IT was probably the first time in my life I had been given any responsibility aside from helping out a friend on his paper round for a week before quitting as it involved getting out of bed really early.
Then I scored. Not at football (although I must have done at some point) or on a night out (definitely didn’t), but at cricket, and then it wasn’t on the pitch.
“They want you to score on Saturday,” my dad said. “Do you fancy it?”
The package for what would likely amount to five hours of work which involved intense concentration was a 60p pay packet and a free plate of sandwiches and cakes. I asked if the food could be swapped for more cash, but the deal was non-negotiable.
A hasty lesson saw me make my debut in a Monday night 18s game six days before the main event.
It was an away game at Steeton and it wasn't long before I was on the wrong end of threats from some home “fans”, who indicated they would kick my head in if I didn’t add on some runs. Being the tough lad I was I snitched on them and the potential assailants were sent packing.
It wasn’t an ideal start to a career I didn’t want and the men’s game was equally problematic as it usually turned out the other scorer had been in the job for years and knew what he was doing — or cheated and I, being the beginner, had to agree with his workings out.
Throughout the couple of seasons I did this — my pay was eventually increased to £1.10 with each player throwing in 10p — the strange feeling of having to greet the opposition scorer and sit with him/her in a hut, largely in silence, recording bowling and batting stats, who was out, how and for what score, the total at the fall of each wicket, byes, leg-byes, wides and no-balls never left me.
A shy lad, I found it easier to engage with the employee of the opposition if they were elderly rather than a boy, or even worse, girl, of my own age, which was around 12-13.
Sometimes an awkward player or, terrifyingly, the umpire would query your work and make you feel like you had caused an awful injustice.
By the time I got to 14 on the odd day when a player didn’t turn up I would be asked to step in and leave my scoring duty, which had the bonus of making me feel like a valued member of the club and the downside of a loss of pay coupled with the fact you actually had to hand over your subs money for the pleasure of batting number 11, scoring no runs, not bowling, fielding on the boundary of a freezing cold pitch in the middle of nowhere and being shouted at whenever you made a mistake.
In my first game I scored 0 not out, surviving three balls, and took a flying catch on the boundary to little or no recognition from bowler Les Thornton, who a week later would give me a dressing down in front of the whole team for dropping a similar “opportunity”.
If I can link anything from my time as official scorer of Glusburn CC first X1 and subsequent team member with my life now it is the knowledge that whether it is your first day in the job or you have been in it for 30 years, like most occupations, you get little in the way of reward and take the blame when it all goes wrong.