Monday, April 30, 2007

19 Days to go............

19 Days to go now till the first game against the Aussies and Kiwi's. The question is are we ready? I think we're ready to bowl and I expect that we'll do well with the bowling. This evening I was talking to Ian (one of the blokes I practice with over at Great Berry in the evenings) about the difference the pitch will make. He was saying that it will be a lot easier to bat on a real wicket because of the fact that there wont be as much sideways deviation as Thomas was suggesting. I suppose the truth is we wont know till we get out there.

What will we do if we win the toss? Will we put them in to bat first, so that we know what we're chasing when it's our turn to bat? As we get nearer the date we need to know who's going to be playing. So far it seems to be.... (In order of appearance)

1. Thomas
2. Mark
3. Richard
4. Rod
5. Badger
6. Simon
7. Alex
8. Dave
9. Naughty
10. Trevor
11. Nakul

We need the people on the list above to confirm that they'll be playing otherwise we'll need to get people such as Darren, 'Customs' Paul to step in. Ideally they'll be there anyway to watch and cheer us on and maybe help Derek to keep scores. One thing I do want to do is go over to Welstead and have a look at it and see how small it really is.

Anyway on to tonights Practice session. Before anyone turned up I threw 66 balls and got the following results.

12% Wides
8% Strikes
24% Good Balls

I don't know if it's the case that more I throw balls at the same people they get used to it, because once I've got people standing in the wicket batting against me I'm having very little success, although I am still producing balls that I'm able to catch or nick edges and fly up for potentially easy catches. It's a bit depressing yet at the same time I'm throwing far fewer wides and hitting the stumps a lot more frequently or only just missing. On a more positive note I think my batting is getting better.

Sunday, April 29, 2007


I was so wrapped up in playing on Saturday that I forgot to collect the subs money. I've recorded who was in attendance so I'll catch up with everybody at the next scheduled practice mid May and have £10 quid off you all if you go on to attend both sessions (28th April and the coming May 12th).

The situation with subs as discussed previously is that now that we're no longer paying for the hall we'll only pay in £5.00 per practice and this will go towards equipment and possibly an end of season do.

Recently through all of the practicing that's been going on I've lost a load of my balls so tonight I've ordered 12 off of ebay to replace the missing ones (£28). Other purchases have included spray paint (White lines on pitch), String to measure pitch out and I've bought some stumps for the nets next year. The account at the moment is in credit £42. If anyone wishes to see a break down of the accounts please do not hesitate to ask me and I'll email you the spreadsheet as an attachment.

In addition to paying for the practice sessions I also reckon we should pay £5.00 to play in a match as well. Which brings me to the question what kind of a ball are we going to play with and who's obligated to supply the balls at the match?

I've just looked and it seems that as we're the hosts we're obligated to supply the balls? It seems 6 of the slazenger type would do the trick

Slazenger County Match balls.

20 Days to go

Sunday 20th May.........

Not long now with only one more scheduled pratice session left. If you want to practice keep in mind that most nights Nakul and me are over at Great Berry for an hour or so from 7.30pm. If you want to get over there earlier just come by my gaff and pick up the gear and take it over yourself. As I mentioned I'm looking to practice batting primarily now and keeping a lower bowling profile until after the next practice session unless my strike rates and wides improve further still unless of course Alex wants to deploy me more sparingly during the next practice session? But I'd like to not bowl at all and see how you all do against the fast bowlers and Nakul "The Assassin"?

Nakul "The Assassin".

Just got back from a session with Nakul and Thomas. Very interesting and goes further to prove my point. As far as our team is concerned and on a rough wicket if you take me out of the bowling equation we have no means of making any runs. The point proven tonight yet again. Initially it was me and Thomas and as usual he was knocking me all over the park and there seemed to be very little I could do to get him out and just as it was on Saturday it was a run-fest. Then along comes Nakul "The Assassin". Initially I was facing him and I hit a 6 and several fours but then he got his eye in and the measure of me and probably bowled me for about 30 in three over? Then Thomas steps up. In what was probably 7-9 overs Nakul bowled him 5 - 7 times! Once again proving if you take me out of the bowling equation with the exception of Geoffrey Boycott Grainge we have no ways of making runs! Or again is it that we are really good at bowling? I think it's the earlier option we've got no batting skills. So it looks like the games are going to be short!

On a more positive note though before Thomas turned up I was having my usual bowling practice and again improvements. I only bowled 30 balls but.....

10% Wides
7% Good Balls
15% Strikes

Thomas has been suggesting that once we're on a real wicket - one that's been rolled and is flat it's going to be easier to bat because there shouldn't be as much deviation sideways as there is on our wicket because of the bumps? I don't know if this is true, I'd imagine the bounce will be slightly inconsistent up and down because of the different densities of the earth itself, but as for deviation sideways - who knows?

I'm still reeling from seeing how good the batsmen, fielders and wicket keepers were yesterday over on the 'Rec' cricket pitch, but again I suppose I should take heart in the fact that I was watching their opening batsmen and you'd expect them to be good I suppose? I suppose too I should be happy that I managed to hit several good balls off of Nakul today including a 6. With 21 days to go now till the match with the Aussies and Kiwis I'm looking to improve my batting considerably and take a far more aggressive approach and move about a bit more with my feet coming down the wicket to the bowler. It's since doing this that I've improved a lot more and that's against our bowling line up which is strong. If the bowling is weak I'm looking to score 4's and 6's at Welstead as it's got notoriously small boundaries.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Saturday Practice 28th April

What a difference compared to the last session - a complete turn around! Read on......

In attendance we had Darren Hart, Trevor, Richard, Rod, Thomas, Dave, Alex, Simon and Badger, so a reasonable turn out. The weather was brilliant and we weren't hindered by footballers turning up although we did have the kids practicing football at Square Leg. In two and half hours we bowled 32 overs and that's with people padding up once they'd been dismissed. In 32 overs we scored 113 runs with 14 byes and only 6 wides! So a total of 133 and that was with 9 players two of which were still at the crease when we stopped and Simon had declared himself to let someone else have a chance (Which means he still hasn't been bowled out or dismissed for weeks)!

The Run tally...

Thomas - 36 (Bowled out - Alex)
Richard - 24 - (bowled out - Badger)
Badger - 20 - not out
Simon - 10 - declared
Rod - 10 - not out
Alex - 5 (LBW - Thomas)
Darren - 5 (Bowled out - Thomas)
Dave - 2 (Bowled by Simon caught by Badger)
Trevor - 1 (Bowled out - Thomas)
So an excellent session for Thomas most runs and most wickets!
Best Partnerships
Simon & Thomas 38 in 5 overs - 7.6 per over
Richard & Simon 32 in 7 overs - 4.5 per over
Badger & Rod 17 in 8 overs - 2.1 per over
This doesn't make good reading for me personally and it looks like I might be out of a job!
Strike Rates (The lower the better)
Simon - SR 9
Alex SR 15
Thomas SR 7.5
Badger SR NA
Rod SR 9
Dave SR 21
Bowling Averages (The lower the better)
Simon 2.25
Alex 0.5
Thomas 2.3
Badger 13
Rod 2.5
Dave 25.5
Economy (The lower the better)
Simon 1.5
Alex 0.2
Thomas 1.4
Badger 2.6
Rod 1.6
Dave 7.2
Hmmm - don't look too clever for me! Alex you gotta stop me from bowling so many overs! Going on the data here it's the fast bowlers that are getting the wickets. Most of the runs were made off of me unfortunately - something like 75 runs!!!! Whereas the rest of you bowled a load of Maidens.... Alex 3, Thomas and Badger 2 and Rod 1.
On the plus side I only threw 3 wides in 8 overs, but the same applies to everyone else, hardly anyone bowled any wides.
After we left Great Berry I then went over to the James Hornsby and spoke to the caretaker Kevin and we've had to forfeit the £35 for missing the session. We've now got one more session in hand. While I was there I asked him about using their school field for cricket and he said yes but it's £12 an hour. I went and had a look and it's big and relatively flat - possibly very good for playing cricket on and a weird kind of grass? I said that we might use our remaining £35 to use their field next week for a few hours and he said that was fine and we could use it as long as we like so we could get out there for 4 hours next week 10 - 2pm? I said I'd have to come by with a mower in the next fortnight and cut a section shorter and see how lumpy it is and he was okay about that. So what do we reckon - use our last remaining credit to use there field free of kids or anyone and set whatever size boundary we want and really go for whacking the ball next time? (read on and see why). Or do we cancel the hall and get him to re-book for a session next November?
Later around about 3pm I was back at Great Berry trying to figure out where it's all going wrong for me and threw 71 balls and had the best practice session ever. While I'd been bowling I had a feeling I was bowling too long and during this practice session I bowled a lot shorter at different paces and it yielded far better results with the ball having more chance to spin and move across in front of the batsman. This session I recorded
15.4% Wides
18.3% Strike Rate
25% Good Balls
Which is by far the best session by miles! So now I need to do this with a batsman standing in the wicket, so on Sunday evening this is what I'll look to do.
Now here I am beating myself up over todays performance and then looking at the stats I realised that of the 113 runs that were made over 75 of them were against me. So if it wasn't for my appalling bowling today and Alex hadn't let me take that many overs - how may runs would you batsmen have made eh? Something to think about isn't it?
Cycling home from the practice session I went via a real cricket pitch which is only a few hundred yards away from where we practice and Basildon CC 2nd and 3rd XI were playing each other in a mixed team. The first team in had scored in excess of 230, so I stood and watched for a while. What I noticed was that their fast bowlers looked about the same calibre as ours. The fielding was good and energetic, but the batting and the wicket keeping was really good, especialy the wicket keeping. The bloke had a helmet and was padded up and he used his pads and whole body to stop the ball, so whether he had additional body padding I don't know but he was 2 foot behind the stumps facing up to the fast bowlers and it looked mental, but it was affective! The batsmen were just good e.g. getting on the end of everything and scoring runs. What I did notice was the size of the pitch - it was tiny and all of the fielders were in really close.

