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In which I continue to seek part time employment as the ruler of the world.

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Saturday August 13 2016

Proof that the day that Darren and I saw Surrey beat Gloucester was a great day out is that I have already done three postings about that day here, and have hardly scratched the surface of how much fun I (for only one) had, on that day.

Posting (1) about that day concerned vans.  Posting (2) was about cricket, and in particular about the emerging cricket superstar that is Jason Roy.  Posting (3) was about the Oval’s contrasting architectural Big Things, and about seeing (or not seeing) London’s biggest Big Things from one of the Ovals Big Things.

The final test match between England and Pakistan is now under way, at the very same Oval that I have been going on about.  (England are getting stuffed, as I write this.  Go here to be sure.) So it is appropriate that this posting takes us, those of us who are interested, back to cricket, and in particular to the photoing of a cricket scoreboard.  Sporting scoreboards make for great photos, packed with memory-triggering information.  Not just obvious things like the score of a particular game, but, as the years pass, forgotten names, and forgotten moments in remembered games.

I didn’t take many pictures of the old scoreboard that day, the one way off to the right of the Pavilion (as you look at it), but here is one of the pictures I did take of it, along with a lot of other stuff all around it:

image

You can’t really see the scoreboard there, unless you look rather carefully, so here is a close-up:

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This looks to me rather like an eighties style computer screen, the sort that started you off with cryptic messages like: “A:>“.  Such old screens often had orange letters or numbers on a black background.  No doubt there have been suggestions that this scoreboard be replaced by something more twenty first century, but no doubt also, the old fogeys of the Surrey County Cricket Club drew the line at such vandalism.  Cricket is, after all, a game typically played before an audience made up mostly of oldies.  And as you can see from my pictures, this audience is too sparse for cricket people to be able to ignore the tastes of those who do show up.

I can remember scoreboards far more primitive even than this, where you hung the numbers on hooks.  I even helped to operate such a scoreboard occasionally, when Englefield Green played nearby teams like Egham, Staines and so on, on … Englefield Green.  Because yes, there really was an actual Englefield Green.  There still is.

All that that old scoreboard showed was, as I recall, total runs scored, wickets down, batsman number this, this much, batsman number that, this much.  And, if the other side had already batted, the other side’s total.  Batsmen would not have been identified with numbers like 58 or 59, i.e. with the numbers on the backs of their shirts, because they wore no such shirts.  Their number would be their place in the batting order, which is actually far more informative about the state of the game.  If, say, there are seven wickets down, and batsmen 8 and 9 are batting, both with smallish scores, that’s one sort of game.  But if batsmen 3 is still in with a decent score to his number, that’s a much better prospect for the batting side.  “59” doesn’t tell you anything about whether the guy can bat or not.

Here is a much newer scoreboard, to be seen on the other side of the ground from the old scoreboard:

image

Here we learn who batsmen 58 and 59 actually are.  Yes, they are the Curran brothers.  They came together at the fall of the sixth Surrey wicket, and a lot depended upon them.

T(om) Curran is about twenty, and S(am) Curran is eighteen.  On the day I took these photos, the Currans came together with the Surrey innings struggling for adequacy.  There had been a flurry of wickets.  More wickets now and not many more runs, and Gloucester would probably chase down the Surrey total easily.  More runs now, and more wickets not so quickly surrendered, and Gloucester would have a fight on their hands.

For a while, the Currans “rebuilt” the innings, in other words scored rather slowly.  But then the younger Curran (S(am)) stepped on the gas.  Soon, this Curran partnership had become a …:

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… and then, seemingly in no time at all.  S(am) Curran had brought up his personal …:

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… and the partnership was looking like this:

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S(am) Curran got out soon after that, and was duly thanked by the scoreboard:

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We can see the Surrey total on the old scoreboard …:

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... the Surrey total being just about the only thing that the old scoreboard did tell us, during the interval.  That’s the thing about old-school scoreboards.  When they’ve nothing to tell you, they are unable to tell you anything else instead.

Surrey had done well.  Although there had been no outstanding innings in the manner of Kumar Sangakkara, who scored 166 back in September 2015, Surrey had actually made more in their first innings this time around.  Besides S(am) Curran’s fifty, there were also substantial scores from Davies and from Burns, and it all added up.  The stand-out moment of the innings, the sort they call a “champagne moment” on Test Match Special, was when Surrey captain Gareth Batty hit a ferocious six that went smack into the middle of the new scoreboard.  With no apparent harm done to it at all.  Which was impressive on both counts.

Gloucester made a bad start:

image

That’s twice I’ve watched Surrey in a 50 overs game, and twice I have seen Jade Dernbach do decisive things.

There followed a promising stand, but it ended too soon, for Gloucester’s purposes:

image

I will end with a burst of horizontality.  Darren was kind enough to say that he especially liked the posting I did after our previous Oval expedition which featured lots of adverts piled up in horizontal slices.

Here, which I hope Darren will also like, is another pile of horizontal slices, this time of Gloucester’s last six wickets falling in a rather humiliating heep, and the time at which each wicket fell:

imageimageimageimageimageimage

As you can see, Surrey won easily in the end, with Batty again distinguishing himself with five wickets.  Story of the day: Surrey got in a bit of a mess, but recovered.  Gloucester got in a bit of a mess, never recovered and instead crumbled.  If you’re there, your team winning narrowly may be better, but winning easily is pretty good also.