Melbourne’s Eastern Football League’s (EFL) website has just run a story about two junior EFL umpires who happened to be in Cambodia at the time of this month’s Indochina Cup in Phnom Penh.
The original article has been reproduced below.
A family holiday to Cambodia turned into an opportunity for two young junior field umpires from the Eastern Football League, to help promote the game of Australian Rules in South-East Asia.
Here is their story, penned by their father, Steve Fulton…
On arriving in Cambodia on the 4 November this year, our family friend Phillip Molloy, who is involved with AFL Cambodia, informed Dylan and Ben Fulton that he had nominated them both as boundary umpires in an upcoming tournament the local AFL team was having. Dylan, in his third year as a junior field umpire, and Ben, having just completed his first, both jumped at the chance.
This did mean the family trip to visit the temples of Angkor Wat was delayed by a couple of days. But it’s not every week you get to watch a little AFL while vacationing in the northern hemisphere.
The ‘tournament’ the local team was having was later confirmed as AFL Asia’s 2013 Indochina Cup, played between the Cambodian Eagles, Lao Elephants, Thailand Tigers and Vietnam Swans. The games were played at the Cambodian Naval base in Phnom Penh on an oval a little narrower than you’d see in Australia and a playing surface which appeared a little uneven in places.
The games were to be played over two 15-minute halves, due mainly to the 34-degree temperature and near 90 per cent humidity. Two massive Eskies of ice and water were available to all players and officials. Even the umpires had their own waterboys to ensure nobody dehydrated in the heat.
Like many suburban grounds, the scoreboard wasn’t electronic. In fact, it was a white sheet with team names and the scores stuck to the front with Velcro. It was the siren, however, which was a real South-East Asian touch. Parked just outside the boundary line was a Tuk Tuk with its rider sitting positioned ready to sound his horn to start the first game.
The first game was between the Cambodian Eagles and Thailand Tigers. Dylan was named as boundary umpire, along with a couple of the local volunteer umpires, while Ben was to run water in the first game with his younger brother Josh. The teams were very evenly matched and in hot conditions the contest was pretty tough. Yet the Eagles came away with the win, much to the delight of the local crowd.
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