Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Recent stuff

Not blogged that much recently as I've been looking into converting to a proper website, so have been looking into that as an option. The only issue for me at the moment with regards going for it or not is the fact that it costs money. Word is, because of the dominance of this site on the web and the niche nature of the content/subject, the potential for a website is good and it might grow exponentially in comparison with this blog and it'll end up paying for itself relatively quickly.

Anyway in the short term that's not about to happen and in the meantime I've been playing and bowling. It's not been that good...

What's happened?

Despite all the practice over the off-season with my bowling and the work done on the longer run-up, it hasn't converted to the game or even practice sessions. Someone pointed out in a recent video that it looked as though when I was bowling I was doing so as though I had a deficiency in my pivot leg at FFC. I then twisted my knee in the 1st game of the season (friendly) in the field before bowling and went off. I then came back on near the end of the game and took 2 wickets coming in off of two steps a la' Terry Jenner in the BBC videos. I then took this forward to the two following games as my twisted knee recovered and did OK.

At this point practice was thin on the ground because I was in two minds whether resurrect 'The Paddock' as somewhere we could practice as the fence had been removed and it was saturated with water. Easter was crap with regards the whether and my general fitness wasn't that good. Eventually the weather improved a little and we made the decision to cut and maintain a wicket in the paddock again to practice in.

Once it was ready, in practice I bowled 95% of the time off of the 2 step approach rather than the more energetic run-in off of 5 or 6 steps. Every now and then I'd try the faster longer run-up and it seemed as though I'd lost it, I couldn't get it right at all.

This meant in the recent games I've bowled all my spells coming off of two steps and it's not gone well. Bizarrely in practice it works perfectly?

How do I feel?

Gutted and confused. What had promised to be an important development (The 5-6 pace run in), hadn't come together and the two step approach I've not been able to get it right in games, it's like I've got the yips.

What was good/bad?

In practice, I've bowled superbly and accurately with a range of variations albeit off two steps. I use a car mat as a target which is about 30cm x 45cm and frequently hit it, irrespective of where it's placed. Not only am I hitting it, but the balls spinning almost certainly more than I've ever done.

But, when it comes to game situations It's been a totally different story, couple of weeks ago I bowled two head height full tosses to a set batsman taking the game away from us and then the third ball landing on a perfect length, the bloke offers a straight bat in defence of the ball which was on middle and off and it finds the edge and Tony Harms catches it in the slips.

Last week a similar thing, two leg breaks head- height to a good batsman - one of them is fielded at fine leg on the boundary, he runs two, 2nd one goes for 4 in the same region. The 3rd ball is good and is fielded when hit cleanly. The captain then puts younger son Joe on the deep mid off, having seen how the batsman played the previous delivery. The next ball, not actually thinking why, but just doing it - put more over-spin on the ball and it as a result dipped more and the bloke went through the shot too early and it was up in the air heading for Joe. He had to run a bit, but caught the ball whilst running at speed short of the boundary.

After that, more bad stuff - legside, short, full tosses, you name it, it was in there and it's expensive and I'm not getting much more than 4 overs and rightly so.

Analysis

At the moment I'm of the belief that it's partly down to fitness and that I'm slowly getting fitter and that this may facilitate an improvement. I've played today and again bowled off of 2 steps, I bowled 4 overs for 14 with no wickets, but it was rubbish mixed with perfection as usual. I had 1 catch not taken and a ball against a leftie go through the gate having pitched well outside of off and miss his leg-stump by a gnats cock pube!

The game was rained off and we were back early and despite the fact the game was only 10 miles away, back here in Langdon Hills it hadn't rained, so I was able to go over to the paddock and have a bowl and see if I'd bowl a pile of crap again as I had in the game. I went over with positive intention and thought rather than go for the 2 step approach, just go straight in with the longer run up version. Lo and behold guess what happens? I bowl about 15-20 overs worth of balls and it goes perfect virtually.

Drills I've done recently have included this one here where I put this trolley thing in front of the stumps to represent the batsman and place my target mat outside of leg as below and then look to land the ball onto the mat and turn it into the stumps. In practice I can do this fairly frequently, some spin too far and miss the off-stumps some bounce over, some hit the mat and go on straight e.g. natural variation - some people call them 'Sliders', but that's nonsense, Warne refers to them as Leg-Breaks that don't grip or just calls them what they are... Natural variation now that he no longer plays and is no longer in need to play the psychology game with any batsman that is listening and trying to work him out.
 
Last night I had the mat in front of the bag and was just looking to bowl in a way that would get the batsman blocking or driving. Almost every ball was on the mat or thereabouts or hitting the wheel of the trolley. The ones that hit the mat were turning and were going past the stumps a foot or two wide of the off-stump. But the thing was it was consistent throughout the 120 or so balls I bowled with only 4 that were 'wide' and maybe 2 or 3 full tosses. So the question is why? What is happening here that is so different to what's happening in the game?
 