I didn't take any money off of anyone, but time I'll have a tenner off those that turned up this week that come to the next session and we'll just charge £5 a session while we're playing out on the field. We've lost some balls recently don't know how but 5 have gone, so I'll probably buy another 6 to replace them as they are mine.
Richard copped one in the shoulder off of Thomas and that should come up nice - I'll try and get a picture on Monday. He also got hit in both inner ankles wicket keeping and on the toe I think, so he stood in nicely for Mark Soye. Catching - now that hurts don't hit, it's obviously a skill that you need to learn. I got caught on the end of the finegr that bruised and hurt and also caught a ball and hurt the fleshy bit on the palm of my hand. Ouch!
Other than that a good day was had by all.
I've updated the profiles as well.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Fixture Updates

Additional news from the insider led me to believe that Sports Science were oblivious of the June 1st game, so I emailed Gavin and off the back of that there's been a bit of a swap round with one date still yet to be confirmed.

Sunday 20th May
Aussies & Kiwis
MPA First XI
50 Overs Match
Welstead Gardens
Westcliff On Sea
Friday 1st June
Sports Science
MPA First XI
(3 Match series)
20/20 Match
Welstead Gardens
Westcliff On Sea
Friday 15th June
Sports Science
MPA First XI
20/20 Match
Welstead GardensWestcliff On Sea
This one still needs to be confirmed with Welstead as this is a new date replacing the 22nd June that we can't do because of the Arts Festival.
Sunday 1st July
Sports Science
MPA First XI
5o overs match
The Final
Welstead GardensWestcliff On Sea

Insider News

It seems that in the Sports Science Team Meeting today the subject of the up and coming cricket matches were mentioned. It seems that they've got round to having a practice session in the nets (Although Gavin would argue that it's not necessary because they're all up to scratch anyway) and it went well they said. They only had about 6 people turn up though, but the report is those that did turn up played well. I would imagine that the six that did turn up are the 6 that have in the past played a bit of cricket? It sounds as though if they were actually playing/practicing on a regular basis they might be a bit of a handful. But with so little in the way of practice we still reckon we've got the edge.

Saturday Practice

10.00hrs - 13.00hrs out on the field (Subject to football matches encroaching on us)
13.00hrs - 14.00hrs in the nets - bring your £10.00 subs please.

There may also be some 'afters' after the net practice as well.

It's going to be sunny so bring your sun tan cream and your hats.

Remember we've got 3 fast bowlers so bring your box and your helmet if you've got one because at 90mph the balls hurts! Boxes can be bought at JJB sports and such places. It's advisable.

Strategy - (subject to Alex saying otherwise) All of us try and stay in for at least 25 runs, go for the measured approach rather than the whack it and see approach as that doesn't seem to work. Try and build partnerships and I'll be collecting stats for bowling and run rates.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

25th April

No bowling practice today but I have been active and did practice another aspect to the game. Today I played 5 aside football with a team comprising mostly of MPA 1st XI players - Simon, Nick, Alex and myself plus one other bloke who's also oldish. So there we were 5 old blokes (lecturers) v a bunch of 17-18 year old youths, it was a foregone conclusion as to who was going to win, but then when we got there we found the odds stacked against us even more. First the ages - I'm 47 almost. Mark (The other bloke must be in his late 30's) Alex is in his early 30's and smokes. Simon is in his mid 30's and smokes and Nick eats pies and is about 25? They all drink as far as I'm aware so we didn't have a good start. Then when we get there we find that they've got reserves and that they're going to be using them. So - a 5 aside team - how many reserves do you reckon 1? 2 at a push? Nope.... 5 or 6 and they were being swapped about once every 2 minutes. So in affect they fielded 2 teams against us - a bunch of old blokes. Of the 3 matches we won 1 and were beat twice. But despite all the odds being against us we did okay. I'd go so far as to say that if they didn't have 10 players per team and played with 5 it would have been a much closer match and we may have come out of it having won at least 2 of the 3 maybe more!

So having done that this evening I was a bit knackered. I was tempted to go for a bowl but didn't have the car so couldn't. So my younger son and I (Joe - he's 5) set up some targets against a wall in a tarmac play area and practiced picking up moving balls bounced off of the wall and throwing at the target/stumps. I've noticed watching the world cup that when the pro's do this they tend to aim the ball short of the stumps so that it bounces first - is there a reason for this? I tried both direct throwing and this bounce technique and the bounce technique certainly seems to work better when throwing the ball from longer distances? I would also recommend the other team members if they're wasting their evenings watching East Enders to get some practice in doing these kind of drills, you might be surprised at how crap you are at it?

One of the good things that came of the football tournament was that the students that were playing were all from the same subject group (Actors). At one point one of us asked if they played cricket and one of them said yes and then another and another and it looks like they may have at the very least 11 blokes up for a game and already they're convinced that they'll be the winners if we play. Some of them already play it seems and it's looking promising, so I'll be following that up as well and trying to get a game with them.

I'm off for a bath and the world cup on the tele.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

More bowling.....

Got up this morning had half hour before going out to work. Did okay though even though it was raining lightly and was slippery and I didn't have my spikes.

42 Balls
4 x strikes
9 x Good balls (Close shave or problematic for batsmen e.g. spinning)
9 x wides

As percentages -

9.5% strikes
21% Good balls
21% Wides

The remainder were all good balls primarily going down the offside.

Evening Practice

Didn't manage to get out on the field till almost 8pm Nakul was there so we had a bit of a practice, he threw some nice spinners (Leg Breaks) and had me three or four times. I got hold of a few but as with all spinners if you go looking to make runs against them thinking that they're the easy/soft option you're always going to come unstuck!

Simon mentioned the batting order today. I think this Saturday will throw some light on who goes where. The top order Batsmen are getting very little practice and the middle order and bottom order blokes (The bowlers) are now posturing for positions further up the order. As far as I'm aware we're still leading with Mark and Thomas. The next 3 are seen as crucial to our success as these are the ones we're relying on to play a bit more cleverly - Richard, Rod and Badger. Positions 6,7 and 8 are the positions that are under seige from Me, Simon and Alex. Simon recently has played a very dogged game and very few if any have recently bowled him out and he chips away at the ones and twos nicely. So Simon at No.6? Alex 7? Me 8? Nakul at 9 and Naughty at 10?

That then leaves the last place up for grabs - Paul from the Inland Revenue? Trevor of many injuries? Dan Newman may turn up and start knocking the ball over the boundary for six as might Darren Hart, Tom Dick, Ashley the Student or even Steve Bone? Or is this an MPA 2nd XI in the making?

Monday, April 23, 2007

Imminent Dates

27 Days to go Australia & New Zealand (teachers) V MPA 1st XI

Before you read on have a look at the Harrowdrive website - it's quite interesting today....

Play Better Cricket -
Weekly Links 22nd April 2007
Posted: 22 Apr 2007 03:06 AM CDT
A perfect example of how to practice bowling.

