Scorers have the best seat at the ground! Becoming a scorer is an ideal way of keeping up with your kids sport; making new friends and watching the great game of cricket from ball one. You will be welcomed within a Cricket Club and be an integral part of the team.
Evolution of Cricket Scoring.
The first probable reference to cricket occurred in the year 1300, whilst the year 1550 produced cricket being played at “The Free School” at Guildford, England.
All matches played up to that time had their scores recorded by scorers appointed by the various teams.
The method of scoring in those days bears no resemblance to the way it is done today.
The scorer, or scorers, would sit at their table, probably on the field of play, fortified by a bottle of wine.
The scoring implements consisted of a stick and a knife.
As a run was scored, a notch would be cut in the stick, every tenth notch being cut deeper to facilitate the final count.
Fortunately for the scorers, the pitches were never rolled, consequently the surfaces were very uneven and the bats were curved at the bottom to counter the under arm bowling.
These two factors resulted in very small team and individual scores, but as the pitch quality improved so did the totals, making the scorers’ sticks inadequate.
Sometime between this period and the end of the seventeenth century the necessary change was made from sticks to paper, exactly when it is impossible to say.
The first great match of which the full score is preserved occurred in 1744 between Kent and All England. England scored 40 & 70 and Kent 53 & 9/58, Kent winning by one wicket.
Bowlers’ analyses were not kept and only the barest details were recorded.
Parts of the scoresheet are reproduced below
- J. Harris 0 b Hodswell 4 b Mills
- S. Dingate 3 b Ditto 11 b Hodswell
- Long Robin 7 b Newland 9 b Newland
No catcher’s name was given and no wicket keeper received a mention.
The only sundries were 3 byes in Kent 2nd innings; other sundries were at that stage not covered by the Laws.
Also in 1744, the first known issue of the Laws of Cricket was published, this issue referred to ‘notches’.
As the years passed, other laws were brought into being and were gradually introduced to the score sheet but it was not until 1840 that bowlers’ analyses were kept for the first time.
Test cricket began in 1877 and fortunately copies of full score cards have been preserved.
The scores of the majority of Test Matches from 1905 to the mid 1950’s were done by one man W.H. Ferguson who helped the evolution of cricket scoring by charting each batsman’s runs showing where each scoring shot was directed.
Bill Ferguson was a 24-year-old Sydneysider with a passion for overseas travel and an even bigger passion for the game of cricket.
He decided to make a voluntary visit in 1904 to his local dentist who just happened to be M.A. Noble who had been chosen in the 1905 Australian team to tour England and who was a future Australian captain.
One conversation led to another and Noble urged Ferguson to apply for the position of scorer and baggage man.
His application was received and approved by the manager of the upcoming touring team, Frank Laver.
Ferguson was such a success on the tour that he was taken on as scorer for every other test match playing country and continued until the mid 1950’s officiating on 41 tours and scored 204 tests.
So we have progressed a long way in the world of scoring from showing the bare essentials to now being able to pinpoint items such as the number of balls required for a batsman to reach a particular milestone eg. 50 or 100 runs, the time taken for these milestones and can accurately tell what happened to a particular ball in an innings and what time it occurred.
The next stage in the scoring evolution is the introduction of computers which is expected to lighten the load of the average scorer with reduced entries to be made.
It has yet to be proved that they are an adequate substitute for the book and the pen.
Authour: B.L. Fitzgerald
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