Thursday, May 31, 2007

24 hours to go and it's called off

Yep sorry people - because of the recent rain (Nearly 2 weeks of it now) the wicket at Welstead is so wet that the games been cancelled. But along with Sports Science we're looking to get another game set up as soon as possible. I kind of get the feeling that "Dean Mr 6 Wells" is gagging to get at us after his good performance last Friday - he was hitting 6's all over the shop as Simon warned he might do from the very beginning of us challenging them to a game. Dean's looking to get our first game set up as soon as possible but there's still issues over how soon can people get there from work. It might be that the game starts slightly later?

Good news for us is that Rod The Aussie is back in the UK as from Saturday which means we'll be up to full numbers again.


Hopefully on Friday Alex (The Capt) will be rallying the team for a practice this Sunday at 10.00. So let's hope for a good turn out. Some people need the practice before the game and we all certainly need to practice catching the ball.

Useful Forum

If you subscribe to David Hinchcliffes take advantage of his offer to join his forum for free. All you have to do is suggest three good practice ideas and you stand a chance of getting a free subscription. He's offering 100 freebies. Have a look at the forum, I think it's one of the best as it's not full of people suggesting that Michael Vaughn should do this and that as though they've got any say in the matter. It's a forum for people that want to get better at cricket looking at all aspects of trying to improve your game and fitness. Look at the website home page and check it out -

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Cheap gear - Helmets at 70% off and more

Simon found this - check it out £40 + helmets for £17.00 you can't go wrong

2 Days to go & match stats

Doesn't look good with regards the weather. Rain again all day today on and off and very cold, so little opportunity for the ground to dry out. I'm not holding much hope out as it's more of the same tomorrow and probably Friday too.

Other than that the Aussies and Kiwi's have issued us with a copy of the match statistics so here we go........

MPA first Eleven v's Antsac's

279 for 9 (Antsacs) 30 overs
72 for 9 MPA 30 overs

In batting order.......

Richard 0 - Bowled
Simon 18 - Caught
Thomas 1 - Bowled
Nakul 24 - Bowled
Boffa 2 - Bowled
Dave 9 - LBW
Mark 6 - Not out
Badger 1 - Stumped
Alex 0 - Caught
Nick 0 - Run out
Trevor 2 - Not out

Bowling stats haven't been recorded adequately

It looks like Badger bowled 1
Someone caught 1
Nakul bowled 2
Simon bowled and someone else caught the ball?

They were drinking so the details are not that clear.

We've now got our own scoring book so I'd imagine that both sides would keep score?

Monday, May 28, 2007

3 days left.......

3 more full days in which to have a practice and looking more and more unlikely by the hour. It's 8pm and it looks like the rain at last has stopped and I'm tempted to get the roller out and roll the wicket, but it's so bloody cold so I may stay here and blog instead. Apparently at Headingly it was 7 degrees celcius - the coldest test match ever played. It's not nice.

The weather is predicted to cheer up in the short term but return to showers by Thursday which sounds ominous for Friday. So far both my matches have been played against the backdrop of the threat of rain and both have been okay, so lets hope the situation remains and I have my third match in similar conditions or sunnier.

Anyone out there know a good way of making a DIY roller and what kind of size limit would be right to enable two blokes to pull it up and down a wicket? Half the trouble with my roller is that it's small and it doesn't make that much impact on the pitch. If I could make a biggun on the cheap and chain it to a tree and leave it at the field I'd be more inclined to use it!

Sunday, May 27, 2007

4 Days to go........

It's been a wet Sunday and it predicted to get worse over night. It's been raining more or less all day since 7am when I work up, so the wickets will have had a good soaking and I'm tempted to take the roller over there tomorrow and have a bit of a roll and see if I can smooth it out a little more. I'll see what happens tomorrow and see how I feel. Lets hope that by Friday the weather will have cleared up and Welsteads ready for the match.

Hopefully we'll be able to get some practice in during the evenings later in the week - possibly Wednesday or Thursday evenings - Alex is talking about having a couple of practice sessions over at Great Berry and getting as many of us over there for it as we need it because of our dismal fielding and catching. I'd also like to put my 'Bowling with your eyes closed theory' into practice and see if I can replicate what happened yesterday.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Sunday Practice - Rain stops play...

The only person that has mentioned this to me running up to this week has been Nakul and Alex. As I sit here it's just rained very lightly 20.48hrs. The two wickets have been cut and are ready - just need the lines painted which I can do tomorrow when I get there. But for the rain it is all sytems go. So it'll be interesting to see what kind of commitment is shown by the rest of you especially as we all acknowledged that we need to do catching practice.
I'm going to have a look at the weather prediction for tomorrow and see if it's still bad.
Just had a look and it predicted to be bad. It looks as though around about 10.00 it's going to start raining and then carry on till Monday. It's up to you - if it's not raining I'm up for it.
Update Sunday 10.20
Needless to say it's pouring with rain. I spoke to Alex this morning and we're looking at the possibility of some of us getting over there tomorrow if it ceases, but it's predicted to rain till Tuesday as far as I'm aware. Alex suggested that maybe in the week during the evenings at least once maybe twice? What do you all reckon? I'm up for it as always - Maybe Wednesday Evening?

Leg spin bowling blind + eyes closed

I had the opportunity to bowl on my own today as no-one was around and Nakul was at work. So I had a couple of hours to practice. Last nights game against SEEVIC once again highlighted the fact that I can't deal with the fact that you go straight into the bowling with no warm up as such. So this practice session I was looking to see if I could get into The Zone by the second over. By about the 4th over I realised I had serious issues.

1. I was bowling far too long.
2. I was bowling wides
3. I was bowling crap with all my variations.

Decided to try and address the issues one at a time, so starting with The Flipper I tried bowling shorter, so using a marker placed dead centre and 5 yards in front of the stumps I tried hitting that..... Useless - absolutely useless. I was now beginning to get frustrated and annoyed trying to figure out what was going so wrong?

I then noticed that I was beginning to wear the grass out where I do my Walk in to the crease. Then I realised I was wearing my Adidas Sambas instead of my cricket spikes and these slide rather than grip and it's obvious some of the power that's generated in the throw is absorbed when you slide in the trainers.

Step 1. Change my Sambas for Spikes

Did this and straight away it felt a lot better.

Step 2. Sort out the Walk In.

I know that Shane Warne takes about 8 paces during his run-up/Walk-in and you can't go too wrong using Warne as a starting point. So despite the fact that I do usually have a 4 or 5 step walk-in I started with 8 a la Warne. Using a marker I gradually reduced the walk-in from 8 down to 5.

Step 3. To spring or not to spring?

As I release the ball I've noticed for some reason that I'm more affective if I do a spring on the last step, the sense is that it gives you more height and possibly more power - like a spring being released after compression? So I added the spring at the end.

It turns out that each of these little adjustments were making big differences and suddenly it came together - suddenly it felt right, the whole process....