I've updated the team profile and we've got a new player - Nakul, currently batting at No.10 until Alex says otherwise. Nakul also bowls quite well so our bowling capacity increases and tonight over at Great Berry he was throwing some spin, so there may be the chance that we might have 2 spin bowlers? I don't know how Alex is going to play it but it looks to me as though we could field 2 leg spin bowlers, 2 Medium pace bowlers and 2 fast bowlers. So if you bowl - this coming Saturday we could find ourselves with easily 9 or 10 fielders bowling against 2 blokes in the crease as in a real life game situation. So this is one session you do not want to miss out on! If you bowl this is your chance to prove your worth because the queue to be a bowler is growing and bowling it seems is definitely our strength. I'll keep a tally of the stats and post them on here after the game. After last weeks farcical attempts at batting I'm putting my money on us bowling the whole team out for less than 75 again with the exception of Richard Sainsbury?

Saturday 28th April
10.00 - 12.00 Great Berry Open Space Scheduled Practice session
12.00 - 13.00 Net Practice

Saturday 12th May
10.00 - 12.00 Great Berry Open Space Scheduled Practice session
12.00 - 13.00 Net Practice

Sunday 20th May
Aussies & Kiwis
MPA First XI
50 Overs Match
Welstead Gardens
Westcliff On Sea

Sunday 27th May
10.00 - 14.00 Great Berry Open Space Scheduled Practice Session
Re-grouping and re-think on post match strategy.

Friday 1st June
Sports Science
MPA First XI
(3 Match series)
20/20 Match
Welstead Gardens
Westcliff On Sea

* Almost every evening across this period there will be a few of us practicing out on Great Berry. Generally a handful of us get together for a more informal practice in the interim weekend on the Sunday. If you want to get involved and get some time in at the crease and face some balls come along. Either text/phone me or email me at work or on my personal email address.
Tonights practice session under grey skies was taken fairly easily with Ian and Nakul. Again in a practice session with no necessity to try and get runs Ian blocked everything I was throwing at him and also demonstrated with his technique and timing he could have done a lot more which is a bit worrying. It looks as though at best I could have limited his runs, but I wouldn't have been able to establish how good he was until he'd hit me a few times and scored a few runs. He's good so all the time he's there willing to stand in front of the stumps he offers very good practice opportunities.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Further evidence of the fact that I do suffer from Autism

Having wrote the heading I then did a test and came out average, so maybe I'm okay? Anyway the last of the glorious sunny days and I made good use of it bowling 180 balls. Again further improvements with my Wides down to 23%. Good balls e.g. ones that miss by millimeters or turn in the direction they're supposed to and cause the batsman problems were 22% and the strike rate was 7.7%. But the last 9 overs I had a change of tactic and this caused a much more productive section of the session. The stats for the last 9 overs were Wides 23%; Good Balls 35%; Strikes 8.9%.

Later on in the evening I went over the field with Thomas. Bowled him with the first ball and managed to bowl him a few more times and also forced a few balls that would have been caught in a match situation. But in between he was hitting me all over the park for 4, but into consistent areas so the opposing team would cover that by adding the necessary fielders. By the end of the session I was getting the hang of bowling against mixing up the fast flippers pitched 5 yards out slightly wide of off stump with slower flippers in the same area and Wrong Uns in the same area at differing speeds, doing this he was missing the ball and knocking it up high to be caught by close in fielders. I think as a bowling side we're going to do okay of we vary the pace because again facing Thomas the hideous fast balls although not nice tended to be the balls that hit me rather than the stumps. But his slow ones suddenly thrown in (Even though he took shorter run ups and you knew it was going to be slower) caused me problems. So I reckon if does those horrible nasty fast ones and then 3 or 4 balls later looks like he's going to do more of the same and then just throws it slower - that's going to be effective?

Thomas was saying that he expects that Welstead Gardens will be similar to playing in the Sports Hall e.g. he'll be able to predict the bounce off of the pitch more easily as opposed to playing over at Great Berry? Is this true - what does Simon, Alex and Richard say to that is that the case?

The reason I made the comment about autism was because people have said it about me recently and I know I'm obsessive - look......... I'm now producing graphs and stuff in excel!

Anyone interested in this -

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Another fantastic day on the weather front and partly down to the fact that by tomorrow night we'll be seeing the end of it with the forecast of rain next week I and a few others (What with the imminent matches approaching) made good use of it.

In attendance we had new Blokes IR Paul & Nakul. Regulars - Badger, Alex and myself. We all faced 7 overs trying to score as many runs as possible and not get out. Generally we all did fairly well, but still very low run averages per over, but an improvement on last weeks effort. Hopefully if Paul and Nakul are interested it looks like they might be our 10th and 11th players, but as yet we haven't broken the bad news that we charge a tenner for the formal practice sessions, which we'll have to do next week if they want to join in and then carry on the session through to the nets. That may put them off?

Nakul as expected is quite a good bowler, he decribed his action as being like a fast spin bowler, he's accurate and I think he took a couple of wickets at least. Paul's okay as well - another medium pace bowler, so if anyone thinks they've got a guaranteed bowling place in the team it might be time to think again or get some practicing in!

With that in mind have a look at Harrowdrives email from today -
Have you got your cricket goals in place?
Posted: 21 Apr 2007 02:06 AM CDT

In this post Dave makes the point about setting goals and using the visualisation technique amongst others as a part of your goal setting strategy. If you've been checking out my recent posts you'll see that I'm not happy to be throwing wide balls and potentially lose the game to a load of points given away in this manner, so I've set myself the goal of getting the percentage of wides I throw down to 15% or lower by the time we play the first match. In the post Dave advocates using a notebook at writing down your intentions and recording your progress. This is something I already do...

As you can see here I keep a notebook and record my bowling performance. The ticks are acceptable balls. The double ticks are balls that only just miss the stumps by millimetres, the 'Out's are self explanatory and the 'W's are the wides and the direction they go wide is indicated by the arrows. Then when I get home I have a count up and convert all the data into percentages and I'm able to see if I'm making any progress. I have noticed that short balls pitched around the 4 or 5 yard mark seem to give better results, so that's been a useful discovery and overall each practice session to date has seem improving % rates.

So much so that Badger and Alex both commented on my consistency and lack of wides. I didn't keep stats today but I certainly felt that it was one of my better sessions and I may have had the wides percentage well below 20% which is a very good improvement - possibly even 15% as there were so few. I also bowled a few maidens and took several wickets.

Badger batted well today justifying his position as No.5 I felt. I don't think I managed to bowl him once but at the same time he wasn't making a great many runs unless I was putting the ball down the legside. One thing that was good to see was that a few of us were scoring fours including myself managing to put a few down to deep fine leg and long leg - which was nice.
If anyone's up for it I'll be over there again tomorrow, so give us a call - You know you wanna!

Friday, April 20, 2007

Australia/New Zealand v MPA First XI fixture

May 20th Sunday - Kiwis & Aussies (CONFIRMED) 12.30 pm start 50 overs match at Welstead Gardens. Sunset is approx 20.50hrs. The opponents "Kiwis and Aussies".

To be truthful I need Richard (As he's our contact) to talk to these blokes again and make sure they're aware of the times/dates etc.

We'll be playing in Dark/navy blue e.g. Dark/navy blue polo tops and the same with shorts or Tracksuit bottoms. Longer tracksuits would be better as you'll be skidding and diving around out in the field.

Sports Science match news

The first match against sports science isn't that far away either (About 10 days after the Aussie/New Zealand match) so keep in mind that we've only got two official practice sessions left other than impromptu sessions like tomorrows and anything you choose to do off your own back. But realise I'm practicing virtually every night now that the evenings are getting longer I generally get over to Great Berry at about 7.30 if you want to get over there earlier just come by and grab the gear and go and I'll join you later if I can. Remember.....

It's not what your team can do for you - it's what you can do for your team.

I overheard Sports Science today and it seems they are going to have some support on the day, so hopefully we'll have the same? They've also started to teach cricket I think as they're putting together a 6 aside team and want students from right across the college, so if any of your students have shown any interest they might want to join up and get involved or form their own 6 aside team (I think there's also scope for a full team as well). So - it sounds like they may actually be doing something that approximates practicing? I'm still quite confident that we'll win by virtue of bowling, Richard Sainsbury's one man stand and Alex's captaincy. But we need the batsmen to do their stuff - all of the top order 6 to score an average of 25 runs - that's all we're asking for, not innings of 50 or 1oo, just a measley 25 and then me and Simon will try and do the same along with the rest of us in the bottom order. Let's ensure we thrash Sports Science, there's people out there that will be at the game that want this to happen, let's not let them and ourselves down, it's got nothing to do with participating it's all about winning, it's all about having an Australian national team attitude.

