Book Cricket and Scoring

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Phil
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Book Cricket and Scoring

Post by Phil » Tue Apr 14, 2015 8:42 am

An innocent pastime of some of the most junior boys in the years after the war, was Book Cricket. One opened a book at random and noted the letters in sequence, using a code to play a game of “cricket” (eg ‘e’ was a ball bowled without result, ‘x’ was LBW, etc, etc). These juniors would make up fanciful teams (eg the Book Cricket player captaining a team of his pals vs England, or matches between his favourite county, perhaps captained by himself, and Australia).

All this resulted from all boys having learned to score for a cricket match. Each match, whether the school first XI or a house third XI, had to have a scorer, with an official record kept. All junior boys learned to score by having to act as scorers occasionally, even those whose cricketing ability made them desirable players of an appropriate team. Later there would be non-athletic types who would chose to score and so avoid playing. I suppose the reason for all this was to ensure a proper match was played, with the teams not just fooling around as would be likely without this record. Also during most house matches a housemaster or the house captain would visit and after every match a housemaster would examine the scorebook. These practices encouraged cricket to be taken seriously. I presume all this continues today.

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LongGone
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Re: Book Cricket and Scoring

Post by LongGone » Tue Apr 14, 2015 10:33 am

The variant I remember is pencil cricket. Six-sided pencils were marked and used like dice. Combinations of rolls led to results as in the book variation.
Scoring for house teams was one of my jobs (being utterly hopeless as a player). The only real challenge was getting your result to match that of the scorer from the other team.
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Re: Book Cricket and Scoring

Post by michael scuffil » Tue Apr 14, 2015 11:11 am

There was also a kind of cricket that could be played in class, where a typical idiosyncrasy on the part of the master led to runs or dismissals, agreed in advance. Thus ALJohnstone saying 'common or garden' or 'as it were' would score.

We played similar games with our children (and now with our grandchildren) when on walks or car journeys. I think this sort of thing used to be called 'wayfarers' cricket'. So you'd get points for a man pushing a pram, or a cat in a window, for example. On the road, a pink car might score you a six.
Th.B. 27 1955-63

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J.R.
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Re: Book Cricket and Scoring

Post by J.R. » Tue Apr 14, 2015 3:05 pm

I well remember book and pencil cricket.

I quite enjoyed official scoring at matches as well.
John Rutley. Prep B & Coleridge B. 1958-1963.

eucsgmrc
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Re: Book Cricket and Scoring

Post by eucsgmrc » Tue Apr 14, 2015 6:18 pm

Phil wrote:All this resulted from all boys having learned to score for a cricket match. Each match, whether the school first XI or a house third XI, had to have a scorer, with an official record kept. All junior boys learned to score by having to act as scorers occasionally ... Later there would be non-athletic types who would chose to score and so avoid playing.
Of whom I was one, and quite a useful one. The other team's scorer would often be bored and inattentive, and could easily be persuaded that he had missed seeing a no-ball. We would both enter it in our scorebooks, and the record would stand. This would have been an ideal preparation for a career in banking, if I had left school in the 1980s instead of the 1960s.

And I remember our version of "pencil cricket", with little hexagonal metal cylinders instead of pencils.
John Wexler
Col A 1954-62

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Re: Book Cricket and Scoring

Post by sejintenej » Tue Apr 14, 2015 8:16 pm

eucsgmrc wrote:
Phil wrote:All this resulted from all boys having learned to score for a cricket match. Each match, whether the school first XI or a house third XI, had to have a scorer, with an official record kept. All junior boys learned to score by having to act as scorers occasionally ... Later there would be non-athletic types who would chose to score and so avoid playing.
Of whom I was one, and quite a useful one. The other team's scorer would often be bored and inattentive, and could easily be persuaded that he had missed seeing a no-ball. We would both enter it in our scorebooks, and the record would stand. This would have been an ideal preparation for a career in banking, if I had left school in the 1980s instead of the 1960s.

And I remember our version of "pencil cricket", with little hexagonal metal cylinders instead of pencils.
It was not un-noticed, John, that you did have a love for the book and pencil. Never in a week of Sundays was it thought that it was you who arranged for Col A to "win" so many games :D
Why not England? They need your skills - there could even be an MBE in it for you
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