I step into the my first step, I then shuffle on the second the third is like a trigger, the fourth the spring and the fifth the follow through and the ball goes down the centre at the right length. I keep at it and it feels good and I'm now bowling and it's all working as it should - good line and good length with the ball skidding around and doing unpredictable things. In between balls I'm going over what's happened here evaluating what I've learnt. My conclusion is that at the start I was looking at where I wanted the ball to go and I was trying really hard to put it there. The whole process was based on the idea of seeing what I wanted and then assuming the ball would get there through me throwing it there - based on the transfer of info from sight to physical exertion. Ignoring all the other aspects like the walk-in and the spikes and the feel of how I should bowl the ball. I kept bowling and it was now happening, it was feeling right.

I then reflected on the game last night and last week and how I felt as I approached the crease and how I responded in the face of the opposition. There's a massive psychological thing going on out there. The batsman knows that if you're a spin bowler he's either going to come unstuck or he's going to hit you all over the park and you as the bowler know that too. As the bowler it might be part of your own strategy to allow for the batsman to hit the ball for 4's and 6's thus luring him into a sense that he's got the better of you - then when you sense he thinks he's won you do something different. But then you got the expectations of your captain and team where they don't want you to concede runs. As newby the whole thing is very intimidating and pressurised and on both occasions so far I've let the pressure get to me and I've ended up throwing long balls fast and they've been dispatched to the outer Hebrides!

It therefore seems to me that you've got to go about your business with total disregard for the batsman - whether he's sledging you or standing tall looking like he's full of confidence you as the Spin Bowler have got to do your stuff - put your practice into action and not be intimidated. You've got to feel that you are already in the zone and you're going to bowl short balls exactly where you want them - 5 yards from the stumps slightly to leg or dead centre. You don't look at either the batsman or where you want the ball to go, you know it's going to go there - that is where you always put the ball you feel it - you're in The Zone.

So everythings come together, everything feels natural, the arm movement, the walk-in, the length and line it all feels right the only thing that can go wrong is to have some big ugly brute of a batsman standing there scowling at you presenting a visual distraction. Then it happened - an epiphanal moment....... I realised I don't need to see him - this is about how it feels not about how it looks - I'm in the zone I don't need to use my eyes - I can bowl this ball with my eyes closed!

For a second it seemed impossible, but I thought let's do this - lets throw 16 balls and see what happens? I look again at what I do as I approach the stumps and decide that just as I'm going into the 2nd from last step of my walk-in I'll then close my eyes so that the last two steps and the throw are done blind.

The first ball is a plastic practice ball and it goes wide to leg (Always happens - it's a different weight) so I'm not put off. I'm slightly worried that as I do my spring I'm going to come crashing down with my goolies onto the stumps! But it feels right and it feels good so the second ball........ I walk in spring and bowl and open my eyes to see it hit my target which is 5 yards in front of the stumps and then skid on to hit the middles stump! Unbelievable! I try again and again. With 16 balls I threw 2 wides, 4 Strikes and 10 really good balls that went down the channel perfectly - some of which hit the 4" target that I place on the grass as my length marker. It wasn't a fluke either as I threw another subsequent 4 lots of 16 and it was almost identical each 16 balls, hitting the stumps and going down the channel. Man was this a revelation!

Michelle rang and said she was coming to pick me up in the car. So I threw 16 more balls and this time with my eyes open but feeling my way - it was pobably the best 16 balls I've ever thrown!

But this now has implications for my bowling. As I mentioned yesterday when I step up to bowl I'm nervous and it all goes to pot. It always seems when faced with a competitive situation and some bloke standing there with a bat I opt for speed and it never works. I always deliver the ball far too long and the bloke knocks it for a four. It seems that the visual/psychological impact undoes any chance of bowling the right ball. So what if I was to get in the zone ignore the batsman close my eyes and deliver the ball as I was today - short, above the eyes with potential to spin on landing and I deliver it with my eyes closed and tell them that I'm going to do so because I am so confident that I don't need to have my eyes open! It's an interesting idea that I'll be exploring throughout this week.

I wonder if anyone else out there in Leg Spin land has ever tried this? Or if you haven't maybe it's something you might want to try? If you do or if you have in the past - post a comment I'd be really interested in what your experience is.

The only thing I can see that's still unresolved though is the fact that it took an hours worth of bowling before I got in The Zone. I've still got to explore whether it will make any difference if I bowl for half an hour before going onto the pitch and then whether if my chance to bowl comes an hour into the match will I still be In the Zone?

There's some useful stuff in this link about Shane Warne and the way he was coached. I found the advice to bowl at or just slightly off of leg stump useful. Have a look -

And more ....

Friday, May 25, 2007

6 Days to go............

It looks like we’ve got a game on our hands with Sports Science. Several of them as expected are quite handy with the bat – Dean, Gavin, the big bloke with the sandy coloured hair and ‘Conan’ the Kiwi. Dean was especially good hitting 2 or 3 sixes and he’s their wicket keeper and he’s good at that as well. Looking for positives it looks like our strength is going to be our bowling and sooner we get Rod in the team the better. It’s going to be pretty difficult and if our bowling is ineffective we’ll lose it because they’re good in the field as we expected they would be – taking catches and running balls down, backing up, good and accurate throwing with lots of trying to throw the ball at the stumps while the batsman is running and being successful – full commitment.

The bowling was pretty one dimensional being medium pace but they do have a ringer who may bowl leg-spin so we might be in trouble there?

Other than that we won SEEC v SEEVIC with Richard and me making contributions to the wicket taking. Richard caught one off of Conan’s bowling in the slips – slower ball hitting it up in the air. I did a similar loopy ball when I was bowling and that was caught at cover point by Gavin. Batting - both me and Ricahard went for Ducks. But I've got to say in Richards defence he was possibly the unluckiest bloke in town. He had a ball sit up nice for him and he copped hold of it nicely. Unfortunately there was a bloke standing at somewhere between silly point and silly mid-off and the ball went straight at him at chest level and hit the bloke sqaure in the middle of his chest - he didn't even have time to get his hands there, but the ball bounced out of his chest probably having hit him at 70mph and he had the determination and constitution to try and catch if off the rebound and he did!

My bowling was a bit ragged and too long and for some reason I just couldn't do those super fast flippers that I normally do and my wrong uns which I reverted to were crap as well. I didn't do the little jump thing that's needed and it all went pear shaped.

What I have got to overcome as a bowler is the tendency to bowl crap with my first and often only over. Somehow you've got to be in there doing it from the outset - it maybe that as I'm new to this I'm overcome with the excitement of being given the opportunity to bowl on top of being nervous in case I get it wrong. Because it is slow it's obvious that the batsman is going to attack the ball and you are going to give runs away - but then that's a part of the whole deceit thing. It's like the bloke that got me today -one went really wide and he said..
"You didn't fancy that then"? He then bowled a straight one through the air that didn't turn when it hit the deck and I defended it okay. The third ball looked safe as well but then hit my body around about hip height and glanced off and hit the stumps - gutted - a duck. But the bloke looked confident and was chatty and I think this is something we don't do that we need to step up. I noticed sports science all the way through were very positive - especially Gavin, but with some ribbing when players fielded the ball a bit slowly.

