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The Stilted Pavilion of Trowbridge moments before disaster struck.

Dangerous dancing umpire faces 'forced' retirement

The fitness of veteran umpire Mervin Murphy, 70, is set to decline further thanks to a directive from the West Country Umpires and Scorers Association which prevents him playing music from 1970s pop duo the Pipkins at cricket grounds.

The decision was taken after local clubs had complained about injury and damage caused by the 28 stone umpire whose pre-match warm up routine consists of dancing to a Pipkins LP he plays on a portable gramophone.

Murphy fears that the ban will exacerbate his existing fitness problems and force a premature end to a distinguished 50 year umpiring career.

Yeovil Gentlemen's Cricket Pavilion 2008. "They should have mentioned that they moved the mobile chip fryer into the umpires changing room," claims Murphy.

"I would have thrown umpiring in forty years ago due to poor health were it not for a chance introduction to the Pipkins one fateful day at the Bristol Umpires Social Club. I was at a low ebb at the time, drowning my sorrows and writing my resignation letter, when Are You Cookin' Goose came on the jukebox - I immediately started tapping my feet.

"Until then I had never liked dancing but there I was, twisting away without a care in the world. The penny dropped - a little twisting before the start of play would help prolong my career. I sourced the Gimme Dat Ding LP and have been listening to the Pipkins ever since. It has kept me in shape and I keep the volume down to a reasonable level. I can't see what all the fuss is about?"

Doug Fitch, one of the committee members who made the decision, understands Murphy's frustration but says the time had come to take action: "We have received complaints about this for a very long time but there was a lot more serious harm involved last season.

"As a direct result of his dancing an eight year-old girl was knocked into an uncovered drain and nearly drowned, Bideford Country Cricket Club's free range pit bull terrier went mad and bit a tea-lady, Taunton's candlelit Wooden Pavilion was incinerated, and a member of the Fearnley Marsh Blind Cricketers XI was so disorientated that he mistook one of the Club's antique bombs for a ball. We had no choice but to act before anyone was killed."