Cricket Scoring App Replaces The Scorebook
Some Cricket Images
The i-phone Cricket Scoring App
Well, the day has finally arrived . . . or at least that's how it seems.
Which day am I referring to?
For me, it is the day when one of the last, great, traditional quirks of what is quintessentially Englishness didn't quite bit the dust but you can start to see the teeth marks!
Apple have announced the release of their new app which will allow cricket matches to be scored on an i-phone.
For generation after generation, the art of keeping score of a cricket match has been one of the great iconic activities that defines one of life's greatest, pedantic activities.
Each weekend, from April to September, alongside village greens and municipal grounds up and down these scepterd isles, a small army of pencil wielding enthusiasts (some not so enthusiastic!) have armed themselves with an array of pencils, some coloured and some of the standard, charcoal HB variety, plus a few pens, sharpeners, erasers and other assorted tools, in order to partake in one of the most uniquely quaint activities known to man or woman.
Keeping the cricket score book up to date.
This labour of love (or enforced, voluntary service) has always taken place in a variety of situations.
Sometimes, for those with a pretty well-to-do club, it involves sitting inside a nice, cosy room or building, attached to, alongside, or inside, the pavillion. Often it involves sitting in some form of chair, quite often of the folding variety more commonly seen on the beach, close to the boundary and occasionally, I have seen people keeping score while sitting in their car, close to the edge of the boundary.
Usually there are 2 scorers, one from each side, although there are occasions when, due to manpower (or womanpower) being in short supply, one person will keep score for both teams, usually aided by an enthusiastic army of quite young volunteers, who enthusiastically turn those lovely little number plates at the end of each over to show the progression of runs, wickets and overs.
Any failure on the part of this small army is usually greeted by a call from the field of "scoreboard, please!"
Being scorer is as vital a part of a cricket match as bowling, batting, fielding or umpiring. How many times have we heard the umpire call to the scorers "How many balls to come?" after losing count?
A crucial discipline that the score book helps to develop is that of instilling a sense of discipline, duty and concentration in younger players. In fact, keeping the score book up to date is a crucial part of any young player's cricket education.
For a youngster to truly appreciate the game, he or she must understand its rules fully and that includes a good knowldge of no balls, wides, byes and leg byes. The score book provides that education. It also provides the younger player with the chance to work on their basic numeracy skills as well as encouraging a better level of organisation and organised, structured thinking.
The score book, after all, is not some random, haphazard activity. No, there is a sequence in which scores whould be recorded: one for the batsman, one for the bowler and one for the book.
The new cricket score app will, undoubdtedly, change all of that.
Yes, it will be fun, it will be funky and it will be trendy.
The app will keep score and it will also provide instantaneous analysis of batting, bowling, over rates, averages and, no doubt, many other statistics that would, until now, have been achieved by poring over the book with pen, pad and calculator.
For me, this is a sad day.
I have played, coached, managed, umpired and scored and for me, scoring has proved me with as much pleasure and satisfaction as any of the other tasks.
Then again, I AM a mathematician and it is from that perspective that I make my next comments.
You see, once upon a time (not so long, long ago) we used to have, as a society, a number of quaint, but vital ways of encouraging youngsters to develop their skills of concentration, social skills and, crucially, their skills with number. These were card games (whist, rummy etc . .), darts and cricket scoring.
Now, all of those are outside the scope or experience of today's young people and all because of technology.
No doubt, technology has brought us many benefits and a whole range of new types of amusement and entertainment but, somewhere along the way, it has also deprived us of the simple activities that were not only fun, but which also helped people to develop key skills too.
Let us just hope that there are enough taditionalists within the game of cricket, at even the most basic, junior level who will say "Put that away, lad. Here's the score book"