So how do i resolve the bowling thing? Could it be rectified by bowling before the match starts? Would that be sufficient if I was to bowl 4 or 5 overs before the game started - and then what if I didn't get to bowl for over an hour later? I feel that if I was to bowl I'd like to do it with 2 spells of 3 overs allowing me to draw the batsman in, but you know that as a spin bowler you are going to concede runs. I suppose in the short term I've got to somehow get over the nerves thing and get straight into the groove, so I'm going to have to try the practice and then not bowl for an hour thing and see if it works - or do the thing where in the 2 overs running up to your over the rest of the team throw the ball back to you on the way back to the current bowler, so that you get a chance to warm up a bit.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

7 Days to go........

No cricket tonight ended up working late at the college. Some good news as far as Richard and me are concerned. Earlier today I mentioned to Gavin (the captain of Sports Science) that a few of us might go over to Welstead and watch them playing SEEVIC (Another FE college in the Southend area). The impression I've got of SEEVIC's team is that they're quite a strong team, they turned down the chance of playing us and I get the impression that they might be a specialist college when it comes to Sports? So.... later in the day I had an Email from Gavin saying that they were short of players, so I offered my services to him and then spoke to Richard and he said he was up for it as well. We checked it out with Gavin and sure enough he's going to give us a knock - which was nice.

So Sainsbury and me - we're going to be playing SEEVIC tomorrow night at Welstead 20/20. Chances are we're going to be down at the bottom order so we may not get a bat, but it'll be good to be out there fielding at least and perhaps I might to throw some balls - Wrong Un's, Sliders, Over-spinners and the dreaded Flippers? I'm liking my combo's of Flippers down the off side followed up with a big old wrong-un which catches them out with either hitting it up in the air cos it's short or it just turns into the stumps. The flippers leading up to it aint so easy either. Unlikely that I'll get a chance but it'll be good if I do?

The other good thing is I'll be able to get the inside story on Sports Science - are they beatable?

Hopefull while we're over there I'll be able to find my glove and stumps and pay off Gillian for the teas as we've still got that to do.

So MPA first eleven barmy army - instead of going down O'Neils or the Courtyard or whatever it's called come and have a look at the opposition for next Friday!

Sports Science
Friday 25th May
Welstead Gardens
20/20 Match
5.30 start?

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

8 Days to go

Tonight I went over to Great Berry and prepared the wickets for the weekend - so there's another job that I do - Green Keeper! I cut two wickets so there's a choice. They've both been cut too long so that there's an option of positioning the stumps so that I can bowl into the rough with my Wrong Un's. I had a quick go and it seemed okay, but I couldn't get as much turn on the ball as I did last night, but then again I wasn't warmed up or anything. I'll look forward to having a go next week.

No-one as yet has mentioned going along and supporting Sports Science and seeing how good they are. I want to go as I also want to see if I get my stump back. The stump I was bowling to at the start of the match in the outfield is one of the stumps from my best set. Who-ever it was who removed it didn't put it back with all the other gear and now it's missing and Welstead say they've not seen it. Rumour has it someone put it down next to the screen? Gutted.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

9 Days to go

I spoke to Gavin today and Ronnie Bridges from Sports Science and they've got a match at Welstead this Friday a 20/20 match against SEEVIC college. So they're obviously getting into the swing of things and it'd be interesting to go down there and give them some support and also have a look at their players and see how handy they are? What do you reckon I know Naughty's up for it and I might go along it'll make a change from going to O'Neils?

But... and this also applies to our fixture on June 1st. Welstead have a private function going on at the same time Friday night and the bar has been hired out so the procedure is you have to send someone in with a list of what you want and someone will bring the beers out to us on the patio which is a shame but we can work round it?

We have got a scheduled practice for this Sunday at Great Berry 10.00 am till 1.00pm (£5.00 subs) and it's the last opportunity to practice (Especially catching) before the sports science match the following Friday. But for the first time ever I'm probably going to have to let you all down and not be there as I'm going camping with my family. Which is a shame because I know the Great Berry Lads are going to be there and want to join in with a view to being in the team. One of them 'Chris' Has definitely got a place in the team on June 1st to replace Rod.

Someone will have to come and collect all the gear on Thursday night or Saturday morning form me.

At the moment there's two wickets designated the newer one does seem slightly flatter than the old one, but on Thursday night I'll probably mow both of them ready for Sunday. What I am going to do is shift the old wicket slightly towards the 'Pavillion' and further north so that the muddy patch ends up where my Wrong Uns land so I can experiment with pitching them into the rough. This will also be useful as there's a rough bit that causes the faster balls to pitch up dangerously as it is at the moment and shifting it may have alleviate that?

We had a good session tonight especially me with my bowling as my wrong-uns were really turning well and I took several wickets which was good inlcuding Nakul a few times. As well as the Wrong Uns the sliders were working nicely as well. Alex you gotta let me have my quota on June 1st somewhere around the 4th or 5th man - I'll take wickets!

Oh yeah I ordered us a score book £15 and it's good for a 100 games.

Monday, May 21, 2007

I've been talking tactics today with people in the know and been given some pointers, I'll email them around as I know Gavin has a look at the blog occasionally. Other than that this was a good link on the website tonight
Sorry about the misinformed batting and bowling figures on the blog yesterday, but I'm still waiting for Richard to get his mate Clive to send us copies of the stats.
I've also found where to buy the scoring books on the internet - shall I order one?

Sunday, May 20, 2007

10 Days to go.....

The countdown begins........

The next match is a 20/20 match with Sports Science.....

Friday 1st June
Welstead Gardens
5.30 Start
20/20 Match
MPA first XI
Sports Science first XI
This is match 1 of a series of 3 matches the 2nd match is on Friday 15th July same time same venue and the final is July 1st (Sunday). The Sunday match is a 50 overs match. I reckon now having played the 30 0vers match we might limit it to 40 overs?
The only scheduled practice prior to this is for ....
Sunday May 27th - Great Berry Open Space 10.00 - 13.00 hrs £5.00 fee
So make sure you're there!

The day of the match

Bad day yesterday - after frantic phone calls to a number of people we still haven't got an 11th man or a 12th man. Furthermore I rang Gillian at Welstead and I've got to ring her again today at 10.30 to get the go ahead as they're still uncertain about the pitch condition due to the recent rain....
"If it rains over night the match may be cancelled - ring me at 10.30".
It hasn't rained it's a beautiful sunny morining with blue skies - I reckon it's on.

