On Wednesday evening I attended a talk by Frank Duckworth on the Duckworth-Lewis method for helping decide the outcome of one day cricket matches where play is interrupted, which has now been used for over 10 years. This took place in the Long Room at Trent Bridge cricket ground. I am not particularly a follower of cricket but the talk was interesting nonetheless. I found Frank to be an engaging story teller and he found a suitable balance between cricket, mathematics and anecdote. He demonstrated using simple mathematical examples the absurdity of the methods in use in the 80s and early 90s and used audience participation to demonstrate the relative ease with which the D-L method could be applied. Still, he was candid about situations where D-L is less than satisfactory and some more recent work to correct for this.

For the cricket fans there was some cricket trivia and the room was steeped in history; the walls were decorated with portraits, photographs and lists of exemplary performances at Trent Bridge. For the mathematicians in the audience, he even flashed up a partial derivative! Frank called the material mathematical though the meeting Chair, Neville Davies, was keen to point out the statistics behind the parameters for D-L and the data analysis in determining how well it is working. A well rounded applied mathematics and statistics problem, I think.

The talk was organised by the local branch of the Royal Statistical Society. More information on the Duckworth-Lewis method is available on the BBC website which has a brief history of Duckworth-Lewis and a simple explanation of the method.