I'm not making any comparison with how much turn I get of one from the other as there's no comparison, the paddock is massively exaggerated because of how rough it is, it's the things like line and length and consistency. Thinking about it there's a few possibilities...
 
(1). I've got the yips, but I don't think I have, when I started out I was massively affected by getting it wrong and things used to go from Bad to really bad to worse. But at the moment I go from bad to brilliance and then back to bad again, but don't start sweating and panicking like I used to back in the days of Grays and Chadwell CC under Neil Samwells captaincy.
 
(2). Umpire up under my gills? I noticed this yesterday, the umpire was right up to the stumps and I noticed his presence and wondered whether that was it, as it did bother me, but that might be just grasping at straws and I've not noticed it in the other games.
 
(3). Footwear? At the moment this is the thing I'm inclined to focus on. Years ago I noticed that there was something in this. When I practice I generally wear Adidas Sambas. I noticed years ago that if the grass was at all damp that when I pivoted on damp grass, I lost the amount of accuracy & spin I got. Once it was dry and the grip returned it was fine.
 These are the Sambas I'm currently wearing and using on dry grass and I get a certain level of resistance in the Paddock scenario, which facilitates the spin and accuracy that I can achieve there.
 
These are the spikes I'm wearing this year and they're different to my old spikes which I still have and could wear. My old spikes are massively worn out and the spikes are almost non-existent as opposed to these which protrude a mile. Could it be that I'm getting so much purchase and grip that it has some impact on my bowling?

This might be the solution - this is another pair that I have and as you can see, I've removed the metal spikes and opted for the flatter grip discs which may allow more pivot and maybe a similar feel to the Adidas trainers? So, what I'll do is wear these when I practice in the paddock over the coming days and see how much these impact on my bowling... accuracy and length. It maybe that I'm barking up the wrong tree, but at the minute the only difference I can think of between bowling in games and when I practice is footwear, so it'll be worth giving it a go?
 
I came away from the practice last night feeling okay despite the fact that bowling off of the longer run-up is obviously more physically demanding and I came though it okay and have felt okay today, so that may also be a contributory factor, maybe my fitness levels have not been as they should be and as the season goes on I've slowly got fitter?
 
I'm going to try and commit to bowling off of the 5-6 step run-in. Actually I need to establish whether it is 5 or 6 paces, but it is the run-in that I have been working on since last September here
 



The blog is probably coming to an end...

There's bad news and good news...

First off the blog is probably coming to an end.

Despite the fact that it has a clunky and crap website address it's done quite well. As far as I'm aware in most places if you type searches in Google for things related to wrist spinning and leg spin bowling you'll get my content usually come up in the top 5 searches which isn't bad going for a blog. As far as I can recall Stuart MacGill contacted me a few years back saying that he'd spoken about my dominance on the web at a conference about social media and its potential, pointing out that I was just a bloke on the internet with a blog, but had managed to dominate this specific niche.

I'm not going though, at the moment I'm just looking around for website builders and experimenting with different versions trying to put together a look and plan the key pages for the website. Recently I looked at the my early posts and saw that despite the fact that they had been there for almost 10 years they'd hardly been looked at, which is understandable as the content was only intended for an audience of 10-15 people. The bloke that spurred me on and suggested that despite that somewhat esoteric content was David Hinchcliffe, he said something along the lines of 'It's a mixture of Fatty Batter meets Penguins stopped play'. That was the trigger to keep going and develop the idea.

Recently though I discovered one of my several blogs - one that had been discarded for 3 years or so had posts on it that had been looked at thousands of times, making me realise that the right content brings views. Blogs though are clunky in that the older content gets forced further and further from the newest page away from potential new viewers.

The solution it seemed after looking around seems to be either a lot of additional work on this blog putting links onto the homepage or try something new. Whilst researching I then discovered that blogs have no obligation to stick around and at some point blogger could just shut up shop and my blog with 10 years worth of work on it disappear into an abyss.

So, the good news...

It looks as though once I've found a host I'll probably have a website with 10-15 pages linked directly to the home page with all the key things that I personally advocate or hold true. One of those pages will be a new blog with my day to day ramblings and observations. The really good news though was the domain name. No longer will it be mpafirsteleven... it will be and is...

www.wristspinbowling.com

What a result!

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Wickford 4th XI game 21st May.

Still no game at home for either me or Joe and Joe wasn't playing this week because he was on a Duke of Edinburgh award walk. So I was off to Wickford's memorial park ground...

 
I had to scam a lift off of Tony Harms and we arrived at dull cloudy day with the wind quite blustery from the top end of this image to the bottom end 'River Crouch end". I'll refer to the north end as 'The Pavilion End'. I was hoping to take some photo's of the team and other players for a photography project that I'm doing, but no knowing this team and where the pavilion was going to be (I'd got in the car not actually knowing we were off to this ground) I've left it till next week when Joe will be able to help me.
 
