Play Cricket Pro Integration (BETA)

Play Cricket Pro Helper Software for the BuildYourOwnScoreboard board

Play Cricket is the ECB developed national results and stats system that is used by leagues across the UK.  In 2018, they released Play Cricket Pro, a Windows desktop application for laptop computers that can be used by scorers to score a match, with progress automatically being uploaded on to the Play-Cricket website.

The software is super cool, and will even send out regular twitter updates so your supporters can see how your team is getting on, even if they are  having to miss the match to go to Morrison’s for emergency supplies……

What is also super clever about this software is that it is designed to support electronic scoreboards, and there are already a number of integrations with commercial boards.  This web page shows how to integrate the Play Cricket Pro software with the buildyourownscoreboard project.

WARNING:  This software is BETA, and may contain bugs.  With this software the standard scoreboard web interface will still work fine.  If the Play Cricket Pro integration fails during a game, just use the standard web interface and then post for advice on the forum.

Prerequisites

  • A Windows laptop capable of running Play Cricket Pro
  • Play Cricket Pro is downloaded and installed on the laptop
  • The laptop is on the scoreboard wireless network during the game (more on this later)

Installing the helper software

First, download the PCPScoreboardHelper software from the downloads page and unzip the files in to a suitable directory.  Run a virus check on the file to be safe!

Double click on the setup.exe file, and you should be presented with the Welcome screen.  Click on Next.

You will be asked to choose the install location, I suggest you leave this as default.  Make sure you choose “Everyone” from the options then click Next.

When you click next, you might get a windows UAC warning like the below:

It is Ok to click yes, the warning is because the software is being installed.

If you get to installation complete, then congratulations we have completed stage 1!

Set up Play Cricket Pro to log to XML

Load Play Cricket Pro.  From the Tools menu choose Configuration…

The configuration screen will open.  Click on the Scoreboard tab.

Now set:

  • Output file, choose a location to write the xml file to (the default is fine, it doesn’t matter what the file name is!). Make a note of the directory we are writing to, we will need this later.
  • Enabled on Output file 1
  • Enable Capitalised
  • Enable Pad numbers
  • Enable Add descriptions
  • Enable LED fields only

Do not choose a template file, this changes the format of the XML.  If you do choose a template file, then the Play Cricket Pro interface (not my software!) doesn’t seem to let you remove it, without manually having to edit the scoreboard-config.json which is in the Documents\Cricket Matches\_Scoreboards directory.

Configuring the helper software

Now that the software is installed, we need to configure it to work with your scoreboard.  First we have to open notepad (or you favourite text editor) as an administrator.  To do this click in the search bar of Windows and type notepad.exe, when it is shown in the results right click on notepad and choose Run as administrator.

Now notepad will open.

Click on file and open, then change the file filter in the bottom right of the window from *.txt to All Files *.*.  Then navigate to c:\Program Files (x86)\PCPScoreboardHelper and open PlaycricketPro.exe.config.

Note: if you do not open notepad.exe as administrator you will not be able to save changes you make to the config!

The config file will open, with defaults set.  Each of the config items is commented, however the items that are mandatory to be changed are:

  • XmlPath – this should be the directory to which Play Cricket Pro is writing XML scoreboard updates (that you set up in Play Cricket Pro earlier).  Note this is only the directory, and it must end with a trailing / as per the example in the picture above.
  • ScoreboardAddress: This should be the IP address of your scoreboard followed by /scoreboard.php.  For example, if your scoreboard IP address is 192.168.1.3 then you would set this value to http://192.168.1.3/scoreboard.php

Optionally you may also choose to change

  • ScoreboardUpdateMethod – By default this is POST and works with the Westbury on Severn web interface for the scoreboard.  If you are using the Bradford on Avon interface replacement, then change this to GET.
  • Debug – Change this to true, if you want to see additional debug information in the logs (or if someone on the forum asks for it, if you need help)

There are also advanced options for boards that are not using standard layouts (for example if a club has added DLS digits or other changes to the layout).  This is commented extensively, but for most will not need changing even if you have changed the order of the digits in the layout.  I recommend that you try the default advanced configs with your board.  If this doesn’t work, put a question on the buildyourownscoreboard forum, posting a copy of your scoreboard.php file and also your PlaycricketPro.exe.config file.

Save the file and exit notepad.

Note:  Following all changes to the config file, you must restart the service (if it is already running, see next section).

Start the service

Now that the software has been configured, you are ready to start the service.  This will allow the helper software to watch for changes to the XML (created by Play Cricket Pro), and then send the updates to the scoreboard automatically.

To do this click in the search bar of Windows and type services (or find services in the control panel), when it is shown in the results click on Services.

This will open a list of services.  Scroll down to PCP BuildYourOwnScoreboard Helper, select the line and then press the play button on the top bar.

This will change the status to running.  Now right click on the same line and choose properties.

Change the startup type to Automatic (Delayed Start) and click OK.  This will make the service start automatically when the laptop boots.

Give the software a try

Open Play Cricket Pro, start a test game and start scoring.

Your scoreboard should update as you change the score!!  If you want to check for errors or problems, turn on debug mode in the PlaycricketPro.exe.conf file, restart the service and then load the log from c:\Program Files (x86)\PCPScoreboardHelper\logfile\log.txt

This should tell you what is happening!

Getting help

Ask for help on the Forum, I check it most weeks and will try and help to debug where I can.

Setting up the Laptop so it is on Internet WIFI and Scoreboard WIFI

I would like to be clear, that the scoreboard does not have to be on a WIFI network with an Internet connection.  It is possible to run Play Cricket Pro on the scoreboard network without an internet connection, using the Play Cricket Pro software offline. You can always set up the Play Cricket Pro game online, score offline (connected to the scoreboard) and upload the result online after the game.

However, I can see the benefit of having Internet access when using Play Cricket Pro to score a match, as Play Cricket Pro will live upload scores to play-cricket.com and tweet regular updates, as well as updating the scoreboard.

To do this the scoring laptop needs to be on the Internet and also able to talk to the scoreboard.

At my club, the scoreboard is around 150 meters from the Internet WIFI router.  I had a couple of attempts to use an outdoor WIFI extender to extend the Internet WIFI from the Clubhouse down to the scoreboard, but I just couldn’t get it to work.

So what I did was to use another of those fine Raspberry devices to act as a wireless bridge.  I do love those £40 computers, you can do anything with them.

With this setup, the laptop is set up on the club WIFI (with internet access).  Then an additional Raspberry 3b is setup to connect to the scoreboard WIFI and route the traffic via the RJ45 Network cable to the laptop.

The laptop gets to the Internet via WIFI and to the scoreboard via a network cable to the Raspberry, which routes to the scoreboard via the Raspberry WIFI. You have to configure the laptop to route to the Scoreboard via the Raspberry. If you have someone with computer networking experience in the club, get them to read this section and see what they think.

To set up the Raspberry connected to the laptop I followed the basic steps from the following Article: https://www.raspberrypi.org/forums/viewtopic.php?t=132674

If you need help, please ask a question on the Forum and I will do my best to help.