Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Diary & Updates April 1st

April 1st

Been out on the grass several times today after a bad start. I woke up with a bad back (Lower) had trouble moving around getting up out of bed even, not sure if it's the bowling or just generally getting older and sleeping awkwardly or more than likely all three combined? Anyway I took some pain killers and by lunch time had loosened up a bit and was able to get around normally. In the meantime I'd had a look at some books and the internet to see what I might be able to do about it and I've now got some exercises to do to try and alleviate the problem.

Other than that a lovely day and in the afternoon I took my 2 boys over to Great Berry Open Space and threw some balls for an hour. I've been concentrating on the Flipper with the intention that it's going to be my stock ball and it's coming together nicely. Did that the majority of the time but threw a few of the others and they were all affective as well, so I was pleased that all of the variations are coming together nicely.

Later on my own wicket in between doing other stuff I was able to get over there set up a couple of stumps and threw several overs and again I did well with increased accuracy and consistency. Managed to do this a couple of time during the afternoon and evening. The last session I also took the lawnmower over to my wicket and cut the grass and it's looking good. With the grass so short I've got more of an idea of how flat it is and it's not too bad. If it rains hard again this year and the ground get saturated I'll roll it again. I've set the blade to a real short cut and the patch where I've rolled it stands out a mile, so God knows what the footballers will make of it tomorrow as it's very obvious?

Didn't manage to get over to the school field today but I'll try again tomorrow and if I do I'll take the camera.

I was very pleased with my bowling today and I'm definitely going to try and bowl at least twice a day even if it means I get up 3/4 or an hour early in the morning to bowl before I go to work. I think leaving it from one week to another doesn't work to improve my consistency and the more I throw the stronger that arm is going to get and the better the technique.

30th March

Again the usual crew in attendance and if two more of the usuals had been there we'd have had a 5 aside game gutted! So near and yet so far! The people missing this week were Naughty & Badger. In attendance though we had the rest of the team - Trevor & Simon; Mark, Alex, Richard, Me, Rod and Thomas totalling 8. This meant we had a tenner extra and the cricket fund is up to £35 but we're a week in front with the rent for the hall.

Overall everybody did well with some good bowling and batting. In the nets this week there wasn't that many wickets being taken with the exception of Simon. We'd all had a bit of a swap around with who we bowl at and it made a difference.

Bowling & Batting form

Alex bowled at Thomas and despite his speed couldn't cope with bowling to a left hander and I think no matter what happened Thomas was getting on the end of it and whacking it. The upside is that Alex was looking to be more consistent with his bowling and trying to avoid the usual tally of beamers which he managed to do. I think in the game at the end he bowled really well and may have taken a wicket. Out on grass he did well too forcing some catches off of both Thomas and Mark, I think he caught me at least once (Bowled and Caught) and had my stumps at the very end. Again he bowled very consistently and straight and had very few beamers.

Batting on the grass against me Alex did quite well I think I may have had him once or twice, but he was knocking the ball off to deep square leg on a consistent basis and was causing me problems but he admitted that in a real match someone would be put out there to put a stop to that happening and then he's have problems (We need more of you out on the grass for these practices).

Thomas

Again another good bowling session - really tight and accurate, not sure whether he took many wickets though. Alex said after though that Thomas's bowling is getting faster and faster as the weeks go by. I think everyone was playing defensive shots off him because of the speed, so he was keeping the run rate down.

Batting Thomas was pretty much his usual self - getting on the end of most of them, but Alex was saying that he needs to try to keep the ball down a bit in order to avoid being caught as I think Thomas was bowled and caught a few times. As one of the openers we're looking to Thomas get some runs on the board and he needs to stay in for a while and not get caught with some unruly balls that get skied.

Dave

I've been poor with the bat todate so decided to have a go with my new bat which feels a lot lighter and has a different pick up to it. Man did that make a difference! I've also been watching all of the BBC2 coverage of the world cup and watching the likes of Mathew Haden and trying to pick up some tips. So today facing both Trevor (Who had a nightmare with his bowling) and Simon who looked on form this week I took the offensive approach coming down the wicket at them or if the ball looked high enough and safe just held the bat out to the ball so that it just glanced off and went towards short 3rd man. With a weak fielding team and bad captaincy this might work for me if the opposition has any fast bowlers?

Although coming down the wicket at someone as fast as Simon is a bit risky - I got hit a glancing ball off my shoulder on one occasion I generally did a lot better managing to get the bat on the ball more times than I didn't. Though to be truthfull I think in what was the equivalent of 3 overs I think Simon bowled me at least twice - one a direct hit the other off an inside edge. Against Thomas I adopted the let it glance off the bat approach or straight forward defensive shots. I think just by standing tall and confident and coming down the wicket being prepared to move about possibly gives you a psycological advantage especially if you connect with the ball. Alex out on the grass bowled some slower balls at me and again I was able to hit some nice balls over his head towards long on and deep cover. So it seems either taking a more confident approach or using a different bat has worked for me and now there's talk of moving up the order towards no.8?


