Wednesday, October 28th, 2015

From Martley School To First Team Scorer At New Road And Covering Ashes Test

From Martley School To First Team Scorer At New Road And Covering Ashes Test

Worcestershire CCC first team scorer Dawn Pugh has come a long way during the past two decades since she first started keeping the score for Martley and Chantry School.

Dawn is the only female scorer on the county first team circuit since being promoted from her second team role in 2012 after Director of Cricket Steve Rhodes asked if she was interested in taking on the post.

And the following summer Dawn achieved the pinnacle of her career when she scored for Australia in the Ashes Test with England at Lord's.

Dawn covers every Worcestershire senior game home and away during a season and travels with the squad on the team coach all over the country.

Of course, these days there is more to the job than recording the events in the middle in a score book.

Via her laptop Dawn is also responsible for supplying the information and data on the main electronic scoreboard next to the Graeme Hick Pavilion at New Road.

So when did Dawn, who lives with her husband at Ashfields Farm, Lower Broadheath, first take up scoring.

She said: "I started first of all because my son David played cricket for the Martley and Chantry School at Martley and Rushwick Cricket Club and, because of where we lived, I usually had to drive him to his cricket match, stop there until he had finished, and then bring him back home again.

"It was a case of 'while you are here Mum help out scoring!' It was in the early 1990s. I had never done it before. I just picked up the book and copied whoever else was sat there.

"After a while, I saw that there was a Scorers Course being advertised by Wally Clarke (former Worcestershire first team scorer) and I thought I'd sign up for this and see if I am doing it the right way.

"I did that, and started scoring the 'proper' way for Rushwick and then as my son got older and his cricket improved, he went to play for Ombersley in Division One of the Birmingham League."

Events which had nothing to do with cricket derailed Dawn's scoring for a period in 2001.

She said: "When we had foot and mouth, we shut the farm up completely and I didn't feel I could travel around with the club scoring cricket and stayed at home and didn't score anywhere that year.

"My son moved in with his gran so he could play cricket and not affect the farm and he went to Ombersely and, when the foot and mouth had finished and it was alright to get off the farm, he said 'why don't you come to Ombersley.

"I moved there and started scoring for them and Dolly (Damian D'Oliveira) was still playing and I used to travel to all the away games with him.

"Then he became captain of Ombersely and in 2002 Wally Clarke, who was the Worcestershire first team scorer, was going into hospital to have a heart operation, so Neil Smith who was doing the Seconds moved up to do the first team, and it left Dolly without a scorer for the second team.

"He was Academy director by then and I had a letter from the Worcestershire Cricket Umpires Society which went out to all qualified scorers to say if we were interested in doing the Seconds for one year to fill in this form and send it off to New Road.

"I wasn't going to do it but Wally persuaded me to. I thought I had got no chance, sent it off, heard nothing for three weeks and then Dolly rang me up and said 'I want you to be my second team scorer.' for a year while Wally has his op.

"I started doing the second eleven and after about six months Dolly said will you do the academy on a Sunday as well and I said yes. After the 12 months was up, Wally decided he wasn't going to come back after all so Dolly said will you stop on. So I stayed on with the Seconds until 2012."

Steve Rhodes then decided he wanted Dawn to take over the first team duties.

Dawn said: "Just after Christmas, Bumpy got on the phone one day and said can I come out and see the horses and have a talk. He rolled up, we saw the horses, had a cup of coffee and he asked me to become the first team scorer.

"That was a bit more responsibility and he gave me a week to think about it after he told me what was involved and asked me to give him a ring.

"I looked at his and Dolly's fixture list for the previous year and believe it or not there was only four days different between the two.

"I thought I'm going to be scoring at better places, nicer grounds and I said I would give it a go for a year and see how we get on. That was 2012 and I've carried on ever since."

It was at the turn of the century that the role ceased to be just recording what went on in a scorebook.

Dawn said: "About 2000 when I was doing the Seconds. The Total Cricket Scorer Programme came out and I bought a laptop, bought the programme and started using it with the second eleven.

"Now the information goes from the laptop straight to the electronic scoreboard. But I still do a book as well like a back-up and it's a record for people to see.

"I was at Kidderminster once doing a second team game against Glamorgan and the computer crashed and if I hadn't have been doing the book, I wouldn't have been able to carry on scoring so it is safer to do the book as well."

Dawn is well respected amongst her peers on the county circuit.

She said: "I am the only female scorer on the first team circuit, the first one and the only one. When I started doing the second eleven, for a while I was the only female scorer and then Somerset and Surrey got them and since then there have been a couple more doing the Seconds.

"How did people react to me being the first female scorer? They were all pretty good and a lot of the scorers I already knew because they had done second team cricket like myself.

"I was very lucky with our first team at Worcestershire because by the time I got to score for them most of the players had come through the Academy and the second eleven and they were well used to me being there. They had grown up with me."

Dawn admitted: "It is a close knit group, it is like an extended family. You see lots of ups and downs on the pitch, I hear a lot on the coach but like I've said before, what I hear on the coach, stays on the coach.

"There is a lot more to being first team scorer than just scoring games because you get to hear and see an awful lot of things and you get to know when to go to the dressing room and when to stay away and when to open your mouth and say something and when to keep quiet!

"I enjoy it, I really do, but we take it season by season and see what happens."

Dawn recalls with understandable pride covering the Lord's Ashes Test two years ago.

She said: "That was without a doubt the highlight of my scoring career.

"When you are scoring for Rushwick in 2000 in the Worcester League and then you get a phone call asking if you want to score for Australia in the Lord's Test match, a packed house, it was mind-blowing.

"It ended up four days, it didn't go the four days, but what a fantastic game to score for.

"When you see your name going across the main scoreboard and announced on the public address system, it just sets your heart racing.

"England won the game in four days but the nicest thing was I saw Phil Hughes and we had a nice kiss and a hug outside the Australian dressing room."