Australia & New Zealand - 27 days to go

The master plan is working.......

The weather is still holding out - nice and sunny but a lot cooler, cold in fact if you're in the shade. So at 7pm tonight I was over at Great Berry Open Space with my gear, Joe and Ben. In between looking after and supervising them and playing cricket with them I managed to bowl 120 balls. The last 4 overs against a batsman - 'Nakul' who again like Ian who lives over that way looked quite handy with the bat and very agile managing to cope with the wides and getting the bat on 'em either leg or offside.

Needless to say bowling the ball against Nakul is far better practice because it was obvious that within two overs he had me sussed it seemed what with bowling flippers, so I was then forced to bowl different lengths, looping yorkers, fast yorkers (All still flippers) and then throw in a few Wrong Un's - short versions, longer versions and generally mix it up a bit and then with the last ball fast direct down the middle low flipper and got him middle stump - very satisfying!

As we packed away I mentioned that we'd be over there tomorrow between 10 and 12 ish and he said he might have a game if he was able to get over, so we might be joined by 'Nakul' tomorrow? The good thing for me is that he also bowls (Again he was very modest about his ability) so I may also get the opportunity to get some batting in and make my way up the batting order, especially if the other Great Berry bloke 'Ian' has a go as well as he throws a bit of spin i think. There was a 3rd bloke lurking around with a bat in the outfield looking as though he was gagging to ask if he could have a go. It's looking like I might be the catalyst for the Great Berry First XI over the coming months at this rate!

Anyway to my bowling stats.....

120 Balls - 9 Strikes - 31 Wides - 23 close shaves

As a percentages that's........

Wides 25.8%
Strikes 7.5%
Close shaves 20%

It's the wides I'm concentrating on and you can see I'm making progress as that the 4th consecutive reduction in the Wides percentage rate. I'm looking to get it down to 15% on a consistent basis which works out as one wide per over.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

28 Days to go

No practice tonight for me, had other commitments, but I'll try and make up for it tomorrow morning early before work. Good post tonight from Harrowdrive so have a look and if you've not subscribed yet do so.

How to make the most of your fielding practice
Posted: 18 Apr 2007 09:15 AM CDT

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

29 days to go..........

We will win!

Good to hear that Badger is setting up his own little private practice sessions over at Glouscester Park in the evenings concerned that he doesn't want to be seen as part of the problem as opposed to being part of the solution. Remember it's not what your team can do for you, it's what you can do for your team!

Anyway as usual I was out practicing making sure that when push comes to shove I'll feel that I will be a part of the solution and not the problem.

Brilliant weather still - slightly cooler but wall to wall sunshine. I managed to bowl 78 balls all flippers all aimed directly at the stumps. Here's the results....

22 wides.
10 Strikes.
18 Close shaves.

All the other balls were down offside possibly able to cause problems. The results as percentages are...

Wides - 28%
Strikes - 12.8%
Close shaves - 23%

All of which are good improvements on the previous results. I did at the very end change my trainers for cricket shoes with spikes and this was very much to the detriment of my bowling, so if it's dry I'll probably stick to trainers.

Batsmen News......

At work I spoke to Darren Hart and Dan Newman (Both associate photography lecturers) today and they both showed a little bit of interest in being involved. I've got their email addresses and they've got the link to the blog, so hopefully they may turn up Saturday 28th April?

Tonight just as I was throwing the last six balls before I packed up a bloke came over and spoke to me (A local that lives just off the edge of the field) and he too in his past has played cricket before. We got chatting and I told him about what we're doing and he's also interested in playing for a bit of fun, so hopefully over the coming few evenings he's going to join me out on the wicket and he too might join us on Saturday April 28th at 10.00am for a practice session? I've given him the blog address so hopefully he'll look in and keep informed as well? His name is Nakul (Sorry if I've got that wrong) we'll look forward to seeing him out on the pitch.

I also saw another couple of blokes walking down Mandeville Way with stumps and bats looking as though they'd just been using our wicket.

Informal Practice - This Saturday?

There's a chance that some of us might be getting together this Saturday over at Great Berry or elsewhere from 1.30 onwards. Anyone else interested for some extra practice (We do need it)! Let me know and I'll post who's likely to turn up - I'll be there irrespective of who does or doesn't turn up. Alternatively what about me coming out to Southend - I've been invited to play at Chalkwell Park by Westcliff Cricket Club so perhaps we could meet up there? I'm not going to play, but I'd certainly like to go and see what they're up to and how good or bad they are.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Injury of the week and Sunday practice

Mark Soye comes up trumps with injury of the week again. This is the same injury that appeared a few days ago, but the bruise has now come through the skin quite nicely! Mark I think you should get yourself some thigh pads?

Sunday practice - I've petitioned a few more people and the response has been favourable for the sunday Practice in the future. We're scheduled to continue with the current arrangement till Mid May but we'll be opting for the earlier practice with a 10.00am start over at Great Berry Open Space. So the next scheduled practice sessions are .....

April 28th (Saturday) practice starts 10.00am at Great Berry Open Space. We'll practice there till 12.00 with the option of finishing off in the nets between 12.00 and 13.00hrs (because we've already paid in advance for 2 sessions).

May 12th (Saturday) practice starts 10.00am at Great Berry Open Space. We'll practice there till 12.00 with the option of finishing off in the nets between 12.00 and 13.00hrs (because we've already paid in advance for 2 sessions). But this will be our last practice in the nets.

The following weekend Sunday 20th May is showdown at Welstead Gardens against the combined Australia/New Zealand team.

May 27th would be our first chance to practice in the new format e.g. 10.00am start on Sunday morning out on Great Berry Open Space playing at least until 12.00 preferably till 13.00hrs? Then every other weekend same venue same time throughout June to be reviewed after the July 1st Match against Sports Science.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Batting collapse

So what's the plan - 30 days or so to go and we face Austrlians and Kiwi's? I think we've got a good bowling line up with me as a potential weak point what with the wides, but I'm working on that and hopefully you'll see an improvement over the next 30 days as we get closer to the first match. Tonights impromptu session with this bloke Ian was good as he said he was a batsman/wicket keeper and said it in a way that implied he was good with the bat and he looked it. So if I can get practice against him over the next 30 days that too will be useful? I also noticed he bowled a bit and it looked as though he was a slow or medium pace bowler, his son's quite good as well, so I'll try and face them with the bat and get some more practice in with the bat.

Simon also pointed out that in the last two practice sessions he's not been bowled out by anyone, so maybe it's Simon and Me that'll be climbing up the batting order?

So what about the batting collapse at the top order - all out for less than 75 in 25 overs - strewth that's poor! It looks like Richards our only hope of a saviour - so come on Richard get out on the grass and prove your worth! Come on batsmen do your stuff - It's not what your team can do for you, it's what you can do for your team!

Other than that we still need two batsmen on the day. Will Tom turn up? Will Ashley have a game beforehand? Will all the people that have shown an interest in playing be available for selection on the day. It might be an idea to invite all those people that have shown an interest in a game to the first match and have a choice of who then goes on to actually play ensuring that we've got the 11 safely covered? Any other suggestions.

New Practice arrangements & Kit

As previously mentioned what with the weather taking a turn for the better the consensus and the need dictates that we need to practice on grass. Great Berry Open Space seems to be the best option as it's flat and I'm prepared to mow it and mark it out (And it's a nice field). But it gets used by footballers on Saturday morning and afternoon. Yesterday observations and anecdotally the perception is that it's not used at all on Sunday at all.

The other perception is that it might be preferable to start earlier e.g. 10.00hrs meaning that if you want to slope off after 2 hours you have still got pretty much the rest of the day. Even if you finish at 1pm there's still the majority of the afternoon, so 10.00 am start looks good. Personally if that's the case you'll probably find me over there at 09.00hrs or at least 09.30hrs.

Having sounded a few people out those in favour of this option (10.00 am start on SUNDAY)include...

Dave, Nick and Simon. What about the rest of you? I need to know.

Oh yeah it seems a couple of people suffered in the sun on Saturday so don't forget to bring a hat and some suntan lotion or sunblock. The stupid hat that I wear (I like it myself) you can buy from millets for about £15.00 in Stone Colour.

