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Polly Rhodes appointed First XI scorer

Polly Rhodes has been appointed as the new First XI scorer at Somerset County Cricket Club after Gerry Stickley retired at the end of last season.

The new incumbent is no stranger to Somerset. For a number of seasons she has been the Second XI scorer and for the last two years she has scored all First XI home matches.

“It’s a dream come true for me really,” she said. “It’s something that, even in my wildest dreams, I never expected to happen when I first started scoring all those years ago.”

So how did she get in to scoring in the first place?

“When I was at school, I was always better with a pencil than with a bat. 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. 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 three seasons ago when I was brought into 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 for the last two seasons I have done 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. “So far this winter 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 been running some introductory courses. I’m hoping to get into schools later this year in order to help to train scorers there as well.

As well as being the Somerset Second XI scorer, Polly will be known to many people because until the end of last season, she was the Bath CC First XI scorer.

“Now I live close to Taunton it seemed crazy for me to carry on travelling to Bath for home matches,” she said. “From the start of 2019, when there is no Somerset First XI cricket, I’ll be scoring for Taunton St. Andrews Cricket Club.”

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