Tony and me were the first ones there apart from their players and it soon became apparent that the building in this image which is currently being refurbed was out of bounds and that there was no pavilion other than the one across the other side of another field 400 yards away.
 
 
Our players started to show up and it soon became apparent that we were probably going to be 3 men down with some of them not letting Dutton know it seemed, he wasn't that happy. What made it worse all over the ground we were going to play on there seemed to be the wrong team e.g. what looked like a group of athletic 17-20 year olds - 3rd of 2nd XI type players. Then a couple of older blokes turned up. It then began to sink in... this was the opposition... Nine big youths and two older blokes and these were relatively young too 40's? Whereas we had 8 players...Dutton and Tony in their 40's, me wrong end of my 50's then Gopal and Jay in their 20's early 30's. The rest were small boys all 13 years old. So a bit of an ask for us.
 
We walked over to the pavilion and got changed, talked about the batting order and I volunteered to open with Tony. Dutton had won the toss and oddly had decided to bat first, I think he was annoyed that we'd been let down by the blokes that hadn't shown up - leaving us in a hopeless situation, so opted to get it over and done with?
 
Their bowling was okay, nothing like facing Joe or spin and as a result I managed to last 10 or more overs and scored 6 including a 4 flicked off my pads down to fine leg. But eventually a straight one got me through the gate. Jay put a few more runs on the board and then there was a bit of a collapse until Dutton and Travis added a few at the end. There were quite a few extras and in the end we ended up with 77. Travis it must be said looked exceptionally confident with the bat, I reckon he's likely to score 50 at some point this season if he puts his mind to it.
With such a reduced team, not only is it difficult to make a game of it, but it then means we're short of umpires and scorers, so we struggled with that as well. Sam Goods Dad helped out with umpiring which saved us a bit, it would have been good if he could have played as well, maybe next time? Next time we play with a full team I'm going to try and get one of the kids to learn how to score, I always have a spare score sheet with me so there's no reason why one of them if not more shouldn't.
Similarly I'm going to see if I can get Joe to do it, he knows a lot of it, but needs to do it more and get better at it.
 
It ended up with us scoring 77 with extras added. We didn't bother with tea as it was no-where near tea, we'd only just had drinks at 23 overs when the last wicket fell at about 26 overs.
 
So out come their openers ex B&PCC player Jodie Reynolds and L.Keeley. With massive gaps in the field and only 77 to score, coupled with a team that looked like a 2nd or 3rd XI team V's a bunch of old blokes and small boys it was a lost cause. Dutton gave most of use a bowl, none of us come anywhere near threatening to get a wicket and both of the batsmen came away with not outs. Jodie Reynolds had a good knock dealing in fours primarily... 38 not out and his mate with 24 not out.
I didn't bowl anywhere near as good in comparison with last week. I chose to have the wind behind me which seemed to be a mistake as it meant I ended up bowling a no-ball and a couple of full tosses that went for 4. I bowled from the Pavilion end...
In the last few days it's rained a little and as you can see it's pretty green. The bounce was variable especially at the 'River Crouch' end Which I was bowling to, but this was found on a good length rather than at a full length which I was looking to bowl to. The other end 'Pavilion End' it tended to bounce a lot less and was more consistent. It turned a little, but to be honest I only bowled 3 overs and didn't bowl that well. There was some turn, but only average. I came away with 3-0-19-0.
 
Spin check. This in my on going tally of spinners that I play with in our team and oppositions. I've been doing it in a particular way so far and from now on I'm just going to name them and identify their teams. Today they only had one spinner a bloke that lives right near the Rec and yet he plays for bloody Wickford!!! Guess what kind of spinner he was? Yep you guessed it he was a finger spinner. In the conversation I had with him and the captain they were trying to tell me about all the spinners in the adjacent game a few hundred yards away... all finger spinners, but I had to say, no they don't count I have to play in the game with them to count them.
 
Wrist Spinners -
  1. Anonymous Chelmsford CC 3rd XI
  2. Dave Thompson. Basildon & Pitsea CC 4th XI
 
Wrist & Finger combined
Chris Debond. Basildon & Pitsea CC 3rd XI
 
Finger Spinners
  1. Lee Dutton. Basildon & Pitsea CC 4th XI
  2. Joe Thompson. Basildon & Pitsea CC 4th XI
  3. Alistair Hayton. Basildon & Pitsea CC 4th XI
  4. Luke Daw. Basildon & Pitsea CC 1st XI
  5. Brandon DeBond. Basildon & Pitsea CC 4th XI
  6. Farhan Malik. Basildon & Pitsea CC 4th XI
  7. Brian Waterman. Basildon & Pitsea CC 4th XI
  8. Kalai selven Kali. Basildon & Pitsea CC 4th XI  
  9. 'Don' Wickford CC 4th XI
  10. J.Elliott - Leigh-On-Sea CC 3rd XI
  11. H.Jeddy - Leigh-On-Sea CC 3rd XI
  12. Anonymous Bloke. Basildon & Pitsea CC 3rd XI
 
With Joe not playing today and me not taking any wickets the situation between us is now...
 
