Barry's Blog #64: NGS Teams Grading

In his latest blog, Barry updates us on teams games being included in the NGS and what your club needs to know to participate.

Since the blog was posted there have been comments made on the subject, so EBU Chairman, Jeremy Dhondy, has made a statement to address the issues which have been raised.

From: Jeremy Dhondy, EBU Chairman

Date: 19 June 2014

Scoring Software used by clubs and counties

You may have received an email both from the EBU and from Stephen Bligh, the owner of Scorebridge. I wanted to clarify both what we are saying, why we are saying it and the effect on clubs. I shall try to lay it out as simply as possible.

The EBU introduced a common standard for scoring files from any scoring program to talk to the EBU system (called USEBIO) when Universal membership was introduced in 2010 and you all make use of it whatever scoring system it is your choice to use.

After more than four years some improvements are needed in this interface. The particular issue which triggered a change is to enable us to score some team games but there is also the matter of future improvements and bug fixes which have been noted in time the program has been operating. This means a move (to USEBIO 1.1) is needed. Any change must work with all pieces of scoring software

From the start of Universal Membership clubs were offered a copy of Scorebridge for which the EBU paid the licence for the first year and clubs were responsible from year two onwards. Many but not all clubs have chosen to use that system.

Going forward there are some choices. Which choice you make depends on whether you have a team game you want to be scored and used in the NGS. That becomes available almost immediately. The forthcoming teams event in the Scarborough congress will count towards NGS and also a small number of clubs will trial teams events around the same time.

Your choices are:

• Use a piece of software compliant with USEBIO 1.1. At the time of writing only the Jeff Smith suite of software is compliant but other suppliers may also choose to make adjustments in the coming months. The Jeff Smith piece of software is tried and trusted, available and is free.

• Stick with your chosen piece of software. This will continue to work with all your pairs games now and for the forseeable future. If you run no teams games then you need to do nothing if you don’t wish.

• Stick with your chosen piece of software but if you also run a teams game then the EBU can provide free a copy of Jeff Smith’s software called Teams Scorer which can be used for any teams event whilst you continue with something else for other events.

The assertion in the email your received from Mr Bligh stating that you MUST change your scoring software is incorrect as is the assertion that we never informed him of our proposed changes.

When we first mooted this change, in early 2013, we, of course, wrote to Stephen Bligh as his software is used in many clubs. It would be unreasonable not to give adequate notice of a change. In order to score teams games we need the scoring system to provide two additional pieces of information. They are the numbers of players and their polarity for each stanza during a game and secondly the cross imps (sometimes referred to as the Butler scores) for each pair in a team. The updated interface will allow us to extract this information. Mr Bligh is correct that a change is needed to his software. He has stated to us that he is not prepared to do this. We regret this and feel we have to let our member clubs and also counties know what they might do going forward.

There is, I stress again, no requirement or compulsion to change software used but if you wish to do so then the Jeff Smith software is both free and compliant.