December is here and there really is no better time of year to be playing cricket...Except, not everyone in the club is out in the middle on a Saturday. There are usually a few spectators viewing the spectacle of a grade cricket match - the fresher girlfriend yet to learn better; the incredibly committed parent; the stalwart patron; the odd hungover college battler; or the occasional cat on the hill…
But committed cricket supporters are a pretty strange bunch. This could explain why one decides to spend their Saturday's scoring for a cricket team...aside from an unhealthy and borderline obsessive relationship with order and numbers.
The Scorer's Club is indeed amongst the rarer group of characters amongst the club patrons, but has definitely produced some of the more memorable. Those who have been around the club a while would remember Martin Amy, who would destroy himself on a Friday night, before running a half marathon to the game to score each Saturday morning. Never short of an opinion, and always willing to impart his sage advice about how your batting technique needed some serious work, or to get that front arm up a bit higher and maybe you'll stop spraying them.
Les Carrington was a true stalwart of the club, devoting his heart and soul to SUCC 2nd grade during his time. With a customary McDonalds bag in tow, Les would spend the day producing mesmerising 360 degree diagrams of a batsmen's innings, to present as a prize for a knock over 50. While easy to take for granted, this was great incentive for the top 6 going through a lean trot, and a rewarding badge of honour for the bowlers who somehow managed to burgle their way to a cheeky half-ton.
Johnny Kilford is another club constant and true gentleman of the club, and somehow always manages to make it to every 1st grade game despite spending the majority of his time travelling around the world. He is a most recent recipient of a coveted 'Gold' and the club is lucky to have him around.
And who could forget Laura the Explorer? I know the scoobydoos certainly won't...
Let’s face it – as a player, the only thing worse than showing up to cricket knowing that you don't have a scorer, is a warm up without Nash ball. It's very rare to see a full time scorer in 3rd or below - which inevitably means not 1, but 2 nuffies trying to balance the books and make small talk.
There are so many inevitabilities. Standard fare is for the youngest/sticks to take the first 10 overs, which will likely turn into 20 as the next in line conveniently disappears to pad up or do a lap. At some point you will need to spend part of the day trying (and failing) to remember how to correctly code a leg bye. For even the most obvious of boundaries, the umpires will still refuse to see an upward raised arm acknowledging their ‘4’ signal. At least once an over someone will ask for the score, even if the last 15 balls were play and misses. Several people will spend great lengths of time 'examining' the book – ie: looking to see how well they went (typically a batsman coming off a decent score or a paceman who took a few poles).
There will be at least one shout of 'bowlers name?' Scoring balls is out of the question for 96 overs, so a vigil in the lower grades will have the boys embellishing that your 20-odd was definitely off at least 200 rocks. A batting collapse leads to as much panic in the scorebook as it does in the sheds. By the close of play the book will be a strange mix of indecipherable calligraphies. And the more recent 'Will Hay' effect means that if you complain loud enough and mess up completely, you will be exempt (banned) from scoring ever again.
On the whole, as a player, scoring leaves you aching to find a spare pair of whites and somehow find your way onto the field. But until then, pass the pen and let's keep this book clean.