We need an 11th Man

If there's anyone out there today that reads this blog that plays a bit of cricket come along to welstead gardens in Westcliff and join in please? First come first served basis or ring me (See previous blog for mobile No.

08.37 - first phone call of the day - memebers of the MPA1stXI Barmy Army ringing up for postcodes to put in their SATNAV's. This was Carl Hodgson's wife so that means Carl will be at the game possibly so if he's there he may be persuaded to play - but no-where near guaranteed as an option? Still need the 11th man......


The pitch is available and it's on - still no 11th man though. I'm sure you're all thinking that's not a problem - but I reckon it is - imagine if Nakul was our 11th man - the blokes just been out and spent in excess of £200 on gear so that he can be involved just to then be told that he can't play cos the other team couldn't get their act together to field 11 players. It's just not cricket. I reckon it's a poor show on our behalf and I'm still trying to get that 11th man.


It's all over and finished. I've just finished washing up all the plates and stuff, done an equipment check counted all the money and now it's time to assess the outcome.

I don't know where to start - suppose it makes sense to start at the point I left of before I left the house. After flying around buying cutlery and making more phone calls trying to get the 11th man sorted I eventually arrived at the caterers house and picked up the food. It looked okay and only just fitted in the car what with all the other gear. Picked Thomas up and more or less arrived at Welstead on time Nakul was already there waiting, Mark Soye was already in the bar! Got all the gear out of the car and then tried to get other people to move the tables around to the playing area and to take the scoreboard down from the wall and put it in front of a marquee that someone had not taken away that was obscuring the view from the clubhouse. Eventually people started to turn up (albeit late), some had somehow not thought to look at maps of how to get there and I had to answer phone calls giving direction. Then out of no-where I got a call from my mate Boffa (He's a 'Tilb' - me and him used to be Surfing Mods back in the day - scooter rallies, The Jam, Surfing in Cornwall and the likes) asking if we needed an eleventh man. He'd seen the blog (Been watching it for months now) and the call to arms and then rang Michelle and got my number offering to do the job if Michelle didn't mind trying to look after his 2 little kids. This was at about 12.45 he said he'd just have to feed his kids and he'd be on his way and he'd get there ASAP. Fortunately the Aussies and Kiwis had already spoken to us and said it'd be better if we played a 30 over match and they didn't mind if we made the choice as to what we preferred to do e.g. field or bat first. They were laid back about the whole thing and themsleves were looking for their 11th man. We decided to field.

1.30 was drawing close and then Boffa turned up to save the day. Their 11th man had also arrived, so we were ready. As usual there was the farce of collecting money from people and what with trying to sort the food out and the scoring and people asking me and telling me this that and the other I lost track of who paid what. So it's going to have to come down to honesty as to who's paid and not paid.


I'm fairly certain everyone has paid for their shirts. If you've not can you do so - They're £5.00.

Match fees for today were £5.00 so if you haven't paid - again can you do so sometime this week please.

The other team all paid £3.00 towards the food and other costs, this it seems is the going rate, but if we'd had to pay for the venue as well, we'd have been left short. The primary reason for this is that we paid a caterer to do the food and the food alone cost us £66. So this needs to be looked at and I'll bring this up again later in the blog.

Having done the accounts the situation is that we should have £103.39. But there's a shortfall and if no-one comes forward with the money they owe - I as the treasurer as such (who should have whilst doing everything else should have kept a tally of who was giving me what) will have to make up the shortfall out of my own pocket.

The Game

The sun was out there was no rain and at last it all came together - 7 months of training about to be put to the test. First though let's explain who we're playing. A bunch of Aussies and Kiwi's who you'd imagine just by being from that part of the world might be half decent anyway? Add to that the team has been together for 4 years and that some of their players who they use to make up their team are ex-league players with years of experience and youngsters who play for local clubs in the area and no doubt their schools. So it was a bit of an ask compared to our teams credentials!

So in they went and they were good. I haven't got the stats as they'll be sent to me soon if Richard can liaise with their captain. But one of their blokes (a 15 year old) scored 100 and another scored 50. The bloke that scored the 100 was dropped in the first or second over by our wicket keeper Richard, I dropped him later at backward point and it went along like that. Several of us dropped the ball and allowed them to dominate completely. Words from the spectators is that initially they were really impressed with our fielding and backing up and were saying things like 'Whoa! This isn't what we were expecting it looks like we might have a game on here'. As we were pretty committed and running and diving around trying to stop them from getting fours and it was working to some extent. But once we'd dropped 5-7 balls mostly off of their key batsmen they could see it was going to be an easy ride. Anyway without the score sheet they lost 5 wickets and scored 240 something I think we stopped them from getting the 250 and we were quite happy with that and that's what we expected.

Some people made some valiant attempts to stop the ball which was really impressive. Nakul tried to catch a ball that was hit hard and it was still going reasonably straight from the bat as he attempted to catch it almost on the boundary - man that must have hurt. He stopped another having just bowled that was hit straight at him. Mark Soye dived for few and hurt himself. I dropped 3 that apparently were easy ( 2 were and I should have had them) But one of them bounced funny off a lump and I dug my fingers into the grass at high speed attempting to scoop under it and have brusied one of them.

Boffa caught a nice one off of Thomas's bowling, but the other were all bowled by Badger and Nakul (2 each) both slower bowlers.


We opened with Simon and Richard, Richard went early and Thomas too (Both with 1 run apeice). Nakul came in and scored our highest run total with 19. Simon stayed in for ages a la Geoffrey Boycott and score a handful of runs. Boffa had a good and again scored a few and then me I scored 9 I think way short of what I wanted 25, but this was in the 25th over and we needed to make runs so I wasn't being particularly cautious. I then had to be the umpire which isn't something I was hoping to do and Badger came out and on one of his first balls, the wicket keeper had his bails away while his bat was in the air, it was close (Sorry badger - but he did get you). Mark did okay he scored a few runs and Trevor as well. We still had 2 men standing as the 30th over was completed and we scored 72 runs.


It was our first game ever and most of us have never played cricket in our lives before Nov 2006. The rest of us haven't played cricket since school and that means 15 years ago or more in some peoples cases. One of our better players who bowls and bats well (Rod Jeanes) wasn' there either. Overall we reckon we did quite well and if we'd have caught those 5-7 balls it would have been a different game because by the 4th man out they were looking not so clever. In all of our practice sessions we've never practiced catching balls and I personally would like someone to show me or explain to me how you do it without it killing your hands! We also noted that they fielded and kept wicket in a far more aggressive manner. The fielders right from the start were close in asking the question can you get it past us? In future we'll adopt the same strategy and then if we find it does go past us we'll move out. I also noticed in the first over they had 5 or six men in slips positions as well and then changed that once they knew we could bat slightly. They were also better on their toes and a lot more lively than us - we looked sluggish (Speak for yourselves). They also were chatty and well up for sledging making quacking noises and calling people bunnies. So that's something we've got to do as well.

