If it’s cricket, Bob knows the score

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By Maureen Bishop

The score sheet from a cricket match is a complicated thing.

The scorer records the obvious things such as who was batting and bowling, how many runs the batsman scored, how he was dismissed and by whom, and how many wickets the bowler took.

Then there are all the other details – how many minutes the batsman was at the crease, how many balls he faced, when did the first 50 runs and 100 runs come up, how many runs were scored in each partnership, what was the score after the first hour, and the next, the score at the end of each over, who the umpires and captains were, how much time was lost through bad weather.

In club cricket it is often the twelfth man who ends up as scorer but one Ashburton club is lucky to have one of the best scorers in the game.

Bob Bruhns will this season notch up 25 years of scoring for the Mid Canterbury senior representative cricket team, 17 years for the Allenton club and 37 years since he scored his first game, a match between the Canterbury Minor associations and a Young England team, which was played in Ashburton.

The statistics of his career are astonishing, for he also spent 16 years as scorer for the Tekau club and then there are all the international games, and all forms of cricket.  In total, Mr Bruhns has scored a total of 779 games to date.

“I was always good at maths at school – I still am,” he said. “I’ve seen some shocking score sheets but no-one ever questioned me on a score sheet.”

Mr Bruhns was an umpire on New Zealand’s first class B panel but a change to bifocal glasses and a concern that his eyesight might not be good enough, meant he gave up umpiring.

“It was not fair if I made a wrong decision which affected someone’s career, so I began scoring.”

He has scored many international games – men’s one day internationals, women’s world cup and men’s Under 19 World Cup ODIs, two five day tests between New Zealand A and Sri Lanka A and 20/20 games and many more.

When the Mid Canterbury Cricket Association (formerly the Ashburton Cricket Association) was preparing to celebrate its centenary in 1996, Mr Bruhns was asked to provide information on some of the players.

While researching this, he discovered there were gaps and so began a project lasting more than eight years.

He has researched and compiled Ashburton and Mid Canterbury senior representative records.

“I have every score sheet for the senior rep teams from the 1920/21 season, the year they became affiliated to New Zealand Cricket.”

The record keeping has been a partnership with his wife, June, who designed a template for the information.

Before cricket, the couple were both New Zealand graded hockey umpires.

These days he uses a laptop and a computer programme to score fixtures.

“When you are scoring manually you are so busy you never see a game,” he said. “Now I can see a game of cricket.”

But he still carries paper sheets with him in case the computer crashes.

He has travelled all over the country with the Mid Canterbury team, recording their results. He was in Whangarei when Mid Canterbury lifted the Hawke Cup in a match against Northland in February 2004. Although the team challenged for the cup in 1997 it has only won it once.

The cricket season gets under way at the weekend and Mr Bruhns will be there to score the Allenton club game. Soon afterwards he will be off to Nelson with the senior representative team to score its match.