Me 17-0-71-3 Strike Rate 23.7
Joe 26-2-65-4 Strike Rate 16.3
 Another view of the 4th XI Wicket - Wickford CC - Memorial Park
The pavilion at the Wickford Memorial Park. I'll add this to my photography project here which is a typology of cricket pavilions. This one used to be a lot uglier and more interesting with metal security doors, but it's been converted into a community café and doubles up as a pavilion too.
 
It was massively disappointing to play in a team of 8 players against a far superior team. Next week we'll be at Langdon hills, so I'll be able to shoot the pictures I've been trying to do now for the last 3 weeks and Joe will be back. Additionally over the week I'm going to try and get in touch with my mate Keith who lives over that way and bats a bit. He's had trouble with his knees or hips for years, but recently has had them fixed and has said in the last month or so, he'd be interested in playing. He'd be able to field in the slips, but his strength is he bats, oh yeah he's a finger spinner as well!

 
 


Mid week nets


Things are very different this year, my wife Michelle's work pattern has changed, so time in the evening is now reduced with regards practicing. The paddock across the road from my house has been ruined e.g. they've taken down the fencing meaning we can't bowl in there any more unless we take our own nets and put it up which is aggro and time consuming, so that's no longer an option at the moment. I did go in there at the weekend or two ago and cut the grass at the batting end to see if it was usable, it didn't look promising.

Over the following week I went in there and had a look and last weekend I cut it again and had a bowl in there on Sunday which went really well. In addition I had a look at the tree behind what would be the batting end and figured out that I could hang the nets from the trees with relative ease, making the whole process relatively easy and that's what I did.

Over the week in between the rain I've been able to get in there and have a bowl a few times and it's gone relatively well. Last week I also went down to the club (Mopsies) and had a bowl against some of the 1st and 2nd XI batsmen and did okay.

So, whereas normally I spend hours practicing a week that's been reduced to almost nothing which will no doubt have an effect on my fitness. At the moment I'm okay with it as I've still got this twist injury around my knee, so I'm taking it easy hoping it'll get better quickly.

We got over there late… 7.30 as that’s when we’d finished our dinner and there were a few 1st and 2nd XI players. The main nets have definitely been condemned and the only nets facility was a short stubby one that you drag onto the square (All weather wicket) which at the moment has no wheels on it. So the handful of us that were there (6 blokes) had a bowl and a bat. I bowled okay and again came off of the 2 step Terry Jenner approach. I was hoping to work with the lower arm to see what it might bring to the action, but it soon became apparent that it needs some intensive work on my own. Other than that the Googly was good and so too was the Top-Spinner. Wickets would have come via catches from mis-hits and one stumping. So overall it was okay.
Injury-wise, I bowled one ball off of the full run-up and it was okay. The stress on the leg came later when I batted. Moving backwards and forwards in the crease in response to the ball, put far more pressure on the leg/knee than running in off of 5 steps and bowling. Having said that, nothing gave and there was no after pain or soreness, just a sense of something wasn’t as good as it should have been when batting. So on Saturday when I play I’ll probably bowl off of a walk-n in still to continue resting the knee.
Devastatingly though, here in a practice situation I batted okay – so much better than in the two games so far. What’s that about?

Despite the fact I’m hardly practicing, I’m bowling quite well which might be a case of when I do practice I’m over-thinking things and trying too hard or something, because the lack of practice at the minute doesn’t seem to be having any really adverse impact?



Friday, May 20, 2016

B&PCC v Leigh on Sea CC 14th May 2016 3rd XI





 

 

The first home game Saturday 14th.

 

The forecast leading up to the game was one of bright and breezy with the wind being North Easterly and therefore from the Arctic, so the temperature was due to be about 16 degrees, which’ll be fine if the wind is light. Joe and I had a look at the wicket a few nights ago and it looked okay. The outfield looked pretty lush and thick so again any balls along the ground are not going to reach the boundary when we hit them. No doubt the opposition will be well armed with wanna-be Chris Gayles and they’ll take the aerial route! When I last looked it looked as though we’d be pretty short of batting again other than John Bedford and Dutton. Or will 13 year old Travis Singleton have another good day and score some runs for us?

 

Gutted, 11 o'clock at night I get a call from Luke Daw asking if Joe and I can play at Leigh-On-Sea in the 3rd XI. Having answered the text I then noticed that during the day, Phil had sent a couple of other text messages asking if Ben wanted to play. Ben's not played for two years.  Very reluctantly we took a hit and agreed which totally screws up everything for us...

 

1. Michelle's then stuck at home without a car.

2. I was going to shoot pictures of the 4th XI team for a project at college, that's now screwed.

3. Less of a chance that we'll get a shed load of overs to bowl and we'll bat at 10 and 11.

We weren't happy, we were looking forward to a game at home in the 4's.