I asked one of the bloke just before the end whether we were the worst team they'd played and he said no. "You're just being polite" I countered.

"Yeah I am". He replied.

The next match...

We all came away with a positive sense of we've been beat but it was a very steep learning curve and that there was a lot we can take away and look at and make changes with. The other team said that their first game was similar but you soon learn. So I think we're now looking to do an awful lot better against Sports Science. We can see what we did wrong and look to put those things right over the next 10 days. Sports Science are not a team that have been together for 4 years and their team is made up of people who play football with a few that do play cricket. So it's not going to be easy, but it wont be as difficult as the match we've just played. We've also got to keep in mind that it's going to be 20/20 so that means a far more aggressive batting approach. I can't wait!


We only screwed up on one thing - we didn't clap the new batsmen onto the pitch. And we didn't make cucumber sandwhiches.

Equipment loss

At the start of the game I set up a single stump and was bowling at it - it was from my better set (the Slazenger set) does anyone recall what happened to it as it hasn't come back with me and I'm gutted.

Now for the moaning

Hey it wouldn't be me if I didn't moan! The organising and getting all the crap together I kind of feel it was all down to me. Loads of people moan about different aspects of the way this come together and how different people performed etc, why were people late, where was our score sheet? Why wasn't anyone doing the scores on the board? Why don't the rest of the team know what a leg bye is or understand that you swap ends at the end of the over etc - blah blah blah. Admittedly most of the points are things that I moaned about. But nothing is ever going to get done unless someone has a sense of collective responsibility. I was mortified at the prospect that we weren't going to field 11 men because of the reasons mentioned above and the fact that it's just rude. I was sitting here this morning thinking I can't believe that none of you - what with being so much younger than me can't get one of your mates to come along and join in? because when I was your age I'd have had 20 blokes to have called on that would have probably said yes. Just so happens one of those blokes even though I've not seen him in 2 years and he's got kids and he's in his 40's still did the kind of thing we used to do as mates back in the day he stepped forward and made himself available and saved if not our embarassment certainly mine. Well done Boffa - Good on ya!

So (I know this is a waste of time but here goes) I reckon we should allot different roles to people.

Stats & Scoring Blokes x 2

Someone who can use MS Excel and sort out an official scoring book for future use, They're about £12 & you can get them from the cricket and Hockey website. Your job would be to collate scores and understand the rules regarding byes, leg byes, wides and No balls. On match days you'd be involved with the other teams scorers and bewteen the 2 of you keep the scores and keep the scoreboard up to date.

Food Bloke

Someone who organises the food. This means sourcing the food/catering putting it out to tender trying to get a better deal than £66 for the job if sourced out to another caterer. Or buying the food yourself and cooking preparing it yourself or with someone that could help you. Liaising with the venue, arranging the teas (I've just realised I've got to pay Welstead for the tea as I've forgotten to do so - so our balance is £22 less than listed above) and refridgeration/storage/timing/staff etc so that

  • Arrange Teas
  • Arrange food/catering
  • Transportation of food to venue
  • Tendering food out
  • Storage
  • Refridgeration
  • Timing
  • Staff
  • Cutlery and plates
  • Clearing up
  • Getting dishes and plates back to the caterer (Clean)
  • Arranging and negotiating the other teams contribution for food
  • Collecting the money off of the other team
  • Handing money back to the treasurer
  • Keeping track of and producing receipts

Treasurer Bloke

Main job will be to ensure everyone knows what they have to pay for and how much it is and that they pay it on the day.

  • Set rates for practice and game fees
  • Collect and keep the money
  • Update Excel spreadsheet with Expenditure and Income
  • Distribute spreadsheet and accounts
  • Liaise with team on spending
  • Monitors attendance
  • Be creative with ideas to raise cash*
  • * I liked the idea of fines for bad fielding (50p).

    Venue & Opposition coordinator bloke

This involves looking at venue options - communicating with the team and sorting their availability and matching up with the match dates

  • Arranging matches - dates and times
  • Sorting maps out for team
  • Visting the venue
  • Arranging fees and payment (With treasurer)
  • Phone No.s and staff contacts at Venues
  • Dealing with Groundsman re cancellations (Weather)
  • Checking the weather and communicating with team
  • Checking scorboards availability
  • Drinking up times
  • Gates opening and closing arrangements
  • Changing rooms availability
  • Liaise with opposition captain re times/dates/balls


I don't know how many people we need to do this but it seems like at least 3

  • Learn the rules
  • Learn the signs or get some walkie talkies
  • Arrange for 3rd party umpires Alex's Dad or Tony Sweeney

Equipment coordinator bloke (I'll do this as it's 90% my own gear)

Someone who makes sure we've got all the gear going to the venue and coming back from the venue. Keeps it in good order etc.

  • Makes sure gears available and in good conditions
  • Monitors need to purchase new equipment
  • Makes sure it's all collected and returned after use

Hopefully you'll have reached the end of this and you'll understand now that I need some help as I did this almost all on my own this time! Offers would be appreciated. Other than all that it was still a brilliant day and I can't wait till the next one on June 1st. The next big one e.g. a Sunday match will be the final with Sports Science on July 1st. So some help with that will be appreciated. The interim games with Sports Science will not include food and most of the arrangement are in place. Finally.......

Thanks to

Alex's Dad for umpiring, anyone who lent anyone else equipment, thanks to all those who came and supported, thanks to the WAG's who looked after and co-ordinated the kids and put up with us disappearing for practice sessions for hours on end and I think out of everybody the person we should thank the most is my mate Boffa (Steve Millbank) for the reasons previously listed.


Friday, May 18, 2007

How to get there - Welstead Gardens

Take the A127 heading towards Southend. Before you reach the big Tesco store and the new Bank of Scotland building on the roundabout there's a right hand turn (Slip road), take this following the signs for the A1158. The road runs parrallel to the A127 and then follows a bend round to the right into Westbourne Grove. Follow this road and go across one junction and at the next junction with Prittlewell Chase turn right. The second left along this road is Welstead Gardens. The entrance is fairly hidden looking like a tarmac alley way on the right hand side. It's advisable not to park within the cricket pitch as your car could get damaged. The gates wont be open till 12.30.

Urgent Message - For Chris & friends

Chris - you've got the place as the 11th man. I'll try and call your Dad at some point before 11.00 tomorrow and speak to him and make sure this is okay.

If you can either you or your Dad ring me or text me on 07708 416012 before 11.00 to confirm that you'll be able to play Sunday. If possible could you and both your mates also attend the net practice at 11.00 at James Hornsby school as I'd like the rest of the team to meet you them and see you all bowl - not that I want to put any pressure on you - but you might end up being our opening bowler!

Ideally your other mates could come along to the match as well as we need a 12th man and they both look equally as good as you.

What we'll do in the short term is not charge you or your mates for the net practice session this Saturday, but we'll expect you to pay the fiver for the match on Sunday. We'll be able to offer you another guaranteed match on Friday June 1st - 20/20 match 5.30 start at Welstead Gardens.