Which links nicely with the idea of what are we going to wear as our strip. I reckon Dark Blue all over polo tops or long sleeved, shorts or track suit bottoms - all navy/dark blue with 'Stone' coloured Millets wide brimmed Aussie hats?

31 days.....

Couldn't force myself out of bed this morning after watching the Ireland v Bangladesh match last night. So had to wait till this evening. Once the kids were in bed 7.30 I was out over the field to Great Berry Open Space. Arrived on the field at 7.45 and had 45 minutes of ever-diminishing light. Shortly after I arrived and got my stumps in the ground one of the 'Cricket Kids' from last week turned up with his Dad and stuffed their stumps in the ground just across the way. I thre a few more balls and realised it'd be better practice if I was actually throwing them at a batsman and the Dad looked a bit handy with the bat. So I went over and suggested they faced a few balls and both of them were pretty good and I didn't get a single wicket. The Dad (Ian) was very good although every ball he played was either defensive or he just nicked it off to leg. Talking to him I found out he was a wicket keeper and when he was younger he used to play a lot. The good news is the evenings are getting longer and they're both up for 'Evening Cricket' on the Great Berry wicket so if you fancy a bit of a knock about and you're in the area come on down and have an hour if it's nice. It's good practice! If you can get over there earlier come round to my gaff and get the stumps and stuff and get set up yourself.

Before the others joined me I'd thrown 40 balls with 30% wides and a strike rate of 7.5% I was throwing flippers aimed at the middle stump. Close shaves (The ball missing the stumps by millimeters) 15%. So that represents a slight improvement.

So tomorrow - 6.30am will I wont I?

Sunday, April 15, 2007

32 days......

More bowling practice. This morning whilst watching the kids outside the house riding their bikes I threw a few ball on my concrete wicket and practiced fielding throws at the stumps as well.

The flipper is well and truly my stock ball although read on and I may be having a change of mind about this? So this morning I threw 61 balls varying the strategy. Some of the balls were thrown legside so that they then turn into the stumps. With this particular ball that I use on the tarmac I can do this really well making it turn a acute angles pitching 3' wide of leg about 4 or 5 yards from the stumps and it still flies across the front of the stumps to 'Off'. The disadvantage being that when it don't and it goes straight on or only deviates slightly that becomes a Wide? The rest of the balls were throw down the middle spinning wide of off.

Having done a whole load of these, by the end of the session I realised that of the two variations the second option seems to be better because when it goes awry it has a very good chance of hitting the stumps. If it does what it's supposed to do that batsman runs the risk of edging it to the wicket keeper or slips.

As I bowled the balls I recorded the outcome and this is something I've decided to do again with future practices. Of the 61 balls I threw 5 hit the stumps four of which were the legside versions. The sad thing is 33 balls were wides that's more than 50%!

I threw 21 straight balls of which 13 were wides. The rest were leg balls. Overall a very disappointing performance, but I was surrounded by four kids and was looking after my own kids so it was hardly a situation conducive with concentration.

Later on...........

Again the ridiculously hot weather continued 26 celcius in the shade 46 celcius in my back yard in the sun! I had to bowl and catch some sun, so off we went to Great Berry Open Space, there was no-one there it was empty and looked as though it had been all day, perhaps as well as starting earlier could we change to Sunday for our practices? Let me know what you all think?

So armed with my tally book and 24 balls a 210 ball session ensued over 2 hours on the wicket. The good news is I improved the pecentage of wides. 210 balls of which 64 were wide means a 30.4% of wides, which is still 2 per over. But I bowled variations and made some discoveries about how to reduce the wides.

Flipper - bowled leg - 66 balls 23 wides = 34%
Flipper - Bowled Straight - 90 balls 19 wides = 21%

As you can see the straight balls reduces the %, but this was further enhanced I think by shorter deliveries around the 4 - 5 yard mark, whereas the legside balls were all thrown longer between 2 yards and a yard in front of the stumps (Yorkers). This ball also hit the stumps 10 times when it failed to move away to off.

Hitting the stumps isn't the issue as yesterday proves 3 of my four wickets were all caught balls. What I'm after is the reduction of the wides and far better consistency with my bowling regarding where I want the ball to land. Length isn't a problem it's the width that's the problem. I need to be averaging 15% to be happy, so I'll be up first thing tomorrow before work and hopefully be able to throw at least 60 balls. I'll be trying short deliveries aimed at the stumps spinning off to the offside. Hopefully that'll produce a % figure of around 20% again?

Saturday, April 14, 2007

33 Days to go and we've got some work to do.......

An interesting day today. Brilliant weather 24 degree celcius, wall to wall blue skies. In attendance for Part 1 (there was 3 distinctive parts) the net session and an hour out on the grass (Great Berry Open Space) we had.... Thomas, Rod, Badger, Me, Simon, Naughty, Mark, Alex and 'Paul' (Badgers mate). So the turnout wasn't that bad. A couple of us didn't have our subs - you know who you are - let me have the money on Monday please?

Initially we all turned up and the school was locked up and it looked like the nets wasn't going to happen. After a bit of confusion we did end up in the nets for an hour. But the caretaker disappeared and we found that we couldn't drag the nets out as they were snagged on the basket ball hoop. We improvised and just had a big bowling session one after another which went okay with most people at some point taking wickets through the session.

The new bloke Paul who plays for a team already seemed to be fairly impressed with our bowling - which was nice. So the net session finished and we had 9 blokes available for a few hours on the grass in theory and potentially the best session ever.

We arrive and it's perfect we mark out the boundary and away we go. In between times it then transpires that 3 of us have then got to go after an hour leaving only six of us. For an hour it was good. Brilliant bowling and it was all coming together apart from some shoddy fielding with over-throws (But this is when we can iron these problems out especially if Richard and Trevor had been in attendance). But it was looking good. I was keeping the stats and we were all getting overs and a chance to bat. Then a football team turned up at 2pm with all the gear obviously having booked it as they had referees and linemen and all sorts. Mark then overheard one of them say 'Surely they're going to pack up and go'? Meaning us and with that we did. At which point we lost three of our players and the rest of us had to drive over to Glouscester Park and see if there was any space there.

Fortunately right next to the cricket square there was a strip of grass that had been recently mown and it was fairly smooth so we set up there and continued through till four. Throughout the whole session outside I kept tallies of the scores and runs. I'll now collate all the info and put in the stats later tonight. But I think it was plain to see from everyone that.......

A. We have got a strong bowling line-up.
B. We can't bat.
C. Or we can bat but we've got a brilliant bowling line up?

Now though we're faced with a bit of a dilemma regarding when we do practice where should we go? I love Great Berry Open Space, it's a nice field but it's obviously used by footballers. My own feeling is that we aim to use that field whenever we can but all we keep in mind that we're always potentially going to have to move on. Thomas this morning did suggest that we change the times to an earlier practice session. Again this was suggested later on by Alex (I think). The suggestion is that we start at 10.00am with the intention of playing for 3 hours and we scrap the net practice after the next two 1 hour sessions. So the last sessions will be 29th April and 12th May. We could even have those practice sessions 10.00 - 12.00 out on the field and then the net practice 12.00 till 13.00 for those last two sessions? Thereafter it'll be in a field somewhere 10.00-13.00hrs.

In the meantime what I'll try and do is speak to Kevin the caretaker and see what the situation is regarding using the school field if he says it's okay I'll have a look at it and see if there's a flat bit and try and get permission to mow it? As another option I may also go and speak to the groundsman at Glouscester Park and ask if he's okay about me mowing that strip of grass next to the cricket square we played next to this afternoon? He might even say 'No worries - I'll mow it myself when I do the real wicket'. Who knows? I'll see what happens.


True to form Mark sustained the most obvious (see the picture). Alex got a ball in the face but came off unscathed. So we did okay apart from Mark. I did get one in the Nads again but the box saved me once again (I think that was off of Alex).

Money Update

After todays session having paid for the venue and once I've collected the remaining £15.00 of of the two people that owe we'll have £95 in the coffers.

Stats (Bowling)

We bowled ourselves out for 100 in 25 overs. Of that figure 25 were extras so only 75 runs were made. Break down of individual stats to follow.

Simon - Average 1.6 Economy 1.6 SR 6
Alex - Average 0.6 Economy 0.5 SR 8
Rod - Average 2.5 Economy 2.5 SR 6
Dave - Average 6.75 Economy 4.5 SR9

To me this don't make a lot of sense and wont do until some more bowling gets done and the figures start to seperate a bit more.