When we got there, it turned out there was loads of swapping around done last night and the teams looked nothing like those that were last posted on the website last. We were a man short and had to play with the following players...

 

1. Phil Murdoch

2. Chris Debond *#

3. Mike Blerkom

4. Dave Thompson #

5. Farhan Malik *

6. Anthony Ayres

7. Joe Thompson

8. Brandon Debond *

9. Josh Debond *

10. Charlie Blerkom

 

  • Finger Spinners #Wrist Spinners

 As we drove to the same venue as last week Joe said "I hope we bat first today". The outcome of the toss was they won and opted to field.

Batting got off to a decent start, but then faltered (I didn't photograph the batting stats). Chris Debond was rattling along at good pace, but then was caught at extra cover by a fantastic catch by 'Jeddy' - looking over his shoulder watching the ball and running in the direction the ball was going he had to dive at the last second to get to the ball, the dive was a massive full length one with a big impact landing and he still hung onto it. Very impressive.

Around 20 overs or so it wasn't looking that clever and Pat Ayres who was scoring said it looked like 120 was possible, then Mike Blerkom got into gear and started to make a difference after a slow-ish start. Anthony Ayres towards the end of the game made some vital runs riding his luck being put down a couple of times, but at the end of the game with me facing the last ball of the match and hitting it and running 3 with Farhan being run-out in the process we reached 170 which seemed defendable.

Joe who batted at 9 was told the same as me... "Swing at it". Went for 0 - clean bowled and was part of a team hat-trick orchestrated by their bloke Jeddy.

 Spinners on their team...

 J.Elliott - Left arm orthodox (finger spinner)

H.Jeddy - Right arm finger spinner.

 I asked about Leg-Spinners in their team and they said they never had them, I then asked what about in the club? They all looked at each other, one of them then said...

"Er... there's a bloke who's just joined the club and I think someone said he bowled leg-spin... If he does, he's the only bloke in the whole club as far as I'm aware and I'm not 100% sure even if he does".

"What about finger spinners"?

"Yeah we've got loads of them - two in the squad today".

After a half decent tea, we took the field to see what we could do. I didn't have a clue as to how Joe or I would be deployed, I guessed that Joe would be amongst the openers in line with the fact that I'm fairly certain 'The Club' would like to see him playing at a higher level. If that is the case they need to handle him carefully because as with Ben, he's not that fussed on cricket and if you were to give him half a chance for not playing he'd be easily persuaded. He likes the 4th XI, but is reluctant to play in the 3rds. He's only 14 and enjoys the 4th XI games, I personally would advise the club to leave him in the 4th XI for this season and allow him to have the success that this will bring him and therefore grow his confidence. Then when needed as in the case of today, get him into the 3rds.

As you can see he was given the new ball and opened into the wind from the southern end, after being asked what end he wanted to bowl from. He should have bowled from the other end as he swings the ball from leg to off and the wind would have assisted him with this as it would have been with him diagonally, I need to talk to him about this and ask him if he realised that would have been the better option. He went with the opposite end as that's the end he bowled from last week when the wind was in the opposite direction.

As you can see below he bowled well taking two wickets and his first ever bowled and caught.
 
 



 



The fact that Joe was involved in a 3rd XI game and it was one that we won, will help with the integration of Joe into the other teams, but they will need to be careful how they handle him remembering that he is only 14. I think in time he will make the transition and I reckon in the longer term if I and the club can keep him in the game he'll want to move away from playing in the same team as me, it's just the nature of the beast. But, the trick will be to keep him on board and keeping him liking the game and liking the team he plays in, he doesn't take it too seriously and it bothers him when other people do and I think that's down to the fact that he's the age he is. As he gets older he'll naturally get more competitive and will understand other people's desire to win and their passion.


My bowling went well, both spells were spent bowling at the same two players. One an old bloke who’d already introduced himself by way of asking about our older player Wayne Morgan, When I asked him how he knew Wayne he said “Wayne’s our 12th Man, he normally plays in the Essex Vets 2nd XI team, but occasionally plays for us”. This bloke was one of the Spinners in their team neither of whom had spun the ball very much at all. The other player was a kid from the SEDCB district team that Joe’s practiced with all winter and will be playing with soon. With such a bad start it was obvious that they’d been put in at 9 and 10 to block out the game for a draw.

I still haven’t got my head around the new rules yet, but I noticed that the overs suddenly appeared on the score board after drinks and were counting up to what I thought was 20 and then someone said ‘Come on lads’ with 10 on the board ‘There’s only 6 more overs to get one of these two out’. I’d bowled tidily in the first spell - the kid had cut a leg-break poorly through backward point where Joe was fielding and it just about evaded him – far more uppish than he’d have hoped for, the ball dropping short and being fielded for two.