There after our usual 11th man is back off holiday. This then poses a problem in that we'd really like all three of you on the team, but the team is made up of blokes that have been practicing (And paying subs) since last November and therefore by virtue of commitment to the club they've guaranteed their places in the first 11 throughout the rest of the season. That means all three of you would be additional members and this season you'd only get a knock in the event that one of the regular 11 couldn't make a match.

I can only suggest that if you are interested in joining us you'd have to start paying and turning up for all of the practice sessions (After June 1st) in the same way as we all do and all three of you would be competing for any vacancies that arise this season. You'd get the place by virtue of attendance at the formal practice sessions and in the event of you all being equally committed we'd then have to rotate you.

The good news for the winter and next season is that 2 of our players are going on round the world trips for a year and therefore there'd be two regular places vacant as from August/Sept time this year.

As off Mid October we might have to look at the way team selection is conducted e.g. do people get to play the matches next summer by virtue of committment to the club (Attendance at the practice sessions) only or could there be some kind of attendance plus skills and abilities factor included? Mulling it over I'm inclined to stick with the current situation - but make it clear that we start afresh mid October - so you'll be prioritised by virtue of attendance. Everybody will be clear what the rule is - the more you attend the more you'll get a game in the summer.

1 Day to go.............

As you can see we still haven't got a full team and there's going to be some desperate phone calls made tomorrow trying to get the 11th and 12th man sorted. It did look like we wouldn't have an umpire as our umpire has had an emergency to deal with this weekend, but Alex's Dad has offered which is brilliant - so thanks Mr Wood (Who I know looks in on the blog sometimes)!

The weather looks like it might hold out so we're keeping our fingers crossed.

Tomorrow the attendance at the nets isn't going to be that good as most of the Southend contingent can't make it because of car issues - which is worrying as they're going to be going straight into a confrontational situation without any recent practice. Hopefully we'll have ....

The 3 Great Berry lads
Me (Dave)

Hopefully no-one will get injured and we'll be ready to face the Aussies & Kiwis. I'll have the shirts so don't forget £5 for a shirt and £5 for the practice session.

Alex will also have the batting order sorted and strategies.

Personally seeing how good the three Great Berry Lads are I feel we've got an uphill task ahead of us. It could be that this team has been playing every weekend and we're under the impression that they've already existed as a team for 2 seasons - so they may be a bit handy? But then again they might be a team of sloggers that do very little in the way of practicing with their bowling? In which case we're in with a shout as I think we can bowl and if they're looking to knock every ball for six they're going to come unstuck. Then if their bowling is weak we might be able to notch up some runs.

I can't wait and I'm sure you're all like me and you've got targets you want to achieve. I'll be happy to get 25 runs - hoping that everyone else does the same and we score at least 275. If I get the chance to bowl I want to take at least one wicket and if I got 2 I'd be well pleased if they came cheap. I'm going to be fully committed trying to limit runs, trying to catch balls and being an integral part of the fielding - I want to be our Collingwood in the field and Shane Warne when I'm bowling and batting.

Lets do this thing!

Thursday, May 17, 2007

front foot drive

Check this out

2 Days to go

2 days to go and things are still all up in the air! We're still in a situation where we've got 10 men but there's hoards of blokes waiting to take up the final two places. What do we do? The captains no where to be seen and management decisions need to be made. Options available to us....

Chris and his mates - 3 sixteen year old blokes who all play for their school and have been playing competitive cricket for a couple of years and all bowl very fast and very accurately. Chris is in the queue first as he came forward first.

Thomas has got a bloke that might be up for it - he's played a bit of cricket.

Alex has got a mate who's an Aussie that's played a bit of cricket who might be interested.

Personally I'd go for Chris and his mates as they're available and practicing with Nakul and me every night over at Great Berry.

But then if we sign them up as such we'll be in a situation where we'll have 14 blokes all wanting to play cricket come the next match on June 1st. What do we do then?

Rain stops play.......

Watching the BBC weather report it looks like we may get luck with the weather on Sunday. But the ground is damp underfoot and even if it doesn't rain Friday and Saturday the ambient temperature is only going to be 20 degrees so the chances of the ground drying out are fairly slim. Now I don't know what kind of conditions cause groundsmen to call off cricket matches or whether Welstead Gardens cover the wicket when it rains, but I've had an email saying that I've got to ring Welstead mid-day on Saturday to find out whether the match is on or not. I've got a feeling that if that there's any chance that they might be justified in calling it off they will because Sunday is over-time for the staff there and I don't think they get paid double time or anything.

Contingency Plan.......

If that happens - the food will still have been paid for and will be made unless we say don't bother, but I can't see the caterer giving us a refund in full. So I suggest that if that does happen and it's not actually raining we all pile over to Great Berry and have a knock about there all afternoon and a bit of a picnic. If someone's got a gazeebo or two bring them along, maybe a Bar B Que - the pitch isn't too far from the railway station so people could come by train and have a drink? It's a chance for all the team to meet up and also see these Lads bowl, field and wicket and put us old blokes to shame. Come on you know you wanna!

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

MPA 1st XI team constitution

It seems that we're now sourcing our players from a wider circle of people. Initially it was just MPA staff (South East Essex College) and their direct friends but because of the fact that we're practicing outside we're being approached by people that just want to have a game of cricket and not have to make the kind of commitment you do when you want to join a team that is affiliated to a league.

Because of this increased interest and the potential to grow into something slightly bigger I've decided that we need to produce some kind of description of what we are, what we're doing and what we're about, especially in view of the fact that we may be on the verge of allowing under 18 players to join us.

We are primarily FE Education lecturers that work at South East Essex College, Southend. Currently seven members of the team are drawn from the college and we all work and lecture in Media (Photography, Music Technology, Film and Media studies) and as such we all hold CRB certificates. The remainder of the team are friends or ex students form the college. The age range is 23 - 46.

The majority of us have never played cricket before and the rest have played cricket at different levels whilst at school. The team was formed in Nov 2006 and we've spent the winter practicing in the nets and recently through the spring out on Great Berry Open Space. Half of the team are based in Southend, the other half in Basildon and one from London.

Club Cricket Conference grading criteria would have us described as ....

‘Weak’ - Probably a one-off side with very occasional players or sides with four or more vets/colts or a club’s 3rd or 4th X1 with a ‘give everyone a game policy’.


To hold together as a team through to the end of this season and then review what will happen over the winter period (I'm expecting the team to continue into a second winter nets period).


We have currently 4 fixtures through May up till July 1st. As of mid July because most of us work in education and we'll be on holiday through to Mid August. We'll then be looking to arrange more fixtures through August to early October. (See Blog for fixture dates).

