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Hockey umpire Peter Deighton's not ready to quit at 75!
Keighley hockey umpire Peter Deighton may have just turned 75 but he is not ready to blow the final whistle in a role spanning over 30 years.
The former Bingley player admitted it had been in his thoughts to call time on officiating once he had reached that age.
But now the Utley resident has decided to give retirement the red card.
Peter, who is the regular umpire for Oakbank School-based Skipton Ladies, said: “I set my stall out to carry on until I was 70 but then I got to that age and thought I’d keep going until I was 75.
“Skipton Ladies have asked me to carry on next year and, as long as I’m fit enough, I’ll do it for as long as I can.”
Peter has been umpiring in the Yorkshire League since his mid-40s after ending a playing career which started at Richmond in North Yorkshire after he left school.
“I’ve been involved with hockey for a large part of my life,” he said.
“After having three daughters I didn’t want to get injured playing so I took up the whistle.
“I love the discipline and I love giving something back to the game. Even though I’m 75 and it might be a rainy Saturday morning, I’ve got a commitment.
I’ve got to get out of bed and get out there and I still enjoy it.”
Peter, who has lived in the Keighley area for 40 years after taking up a lecturing role at Shipley College, admits players are often surprised when they find out his age.
Also a keen member of Keighley Bowls Club, he said: “People have told me I don’t look old enough to play in the Veterans' League.”
With two umpires operating on the pitch in hockey – one covering each half - Peter says officiating is not as testing physically as being a football referee.
“You’re not running around the full length of the field. You are in effect looking after your own particular half,” he said. “It is not strenuous, you just need good hearing and sight.”
Nevertheless, Peter enjoys keeping fit through his role and said being a former player – he was also involved in coaching at Bingley and Airedale in the 1980s – helped his reading of the game.
He has been Skipton’s permanent umpire for 15 years and says the camaraderie at the club is “absolutely fantastic”.
But he is conscious not to favour them in matches, saying: “I like to think I’m not biased. If anything I might be over-critical and penalise them rather give them an advantage.
“My approach is to be fair but disciplined. Players know there‘s no point in appealing after I’ve made a decision.
“I also like to let the game flow and play advantage. Developing rapport and respect is important.”
Skipton Ladies' captain Jayne Fort paid tribute to Peter’s service.
She said: “Peter has dedicated most of his life to hockey, either in a playing or umpiring capacity, and he is a real credit to the sport.
“All the Skipton players over the years have really appreciated his commitment to our club and we are delighted that he has reached this important personal milestone. We are looking forward to many more matches under Peter’s command.”
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