General

Generally it's agreed that considering that we've only been going a while and most of us have never played cricket before we have got a fairly good team. I think our bowling which gets better and better with every practice and has got a lot of depth in that amongst us theres a really good range of skills and specialities and given the right direction and people listening to the captain we've got real potential. Alex has come back to the original plan of having Thomas and Mark as the openers followed up by the three 'Hundred' men - Richard, Rod and Badger who we're hoping to be the blokes with the skills to put together the partnerships that get us our big scores. Alex in at 6, Naughty 7 and then the 8,9,10 and 11 to be decided but he did say that after my performance today with the bat I may get a look in at no.8 (Which was nice). So the batting order is pretty much as it is in the profile except for the last 4 which is still to be decided nearer the day.

Some of the fielding looked okay as well with some of us backing up the throws and bit by bit we're picking up little techniques that will make all the difference to the run rates. So all in all what with the disappointing turn out for grass we had another good practice session.

Thomas is going to look into securing a field that we may be able to use on a guaranteed basis and one where we may be able to roll it and cut a square for ourselves - I'm now thinking where could I hire a roller from and how much might it cost)? The other thing is this field is nice as well - surrounded by trees and in a nice area - quiet and peaceful. I'm liking the sounds of this and there's real potential as it's the school field that my kids go to and they're interested in things like after school clubs and if I was to bring in the prospect of possibly running an after school cricket club it could be instrumental in getting the field secured and possibly maintained and rolled? I'm sure that Essex schools don't have groundsmen on site and they may have a team that visit schools on a rotating basis? Therefore if that's the case they may have a roller that goes on a trailer and visits the schools on a rotating basis? If I get the chance tomorrow I may go and have a look at the field and see what kind of condidtion it's in. I do know that it does get very dry and has dirty great cracks in the field in the summer possibly due to it being on a slight slope? The other good thing is that it has a 6' fence all the way round it so proving the field/boundary isn't too small it could be the ideal venue. We'll wait and see what Thomas comes up with. Oh yeah we know one of the Governers as well so that may be helpful?



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At last the Easter Holiday and a chance to get out there and play some cricket on grass! We had an interesting day at work today we had a comedian come in during the morning and do his sketch and everyone agreed he was really funny and it made for interesting hour which was nice. The whole of his sketch was based loosley around motivation and for a lot of us he ended using Mohamed Ali as an example of how to approach winning and it was relevant to some of the things we do in life and in my instance - Cricket. I've been losing my way a bit regarding motivation getting bogged down by the "It's not the winning that matters it's the taking part" brigade but today this bloke told it like it was using Ali as the example. Ali never contemplated losing, he only ever saw himself winning, he visualised the train of events leading up to the point where the opponent was lying unconcious on the floor, he visualised the punch that did it and the timing. He trained hard and the harder he trained the more he was convinced it was possible. If his opponent were up at 5am training he'd be up at 4am going one better and so on. The only objective was to win, there was no other option. He visualised the crowd chanting his name, the walk to the ring, the first round the second round and the thrid and the decisive punch and victory.

Only two days ago reflecting on my bad form and the fact that I've rested myself I decided that running up to the first game - probably starting in May I might get up three quarters of an hour earlier than I currently do and spend half an hour every morning bowling at my stumps perfecting my technique and then the same thing every evening that I can. I already do the Ali visualisation thing when I surf and I know it works and already I'm beginning to do it with my bowling. I know that I'm going to take wickets and how I'm going to take wickets and who's wickets I'm going to take, I know who's going to be at silly point sledging, I know who's going to be the wicket keeper and how the wicket is going to fall. There is no losing the victory will be ours.



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Gutted! After 3 weeks of continual dry weather the day before we're all going to go out and play on grass it p*****s down with rain all day! On the way home I checked out my wicket and it was needless to say wet. Our only chance is that the morning starts sunny and breezy and the combination of wind and rain dries the surface out before 2pm tomorrow.


25th March

Gutted - yesterday was freezing and today when there's no-one else around it was lovely and sunny and I'm left to bowl on my own. I suppose I should be greatful that I live within spitting distance of a field and that I'm that obsessed that I've gone to the extremes of rolling a wicket over the winter and now I'm potentially reaping the benefits?
I think I must have off periods when I can't do this and good days when I can do it because today wasn't so clever. Some things were okay but generally I wasn't that happy, the flipper is coming good but it'd be nice to test it out on people (preferbaly not Thomas) to see if it works, then again after yesterdays 2 slow balls which caught Thomas out maybe I've now got his number?