Equipment & Finance

Most of the equipment is mine and I'm quite happy to let people use it, but as it wears out I do expect it to be replaced. During the winter we practice at James Hornsby school in the nets every fortnight (2 hours) and this costs £70. Cricket pitches have hire fees, Home matches (We've not had any away matches) dictate that we supply teas and the balls for the match and there are the ocassional miscellaneous costs. Therefore we've adopted a system whereby we pay subscription fees

£5.00 each to attend formal summer practice sessions
£10.00 fee for Sunday matches 50 overs
£5.00 fee for Friday matches 20/20
£10.00 fee for net practice sessions

Formal summer practice sessions
Schedule -

  • Saturday 19th May - James Hornsby School (Net Practice) £5.00 fee, 11.00 - 12.00am
  • Sunday May 27th - Great Berry Open Space 10.00 - 13.00 hrs £5.00 fee
  • Sunday June 10th - Great Berry Open Space 10.00 - 13.00 hrs £5.00 fee
  • Sunday June 24th - Great Berry Open Space 10.00 - 13.00 hrs £5.00 fee

Sunday May 27th falls on the Whitsun Bank holiday subject to how many people may be away that weekend as it's the bank holiday this session may be cancelled or re-scheduled.

Formal practice sessions should be attended by all team members as this is our primary way of raising funds and is essential for training and team selection.


  • Sunday 20th May - Welstead Gardens (Aussies & Kiwis match) 12.30 - 50 overs match £5.00 fee
  • Friday 1st June - Welstead Gardens (Sports Science Match) 5.30pm 20/20 match. £5.00 fee
  • Friday 15th June - Welstead Gardens (Sports Science Match) 5.30pm 20/20 match. £5.00 fee
  • Sunday 1st July - Welstead Gardens (Sports Science Match) 12.30pm 50 overs match. £10.00 fee

The cash raised through the match and practice fees goes towards equipment such as stumps, bails, balls. Catering for the matches and pitch hire. We're currently discussing the option of buying team helmets and how practical that is. Any surplus money at the end of the season we're hoping to have an event such as a team Bar B Que.

I issue a statement as to how much money we have in the kitty after each practice session and anyone wishing to have the excel spreadsheet sent to them showing the accounts and how the money is being spent only has to ask and I'll send them the current spreadsheet.

Under 18 policy

As we're not affiliated to any league or formal cricket organisation we're not subject to the rules laid down by the ECB. Having stated that it's probably sensible to adopt as many of the rules as we can with regards to H&S. Therefore.

  • Under 18's must adhere to the ECB rules regarding the wearing of helmets and abdominal protection in competitive games.
  • Under 18's must provide the captain with a letter of consent from the parents indemnifying the team against any responsibility for injury occuring during normal match play acknowledging that the matches will be played with adults.
  • Team members of the MPA 1st XI will offer to the parents on request CRB certificates. (2 normally required as per ECB rules).

Decisions regarding how the team is run is usually by general consensus after discussion during practice sessions. If you want a say in how it's run and how the money is spent you will need to be involved.

Dave Thompson

Tuesday, May 15, 2007


I take it that the scoring is going to be done by the team who are batting overseen by the opposing teams 12th man? We need to ascertain whether everyone is aware of the scores and how they're alloted - I'm not totally clear on leg byes. Is it if ball isn't collected by the wicket keeper and the batsmen run they get the run - but it's not acredited to the batsman it's an extra? Also if the ball runs off to the boundary they get a four and any runs between the stumps? So they could potentially get five or six runs.

Other daft questions - include if you're at the strike end and the end of the over comes do you then end up in the non strike end or does everyone swap ends including the batsman so he still maintains the strike position?

When is a 'wide ball' called?

A wide ball does not count as one of the bowler's six legitimate balls in one over.
It is the umpire's job to decide when a wide ball has been bowled.
A wide ball will be called when the batsman, playing a normal stroke, is unable to reach the ball. This can apply to a bouncer above head height.
However a ball cannot be called wide if:
It is out of the batsman's reach as a result of him moving away from it.
The batsman can bring the ball within reach by playing a conventional stroke.
The ball touches the batsman's bat or any part of his body.
The umpire will signal a wide ball by raising both arms at shoulder height and the bowler must bowl another legitimate delivery.
For every wide ball the fielding team is penalised one run.
This run, along with any other runs gained as a result of the wide ball, is added to the batting team's tally of extras and does count against the bowler's individual figures.

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Understanding byes and leg byes

If a legitimate ball passes the batsman without touching his bat or his body, any runs completed are credited as 'byes'.
If a legitimate ball misses the bat but touches the batsman's body, any runs completed are credited as 'leg byes'.
Runs completed off a bye or leg bye, including boundaries, are added to the extras tally of the batting team but they are not credited against the bowler.
In order for a leg bye to be awarded the umpire must deem that the batsman either attempted to play a stroke or tried to avoid being hit by the ball.
If the umpire considers that the batsman did neither of these then a dead ball is called and no runs can be scored.

Shirt News, Helmets & Money

I've been out and bought shirts - so when you want to buy yours you'll need to come and see me direct as I've bought the shops supply. So far people with shirts -


People without shirts....

Badger (unless he bought his own)
The 11th Man
The 12th Man

The money situation is as follows - on Saturday a discussioon ensued at the end of the practice regarding what we would do about the Tea on Sunday. As it was Richard and Me were going to try and sort it out with me having to cook stuff on the Staurday before (remember I'm married with two kids that's more wives and kids than the rest of you with the exception of Rod and Thomas who don't get involved with any of this organising) and Richard doing some of the buying and preparing as well. Thankfully the rest of the team saw fit to realise that was potentially unfair and said we'd organise a caterer (Which we'd already looked into and got a quote for) so they went for the caterer we'd already contacted. So for £66 we've got someone who's going to sort all the food out and Welstead are going to supply endless/pots cups of tea for £22.

The Catering takes our cash balance down to £46 (but there's still £20 owed by 2 of the team). There's a lot of people claiming to be skint so over this weekend (net practice and match) I propose we all pay £10 each which'll put us back into a figure of about £144 cash surplus. Simon has suggested we get 'Team Helmets' and there's a brand you buy off of the internet for £24 each. Question is how many and what size? Will people wear them as they're going to be mighty sweaty?

Can you buy helmet inners - that you could wear on your head before you put the sweaty helmet on? Consultation is needed.

Oh - and I just found this I think we've probably gone a bit over the top for our first attempt - but then too much is better than too little and we'll learn by our mistakes.

Monday, May 14, 2007


Blimey - 3 of the young blokes that live around the Great Berry area joined us tonight and threw a few balls. The first bloke Chris bowled me clean out 3 times in about 8 balls! Nakul and me just looked at each other with our jaws on the floor!

Then the other two who's names I've forgotten had a go and similarly they were fast and accurate. Now I thought Thomas was fast but these blokes were equally fast if not faster but also really accurate. But it gets better. While they were bowling one of the others (Who doesn't claim to be a wicket keeper - whereas Chris does) was wicket keeping with no helmet and no gum shields only a few yards back from the stumps and he was collecting the balls in almost darkness!