In a more bog standard format

Simon bowled 3 overs took 3 wickets and had only 5 runs against him with no extras. All straight forward bowled outs. (Mark Soye x 3)

Alex bowled 4 overs took 3 wickets and had only 2 runs against him. But had Loads of extras.
Bowled mark. Bowled Dave a leg yorker. Bowled Mark LBW.

Rod Bowled 2 overs took 2 wickets and had only 5 runs against him.
Took Alex and Badger. No extras

Dave Bowled 6 overs took 4 wickets but had 27 runs against him and a shed load of wides. Took Thomas bowled and caught; Rod Bowled & caught; Nick Flipper middle stump; Naughty bowled and caught.

Batting Stats

This is a bit monkey because of the numbers some of us had a few innings.

Best partnerships were as follows

Dave & Simon 19 (must be said we had a Non Bowler)
Rod & Thomas 19
Alex & Simon 7

All the others were below 5.

Individuals - Simon 19; Badger 9; Mark 4; Thomas 5; Rod 15; Alex 6; Dave 14 The deficit is made up of runs made during the session at Gloucester Park between Mark & Nick who were bowled out several times. So there you go...... I think the conclusion is that the supposed top order people need to get their house in order or is this just a glitch? Again we'll never know if we don't practice as a team out on grass and if we don't watch out we're going to look like a bunch of muppets! Looking at the way we all played the new batting order should look something like....


Or is it that we are exceptional bowlers? Needless to say in 33 days time we'll find out! The plot thickens.


There also seems to be some Wags problems, so despite the fact that we've had a batting collapse and really we need to be putting in more hours getting this right it looks like the option for extras this coming weekend are to be shelved and the next session for all you batsmen will be in 2 weeks time by which time we'll have 21 days left to ensure we don't humiliate ourselves in front of the Aussies and Kiwis on the 20th. I can see this game being over in a matter of hours if we bowled ourselves out in 25 overs and then bat like we did today we'll all be home for tea! We need more batsmen and for Richard Sainsbury to come and save the day. We need that bloke Ash and another batter!

I think I bowled okay today, two of the wickets were bowled and caught by myslef, the other badger and the other was a straight flipper, but as per usual a had a lot of wides - 19 in all meaning I'm still averaging 3.16 wides per over. So this afternoon outside my house I was bowling on my concrete wicket and also practicing throwing the ball at the stumps from a pick up as if fielding as well. Then this evening I spent another 40 minutes bowling 100 balls out on my practice wicket. That wasn't too bad either. I was worried about my shoulder as since last weekend it's been sore. This afternoon I had to saw some logs up using a bow saw and while I was doing this I realised my sore shoulder isn't anything to do with my bowling but the fact that last weekend my Brother in Law and I sawed down a 40' Apple Tree between us using a bow saw in 2 hours and it wasn't until I was sawing the logs again today that I realised it had been that, that'd caused the pain. So that was a relief.

Try this - if you need some practice get yourself some stumps and one of those Woodworm or Kookaburra practice balls (Ebay). Find yourself a field set up in the evening for an hour or so for some bowling practice and watch how many kids suddenly turn up wanting to join in. Next thing you know you're batting against a bunch of kids = Batting practice on the cheap. Or get one of us to join you in the evenings, whoever you live nearest to.

Friday, April 13, 2007

34 days to go..........

Ready for tomorrow...... 12 till 2pm. Don't let us down, we're all in this together and I've put a lot of time and effort into this........

Went for the audacity approach today and did all the cutting and marking out in broad daylight, so that people probably assumed I was doing it all officially! So midday I was measuring, cutting and spraying and here's the results ready for tomorrow.

It's looking pretty good - so I'm now thinking shall I put a fence round it and make it look like the real thing? The weird thing is when you do put a fence round a wicket people seem to respect the fact that you're not supposed to use the area for anything but cricket and they keep off it now that'd be a good blag!
Lets's hope that when we turn up at 1pm on Saturday there's not a bunch of blokes already on there using our DIY wicket!
The close up picture with my son Joe in it - the boundary behind him is the short one and the natural edge of the field will be the boundary, so if you can let the ball bounce off your bat and miss the keeper and slips by going round or over them there's fours to be had there! Or turn as the ball approaches and whack it over that way. You might all want to have a go at that when you're facing me, but I've got strategies so watch out!
I've spent a fiver on spray paint and a set of my bails got smashed last week so can I be reimbursed please?
Another idea to mark out the boundary will be Tesco bags with a stones in, so that they don't get blown away and we'll just chuck them away at the end of the game and wont have to go around banging pegs into what is now very hard ground.
Schedule tomorrow is - Start at 12 as usual at the Sports Hall, we'll only do an hour there and then at 1pm we'll get out on the field for 2 or 3 hours. See you all there.
My optimism for a good turn out this week is failing me at the moment. I'm expecting a poor turn out which is worrying considering the weather is good and we're nearing the first match. The only positive I can think of is that Badger is bringing along 'Customs Bloke' and there may be a flukey chance that 'Needy Neil' may also turn up, but I think Naughty said Neil had something on this weekend. There's also a very slim chance that Phil Buchanan could turn up as I spoke to him today and he asked about how it was going and I mentioned the session tomorrow and say he might come along. Of the regulars (people with a place in the team) we've got as many as three letting us down this week. It seems the nearer we get to the match the worse the turn out is - gutted!
Tonight I'll have another go at speaking to the elusive caretaker about our change of plans regarding only having an hour in the nets in future. I've been over there twice already this week at least and not been able to find him. I'll have another go tonight.
What with propects of such a bad turnout tomorrow I suppose I shouldn't be that surprised as it's Friday 13th.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

36 days

Today at work Badger knocked up some stakes that we might be able to use as boundary markers, but I'm more inclined to use tent pegs with the rounded tops and just skewer a Tesco bag into the ground to indicate where the boundary is.

Tonight I had a look on the internet and found all the measurements for the bowling crease and popping crease and the width of the wicket. Yesterday I found some old cans of spray paint and this evening I went over to the pitch again with the intention of possibly marking out the boundary with spray paint. I didn't think I'd have time as it was dusk, but it didn't take that long - I just stuck a peg in the middle of the wicket and walked round with a 66 yard bit of string spraying big white dots at 40' intervals along the boundary line. The short boundary will just have to be the edge of the natural field where it meets the bushes, but the other three sides are all 66 yards. So all we'll have to do on Staurday is peg out the Tesco bags on the dots and in between and we'll have a clearly visible boundary - voila!

I've also sorted out a nice straight edge tonight so tomorrow evening or Sat morning I'll go and spray the creases, I may even mow the crease at some point tomorrow morning so it's dead short when I spray it.

Other than that I'm laying off the bowling a bit as I seemed to be suffering from a sore shoulder, so somehow I've got to resist bowling tomorrow even though it's sunny and hot and perfect for it!

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

37 Days to go......

I may have a potential No.11! I've emailed Dan Newman (One of the AL's on the Media Team) asking if he'd be interested in playing and I've had a reply saying that he might be. It seems he played a bit of cricket at school so another potential expert who played as recently as maybe 15-20 years ago so he'll fit in to the team nicely if he takes up the offer, so lets keep our fingers crossed and hope he's up for it and maybe he'll even come along this Saturday?

Which has just reminded me - I was supposed to go and see the caretaker tonight over at James Hornsby to ask about the hall hire and the possibility of using there school field as well. So lets have a look at who's potentially going to turn up this Saturday and thus gaurantee that hardly anyone will turn up.........

In batting order......

1. Thomas
2. Mark
3. Richard
4. Rod
5. Badger
6. Alex
7. Dave
8. Naughty
9. Simon
10. Trevor
11. Dan Newman

Ashley? I've also emailed Steve Bone, Tom Dick and Neil.

If any of you are reading this - I haven't go contact email addresses (Personal versions) or phone numbers for Trevor and Naughty so (Simon) can you give them a call and see if they're turning up. Tell Trevor he doesn't have to bowl.

Groundsman duties......

Friday night I'll be over at the wicket last thing mowing it. I've got the right width dimensions now and I'll mark it out (9' wide approx) and mow a nice rectangle. I've found some spray paint as well and I'll mark out the crease at both ends. The only problem seems to be marking the boundary, any temporary measures I put into place get pulled out. So again what I might do is spray dots at strategic points and then on the days we play (This Saturday) peg plastic bags on the boundary markers so it's easily seen as to where the boundary is. Three of the boundaries are almost the natural edge of the field and the short one behind the batting end facing West is the same too but a lot shorter. All we need is the corners marked out. Lets just hope what with it being ultra sunny this Saturday the field isn't awash with other people looking to play cricket on our wicket!

