Our 10yr old has started playing cricket this summer (we'll add that to his weekly sporting roster of tennis, indoor soccer, basketball etc). I've been roped in to score the matches for his team – and by roped in I mean there was a deafening silence reverberating around the assembled group of parents at the first match when our coach asked if anyone would like to volunteer.
Actually, it's quite a pleasant way to spend a Saturday morning, although of the first 5 weeks of the season 2 games have been washouts, 2 played in the cold and rain, with only the most recent last Saturday enjoying anything approaching what might be termed weather that one might expect for cricket, warm and sunny.
For my part I've been forced to rummage in my memory of how cricket works – my last exposure was as a 9 or 10 year old at boarding school in England, where I was considered such a liability to the school team I usually was appointed 'tally-wagger', a peculiar job description applied to the person who turned over the numbers on the score board at the behest of the scorers (see, I wasn't even allowed to keep the score, the limit of my expertise was considered to be tugging on the string that made the numbers flop over in turn).
It turns out scoring cricket is not so much maths, as frantic application of a pencil to a score book, where denoting even just a simple run requires annotations in three or four different places. And given these are little kids, who don't need much of a run up to bowl a ball, they rattle through the overs at a quick pace, so blink and you miss something. There are lots of symbols you need to be across in order to properly record each ball of each over, and the resulting score or outcome that might eventuate.
An opposition scorer, new to the task like me, has put me onto a handy cheat sheet of the signals umpires used to indicate what just happened, and the symbols used to record the outcome, from the NSW Cricket Umpires & Scorers Association.