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International Women's Day: Polly's Story

Polly Rhodes was appointed as the First XI scorer at Somerset County Cricket Club in 2019.

It was the culmination of years of hard work, a genuine passion for the game and a love of the Club.

Since that day, Polly has gone on to make history, and last summer she reached the pinnacle when she scored an England Test match at Lord’s.

To mark International Women’s Day 2022, we wanted to share her incredible story with you.

So, how did she get into scoring in the first place?

“When I was at school, I was always better with a pencil than with a bat,” she explained. “I scored my first ever game back in 1966. I got back into scoring for my son’s colts team, Liphook and Ripsley, back in the early 1990s when we were living in Hampshire.

“From there I got nagged by various umpires in the Southern Premier League to become more involved, so I went and took my exams and qualified. I then started getting invitations to score at various places, and by the mid-1990s I was scoring England age group matches at Loughborough, where I worked with the likes of Peter Moores and John Abrahams, which was great fun.

“Gradually I got more and more invitations, as well as scoring at club level. Then in the year 2000 we all had to go for re-training when the first revamp of the laws was done. Whilst I was there, I met up with some guys in the area who were all military and so I then got invited to score for the Royal Marines, which is how I knew Andy Hurry [SCCC Director of Cricket]. I also scored for the Royal Navy and the Army.

“The Royal Marines took me away twice to South Africa on tour and on one of those tours Rich Askew, who was working for the Somerset Cricket Board, came as coach to the team. He then recommended me to Andrew Moulding, who was then the Cricket Development Officer for the Somerset Cricket Board, and in 2007 he invited me to score for the Somerset Under 17s, which I did, and the rest is history.

“I was into my second season scoring with the Under 17s when the Somerset Second XI scorer became ill and I was invited to fill in for the rest of the season.

“Initially I then took over for the next year to see what would happen. I never relinquished the post until 2016 when I was brought in to help with the scoring and the operating of the scoreboard for home First XI matches. To start with this was just for the T20 matches, but in 2017 I started to do all of the First XI home matches.”

Polly has been to the forefront of many of the aspects concerning the way that games of cricket are recorded currently, as she explained.

“I was the first Southern Premier League scorer to score on a computer and the first to score live in the same league.  In addition to this I was the first in the country to score live for county Second XIs, so in my own way, and without realising it, I was something of an innovator.”

When she is not scoring in the winter, Polly is kept busy helping to train the next generation of scorers.

“I am one of half a dozen Level Three Tutors for scoring in the whole country,” she said. “I’ve run a number of courses, including the basic Club Scorer course, a Linear Scoring course for the more advanced plus helping with a Level Two course. I’ve also run some introductory courses.”

During her first season, Polly helped to make history when she and Sue Drinkwater officiated the Royal London One-Day Cup quarter-final match between Worcestershire and Somerset at New Road.

Regarding this match, Polly said: “We think that this is the first time that two women First Team appointed scorers  scored together in a match between two First Class counties.

“If you look at the recreational game, it’s probably about 50-50 and there are a lot of women scorers, but in the First Class game the role is mainly filled by men.

“I think that this is quite a breakthrough to have two women scoring a First Class match in the men’s game and I’m delighted to have been part of the history making event.”

All Polly’s outstanding work was recognised by the ECB last year, as she explains: “I’ve been with the Association of County Cricket Scorers for some time, and the MCC own Lord’s where they employ the scorers. Usually they ask the Middlesex scorer to do the Test matches, but because Lord’s now has two Tests, they offer one of the games to a scorer from a non Test match ground scorer. I’ve been offered games in the past, but have been unable to accept, but on this occasion I was delighted to be able to score the match between England and India. To score a Test match is absolutely fantastic.”

What does the future hold for Polly?

“I really do love scoring for Somerset. I couldn’t be more content and I can’t think of anything else I would want to do. I’m the First XI scorer at Somerset, what more could I want?”

As well as previously having been the Somerset Second XI scorer, Polly was the Bath CC First XI scorer for a number of years. Polly also scores for WEPL Premier One side Taunton St Andrews when not required for County duty.

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01/07/2022 18:15 - Lord's