At the highest level Cricket has people like the ABC’s resident stats champion Ric Finlay. That Ric can score and extract analysis at the same time is amazing. If your cricket club has one of those people who can score and get it right, they are golden. Treasure them. Pay them. At the least, buy their stationary.
The Cricket App
Cricket scorebooks are filled with mistakes and errors. When in doubt remember ‘go by the bowling figures to add up the total’. Even then you can get a scorebook that is so bad there is no way to get any useful information from it. Which, in this age of “there’s an app for that” is complicated further.
MyCricket is a wonderful system that has been well tested and tried over many years. It enables the local player to know in real time how the game is going. Grandparents can know the grandkids got three wickets in the under15s and made a few runs in the fours that afternoon. MyCricket has made following local cricket in covid-times safer for many.
For such an interconnected system to work you require well trained people. With the best possible equipment. Time and money cause a strain on clubs. Often the technology used is second-hand or very old. People may not know how the app works as well as they should. These are just teething problems...right?
As grounds get developed and improved by councils (usually due to football) there is usually scoreboard which is operated by wi-fi. At best it works seamlessly. Wi-fi has limits and the device used is not able to connect to the internet and the scoreboard all the time. Nothing irks a captain more than a faulty scoreboard.
At times the app can be abandoned completely due to the remote location. No mobile signal. No wi-fi at the ground due to the rooms being rebuilt. The books added up, so that was ok. Someone from both clubs had to enter in the results later.
At another game the operator had to use two devices to score. One had the MyCricket app. The other (an early 2000’s laptop) was connected to the scoreboard (via cable) and used a dongle to connect to MyCricket. At multiple times the laptop, the scoreboard and the dongle would glitch.
A Human Flaw
MyCricket has been tested, for many years. But even the best testing can have unseen flaws. The flaw I crashed into in last Saturdays game was very human. There were two sets of players from two families in the opposing team. The problem was that they all have the same initials.
In my team there are two brothers with the same first initial, no worries their middle names are different. The brothers in the other team had the same initial for their second name. To create enough disambiguation between these players their names were changed. One was in ALL CAPS the other one Capitalising the First Initial.
That MyCricket allows this is good. That I could not tell the difference between which player was which was not. Yes this was my problem. Which would have been alleviated if the players had an easy way to identify them, like numbers on their shirts. Their club voted to not have numbers on their shirts.
When a mistake was made, it came about due to my inexperience with the system. That and the umpires calling the over one ball short. For the next over I went and selected the wrong brother who was bowling. This is when things got worse.
Clear and Vicious Language
There are ways to fix this error. The simplest in hindsight is to just change the bowler’s name, which can be done easily. I selected undo, which is the reflex cause that un-dose the previous ball. Wrong. Undo pushed me into the previous short over, I lost a ball and changed the bowler of that over to another bowler.
The game had kept going. There was no way to quickly change the mistake. I tried to between balls, but the runs started flowing for my team. Which made the watching players rowdy and loud, which did not help my concentration. I was entering into both the scorebook and the app, while trying to fix my error at the same time.
I got angry and lashed out at the entire team. In clear and vicious language I told them to pipe down. Which was never going to work. The barbs came back quickly. After the outburst I felt better. I wrote down the error and continued with the scoring.
Due to the scorebooks both adding up the same everyone was happy. The errors I made were able to be corrected later. One of the brothers with same initials came by with his partner and their son. The childs name was not the same initial as his father and uncles. At least that problem is solved for the next generation.
Phillip Hall has been too long in Melbourne to see AFL in the same light as those back in Fremantle. East Fremantle born and bred, he would love to see the Dockers back in the eight. But would settle for just beating West Coast twice a year.