Often illegible. Almost exclusively incorrect. Sometimes in tatters. Always useless.
A cricket scorecard can vary in the degrees of the above, which isn't really surprising considering a lower grade cricketer's sole goals are to avoid paying fees, somehow work their way into the slips cordon so as never to have to field a ball properly and then completely butcher that one attempt at scoring so the book never lands in your lap again.
I get it. I've been there.
As a result every time I've seen a cricket card at work I cringe. A folded up scorecard is enough to send shivers down the spine of just about every sport journo in the bush.
But I think I'll give scorecards a second chance.
Particularly now that I've seen one of Helen Dennis' gems. It's a thing of beauty.
The Armidale School was in Orange last week to take part in the Douglas Shield finals, and took on Kinross in the decider at the Main Oval up at school.
Really, who cares about the result.
The best news to come out of that game is Dennis' scorecard.
She's used seven different colour pens, each bowler owning an individual colour. Such a simple measure has unlocked the whole card.
Based on the colours, you can see which bowler every batter has scored their runs against, which bowlers bowled which overs. The fall of wickets is as clear as day.
Without even trying I can see TAS' Cotter Litchfield, a player I'm assuming bowls left-arm express pace with the new ball, bowled overs one, three, five, seven and nine during what I imagine was a terrorising opening spell.
He then returned for a short-sharp stint when his skipper needed a wicket, bowling overs 31 and 33 … to no avail.
And Litchfield's three remaining overs were completed at the death, his name responsible for overs 46, 48 and 50 of his side's innings in the field.
He finished with 2-26, taking the wickets of Kinross opener Powell (0) and then May (1).
That took me 15 seconds to work out.
Now, go and look at your club's third grade card and tell me when your right-arm off spinner (which is really someone who can't spin the ball, they're just not fit enough to bowl off any more than three steps) completed their overs?
You can't. You're more likely to be able to tell how many beers the scorer has had based on the amount of spillage on the book, multiplied by the brewery-like aroma filtering off the page.
There's just no way in the world anyone else's scorecard is as good as Helen Dennis'. It's the best I've ever seen.
Dennis to replace Watson at three.
WESTERN GIVES BEAR A FITTING SEND OFF
It wasn't with the result they would have liked, but Western Division still gave the late, great Steve 'Bear' Hall a fitting send off on Sunday.
Passing on his condolences to Hall's wife Margaret, two children Michelle and Steve junior as well as his seven grand children, Western Rams chairman Peter McDonald paid tribute to a man whose legacy will be lasting in the Rams region.
He was the division's first development officer and worked tirelessly to help indigenous youth realise their potential in rugby league.
He played with the Walget Dragons, Coonamble Bears, Dubbo clubs CYMS and Macquarie and with the Mendooran Tigers, winning multiple premierships.
Bear coached Western Division in first grade for five seasons and in 1986 guided the team to be crowned country champs, while also coaching Western in internationals against France and Great Brittian and New Zealand residents.
He wore Western colours countless times and was part of the divisional outfit that took on the Poms at Wade Park in 1979.
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He represented Group 11, Group 14 and Group 15 and his play at five-eighth was described as mesmerising.
"One of his lasting memories was scored five tries in a scintillating display to steer Group 11 to a 45-22 victory over Group 10," McDonald told the crowd.
"Bear's legacy will never be forgotten."
All Western Rams teams wore black armbands in respect to the great man during their games against Monaro last Sunday.
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