The 2nd spell was better because they’d got a sniff of getting batting points (125) and started to hit the ball more frequently rather than just blocking it. They rotated the strike well frequently hitting singles and had slowly edged their way to about 15 short of the 125 required for the points. As soon as they moved up a gear the chances started to come, the ball was in the air a lot, but luck was on their side as they moved ever closer to the 125, but with it came the sniff of victory for us. The last man who’d been sitting with his pads on now for nearly an hour and a half was visibly nervous even from right out here we could see his leg jigging up and down and he didn’t look as though he fancied his chances. We could sense that if we could either of these two we'd be in with a shout but they were more than competent batsman if left to defend and block for the draw, but greed was there for the batting points and it looked to be their un-doing. Both of them started to make mistakes, my bowling was good  - I wanted the old geezer and in the last 12 balls one of the balls broke and must have missed the edge of bat by billimeters! The kid couldn't pick the top spinner and that had him all at sea, but generally both of them being as good as they were dealt with the leg breaks quite well, but as soon as they went looking for runs and started to play their shots it started to fall apart at the seams.
Buzz played his part, him and Blerkom decided that they'd mix the bowling up, after my first spell I though that would be it, but I was brought back on again after Joe and Anthony had been deployed again with the fast stuff, but with the fast stuff brought runs and it was in this phase that they changed their mind set and looked to play their shots. Buzz changed the end that Anthony bowled from and in no time the kid was clean bowled and LOS were still a few runs short of the 125 that they were now looking for. This brought the nervous bloke on and within a few balls it was all over with and we'd won the game. The star of the game for us was Anthony Ayres with his
12-3-32-6...
.

It was really good to be involved in a game where we'd won, but I still don't think one win will win Joe over and encourage him to play in the 3's more regularly. Yeah he enjoyed it, but he is just 14 and he's not obsessed with cricket in the same way that others are.
 The on-going tally between Joe and I as far as I can recall (I didn't copy the score sheet for the 1st friendly match).

Me - 14-0-52-3
Joe 26-2-65-4

Spinner count.

3 games down Finger spinners - 15, Wrist Spinners 6
 Chris Debond
 Mike Blerkon and Buzz
 Anthony Ayres
 Joe Thompson checking his bowling figures.
 Pat Ayres
 Joe Thompson happy having won the game.


J.Elliott bowling to Mike Blerkom



 
 

Thursday, May 12, 2016

First league match - this coming Saturday 7th May. B&PCC v Leigh-On-Sea CC

It’s Thursday as I type, the squad was posted up on the website on Tuesday and a few of the regulars appeared on the list along with some new names. See below.

 If you look there’s a new aspect to the squad list that identifies the ratio of finger-spinners to wrist spinners. I’m under the apparently misguided impression that there is a dearth of Wrist Spinners because it’s so easy to do and there are hardly any finger spinners because that’s so ridiculously difficult to do. So with the teams I play in over this season I’m going to try and identify the ratio between Wrist-Spinners and Finger-Spinners. At the moment I firmly believe that there are far more Finger Spinners than Wrist-Spinners but on Bigcricket.com there’s a bunch of people that are assuring me I’m very wrong, so we’ll see. Last week’s came as far as I’m concerned was packed with ‘Wristies’ as there were two of us one on each team, but in-line with my observations there were at least 4 finger spinners on my team and our team was bowled out cheaply before the finger spinners were deployed on their team, so there may have been more?

The weather has changed massively, the weekend was cold last week, but on Monday when we all went back to work the wind direction changed from northerly to southerly and now we’re into Spring proper with temperatures today in the low 20’s and by the weekend mid 20’s so we’re going from freezing our nuts off with three layers and coats to sun-bathing and shirts off at the weekend.

 Leigh-On-Sea are a new team for me and a new venue so hopefully there’ll be opportunities to shoot pavilions and report on whether their wicket is spin-friendly. I’ve not checked yet, but I reckon their ground must be ‘Belfairs’. We’ve gone down a league too, so we should do okay this season.

Injuries – I twisted my knee and pulled something last weekend, but this week I’ve not bowled or done anything to stress it any further, so have rested it, so hopefully with a knee support I’ll come through if I take it easy. As proved last week if I have to, I can bowl off of a Terry Jenner-esque two step walk in and still take wickets and that was against a 3rd XI team described as being strong, so hopefully it’ll come good this weekend.

Fitness – I’m not feeling it at the moment because of the crap weather at the start of spring, so if the knees recovered enough and I come through this weekend unscathed I’ll have to start working on fitness. My back has nearly fully recovered from a lifting/carrying injury, but thankfully doesn’t seem to be affected by my bowling, so hopefully I’ll get to bowl for more than 2 overs this weekend? Having said that there’s loads of names in the initial squad sheet that I don’t recognise and for all I know they may all be bowlers?

