The life of a Cricket Scorer
What does it take to be a scorer? Tim Redsell gives us an idea
What does it take to be a scorer? Tim Redsell gives us an idea
Tim Redsell is a cricket mad, Level 2 Scorer, you can find him on Twitter @timuppet
I love cricket.
Due to health issues I couldn’t play anymore but I still wanted to be involved. I didn’t want to sit wrapped in a tartan blanket drinking tea from a thermos on the boundary. I didn’t want to stand up all day umpiring so 6 seasons ago I started scoring. And wow, what an eyeopener it was.
You need to concentrate on every ball when fielding (half of the match).
You need to concentrate on every ball when batting or as the non-striker (half of the match).
As the standing umpire (half of the innings) you need to concentrate on every ball of the over.
As the square leg umpire (half of the innings) you can ‘turn off’ a bit if the keeper is standing back.
But, as a scorer…oh no. You must concentrate on every ball. EVERY ball of the ENTIRE match. None of this paying attention for ‘half an innings’ lark!
Hopefully the opposition have a scorer, too. Hopefully he or she are fun to score alongside. I have 2 favourite scorers that I love to score with in the knowledge that they are both highly professional but all day we can have a right laugh knowing that we’re both in full concentration mode. Obviously I can’t mention Ros Reeder or Peter Wiseman because that would give the game away.
Can you imagine sitting next to someone for 80 overs who is obnoxious, offensive and doesn’t pay attention? That will seriously test your love of cricket! Luckily that doesn’t happen too often.
In the 43 games I scored during the 2018 season only once was it awkward.
The dear lady was pretty much blind and deaf. Not the best of attributes for a scorer. She struggled on the concentration front, too! However the team I was scoring for won the match which made up for me concentrating
on the match and my colleague.
There is an enormous amount of pride (sometimes it borders on smugness!) in scoring a match. For 6 hours or more you have recorded an accurate account of the match. Keeping 22 players and 2 umpires fully informed of who has done what and for how long. Spectators, too. Many stop by to look over your shoulder and ask questions like “How many has so and so got?” or “How many has so and so gone for?”. Here comes the smugness bit… you sometimes find yourself purposefully answering with more information than the questioner has asked for.
“So and so has got 37 from 68 balls, with three 4s and a 6, in 83 minutes. 27 of the balls he’s faced have been dots.” Or, “So and so has gone for 29 off his 7 overs. He’s bowled 4 no balls, 3 wides and 17 dots.” During a league game I was scoring for Kent 60+ 2nd XI last season when they played Essex 60+ 2nd XI, the number 2 and number 4 Essex batsmen put on 242 for the 3rd wicket. That’s a seriously great partnership. As the partnership built, I told the other Essex players “That’s the 100 partnership.” The reply was “Oh, we don’t clap things like that.” Then it was 150, so I tried again, still miffed that the other 9 players weren’t bothered by this feat from their teammates in a team game, “That’s 150 they’ve put on.” Silence. When they reached the 200 mark I thought to myself surely they’ll applaud now, but no. “That’s 200 they’ve put on.” The reply, “They won’t know why we’re clapping.” I couldn’t stop myself from saying “It’s a team game and your teammates have stuck on 200, rescuing you from 27 for 2. I’m amazed you haven’t all stood up and shouted “Well batted you two. That’s the 200 partnership.” But nothing. I suppose that’s the reverse of dishing out too much information! Anyway, Kent won by 6 wickets with 7 balls to spare after one of our openers got 125 not out from 107 balls in 180 minutes with sixteen 4s.
Scorers make up a team of 4 officials. 2 umpires and 2 scorers who work as a team. In the majority of the 43 games I scored in 2018 someone expected the scorers to operate the scoreboard. People think it’s ‘part of the job’.
Err, no. Scorers are there to record the game not to operate the scoreboard. Obviously scorers will always inform others so that they can update the scoreboard. Some scorers, myself included, will operate an electronic scoreboard in tandem with recording the game. If I’m doing this I will chat to my fellow officials before the game and tell them I will record what happens after each delivery and then, and only then, will I update the scoreboard.
2 seasons ago when scoring at The Mote, which used to be one of Kent’s county grounds, my scoring colleague and myself were told to score from the antiquated score box on the far side of the ground. We got in there to find it was used as a dumping ground for almost anything that needed to be out of sight. It was a horror of a mess. Filthy dirty, too. In order to operate the scoreboard you needed to stand up, reach up and pull string to turn the numbers. Much of the string was too short to even reach! We left. There were still 40 minutes to go before the start of the match. We set up on a large table in front of the pavilion and scored from there. There was a smaller portable scoreboard nearby which was used instead. Everyone knew the score over by over and everyone was happy.
