Whether it was on the pitch or off it, Keith Currell had a way with words.
That’s how fellow umpire and friend Dan O’Connor remembers Currell who died on February 5 at the age of 88.
O’Connor, who was playing grade cricket at the time in Tamworth, first met Currell back in 1988.
Currell was the man who got O’Connor, who is now president of the Tamworth District Cricket Umpires & Scorers Association, into umpiring.
“I’d broke my collar bone in a final and he was umpiring. He said ‘you’d be better off umpiring with us’,” O’Connor recalled.
“He rang up a couple weeks later and I joined the association.”
O’Connor umpired with Currell early on and realised something very quickly.
”I did my second or third match with Keith. One of his greatest strengths was his ability to communicate with players,” O’Connor said.
“He was an old Farrer boy and at the end of his career he was going on school trips to umpire all their matches.
“He was greatly loved by all the umpires.”
O’Connor said the way Currell presented himself on the pitch was the same as he was off it.
“Never deviated. He was a great storyteller,” O’Connor said.
“He was a great lover of his family and he used to tell some great stories about his family.
“We enjoyed the camaraderie he exuded.
“He was a Barraba boy that done good.”
Along with racking up 20 years and 1000 games as an umpire, Currell was also a top-class cricketer playing at Barraba, Bingara, Narrabri, Moree, Warialda and Tamworth over the years.
He also had an eye for picking out a potential star amongst the younger players.
“I remember him coming back from a fourth grade game and saying I’ve just found a bloke who’ll play for Australia,” O’Connor said.
“You know who it was?
“It was Josh Hazlewood.”