsatisfactory Run Rate system. John attended a seminar given by its two creators, Frank Duckworth and Tony Lewis, and later at an AGM proposed its implementation into NCU cricket, for the following year.
It was passed and John was saddled with the task of preparing the clubs and the umpires on the technology and methodology for operating the system. He ran three or four excellent seminars that winter for NCU and NIACUS. – and indeed one for the North West Cricket Union.
The sceptics took some persuading of the fairness, on occasion, of the team batting second having to score considerably more runs than the opposition to win.
But he always won them over with his favourite example of the stupidity of the old Run Rate system, which had to go. In a 50 over match, team A makes 200 for 4 in its 50 overs. Team B are 101 for 9 after 25 overs and rain causes the abandonment of the match. The result? Team B has won by 1 wicket on Run rate!
John’s knowledge and eye for detail was well known, and both NCU on occasion, and Cricket Ireland, used him as a ‘sounding board’ when new Playing Conditions were being drafted. Often he spotted things that were unsatisfactory or inconsistent and made the appropriate alterations, though it seems that this practice has been discontinued in recent years.
However, John Boomer is now recognised and greatly admired for the tremendous job he has undertaken as a statistician. A great deal of his work can be viewed in the ‘Statszones’ on the CricketEurope web site. It certainly is a massive task and like being on a hamster wheel, it never stops.
Cricket is a game made for statisticians and many people are fascinated by them . Every game that is played will either add to some list somewhere, or more importantly cause some other list somewhere else to be amended. The job would drive some people mad!
His work is not only for our local cricket and the CricketEurope web site but many clubs and some individuals (myself included) have approached him for help. Perhaps producing records for some big club anniversary, helping with preparing Powerpoint presentations or factual information for some seminar somewhere.
The good natured and amiable Lord Boomer – as a colleague of mine in Scotland calls him – never refuses to help .
Lastly, John Boomer is almost a fixture on the boundary edge of some cricket ground during most of the summer, in his faded baseball cap and comfy chair, with his trusty camera snapping away and recording all the action for CricketEurope.
Surely a candidate for the Honours’ List sometime soon?