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Posted by Phil Stubbs on 16/05/2017 17:14

There was much excitement in the run up to the 2017 season and arguably none more so in the anticipation of a new play-cricket scoring app – in fact many talked of nothing else for most of the winter.

Many Tavs followed the sale of Total Cricket Scorer to Cric HQ and the subsequent falling out and de-integration of Cric HQ and Play-Cricket with great interest and how this might affect statistics that we all spend many hours pouring and obsessing over. Perhaps we all hoped that all of Swinder’s catches and Starkings’ sixes would finally be recorded.

This was going to be the first time the Tavs would be using the new app. The anticipation was such that I expect few managed to get much sleep the night before the game. Imagine – if this worked we might know exactly what happened during any match at any time anywhere.  The records of each game would be maintained forever for future generations, and no more would they have to rely on the hazy memories of aging Taverners. What times we live in.

As with most new inventions, disaster struck early when the ECB announced they were having login issues on Sunday morning. Indeed, it would not have been unreasonable to assume that the ECB had been caught out by the same ransomware that had caught out the NHS a few days earlier. Displaying remarkable forward thinking however, the ECB had cleverly managed to avoid this, by not having upgraded to Windows from the MS-DOS they remain comfortable with.  

Thankfully for all involved, it seems the ECB’s IT specialist was able to apprehend the escaped hamster, replace him in his wheel and thereby reboot the whole system, and logins began working again.

All was going well – the app successfully recorded that the Ladder had only turned up with ten and that it would be 40 overs a side. It would have probably been easier if we had batted first so I could oversee the app’s performance, but uncharacteristically Jem lost the toss and the Ladder chose to bat. We were going to have to leave the recording of the game in the hands of the opposition. With that said, The Ladder were perfect gents and offered to look after it while we were in the field.

After one over however, all was not well. It was clear the app was not working, and multiple attempts to get it working proved futile. Being in the field as I was, there was nothing I could do. The Ladder were maintaining a somewhat antiquated system which involved such preposterous things as a pen and some paper, so we consoled ourselves and resolved to try to fix it at tea. And for a while, it worked – the first 13.5 overs being recorded in the new app copied from the ancient relic known as a “scorebook”. But alas it was not to be. The app could not cope with a wicket being taken on the 84th ball of the game.

No further chronicling of the game was possible.

History will show that The Ladder openers accumulated 74 without loss from 13.5 overs with Ollie and Swinders keeping a lid on batsmen who clearly wanted to score quickly, backed up by two overs  Alo looking dangerous.

Sadly however, no one will ever know if Swinders’ tight bowling eventually earned him the break through, which might have been snaffled by Jem at slip, to cries of “proper cricket”.

Alan Browning’s return to bowling after 6 months will be lost to the sands of time. Some may say he deserved more wickets than the one he took, equally others might believe he was hit for 3 enormous sixes at the death. We’ll never know for certain.

History will not record that the Ladder batsmen swung at everything, and connected with most, or that their number 3 and 4 batsmen equally shared a partnership of 166. Some will prefer that their bowling will be forever lost to the ages, it is unlikely the Stan’s figures will ever be spoken of again. Some may recall some miserly Jem overs, followed by some more expensive ones with some quick wickets at the death from the skipper, but their memories will always be suspect.

In the field, debates will continue for years as whether Rev dislocated his thumb or not potentially dropping a chance that may or may not have been quite difficult. Some will claim to have witnessed Mark Sewards taking a sharp stumping and affecting a run out, but it will be difficult to believe them. Given the Tavs other performances we can be relatively confident that there was some fairly average stuff in the field too. 

We’ll never truly be sure if the total of 258/6 at drinks break was correct, or one which could be chased down. Intuitively, it would look gettable, but without records of the game there are simply too many assumptions to make any sort of judgment.

There will be no record of where “Joe 90” got his new nickname. It’s possible that it came from his second 90 in two weeks, from 55 balls, before he dollied the second ball after drinks back to the bowler.

If there was a middle order collapse, it has already been forgotten. Browning (0 from 5), Stubbs (1 from 11), Beckett (6 from 15) and Fletcher (0 from 3) may not have covered themselves in glory, but their blushes will be spared since no evidence of this happening will ever be found. Swinders (4 from 16) and McGuiness (0 from 1) would never have been blamed if their innings could ever be proven.

No trace of the skipper muttering “Must I do everything” will ever be found. He might have smashed a faster 50 than Joe, off only 28 balls, ending on 61 not out with 3 sixes and 7 fours but without documentation we would simply be guessing. Between himself and a possibly seriously injured Rev (17* from 14), who may or may not have been the last man in, it is entirely possible that they managed to get the Tavs to 19 required for victory from the final over. What is not clear is whether they managed it, and it is purely speculation that they only managed 11, resulting in yet another close defeat for the Tavs. History will always consider it a mystery.

So as best we can say, The Ladder were 74-0 from 13.5, and no one knows what happened after that. Match abandoned probably.

If one were to infer a man of the match from the conjecture compiled it would have been Jem for his wickets and his captain’s innings at the death.

And it all ended in cheers. Or did it?