Mark Benson has been promoted to the full list of First Class Umpires for the coming season. He replaces Chris Balderstone, who sadly passed away earlier this month.

Benson, 41, played for Kent County Cricket Club from 1980 until 1997 as a left-handed batsman and scored 18,284 First Class runs, including 48 First Class hundreds, at an average of 40.27. He played one Test Match for England against India in 1986. He will umpire his first First Class match this season at Old Trafford on Saturday 15 April, a Benson & Hedges Cup match between Lancashire and Nottinghamshire.

Neil Bainton, a 29-year-old from Essex, replaces Benson on the First Class Umpires reserve list.

- ends -

For further information, please contact Mark Hodgson, ECB Corporate Affairs: Tel: 0207 432 1251. Fax: 0207 289 5619. E-mail: