Monday, August 28, 2017

Benfleet CC v Basildon & Pitsea cc 4th X 26th Aug 2017

Penultimate League game this Saturday away at Benfleet against their 3rd XI. Our team sheet looked ropey all week with very few people ticking to indicate that they were available. Joe's game in the 3's was a home game, so after picking up Tim Brown I dropped him off and Tim and I headed for Benfleet for the 12.30 start.

Weather was fine - blue skies and cumulus clouds and predicted 25 degrees centigrade. Got changed and as we got ready it became apparent that we were a couple of blokes down, but the oppo were saying they were in a similar situation. I made a couple of phone calls to see if I could get a couple of people at short notice, but this was to no avail.
As a result of the toss, we were fielding first. We opened with Jai who was playing tomorrow and was only going to bowl 5 overs. He bowled well as did Tony Keep bowling from the North End (A127 end). Once Jai had finished his spell Joey Keep (Tony's son) bowled, not having bowled for 4 years and it didn't go that well and he asked to finish his spell at the end of the 1st over, but the rest of the team encouraged him to continue. As you can see he did better in the following two overs.
 I then came on bowling from the A13 end see below...
I got the wicket of E.Warwick (Captain), who after having a look at a couple of attempts at my stock Leg-breaks which I wasn't spinning that much... just wasn't coming out of the hand that well, he decided - as they often do, that enough was enough and my bowling was going to be hit back to Tarpots on the A13... A massive swing and a miss at a ball that pitched on off and turned away from the off-stump signalled his intention, so the next ball was one with a lot more over-spin. This one dipped and didn't really turn - cramped him up and he dollied it back to me for a bowled and caught. He looked a little disappointed. I only just caught it - as it was one of those that came straight at me and initially I couldn't tell if it was coming at me fast so I set myself as if it was fast and then realised it was dead slow and it had began to dip so I had to suddenly squat and in doing so twisted my knee.

But, it was the other bloke Joe Owen whose wicket I wanted as he looked more organised and threatening, he'd already hit the ball back past me for 4 with a singular off-drive that evaded both me and the fielder at mid-off. But the majority of his shots came off of pull-shots between fine-leg and mid-wicket region, where with only 9 players, one of whom had already gone down with a bad back from bowling (Joey Keep) wasn't looking too up for it or agile. The other bloke Dave Ayres our chairman - who doesn't play and on very rare occasion come in to help out - but this was the first time in two years - was given the role of sweeper covering the area this bloke saw as his main scoring area. Dave is no athlete, more suited to darts I would imagine - but he pit in a valiant effort, but I leaked runs down there. Not Dave's fault at all, my fault for bowling leg-side where this bloke obviously felt his strength was.

The knee then started to have some impact, along with the fact that I couldn't get the ball out of the hand with any revs on, so I got a bit carted.

I was followed by Al McIver and Frank McLeod who did a good job getting the remaining wickets. Owen was eventually dismissed for 34 caught off of Al's bowling, edging the ball to Tony Keep at a position around Gully/4th slip area. He was their best bat in this game so was a valuable wicket to take. They finished with 128 for 8 all out - off of 38 overs.

Tea was very commendable and we all made our way back satisfied and ready to bat. The openers were Joey Keep who scored a fair few runs in the last game and the reliable Frank McCleod who usually provides the main runs in our innings and any hope of a win. Frank faced the first ball and the opener was Warwick (Capt) with the kid Joe Owen bowling from the A127 end. Not only was Joe Owen their star batsman, but his bowling was very tidy as well...

Owen accounted for Joey Keep for 2, and Tim Brown and Tony Keep for 10 each. Frank McLeod scored 58 with 11 fours primarily scored off of Warwicks bowling.

With Frank batting I'd gone looking for lost cricket balls which looked as though they'd be easily found having been given up on far too easily. Couldn't find any and when I emerged from the trees and got back to Dave who was scoring, found myself 2 wickets away from getting a bat which is very unusual. While I was getting my pads on, one wicket went down and shortly after getting padded up with Owen getting through our batting line-up like a hot knife through butter Tony Keep was caught off of Owen's bowling for his 3rd wicket.

As Tony came off I asked what was happening and he said "Just straight and accurate". I joined Jai and faced the first ball off the other bloke bowling from the A13 end... L.Wheeler. As Tony said - straight and accurate, varying the speed. I was initially very nervous, just not wanting to get out, there were loads of overs on the board and we only needed about 30 runs. I remembered the disastrous game where I joined Lee and played across the line and got bowled when we only needed a similar amount of runs. Within the first few balls off of Wheeler I missed one, that must have just missed the off-stump and noticed where my bat had gone in relation to the ball... I'd played across the line, bringing the bat down diagonally from my back-lift -past the point of impact - mistiming it with the bat swinging through towards mid-on and not the bowler! I stood and re-calibrated my brain - realising that this bloke at least and probably the other one at the other end were bowling straight and accurately and if I didn't rectify this I'd be out.

Joe my younger son has worked with me on this and the solution is to have the bat in my back-lift behind me almost pointing towards fine-leg. I then seem to bring the back down and through the ball - with the bat pointing towards the batsman, so I put that approach into action and it worked. The kid Joe Owen was as described.. accurate with some variations. Most of it was straight, but looked as though it was supposed to be off-breaks, some turned a little and then every now and then he'd try and bowl what looked like leg-break out of the hand. Frank was umpiring and was saying - just get bat on ball and take your time, the runs will come. At the other end Jai was playing with more fluency and was obviously less risk adverse than me so was making runs, so that for me was the basis of a plan. I'll just block, and help see off the threatening Owen The key thing was not to lose a wicket with so many overs to play with. I've previously batted with a bloke in a partnership of 90 +  runs and won a game that had been given up on. In that game I scored no runs, he scored all 90, I just blocked , so I can stick in there and soak up the goading and jibes while the other bloke scores. I figured if Jai lost his wicket G-man and Dave Ayres might then play his role?

It worked okay, at drinks it worked out that we needed a run an over. Owen had run out of overs and another bloke came on and he was nowhere near as threatening. But the bloke at the A13 end (Wheeler) was still a bit tricky, trying all sorts... slow, loopy, faster, all very accurate, but then every couple of overs or so, he pushed one through outside of off, not sure if it was intentional. There were about 3 and each one I played at I missed, with what seemed to me a high chance of the ball being edged through to the keeper, but he didn't see the potential, so went back to bowling at the stumps... A kind of you miss - I win approach. Over by over, the total came down, the batting and the approach taken flattering the bowlers figures, but in between the maidens Jai was hitting singles and 2's and a couple of fours. With only 4 required and the field up around our gills I saw the opportunity to hit the winning runs off of Wheeler, first a couple hit through backward of square leg and then one in the gap between square leg and mid-wicket for 4. I rarely get to bat, so it was nice to get a bat and bring the team home for a win and be the one that scores the winning runs!

Once home writing this up, I looked up Joe Owens stats on Play cricket and found out a little about him...

This year he's bowled 134 overs. That includes 21 Maidens, He's taken 43 wickets!!! with his best being 5 for 20. He's only been playing adult cricket for 2 years and he's had 2 x 5 wicket hauls and his economy is 3.39 and his strike rate is 18.79. His average is 10.63 and his contribution to the team as a bowler is 26.71% of the wickets. So he's no slouch with the ball. But he doesn't look that massively threatening, but he's definitely accurate and if you miss he is going to hit the stumps, he varies what he does, so I'm guessing if you go after him, it's definitely going involve quite a high level of risk as Tony, Joey and Tim Brown discovered.

His batting was okay and on this day he was by far their best playing with the ball and the bat. So I have come up with a cunning plan as I'm bound to play against him again next season, or if don't Joe will. See the plan in the bowling plans blog listed below here.

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Sunday, August 20, 2017

Orsett & Thurrock cc v Basildon & Pitsea CC 12th July

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An away game today at Corringham, captain Dutton has retired for the season to focus on his business as he's had an upturn in work/clients. So in his place for the rest of the season is G-Man AKA Graham Davies. Still loads of movement within the team and this weeks team consisted of the blokes you see here on the batting card.

The opposition was made up of some of my team mates from what was Grays and Chadwell CC... Chris Buckley, Terry Hills and Alex 'Wizard' McClellan the Wrist Spinner and some familiar faces from the previous games in the season.

We batted first, not sure if we chose to or we were put in (Most likely). It didn't go that well on a difficult wicket with no real batsmen other than Frank McCleod. Wickets fell at regular intervals around Frank and we ended up scoring 74, with Frank McLeod scoring 41. The next best were two 9's - Asif Patel and Michael Wilson and the rest of us made contributions of 0 and 1's with 4 people scoring 0. Extras accounted for an additional 12 runs.

It was pitiful and I expected to heading home after about 45 minutes once we resumed after tea, but it didn't pan out that way...

For some reason we all bowled well and the batsmen for the most part showed some respect and batted with real caution. Perhaps as this is their local ground they knew how sketchy the wicket was and that maybe the score of 74 was reasonable? This appeared to be the case as Chris Buckley came out and was gone for 0. Chris's records go back to 2000 and in nearly 300 games he averages 23.

With Dutton and Joe my younger son now gone and no longer a part of the 4th XI set-up I was in the field looking around thinking who the hell is going to bowl next. It seemed like it might be me and given how poorly I bowl on occasions and what with no runs of the board it looked as though once Jai and Michael had done there bit the game could be over and done with very quickly! What was making it worse was that Michael and Jai were bowling superbly and going for next to no runs!!!

So, at 16 overs when they'd both been bowled out I was thrown the ball and had to try and maintain the economy and get wickets. Paul Howlett was at the crease having come in during the 11th over. Paul Howlett is one of the blokes that I've suffered at the hands off during the season and so have done some homework on him and have come up with a plan. See here.
The key thing as with most aggressive batsmen, is to keep the ball away from the leg-side and bowl to your field.

Before I came on he'd already hit three 4's through the leg-side in his favoured zone. I knew that as a basic plan I just needed to starve him of that option, so all of the deliveries were outside of off, where as far as I can make out he struggles to get the ball away. In the short time that I bowled at him he was looking to be aggressive - no doubt with the "Don't let the spinner settle" mantra going through his head. He looked to be waiting to see where the ball pitched and looking to then fetch the ball from outside of off getting it over his favoured leg-side. I think it was him although I'm not 100% sure, but during the phase I bowled at him I had two balls go to hand. One at backward square leg that was hit hard and put down and one that was totally miss-hit that I thought G-man (Wicket Keeper) was going to take easily as it was in the air for about 30 seconds, but one of the other players called it, running in from fine- leg or a short long stop position who then dived and dropped it! Never mind as a few balls later he hit the ball to deep mid-wicket and Josh Debond caught it without having to move.

That brought Carter to the crease who I don't know, but maybe I should do some homework on him as he looked pretty handy and him and the opener then seemed to take the decision to up the aggression and little and finish the game off. Despite the fact that we lost it was a really good game. It was good to see Terry Hills bowling - years of experience evident and good to face my old mate Alex McClellan's leg-spin. When we finished we had a chat and bowled some balls to each other and talked leg-spin and flippers and that ball that doesn't exist.

 Alex McClellan bowling leg-breaks to Jaidev Charan - Corringham Rec wicket.

Alex McClellan - Wrist Spinner.

Joe's progress

I've got two sons - Ben who's now almost 19 and off to Reading Uni to study Geography, he's almost certainly been lost to cricket for the foreseeable future, he played a couple of games last season and enjoyed it, but this season hasn't played any despite being asked several times if he'd play. Joe though the younger son (Only just 16) is still hanging in there despite frequent threats of not wanting to play and having an air of complete indifference. But three weeks ago, because of how badly all of the teams in the club are doing he was more or less forced to move up to the 3rd XI and therefore no longer plays with me in the 4th XI. Going on what he was saying about the prospects of moving up, this seemed like a make or break moment, but the club and the 3rd XI captain handled it well and it seems he's enjoying it. It might help that since moving up they've won as many games than they've lost and this has been in part down to his bowling. Prior to that they'd hardly won any games at all.

This week Joe took 3 wickets for 13 runs off of 6.
This puts him in the position of 2nd highest wicket taker at the club at the moment along with Rob Brooks (Off-break bowler).

I played with him this week as I was moved up, I had a good game, fielded at Mid wicket, Mid-on and silly mid-wicket where I took a good catch off of Alastair Hayton's bowling (Off-break bowler). But Joe bowled really well as you can see. The wickets were all key players amongst their top four batsmen.
At the end of the game the 3rd XI boys were all saying that they were more than happy to have him, but were fully aware that it wouldn't be for long and that he'd be going up to the 2nd XI pretty soon e.g. next season. Dutton (4th XI captain) and many others reckon that he should be straight in the 2nd XI based on his bowling, but he is only just 16 and I personally think that should be kept for next season or perhaps a game before the end of this season to see what he reckons to it and how he gets on. One of the blokes Alastair Hayton said that he's never seen anyone bowl at Joe's pace at this level. Again reinforcing the comments of a Southend 2nd XI batsman a couple of weeks back that Joe clean bowled.

In the 4th XI we're really missing him now, we've had two games where all of us are looking around asking where's all the bowling gone? In part as our Captain has had to bail out of the team for this season as well.

Monday, July 31, 2017

Flipper practice

After Saturdays horrific game against Hadleigh and Thundersley, I came away thinking I need to have a least one variation other than the subtle variations in my leg break. The ball that nearly got the batsman that had me thinking about giving the game up (Keith Klein) was my off-spinning out the front of the hand flipper (Double click image below).

I haven't bowled regular Flippers of any type for years. Most of the ones that I tried and used to use, linked to the video above I've discarded for a number of reasons. One of the main things that I came to realise was that, in trying to develop all of these, you end up with a so many variations, you're never really any good with any of them. The other thing I've come to realise is whilst you think you're doing x or y when you're bowling the reality is more than likely very different, not that this matters that much, because you're still bowling a variation of some sort, although it's possibly not doing what you intended it to do.

I still reckon that if you're interested in bowling a Flipper of some type, it's still worth trying most of the ones that I demonstrate in these videos and just look for the one that suits you. The only ones that I'm able to bowl with a little practice is the basic back-spinning Flipper and this one in the video above - the Off-Spinning Flipper. It's this one that nearly got the bloke that slaughtered me and I've got good batsmen previously with it.

What I've come to realise over the years and is the case with this particular delivery (Off - spinning Flipper) is that you do as much as you can to get your wrist and hand in the correct position when bowling it, but when it comes down to it, unless you're very lucky, to be honest you're unlikely to hold the wrist in the perfect position through the action. I find the basic back-spinner relatively easy to bowl with the seam dead straight and offers one option. The off-spinner, despite all my efforts to control my wrist position doesn't come out with the seam anything like a conventional off-break e.g. angled with over-spin, but, instead comes out of the hand with the seam angled towards the leg-side, but spins backwards which is pretty unusual. The results is the ball holds its line through the air and doesn't dip like balls with over-spin, so it keeps really low and with the angled seam some of them nip in to the right-hander.

So, if you try Flippers, don't get too hung up on whether they work in the way that you want or expect them to, instead be content that they give you simply another variation. The only other thing I'd say about them is that you've probably got to use them sparingly especially against better batsmen.

So the last couple of practice sessions I've been working with the Flipper bowling alternate over-spun leg breaks and the back-spinning off-spinning Flipper. Both of them in my case require a pretty vertical arm, so there's not the obvious give-away in that aspect of the delivery. So far the practice with the Flipper seems to have gone okay and I'll continue with this week. What I want to be able to do is bowl a series of Leg-Breaks and then just pull the Flipper out of the bag and execute it well, so that's what I'll be working on this week, so far it's gone okay.

Monday, October 24, 2016

Accuracy Drills Wrist Spin Bowling

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Saturday, October 15, 2016

Cricket history Tilbury Essex

Currently I've got two photographic projects on the go that are kind of based around cricket. One of them relates to recording cricket pitches as they are now, so I'm travelling around the country as and when I get the opportunity and I photograph pavilions and the grounds, along with some of the other features. But at the moment the key aspect of it is the pavilions as a record of their architecture... see here. This project is trundling along nicely and is the easier of the two.

The other project is a little different and requires a lot more research. The other project is a landscape project focusing on cricket pitches that were. So for this I have to find out the locations of old cricket pitches and establish where the club house/pavilion was. I then take a shot from a position that would have been directly opposite the pavilion/clubhouse approximately from what would have been the other side of the cricket pitch. So what I'll end up with is a set of odd landscapes where cricket pitches used to be.

I've started in my own locality and I've quite quickly discovered that there is a rich cricket history which is on the cusp of disappearing without any sign of it at all. In my own lifetime in my own town - Tilbury, I'm aware that I've witnessed the demise of two cricket grounds and their associated teams. Tilbury CC who used play on the Daisy Field in Tilbury town folded sometime in the 1980's and the players moved to other clubs in the area. A bloke I played with at Grays and Chadwell (Alan Fulbrook AKA "Fozzy") had played on the Daisy field in Tilbury during the 1970's and 80's as a Tilbury player and had knowledge of the West Tilbury cricket pitch at Condovers. My research so far has indicated that cricket has been played in the following areas...

1. Condovers West Tilbury
2. The Daisy Field - St Chads Road.
3. The Dockers Field?
4. Tilbury Fort - (See below)

There may also be another field outside Tilbury along Dock Road, but as yet there's no indication that cricket was played there... "Hedley's ground". *See update on 17/10/16 below.

Tilbury is quite famous when it comes to cricket as it's one of the only places where cricket players have killed each other over a game of cricket. In a match against Kent played at Tilbury fort a number of blokes killed each other having got into a punch up and then picking up guns (It was an active fort at the time) and shooting each other. See the account here

On the SEDCB's website there's a piece on cricket in Tilbury.

In the SEDCB's article there's the mention of the Interknit Siley Weir cricket team that was based in Tilbury Docks. In the article it's identified that they played on a ground in Tilbury...

They first played on a ground at Dock Road, Tilbury.  The pitch preparation on the ground was done by the club’s own members in their spare time, as this was a time before the days when the local council began maintaining pitches.
The ground was let to them by a Mr. Bill Stickings, who, in order to avoid paying higher rates on a developed field, let cattle graze on it!  Mr. Bannister recalled: “The outfield was a bit rough, but we enjoyed ourselves, both clearing it and playing on it!”
This was around 1918. The same article says that they moved to Blackshots in 1936, so it seems that this ground then disappears from sight as such and it's difficult to ascertain where in Tilbury it was. Recently though via a Tilbury memories page on Facebook one of the blokes commenting on the subject of playing fields mentioned a field in Tilbury along 'The Broadway' where cricket was being played in the 1950's. The Broadway road back in the 1950's prior to Dunlop road being built went pretty much straight towards the Go-Cart track adjacent to Gaylor Road.
The end of the Broadway nee Dunlop Road, Tilbury. (Approx 2014) This view here is the gate entrance to the Go-Kart track looking towards Little Thurrock.
During the Facebook conversation the bloke Ron pointed out that the Broadway originally ran from Dock Road all the way up to this point here where it stops at the Go Cart track. He also mentions the impressive gate entrance and suggested that there may have been a big house here and this was the original gateway, but wasn't sure and had no evidence. I can remember that if you went through the gates, the ground between Gaylor rd and the Go-Kart track was strewn with slabs of concrete and bits of metal suggesting possibly that the site may have been used for industrial activities? Or it may have been left over stuff from the construction of the estate. But all around the Go-Kart track there was evidence of industrial activity and it had that 'Brown-field' feel about it.
Another interesting feature of Dunlop Road nee 'The Broadway' was that there was further evidence of a different past because just at the Adelaide road turn off on what was the Broadway you'll find a number of pre-1970's houses that still exist and must have been in the location when this area was playing fields (Siley's playing field)? or as we called them 'The Dockers Fields'.
Old pre-1960's houses along 'The Broadway' nee Dunlop Road, Tilbury.
These are the houses above and from what I can make out prior to the 1960's these houses just stood in the middle of what was basically countryside and a set of Playing fields as described by Ron and confirmed by maps of the time.
This is the current map of the area. The red line shows the original 1950's road 'The Broadway' running from Dock road right up to the Go Kart track - now Gaylor Road. In Ron's descriptions and my own very vague memory a road ran from the old Broadway - possibly now Adelaide Road onto Siley's fields ringed approximately in blue. In this area, there were tennis courts, rugby fields, football fields and a cricket pitch and at least one changing room building/pavilion? At the current moment I'm still in conversation with Ron and a few other blokes trying figure out exactly what was where.

This is an approximation from 1960-66 based on my memory and Ron's information.


The blue line heading north in the image is the route of the old 'Broadway' which went all the way through to the border between field A and F. My own recollection from the late 1960's is that E was an established allotment, which once the tower blocks were built was moved to the space between the green block D and the school (St Chads secondary school). My Dad had allotment over there which was flanked by the multi-storey car park to the south of it and to the east St Chads school the other-side of the manor.

D - was a farm of sorts, I don't remember there being any houses, possibly caravans, but it did have pigs on it which you could smell and hear. As kids we were always a little wary of it for some reason - it may have had signs up saying private? To the left of D where on the map it says FP there was a thicket of hawthorn bushes.

B - Is where the football pitches were when I was kid and we called this area 'The Dockers Fields'. At that point the road indicated by the bigger blue dots was built and it had new houses on it with conventional roofs, Dunlop road and 'John's' corner shop was being built. I had a mate Ricky Ellingford who lived in the houses opposite 'John's' shop as soon as they were finished. John's shop was at the junction of Dunlop Rd and Adelaide Rd in the 1970's and 80's.

The field A appears to be broken up on this map into sections which may be borders (Fences) indication private land and you can see that the houses which are almost certainly the old houses mentioned above on the map have their boundary lines indicated too. So I'm guessing this isn't a playing field, I need to have this confirmed by Ron.

Field C (grey) is as far as I know St Chads school playing fields.

Much of this is speculation and I'm hoping to get access to more detailed maps in the next few weeks at Grays Library and see if I can dig anything up from the books they have there. My main objective is to figure where the Interknit Siley Weir cricket teams Dock Road cricket pitch was.

17/10/16 Update - Ron on the Internet (Face Book) contacted me having seen the post here and said that the pitch was definitely nowhere near the gates at the end of Dunlop Road/Gaylor Road, looking through the gates where the Go-Kart track used to be was marshes in the 1950's. He then said that pitch that was mentioned as being on Dock Road on the SEDBC website "Interknit Cricket Club" might have been one that Ron says was up near the Rookery at the corner where the Dock Road turns into Little Thurrock. Ron's mentioned it previously and has said that it was known as Hedley's ground or field. Apparently it was there until the mid 1950's and was flooded in the late 1950's. This potentially fits the description on the SEDCB's website...

"Interknit cricket club was formed in 1918 by William Bannister with his friends from the firm of R. N. H. Green and Silley Weir.  They first played on a ground at Dock Road, Tilbury.  The pitch preparation on the ground was done by the club’s own members in their spare time, as this was a time before the days when the local council began maintaining pitches.

The ground was let to them by a Mr. Bill Stickings, who, in order to avoid paying higher rates on a developed field, let cattle graze on it!  Mr. Bannister recalled: “The outfield was a bit rough, but we enjoyed ourselves, both clearing it and playing on it!”

Once they had their ground, players began to think of what to call themselves when writing away for fixtures.  They wanted to maintain their connection with the firms for whom the majority of the team worked, but also wanted to remain independent.  They finally chose the name “Interknit” for this was the telegraphic address of R. N. H. Green and Silley Weir.  This encouraged the firm to help the club and a hut, chairs and table were provided for changing and for tea.  But after this initial aid and interest, no real notice was taken of the club, except for the annual Firm v Club match".

 Looking further using Old maps online I've found a 1947 map of Little Thurrock with the lay-out of the fields and roads. I'm going to show Ron this and see if he pin-point where the Headley's ground/field was.
The green line coming from the bottom of the map is Dock Road and Tilbury is just off the map at the bottom. You can see the Rookery just right of the Little Thurrock. The orange road as far as I can make out is Marshfoot Road. Looking at the map I've noticed something, but I'm not going to say anything till Ron has a look at it and gets back to me. But Ron's field is probably on here somewhere and hopefully he can identify where it is?

17/10/16 Further research - I've also dug this out which is really interesting. Somewhere near the Bull Pub off Dock Road, there seems to have been a football ground, which later was a Greyhound racing track before being built on. This football ground was known as 'The Lawn'.

"Located off Dock Road, close to the Bull Inn, The Lawn was just over half a mile from the Recreation Ground and, fearful that their new rivals would steal a march on them, Grays Athletic resigned from the London League and joined Grays Thurrock in the Kent League, which comprised both professional and amateur clubs.   Despite a lack of spectator facilities, an encouraging crowd of 3,000 made their way to The Lawn on September 4th 1924 to see Grays Thurrock take on Sheppey United in their first match in the Kent League. A couple of old army huts were converted into changing rooms and club offices and, as the months went by, the ground was gradually improved, with a post and rail replacing the original rope around the pitch, and a wooden grandstand coming into use in early 1925.  The first local derby between the two Grays clubs took place in December 1924, an eagerly awaited event which saw an attendance of 4,000–5,000, with some spectators using the skeleton of the not yet completed stand as a vantage point".

Reading this (Link below) again much later it's apparent that the Lawn field ground was gone by 1939 as Lawns Crescent was built over it...

  By 1934, The Lawn had disappeared beneath a new housing estate, though a link with the past was maintained when the builders decided to call the road Lawns Crescent.  


Surely this ground, must have been relatively close to the cricket ground we're calling Headley's? I've tried to contact the bloke who wrote the above and see if he can shed some light on the missing 'Interknit' cricket ground.

Tilbury's Interknit gets mentioned here along with 'Hedley's' right at the end of the article there's a mention of the Co-op cricket club having a cricket ground in Bridge Road Grays!!!! I've go to try and find whoever wrote this as they seem to have a wealth of cricket knowledge.

2019. I was contacted by a bloke who lived in Little Thurrock who pointed out that there is a road in the area called Lawns Crecent, so that may give some clues as to the exact location of this elusive ground? The thing is I'm running out of time, some of these people that may have some info are on the verge of taking the info with them to the grave and the mystery of the Tilbury cricket ground may never be un-earthed.

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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.


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?

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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!

New content can be found via the links below. This blog is no longer updated.

My other active blogs include…

This is an example of some of the bowling vids on my Youtube channel