Monday, April 09, 2007

39 days to go

Another amazingly sunny day and I was able to get over to Great Berry Open Space. When we turned up the wicket was being used! My wicket that I cut was being used - but for football!!! To be fair they had been playing cricket as they were using stumps as goal post on each corner of the wicket, but that means they were using my lovely short grass wicket to play bloody football on! I'll have to get some posts and put a fence round it!

I also noticed that my boundary markers have been removed, so I've got to come up with a another solution as to how to mark the boundary in some way. I'm thinking cut a six inch square out of the grass now as a more permanent means of marking the boundary or maybe spray paint spots in the grass at intervals all the way round?

Anyway back to today I went over to the people and asked 'How do you like my wicket that I cut'? One of the blokes said 'Yeah it spins well' I asked if they wanted a game and one of the women said we're off in a minute to get some dinner and shortly they all left. I set up the stumps bowled a few balls and then was joined by a bunch of kids and within about an hour I had 8 boys playing two of which played a bit of cricket at school, both of who could bowl quite well, so that was okay meaning I got a bit of batting and bowling practice, one of the kids bowled me twice!

Now I can see a problem where if we turn up we might be faced with someone using the wicket. Perhaps we can take the mower as an indication that it's us that maintains it therefore has precedence over the use of it? Hopefully they'll either go or join in?

On the other hand I had a look at James Hornsby schools field and that's a good field and if they were to let us cut a wicket it might be another option, further more it's got a high security fence all round it and the field is enormous. I've not been out onto the field itself to see whether it's relatively flat or not so that remains to be seen. I'll try and see the caretaker and get permission to use it and hopefully it'll be free?

Cut my bowling wicket tonight and as I'm cutting it I'm moving closer to the other ends stumps but it is rough and needs rain on it to soften the surface and maybe I'll be able to roll it?

I may go and see the caretaker tonight at James Hornsby to make arrangements for the hour long net session and also see about using the field. I let you know what the outcome is later.

Oh yeah check this out - this is something I've always done with surfing and it works....

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Desperately seeking two or three new players

Again today talking to Thomas (who is now sharing my concerns) we desperately need at least 2 new players that are interested in playing/practicing once a fortnight or are already good batsmen to make up the numbers.

There is a list of sorts of people that have said they'll stand in for anyone that doesn't turn up or are not interested in practicing but will turn up for the matches. These people need to be primed to be ready for May 20th in the event that we'll need to call on them. The list made up of the MPA 2nd XI includes....

Matt Lindsey
Richard Sandling
Tom Dick
Steve Bone
Deano the Meano
Mark Benson
Carl Hodgson
Phil Buchanan
Simon's Dad
Chris Willets (My Father in Law)
Alex's brother

Two of whom we would like to see at the practice sessions (Tom and Ashley) before the match as these two have reputations and history of playing at county level when they were younger.

The another plan maybe to organise your own stand in so if you have to let us down yourself you'll have someone lined up to replace you?

41 Days to go

So up at 07.10 hrs, a quick cup of tea and by 7.30 I was there with my mower. A cold start with frost on the car windscreen. By the time I got onto the field the shadows were still covering the wicket and the grass was sopping wet from dew. I took the bucket so as to not leave grass cuttings all over the wicket and got on with it . There were a few dog walkers but I set up stumps so it was obvious what I was doing rather than just look like some total nutter attempting to mow 25,000 sq feet of grass! I did intend to just mow half the wicket up the end into which we bowl, but the mower is so good and so fast I did the full wicket. Oh man and did it look good, almost professional because of the stripes the mower leaves! The piece of ground that I've designated as the wicket is dead flat and once it was mowed you could see how nice and flat it is - it's lovely! By the time I'd finished several people had walked round the field and I didn't feel quite as self concious as I thought I'd have.

Having done that I measured out a piece of string 66 metres long and then measured the outfield and marked the perimeter by sticking bit of Tesco bags in about every 50' all round the perimeter. The only short boundary we've got is the one directly behind the batsman. I don't mind this as it's an incentive for people to try and learn how to take advantage of it by hitting the ball behind in some way.

So there it was a nice flat mown wicket, beautiful sunny day and perimeter set up all we needed was some blokes. Four of us turned up and that inlcuded my brother in law with his dodgey shoulder. So he kept wicket and the rest of bowled and batted - Me, Simon and Thomas. They did well with the bat especially Simon with regards neither Thomas or I managed to bowl him out. Thomas was hitting fours over my new boundary, but I also bowled him 4 times, but as he said he was being experimental with his shots. I couldn't bat to save my life once again, but I would argue the shot I was trying to produce I couldn't because there was a bunch of little boys having a football training session.

Simon seemed to have been enjoying himself and I think he thought I was nuts for getting up at 7.30 and mowing a wicket?

But as he said at the end of it we all need to get out on the grass and have a go as it is so different. We're looking this coming Saturday to only practice indoors for an hour and then get out onto the field for at least 2 hours (Maybe 3). Needless to say we need to practice with two blokes running between the stumps trying to work together to build partnerships. This is only going to happen if we get out on the grass. We also need to have Alex making decisions about who does what and applying tactics in order to get people out, like today for instance neither me or Thomas could dislodge Simon, but maybe with Richard as wicket keeper I could have bowled shorter and drawn him out of his wicket for Richard to stump him. I was pleased today in that bowled 2 flipper yorkers that had Thomas smashing his own stumps twice and the nearest I got to getting Simon out was a ridiculous looping yorker/full toss that almost hit the base of the stumps as it came down almost vertically! So come on you blokes make sure you're there this Saturday! (it'll rain now - you watch).

Friday, April 06, 2007

42 days to go.....

Another mammoth bowling day, this time on my own wicket. Must have bowled in excess of 300 balls, maybe nearer 400? Progress is good but it's going to be interesting tomorrow when there's a few people to bowl at. Hopefully there's going to be a handful of us - I managed to speak to Simon, Thomas (Who's idea it was that we all get out and practice this Saturday) who both said they'd be there. My brother in Law is coming along and I left a message with Alex and Badger. Simon said he'd spoken to Badger and badger's going to be there as well so at least I think it's going to be -

Ian (Bro in Law) and hopefully Alex. It's going to be a gloriously sunny day so I'm going to be over there at 7am marking the pitch out and mowing the wicket - looking like a mental patient that's escaped from the local hospital (hence the reason for getting over there at 7am)!

Thursday, April 05, 2007

43 Days to go.......

Brilliant weather - back to back sunshine with blue skies, must have been 20 degrees? So warm I had my shirt off and have caught the sun.

A good 2 hour bowling session varying my length and different ways of bowling this flipper. Towards the end I was bowling really high loopy balls that were landing almost on the stumps - certainly between where the batsman would stand and the stumps - the kind that would end up being a full toss if the batsman could read the flight. But I'm thinking that's the kind of ball that's going to be knocked up in the air for a catch off of anyway that lacks any batting savvy? Then if a few of those are followed by a shorter delivery with underspin they might cause problems - something I need to try out.

I had a few goes at the leg break as well today and was hitting the stumps a few times with that and it was turning a little bit. The Wrong Un was okay as well so all in all a good session.

While I was over there I designated a wicket area for the practice session on Saturday. Having done that I measured out the boundary as well and the field is big enough with the exception of the boundary directly behind the batsman. I don't think we're going to be changing ends just for a practice so that seems fine to me. The boundary straight down the wicket ends exactly where you run out of field and the boundaries to the side at 90 degrees end at the edge of the football field with some spare beyond that. I've put markers down and over the next couple of days I'll do more. I'm going to sort out a piece of string that's the radius of the pitch and put in about 24 markers all around at equal spacing. On the day I've got 24 tent pegs and I'll stick 24 tesco bags in at the markers so it's pretty clear as to where the boundary will be and we'll just use straight lines bewteen each bag to indicate a boundary line?

The wicket is pretty flat already as is all of this field, but again either tomorrow or Saturday morning I'll get over there early and I'll mow half a wicket in front of the stumps so we've got nice short grass to bowl onto. I had a go on it today and it's nice and firm with a decent bit of bounce in it, so it should be fun. So come on lets have a half decent attendence please?