How you record the game is up to you. I started in a scorebook using a pencil. Easy to rub out mistakes. Looks a bit messy though. If you score in biro and in the same colour you’ve got a problem. You can’t alter mistakes and it looks a mess. See this mess below.
When I first saw a game scored in colour I thought it looked horrendously difficult to do and to follow. But when I realised you use one colour per bowler it all makes sense. Every over bowled by a certain bowler requires the scorer to use the chosen colour for that particular bowler.In this example below I chose red for the opening bowler D. Simmonds and green for the other opening bowler S. Waite.
Every occurrence in an over bowled by D. Simmonds is recorded in red and every occurrence in an over bowled by S. Waite is recorded in green. It is that straightforward.Can you follow this one below easily enough?
All cricket clubs in England that play league cricket will have their own Play Cricket page. On this will be their league registered players along with their stats. Also the club’s fixtures and results will be shown, not only from the current season, but past ones also. There is a necessity of getting the completed league match scorecards uploaded to the Play Cricket page by a certain time. This would require you to type in the completed scorecard to the Play Cricket page. This was time consuming and fiddly. But with scoring digitally you could download the fixture from Play Cricket, score the game and then, at the press of a button, upload the fully detailed scorebook to Play Cricket instantly. Job done! It therefore seemed logical to change from scoring in a book to some form of digital platform.
I started with Total Cricket Scorer (TCS) on my iPad. With this system it gave you a good printout (see below) that I would stick in the current scorebook. The coloured printout was very good and informative. As with every scoresheet you had all the information needed. If the opposition didn’t have a scorer you could simply email the completed scorecard to the opposition
This system suddenly became unavailable and was not used by the ECB anymore and there were no fixtures to download. I therefore moved on to using the new ECB system called Play Cricket.com
This was very similar to TCS. Done on the iPad and therefore keeping seasons and seasons of scorecards on your iPad. As with TCS, it was very straightforward to upload the completed scorecard to Play Cricket and email to the opposition if necessary.
The visual side of it was quite basic but still informative enough as shown below.
On Sunday 25th March 2018 in the Nursery Ground pavilion at Lord’s there was a Scorers Roadshow. At this, the ECB unveiled their new digital scoring programme, Play Cricket Pro. And wow, I was blown away. What a fantastic programme.
Scoring was only available on a laptop running Windows. I have MacBook and must run a programme so it can operate Windows but boy, it is so worth it. What a fantastic scoring programme. It is so adaptable and easy to edit when, and if, you make an error!
Scoring with the new Play Cricket Pro programme means it’s important to see both captains and get the 11 players names for both teams. You can always add names as you go if necessary. The umpires and your fellow scorer names are added to the match details, too.
This new programme produces incredibly detailed scorecards as below. They are so fully informative.
With scoring digitally you need to have a manual back-up and every good scorer will keep one. It becomes even more vital to keep a back-up when you are scoring on your own. What chaos would be caused if your laptop decided to pack up or the scoring programme corrupted!I therefore designed my own basic back-up sheets on A4 as shown below.
On this you write in red the over number of the match on the bowlers side and you can trace how the game flowed, as below. If there’s ever a digital problem you can happily and accurately carry on scoring the game and not let down 22 players.
Preparation is just as important as scoring the game. Prepare to fail if you’re not prepared. I follow a simple plan for every game I score.
Before leaving home I check my bag to make sure everything is packed. Laptop. Charging cable. Manual back up sheets. Pencil case with plenty of pencils. Pencil sharpener. Binoculars. Laws of cricket. League handbooks.
I carry two extension leads in my car giving me 50 metres of cable to plug in to a power point. I always arrive with my laptop fully charged just in case. Another full charge can be administered during the innings interval.
Check the journey time. Check the traffic. Check the journey. Check the postcode. Always plan to arrive at least 90 minutes before the start and a minimum of 60 minutes. This will have you relaxed, with a confident and happy mindset as you set out to follow your usual ‘match and scoring preparation’.
At a ground unfamiliar to you, you’ll need more time to ascertain the scoring position. If you are the ‘away’ scorer you expect to be lead by the ‘home’ scorer. Ideally the scoring table is large and sturdy. Large enough to easily accommodate 2 scorers with all their paraphernalia and it must obviously have a clear view so that you can see the umpires and they can see you!When the umpire calls ‘Play’ you’ll be organised, ready and relaxed to concentrate on every ball, enjoy the day and eat lots of tea!
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