Overspinner was good, Wrong-un was a bit weak and feeble and the leg break I seem to have lost again, but thinking about it I maybe pitching the ball too long as most of the balls are landing around where the batsmans feet would be. If I was to pitch the ball shorter there would be more room for the ball to come across the stumps and cause problems. I already use markers I stick in the grass which are well wide of leg stump that I aim the flippers at and this works in that the amount of turn varies from ball to ball, the ball pitches about 4 - 5 yards in front of the stump well wide of leg and the tendency as a batsman would be to leave it as it's perceived as going wide by about 1.5 - 2 foot, but around 70% of them bite and turn in varying amounts into the stumps some so much they even go wide of the off stump! If you as the batsman attempt to play it you've got to come out of your crease and run the risk of it being a straight fast one that's going to go into the keepers gloves and he's going to stump you out of your crease! Well that the theory. I think this is where my problems are with Thomas as he's left handed so the flipper and the leg break play right into his stronger side where as the Wrong un which I can't turn as much is the one I need to get round the back of his legs. I think yesterdays revelation with the shorter straight ball catching him out twice may end up being the key to a more successful campaign against him? Lets hope this Saturday a few of us can manage to get out on the grass after the practice session in the nets including Thomas and put these theories to the test?






24th March - Grass practice Great Berry Open Space.

In attendance - Dave, Thomas & Badger all the other lazy bleeders couldn't pull themselves out of bed! Some had legite excuse and I don't blame those that didn't turn up cos it was freezing with damp cold NW wind and if you look at the updated bowling stats you'll see I'd have been better off staying in bed - gutted!

Conditions - unfortunately my wicket was invaded by footballers so we had to go to Great Berry Open Space. During the recent rains 2-3 weeks ago the field was mostly submerged under water or at least completely saturated so even today it was still spongey and therefore there wasn't a lot of bounce. Added to that we were bowling into strong wind and it was cold - 8 degrees celcius.

The star of the day was Thomas.
A bit wayward with his bowling initially and then he got his eye in and he was away! He took 3 wickets in 3 overs and kept the run totals low, so all of his stats have improved massively. His batting was good against both Badger and me and if someone had been counting runs he'd have been the winner by a mile, so despite my earlier doubts as to how he might perform on grass they've been allayed slightly but then again I was off form and he's yet to face Alex.








Badger did okay his stats have improved (Bowling average) from 6 to 4.5 and like Thomas his bowling once he got his eye in was very accurate. I think he got his wickets off of catches mostly. But I've got to point out I am the 11th Batsman and I'll put my hand up and say I am crap at batting and it's something I'm working on, so I'm not surprised they both did well today whereas I had an off day and I'm bowling against our opening batsman and our no. 5 so I'm not too fussed that my figures have dived. Hold on while we're using excuses I'll just throw in I'm a slow bowler and bowling into a strongish wind I don't think helped my cause either and once they hit the ball what with the wind behind it - it no doubt carried.





Me - yeah as I've said an off day an absolute pile of wides, but it was cold and the ground was soggy etc. You've read this already so I'm not going to repeat it. Bowling figures = terrible. So the rest of you - the ones that can't bat against me as well as Thomas can you turn up so I can up my averages - please? Other than that it was okay and needless to say each week it's going to get drier and sunnier.





Later disillusioned as I always am after facing Thomas I went out and had a go on my own on my own drier wicket and that was a lot better, but I do seem to be off form. One final thing after we stopped recording the bowling stats I bowled a few balls against Thomas slower over-spinners and a slow flipper and bowled him twice, so there is hope. Wait till it dries out I'll have you then!






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Reading the post tonight from www.Harrowdrive.com on preparation and training for cricket I remembered that someone had said "We haven't got a chance against them - you've only got to go down to Southend seafront for half hour or so and you always see one of them pounding up and down the length of the promenade at 30mph. In the time it takes us to walk from the pier to the casino they've been back and forth between Shoebury & Chalkwell twice"! Ah - but now look at the postings on this website and see what it says about cricket specific training - it's all about practicing and training in a way that suits the sport and running up and down and doing masses of reps isn't the way - have a look. The golden rules of cricket fitness
Posted on Friday 2 March 2007
This is the final part the “Principles of Cricket Fitness” series. To go to Part 1 click here.

Weather

I've been pleased to see a run of 3 days of mostly sunshine despite the forecasts of non stop rain and the forecast tonight was of more clear weather. So what with the wind as well the fields that I frequent for my lone bowling practice might soon be okay to bowl on once more. It's also nice to see the evenings getting longer as well and again the potential to have a few throws of an evening - I can't wait!