Hoepfully we'll have -


And possibly my Brother in Law. I'll try and give a you all a call tomorrow and see who's likely to turn up. Simon - can you ring or text Nick and Trevor and see if they're up for it please?

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

The Simon Grainge Fan pages

There seems to be a lot of interest in Simon Grainge as a cricket player so I am considering creating a seperate 'Simon Grainge Fan club page' or maybe a Simon Grainge Cricket Pages blog. If you all think this is a good idea please leave comments on the blog and I'll see what I can do!

Don't forget you can see him in action on May 20th at Welstead gardens! 5pm onwards.

Watch out for in the near future - 'The Simon Grainge supporters Mask' download and cut out masks just like the England cricket team have - but with Simon's face!

Format for playing on grass?

Playing on Grass

Ideally played with as many players as possible up to a number of 12? (Needs a minimum of seven of us).

Batting Team

Using some kind of random selection process choose the order that the batsmen will play in

The objective of the game is – as a partnership to score as many runs as possible before being bowled out/caught etc.

The innings start, as do any by running between the stumps to accumulate points, hitting fours and sixes. Who ever ends up at the strike end is on strike. This emphasises the necessity of communication between both players.
The individual run scores although totalled are not the issue. The partnership should look to work at getting the most affective batsman on strike in relation to who is bowling e.g. if Thomas was batting with Simon and they were facing me as the bowler the partnership should aim to get Thomas in at the strike end at the end of each run between the stumps because Thomas is possibly more affective at dealing with spin?


Working on the basis that an over takes 5 minutes to complete and the game is played over 2 hours – 24 overs may be played – the maximum overs bowled by each bowler can be 4 x 6 bowlers. Or 5 x 5 bowlers; 6 x 4 bowlers)

3 hour game 5 x 6 bowlers – 6 x 5 bowlers 7 x 3 bowlers

The order of bowling is down to the captain or vice captain when not available to field - Alex and Simon respectively.


Or we just have the closest fielder as the scorer? I feel it’s important that we keep scores accurately and analyse the stats. But I’m not sure how we can keep tabs on the scores when we’re all playing? The closest fielder seems like the obvious solution as he can talk to the bowler, batsman and wicket keeper and agree as to whether balls are wide, no balls or byes?

Maybe as an incentive we could stump up a cash prize from the subs £50 for instance for the best partnership at the end of the season? I think this way the best batsman maintains his place in a batting position for as long as he can and it offers more incentive for the bowlers and fielders to get him out and destroy partnerships with as many tactics as possible. It should make for an exciting game?

46 Days and counting.....

Up at 07.00hrs - 10 chin ups, 10 press ups and 15 crunches later (And that's not the caramel and chocolate type) I was out on the wicket in the frost with a couple of stumps and my 25 cricket balls. The sun gets on the wicket early so there wasn't any frost.

I then place a target 4-5 yards in front slightly to legside which I aim at trying to get the ball to turn into the stump with the flipper. I throw 25 balls up one end and then back the other end and in about 20 minutes I've thrown 100 balls back and forth. In that time I'm aiming to get the target or the stump (Yes - 1 stump not 3) and I did so 6 times and the target I hit twice. Just as long as the ball pitches around the target and turns left or goes straight on legside I'm happy. In 100 balls I threw about 10 wides.

Question. If I'm bowling to a RH batsman and pitching the ball legside and it doesn't spin in across towards the stumps is that then a wide?

Got back in did another 10 press ups and then breakfast and off to work. Hopefully I can sustain this for the next 46 days and theory is with the increase in strength and accuracy I will be Shane Warne on the day!

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

47 days and counting

There's less than 50 days now till our first proper match against the Aussies and Kiwis. The onus to win isn't as much as the match with sports science but I still wouldn't mind beating them, no actually lets get this right we are going to beat them! So with less than 50 days to go and reading tonights installment on relating to fitness I'm starting to get serious. Hopefully tomorrow what with a slight improvement in the weather I'll be up before work and I'll throw at least 10 overs on my pitch. Tonight I'll be starting a press-ups, chin ups and crunch fitness regime and I'll now follow that through the whole of the summer (It'll be good for the surfing in July/August. So tonight I've done for starters....
10 press-ups (easy enough)
5 Chin ups (6 would have been pushing it too far)
15 crunches.
The press ups I can do anywhere and I'll aim to get 100 of those a day within 2 weeks. The chin ups I'll aim to do 30 - 40 of those within 2 weeks over a 24 hour period and I'll throw in bringing my knees up to my chin as well as I do the chin ups after a few days.
The crunches I'll aim to do 20 of those a day. Hopefully the affect will be bowling will be easier and as I'll be bowling daily the increase in arm strength wont affect the accuracy in any adverse way? Hopefully the affect will be I'll be able to bowl the flipper for instance much faster and at a lower angle and therefore with a massive variation between flight and length?

Come in No.10 & 11

We're still short on regular players and I'd rather have 11 regulars than have to rely on people that say they might play. I might go public with a request within the college as there's got to be someone who fancies themselves as a cricket player within the staff surely, there may be a couple of blokes out there gagging to be in a team and while we're at it challenge the rest of the college to a match either in teams or a whole college team if they can get their act together? What do you reckon?

Practice locations

The preferred venue still seems to be Great Berry Open Space. On Saturday mornings it's used by an unofficial kids football club and when we've practiced there before early 10.00am they arrived at about 10.30 and situated themselves quite some distance away from us and we were both able to use the space side by side. They appeared to practice till about 12.00 - 12.30 so if we get over there at 13.00hrs we should have the space to ourselves? If that's the case we'll situate ourselves in the centre of the field and I may even mow the grass and start to create a designated wicket (As I do with my local football field). I've already been over there and had a look to see how flat it is and it's impressively flat, locals say that several years ago it did have a cricket square but was never used. I'm contemplating contacting the council to see what it would take for that to be reinstated?

Other places that have been metioned recently include the school field where Thomas and my kids go. Thomas didn't follow that up so I did and having had a look myself and talking to the caretaker it's not really usable as it's far too small.

Another option I will look into is the fields behind the school where we have the net practice. This is a good field in that it's got high security fencing all around it and it is massive. How level it is I don't know but I've never seen people playing football on it so it may be really flat? If the caretaker will allow us to use and not charge us for it again I'll ask him if we can maintain it e.g. get a mower over there and keep it short and designate a wicket area? The only downside is that it's in an ugly/chavvy part of basildon whereas Great Berry Open Space is in a posh bit and it's quite picturesque.

Suggestions & Ideas re - practicing

I've already mentioned that some of us reckon that it may be time to give up on the net practice sessions. I had my doubts as to whether that would be a good idea or not, but Simon has come up with a good idea.....

We carry on with the bookings that we've got in place which will see us in the hall till mid May. But we only use the hall for the first hour and then move on to grass straight after saving ourselves £35 and whatever extras we have through good turn out. So we carry on paying the £10 each and bank it to go towards equipment and/or the end of season do?

That way there'd be a better turn out of people playing on the field? Potentially 8 or 9 of us and I'm sure once you've got a taste for it you'll be wanting to stay for 2 or three hours maybe even longer? With two blokes batting and up to seven fielding it's going to be similar to the real thing and a boost to our abilities and training. It'll mean

1. Batsmen will be forced to learn how to play it over the top of fielders or in between fielders and we'll then have a more realistic idea of who should play in what batting positions (I've moved up the ranks I think since Saturday because I showed that I've got the ability to get the bat on the ball and put it where I want it and I've adopted a far more agressive approach to attacking the ball).
2. Fielders Alex will get some idea of who can and can't throw a ball at a set of stumps and hit them. Who can/can't throw the ball over long distances. Who can/can't catch. Who's going to run balls down, who's going to put the effort in to back up fielders when running to the outfield, who's going to back up and cover throws in from the outfield at the non-wicket keeper end etc?
3. Bowlers who can come up with the goods on grass - execute 'bowled and caughts' as the bowler. Have the knowledge and skills to vary the pace.

Plus we all get used to having the Captain tell us what to do and where to go.

Saturday 7th April

Looks like there may be potential for some early morning cricket this Saturday. A few people have shown some interest in a quick knock about on the grass after last Saturday disappointing turn out. So far we've got a tentative list of...

(Possibly my brother in law)
Hayley (AKA Dennis) as umpire and scorer

Even if only three of us turn up we've found it's still useful in loads of different ways and I'd recommend it to anyone because it is so different to playing in the hall on concrete/mats.