New rules – Aside from the 45 overs rule, I heard at the weekend that there’s a maximum bowling allowance. No-one is allowed to bowl any-more than 14 overs and this apparently is designed to stop ‘Old blokes’ from bowling the whole game from one end, which I’ve seen happen once before with a Southend EMT game at Langdon Hills, this they’re hoping will give kids a chance to bowl. With only 45 overs it looks as though I’d be dead lucky to get 14 overs in the future, our team usually has people queuing up to bowl and I reckon if you get 5 blokes bowling 9 overs each you’re going to be counting yourself lucky. My son Joe is usually given his full allocation of 12 because of his ability, and if he’s supported by another seam bowler doing a similar job, that’ll leave 21 overs for the rest of us to fight over, it doesn’t sound good at all especially if there’s more than 5 ‘Bowlers’ in the team.
http://mpafirsteleven.blogspot.co.uk/2015/07/cricket-pitches-in-south-essex-district.html
 
First league game of the season and the good news is that we fielded 11 players…

Weather – Warm -22-23 degrees Centigrade, south easterly breeze 15-20 mph, with hazy cloud varying between 40%-60% cover. (We played on the wicket top left) Double click the image for an assessment of whether it was a spinning wicket

Lee Dutton* – Captain
Jamie Britton – Wicket Keeper.
Joe Thompson*
Dave Thompson@
Farhan Malik*
Abhinanadan Bidari
Gopal Viswanathan
Jayanand Shivapujimath
Steve Bonnett
Josh Debond*
Travis Singleton

* - Finger Spinners
@ - Wrist Spinners

 I asked the opposition about their spin options and they said they had one finger spinner, no Leg-Spinners, when I was talking about this Lee and another bloke joined in and said “You got a lot of kids a few years back trying Leg-Spin, but once they all got up to adult cricket they tended to disappear… it’s too hard, that’s why you get so many finger spinners, Leg-Spin is so much harder to bowl”.

The team had a very different look to it, with a lot of new blokes including two kids Josh and Travis who are only 13 years old. Tony and Liam Harms were not there and the word is because of Tony’s new job we wont be seeing him for a minimum of 5 weeks, whether that’s the same for Liam or not I’m not sure? Farhan has played in the 4’s before and possibly Gopal, but the other two blokes were new-comers.

 Dutton won the toss and with all the new blokes being unknown quantities opted to field. Before we went out I marked out my run-up from the end I wanted to bowl from (Southern end) and had a practice next to the wicket to see how my knee twist injury from last week was feeling and it was obvious that the new energetic run-up was a no-go, so there and then I decided to play it safe and come in off of a Terry Jenner two step approach to the crease if I was asked to bowl.

 Joe - was asked to open and I was at the other end with spin. Joe as always got off to a good start bowling seam up, he continued to do so all the way through both his spells, but he did say at the end he was at one point considering bowling some finger-spin, but opted not to.


Joe’s 2nd spell was the better of the two with two wickets being taken, the first wicket on the scorecard was a run-out by Jayanand. But the two wickets in the last over with the very last 2 balls were very good, as was the bowling around it, excellent length, getting the ball to swing away and go away off the seam. He was also unlucky in the first spell as a ball was hit straight to Steve Bonnett at Gully, a high ball that Steve jumped up to and parried upwards off the top of his fingers and not being able to gather, but he stopped it going for a certain four despite the state of the outfield.
 
My first spell went okay. One of the two first balls, possibly the first ball hit the bloke on the legs plumb as far as I was concerned - nice and full, but I didn't go up initially and then did so half heartedly and was turned down. Ball number three was exactly the same, but this time I went up for it and the batsman was on his way back to the sheds. With all the new blokes, Dutton was looking to give everyone a go, so I was off after 4 despite looking quite threatening. The 4's unfortunately were both wrong-uns that were a little short, and again the same in the 2nd spell, so that needs some work. Other than the handful of Wrong-Uns I kept it quite simple, there was very little on offer for spinner on this wicket and Lee was of the same opinion, so the order of the day was to pitch it up. No wides as you can see, which was pretty good, there were a few leg-side balls, which because they were pretty full, none of the blokes played that well. I had one ball that got through the gate, can't remember whether it was a wrong-un or a Leg-Break, but it hit the inside edge or something and deflected missing the leg-stump by a gnats breath.

The other thing I noticed when I was bowling was that one of the balls drifted a lot, drift isn't something I see with my bowling much, as I have very vertical arm normally, so I can only assume with this different two step 'Run-in' my arm must have come down a little or maybe it was the head wind which was blowing slightly left to right.
I found this drift aspect quite interesting, as last week the Leg-spinner at the Chelmsford game was getting loads of drift and it was obviously as a result of the Malinga style arm. In the past I've practiced with a much lower arm and done so with a good level of success, the ball turns more and drift as I recall was more evident. Along with that the ball turned more too. The thing I'd have to work on is getting it so that I could switch from a high arm and gradually bring it down and then go from high to low and still maintain accuracy. It's something I might work on Wednesday at nets next week.

Considering my knees knackered, it was an okay performance and with the wicket. The opposition were very complimentary about my bowling with a number of them commending me for bowling so well!
2-0-13-2 (last week)
This week 6-0-23-1
Grand Total - 8-0-36-3 plus this week I took a catch off of Lee Dutton's bowling.

