It is Scottish Women and Girls in Sport week, and North East Scotland Cricket is lagging well behind other areas of the country, particularly Edinburgh who have 6 women’s teams. Whilst we have pockets of junior activity at Aberdeenshire, Fraserburgh, Gordonians, Huntly and Stoneywood Dyce, increasing participation levels will be challenging. The North East probably only has one active qualified scorer, so we asked Isobel Reid a few questions on her cricket related career.
Q You seem to have been scoring for years. When did you first start scoring, and how did you first get involved?
A My Dad used to play for Peterhead and Aberdeen Uni so I grew up watching cricket. After spells working in Paris and Shetland, I came back to Aberdeen to study for a Masters Degree. A friend of a friend suggested I go to watch cricket to switch off from my studying, and eventually, in 1998 I think, Kintore asked me if I wanted to try scoring. I agreed to give it a go and I went to a cup game at Crathie, Kintore batted first and I had the late Pat Walker on one side, and the late Stevie Nicol on the other side explaining how to do the book. When Kintore went out to field I was left to it, so rather thrown in at the deep end, but got through it.
Q From a scorer’s perspective, what is the worst venue you have scored at, and the best?
A The worst was Sheddocksley on a bad day, sitting on the grass with the scorebook on my knees, although the last time I scored there, Grampian arrived with a table and folding chairs which made it more bearable. The best would be Gordonstoun and the old elevated score box at Mannofield from which you could see everything that was going on.
Q You recently completed your ESC ACO Level 1. Did it require much work, and can you progress further?
A It involved a free online club scorer course which was pretty straight forward. I needed to keep match preparation reports, a log of all games scored, and do pre-match and post-match self-reviews. Trying to get the match observation form done wasn’t easy as there are so few dedicated scorers around. This was followed by a sit down discussion with George Burns, who heads up scoring for the CSMOA. Everything was complicated to a degree by Covid restrictions. I do feel as though I am on a scorers pathway and I will be starting the Level 2 course soon. This involves 3 modules on electronic scoring, DLS and linear scoring, plus maintaining the existing reports for my overall portfolio.
Q Have you ever completed the perfect scorebook?
A I have got to the stage where the batting and bowling for both innings regularly add up. All scorers have their own standards, but I have done a few scorecards that I thought were pretty good. I submitted a scorecard for review and was told that I had missed a dot ball somewhere!
Q You have recently been getting scoring appointments from Cricket Scotland. How has that been working out, and how could that go in future?
A I’ve principally been appointed to age group girls games, and I was asked to do the scoreboard at Mannofield for a couple of Men’s Scotland games when Oman and PNG were here. Having completed my Level 1 qualification, this may open up additional games.
Q Scoring in the Strathmore and Perthshire Cricket Union compared to the Grades will have brought one major change. Regular umpires! Has that made life easier for you, or is there a little bit more pressure to get the scoring 100% correct?
A It has made it much easier. Dedicated scorers are very much part of a team with the umpires. The use of radios helps clear up areas of doubt, but even without them, you have regular consultations and checks with the umpires to sort out any queries.
Q What has been your worst day scoring?
A It was quite a number of years ago at Sheddocksley on a foul windy day when Kintore played St Ronald in a cup quarter final that had to be played. You were still able to get cars on to Sheddocksley at that time, and I sat in Alex Keith’s vehicle and scored. It would have been very difficult to have scored otherwise.
Q Do scorers have a favourite player to watch?
A You can admire the action to a point, but the focus is more on watching the umpires for any signals. I do remember being blown away watching Himanshu Saraswat with bat and ball at a cup final at Methlick. Brian Alexander of Cults and Alex Keith, then of St Ronald, were run machines. When Kintore won Grade 1 in 2005, Andrew Petrie and Colin Laird opened the bowling and were seriously good. Abrar Ahmed of Gordonians is very impressive to watch when he gets going with the bat.
Q The Cricket Scotland Match Officials Association seem to be very well run on the umpiring side. Do they offer much support for scorers?
A It was the umpires at games who persuaded me to join CSMOA. Everyone is very supportive, and I now have a network of scoring colleagues who I have met that I can interact with.
Q Has the Covid situation had any impact on your day as a scorer?
A Yes. The lack of a specific tea break means you don’t get a chance to switch off away from the side of the ground. The social distancing requirements made it difficult to keep informed of changes in batting and bowling for opponents.
Q Would you recommend cricket and scoring to others?
A Cricket as a sport is underrated and I would recommend it. You do get to meet a lot of good people at cricket, and I’ve made a lot of friends through the game. The best game I scored in 2021 was an under 18 girls game between Caley Highlanders and the Eastern Knights. Caley Highlanders scored 320 for 3 and the Eastern Knights 295 for 9, which included one girl being 160 not out. The standard of girls cricket has improved immensely since I scored girls games in 2019. Then it was a case of girls playing cricket, now it is a case of cricketers who happen to be girls!
Thank you Isobel for an insight into your cricket related career to date. Hopefully in the future there will be more female scorers and officials joining you in the North East.