Pens and pads at the ready

Posted in ECB ACO

I am very much a novice notcher. Having loved the game of cricket from around the age of ten – watching it with my father, I was encouraged to become involved in scoring by the BBC of all things.

I sent an email commenting on the cricket site and the score boards they had on the digital service, and back came the comment – if you are really interesting in scoring why not get involved by calling this number and getting trained up.

By the end of the year I had passed my ACUS exam and been released into the community.

Last year was my first full season with my local club, who, it transpired, were losing their current first team scorer and I fulfilled all the necessary criteria – I lived around the corner.

In that first year or so I was lucky enough to score some exciting games, mostly in Kent, although I did travel as far afield as Nottinghamshire.

Highlights included getting soaked by the sprinklers that came on at half hourly intervals for the hockey pitch next door, being chased by wasps who had nested in the roof of the score box, struck by enthusiastically dispatched fours, frozen to the core by the wind blowing off the Channel, and, on the hottest day of the year, being presented with a very thick fleece by my team. Thanks guys – about three months too late but ready for next week.

I have learnt the following:

  • When asking other players for directions to the ground your heart should sink when you hear the phrase ‘You can’t miss it’.
  • Some cricket ground entrances are better concealed than the centre of Hampton Court Maze.
  • The Queen's Guards all seemed to be 6ft tall and blond - in whites and a helmet, any hope of telling them apart is pinned on left or right handers and the colour of the handle on their bat.

Cricket scorebox

After a wet start to the season, the familiar sound of the scorebox numbers rattling will be heard around the country

  • Umpires adding up comes unstuck if there are more than ten runs in an over.
  • Football teams forget the cricket season has not finished in August and turn off the power to your scoreboard when their match is over even though you are only halfway through the second innings - this means you get shouted at for not keeping up despite pressing buttons appropriately, until a runner is sent to investigate.
  • You can squeeze four no-balls and a wide in one of those little boxes if you really have to.
  • No-one is ever really out LBW.
  • Wickets always seem to fall at the end of the over or just when the world and his wife is demanding to know every last detail of what happened two hours ago to their friend/son or ‘how many overs George has bowled’.
  • I do not know my six times table well enough at the beginning of a season.
  • You need to nominate someone to get you some tea or you end up with half a curly sandwich and a yoghurt.
  • Finally, nothing really beats the satisfaction you get when ‘bowls bowled’ equals ‘balls faced plus wides’.

Well, the new season has begun with one gloriously hot day for a friendly - a chance to meet the new players and to see how much the youngsters have grown.

The first official fixtures have been washed out so hopefully this Saturday will be better.

I have my pens and pads at the ready, been practising my six times table and have a large stack of jumpers in the car with an umbrella and sun cream .

I can’t wait to hear the sound of leather on willow and the twang of the metal plates turning over as you pull those strings in the scorebox – why are those strings always too short?