Green Bat


I am learning how to score………not in a nefarious way, but in a game of cricket.

A few years ago my older boys were all playing junior cricket. At one stage they played for three different clubs. This meant different games, at different grounds, but often all at the same time. The only significant benefit here was the exemption I got from scoring duty.

I was able to hide behind the veil parental busyness.

It is now season 2013/14 and I am back  in the cricketing realm. My son is in an under 11 team that plays on what seem to be perpetually cold Friday nights. The older brothers are no longer playing so the families sporting commitments are now on a decline…Thank God….

But now there is nowhere to hide.

Scoring in cricket is a tricky task and best avoided if you suffer panic attacks or if you have been out for lunch. The scorebook itself is like a large accounting ledger. It’s intimidating for those who don’t do maths. The book has a multitude of columns and spaces in which to record all the necessary data. Overs, runs and wickets have to be accounted for quickly and neatly.

Our team manager is spot on. He brings along the Kent Set of mathematical instruments, albeit minus the compass and the protractor. The tin contains a pencil, a rubber and a sharpener. The pencil has to be sharp. Hieroglyphic type symbols need to be etched into tiny spaces on the scoresheet to mark the result of each and every ball of all 48 overs.

That is 288 markings in just the bowlers section of the scoring page.

There is a lot to learn. Things at the scorers desk can easily shift from a calm orderliness to confusion and disarray in a matter of minutes. Communication with the opposition scoring partner is essential.

“Who’se that facing?”


“Smith? Didn’t he retire?”

“No that was Smythe”

“Smythe ..Shit, I gave Smith, Smythes runs”

“So Jackson is bowling now”

“No thats not Jackson, that’s Jones”

“But it says Jackson on the sheet with the bowling order?”

“Yeah the coach changed the order”

Screams and excitement from the pitch. Someone is out.

“Smiths out….Caught by Dicko…who is Dicko?; bowled by….the kid with long hair; not out batsman…. the one with the green bat, shit, I should know him, he’s mine”

“Where’s the rubber?”

“Boys can you move out of the way please, we can’t see”

“That was a bye”

“A bye….Is that a triangle?”

“Yes but an upside down one…..and 2 byes”

Phone rings; don’t answer it.

“So, 2 upside down triangles? or 1 upside down triangle but with a 2 inside it?”

“Shit now theres no room left for the next 5 balls of the over, hopefully no more byes”

“Bugger! the lead broke….where’s the sharpener?”

And so it goes the conversation at the scorers desk. Our team manager tells me he learnt to score the hard way a few years ago. He was new, to not just the country, but the language, the game and its rules as well. “I just had to do it” he said.

With this in mind I have no excuse and I’ve taken to my new new role as rostered.

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