Top Score and Willow Scorebook

The Willow Scorebook is software to facilitate scoring cricket. Scoring is traditionally done by putting little marks in boxes on a printed card. The drawback to this system is that the scorer has to add up numbers to find the score.This software allows you to click an icon for the number of runs scored off each ball, or wides, fall of wicket or virtually any event; the software does the hard work of keeping score, making the figures for bowling, time at the crease and so on. More modern analysis is also catered for, like runs-per-over, and a radial scoring chart.

It is clear that the developer loves the game. The many minor rule variations (two runs for wide, eight-ball overs, etc.) are accommodated, and there is a plethora of display options (though, strangely, no faithful representation of a score-sheet). However, there are various niggling bugs - windows resizing themselves, for instance.

Finally, you won't score a day's play with the trial version, since it pops up a "buy me" notice after a random period averaging five minutes. Oh, one more thing: who takes a computer to a game of cricket anyway? To run it on a laptop you'd want keyboard shortcuts, and a hamper full of spare batteries. It would make more sense running on a Palm, but it never will.

Top Score for Windows is a related program, also written in MS Visual Basic. It can import the match data from Willow, and allows you to compile statistics for your club over a season or more. The Duck Cup (won by the player who scores the most ducks) and Fantasy League (pick an imaginary team from your club, and see how it goes over a season) are nice touches which could enhance the social side of your club.

In every other respect, this is a database program and suffers by comparison to the many excellent databases available. Perhaps this is a little harsh. In your club there may well be someone who can use Excel, but they're probably keeping it quiet. Scoring the game, though not too demanding, is a dismal job. At least the umpires get a decent view of the action.

Cricket software

Price: WSB $145, TSFW $110

Supplier: A.N.T.S. Australia

Phone: (08) 8344 7100

URL: www.ants.com.au

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