Dutton came on a little later and bowled well, he was happy as he's starting to suffer from arthritis in his fingers and was saying that it hurt to bowl, plus last week he was involved in a car incident and suffered whiplash. When he was bowling he had me at Mid-on, and one of the better batsman hit a ball straight at me and I did virtually the same thing as I did last week and dropped it again. But I redeemed myself in the same spell where one of the blokes T.Bull who looked like a steady batsman hit one right up in the sky in my general direction. For a moment I'd written it off and then realised it was going up more than it was going along, so changed my mind and went after it and got myself in position. Lee was watching and said to himself Oh crap, this is going down as well (I'm not known for my success rate with high catches like this), but I caught it... not perfectly, but it stuck and the geezer was out... Nice.

5-0-15-1 Lee Dutton

Another surprisingly good bowling performance came from Travis Singleton, who's only 13 he bowled as per below...

Batting Yeah this didn't go so well as you can see from the sorry looking scores below. 2 new blokes top scored Jayanand below and one of the new kids Travis. The rest of us were a bit of a shambles, which was a shame as the bowling (see the bowling stats for their team) was a little ropey at times, but then as one of my mentors used to say to me ***t bowling gets wickets. Having said that some of our bowling was a bit off the mark too.
My dismissal was crap. After all the net sessions and that carrying through to club nets and despite last weeks 4th ball dismissal, I was hoping to make some runs with the support of Jayanand. It seemed that one of their better bowlers was saved for this part of the game and he was on when I went out after Jamie. I kept him at bay for a couple of balls and then had the prospect of facing one of the kids (Wrobel) that seemed to be bowling at an innocuous pace. The first ball he served up was short and legside... A gift in most people's eyes and I thought the same... whoa that's short and it's safe and then I knocked it straight into the hands of Barton at head height at square leg. Gutted - out for 0 again off of about 4 balls faced, same as last week. Note to self Hit the ball into the ground - roll the wrists.

 Jayanand Shivapujimath here was our best bat of the game followed very closely by the 13 year old Travis Singleton.



Image below left to right Lee Dutton, Josh Debond, Travis Singleton and Steve Bonnett.
 The wicket looking north
 The 2 captains at the toss.

 Joe Thompson medium fast today. 10-1-22-2 He bowled well today, getting the ball to swing away and move off the seam away from the bat and deployed his knuckle ball.
 Below Left to right... Lee Dutton, Jayanand Shivapujimath, Abhinanadan Bidari and Steve Bonnett.
 Mobile phone hell... Abhi looking a bit left out.
 Lee said to Joe - play with a straight bat, get on the front foot... Joe nicks an edge for a spectacular dive off of the wicket keeper and like so many of us out for 0.
 Some of the lads said they'd be back next week...
 Hello what's Bob Willis doing at Leigh On Sea? The opposition start to pack up.
 Dutton gathering the cash...
 The drainage ruts...
 The drainage ruts run at regular intervals across the outfield.
 Joe and Jamie Britton trying to jam the bags into the back of out Astra.
The next game is at home against Horndon-On-The-Hill, who are a team I don't recall playing before, but I think they're going to be quite strong because their team was bolstered by the demise of Pegasus.

Joe my younger son was saying that we've not gone down a league, because there was a big shift around in the organisation of the what teams played against who, making it so that we play teams that are more local to us, rather than go miles to play, which I don't mind myself even though it's me that has to stump up for the diesel! Joe was saying we're pretty much playing at the same level again this year, which if it's true is a shame because it'll be a season of getting beaten virtually every game. I guess we'll see as we go through the season?

It was a disappointing loss especially as the opposition captain was saying that his team was weak. I don't know what it is that we do wrong, I came away from this thinking, maybe it's nothing to do with the batsmen, maybe it's the way we field? When we field, the positions are always pretty conventional, but for some reason when the opposition hit the ball they get it in the gaps? Then I thought is it the bowling? There were shed loads of extras in this game, in fact I don't think I've ever seen as many extras in game ever - other than kids cricket.

We bowled the 45 overs and bowled 23 wides and 1 x No-Ball. This was down to the fact that some of the players were totally new to the 4th XI and Dutton gave everyone a go, possibly to see who does what? Hopefully this next match he'll take a slightly different approach, now he's got some idea of people's strengths and weaknesses?

They bowled 23 overs and bowled one more extra than us. So perhaps they were doing a similar thing? I did ask their players about who bowled what, trying to find all these wrist spinners that people are talking about on the internet, but there was only one...me. A handful of finger-spinners, but just the one leg-spinner.

It's a funny old game this cricket, difficult to make sense of? Or was it they just had far superior batsmen? We lost so badly and they didn't even have to use Bob Willis ;-)

2 games down. Spin count

Finger spinners 10, Wrist Spinners 4










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