By Neto Baptiste
Antigua and Barbuda hosted its first Test in 1981, West Indies vs. England, at the Antigua Recreation Grounds. A match in which former captain and National Hero, Sir Vivian Richards scored a century, amassing 114 from 226 deliveries to score his first on home soil.
There was however, another first on that day as mathematician and former cricket association treasurer, Hyram Forde, was the official scorer in the historic match which started on March 27, 1981 and ended in victory for the host on April 1.
Forde said he also provided additional services on the day.
“Those days, our official scorers also performed a statistical role and you would have heard of the legendary Bill Frindall, I am sure, who was the cricket statistician, but we provided an additional role where we actually scored the ball by ball and still provided the statistical aspects of the game, and I was that person starting that first Test match in 1981,” he said.
Forde, who was also principal of the Antigua State College (ASC), said his ability to complete both tasks had placed him way ahead of the field.
“I had come through scoring in regional matches, and given my training in mathematics and the quantitative disciplines, grappling with numbers came quite easily to me and so at the time, I never viewed it as a chore to be doing the ball by ball while at the same time providing all of the statistics. I learnt later that at the UK and at different Test venues you had an official scorer who just focused on ball by ball and then you had a statistician so we were way ahead of our time in terms of providing accurate accounts of the game while it happened,” he said.
The match ended in a draw after England posted 271 in their first Innings while West Indies amassed 468 for nine declared, their first time at the crease. England were 234 for three when the match ended on day five.