It was scary how good they were! So here we are as a team looking for 2 more blokes (possibly 3) and here's 3 young blokes all seemingly fit, agile and fast that already play cricket that look like they might be able to put us all to shame? Which is kind of worrying and makes me reflect on how bad we may actually be as a team? I'm now tempted to sign up this bloke Chris as the No.11 if he proves to be handy with the bat. Before he'd let rip with the bowling he'd said "I'm an average bowler" and he describes himself as an average batsman. So Nakul and me have invited them all over for the next few nights and we'll see how they do with the bat and we'll also face them with the bowling and see how long it takes to get used to them and see if they're tactical at all with their bowling.

But..... ECB rules dictate certain safety conditions when under 18's play in adult games...

9 Helmets
Any player under the age of 18 playing in any ECB
Competition must wear a helmet with a faceguard when
batting and when standing up to the stumps when
keeping wicket against a hard ball. If, in exceptional
circumstances, consent for a player not to wear a helmet
has been given in writing by a parent or guardian and
accepted by the club or County, that player must be
identified on the signed team sheet provided to the
umpires prior to the start of each match. Parental
consent cannot be given if a player under the age of
18 is playing in an adult match.


2 ECB Fast Bowling Directives
The ECB Fast Bowling Directives will apply to all
matches in all ECB Competitions subject to 2.1 below.
Age Maximum overs Maximum overs
per spell per day

U16, U17 6 overs per spell 18 overs per day
U18, U19 7 overs per spell 21 overs per day
For the purposes of these Directives a fast bowler is
defined as a bowler to whom a wicket keeper in the same
age group would in normal circumstances stand back
to take the ball.
Team Managers and/or Captains are responsible for
providing the umpires with a team sheet showing the
ages of any player who is aged Under 19 or below before
the toss for innings takes place.
Umpires are requested to ensure that this Playing
Condition is strictly adhered to in all circumstances.
2.1 In matches of 20 overs or less per team where the
competition regulations only allow bowlers to bowl less
than or equal to the number of overs specified as the
maximum in a spell in the Directives the provisions
requiring an equivalent number of overs from the same
end to have elapsed before a subsequent spell can
commence shall not apply (e.g. in any age group
competition where a maximum of 4 overs per bowler is
allowed these may be bowled at any time in the innings
irrespective of the number of spells bowled).

5.5 In addition any young player in the Under 16 to Under 18
age groups, who has not reached the age of 18, must
wear a helmet when fielding within 6 yards (5.5 metres)
of the bat, except behind the wicket on the off side.
Players should wear appropriate protective equipment
whenever they are fielding in a position where they feelat risk.

Team Kit

Tomorrow because of the fact that the time is running out and no-one else seems to give a **** about the Team Strip I'm going to spend my own money and buy 10 'Large' sized shirts and you can buy them all off me.

Check out my other blog here - this is all about Leg-spin bowling and nothing else. Double click on the image below.

Wicket Keeper Panic off

Having spoken to Richard he is still the wicket keeper!

Sunday, May 13, 2007

6 Days

Still 2 men short - including a wicket keeper

Quite a bit of rain today and there I was sitting there at 19.25 looking at the sunshine outside thinking - shall I take the roller over to Great Berry and roll it and see if I can get it any flatter? I suppose any improvement is going to be worth it so off I went. Rang Nakul on the way and he met me over there and we rolled the wicket at both ends. The ground despite the rain didn't seem that soft, but there was a bit of give in it, so it did seem as though we may have had some impact if only slight. From previous experience I've found that it stresses the grass and impedes it's growth, so even if it just has that affect I reckon it'll be worth it, as it means it may be less green and more dirt and hopefully help my flippers and leg spin?

Nakul's been out and about today and got some of his gear and he's been able to buy a longer sleeve version of our short sleeve shirts over at Primark Lakeside - so that may be worth looking into? It seems the same shirts are not available in Basildon, so we all need to get to either Lakeside or Southend to source the shirts ASAP - again if you want the short sleeve version let me know and I'll get them for you on Tuesday if you pay me back promptly.

If you're after gear including bats - try the big place on the Lakeside retail park (the name escapes me for the minute) they've got a big range including some bats in excess of £200 each.

6 Days to go and only a few more opportunities to get out there and practice - made all the more important because of the fact that Richards let us down with the wicket keeping and Rod's shooting off to Florida. If anyone wants to practice come and join Nakul and me over at Great Berry if the weather clears up a bit. We're generally there from 7.30 to 9.00 almost playing in darkness by the time we pack up. Since the practice on Saturday I feel a lot more confident in my own ability and in how the rest of the team will do also if you have a look at this link, I'm kind of given a boost in that we have been practicing and I'm not so sure this first team we're playing have been. Also if you have been using the links I've been putting on the blog teams like our always vary in their ability and I've got a sense this team is very similar to us. So I'm looking forward to an even match or one where we may dominate with the bowling.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

7 Days to go..............

Good day in the field for all

The weather looked ropey, I screwed up the net practice and there wasn't a lot of communication prior to everyone turning up - but it all came together brilliantly. We had 2.5 hrs out on Great Berry with no rain, wet under-foot and spongey but we got the practice in. We had four sets of stumps lined up with with everyone taking turns to face the bowlers for 15 minutes or so. We even did the thing were we set scenario's such as - You've got 6 balls left and you've got to score 10 runs in six balls to win the match In order to bowl and bat under pressure. That was good fun and got people going and a few people managed it which was good.

Alex (The Captain) said that my batting had developed and was showing such an improvement that I'd be further up the batting order, so I'm looking forward to the email to say where I'm going to be - I'm hoping 6 or 7?

Richard Bottles it

For some reason Richard's bottled it with regards to being the wicket keeper - I didn't catch why and this now leaves us with a big problem as there's no-one else to replace him. The only other people that have kept wicket with varying degrees of success have been Alex, Me and Simon and none of us were that good as we didn't expect to be dropped in this situation at the 11th hour otherwise we'd have done more of it and put the hours in to practice and besides we're all bowlers.

Long Range Weather forecast

It's still some way before next Sunday and you can check it out as the week progresses at use the synoptic charts as they're the most useful. As it stands tonight the chart for Sunday looks like this....
If you look closely the southern half of the UK is in the Yellow zone (warmer weather) in a high pressure anti-cyclonic system so that's good. The colder blue green cyclonic weather systems on this chart are moving north so by Sunday the warmer weather will be pushing in from the Atlantic probably dragging warm air from central Europe via the Balkans.

Next weeks nets

Next weeks on Saturday we'll have a formal practice in the nets. After a discussion today we'll be trying to get the nets for a 11.00hrs start and we'll only do an hour so as not to be knackered for the match the next day. We'll have 2 nets up with with each person having 15 minutes facing everyone else as bowlers - much the same as we did today. As it's the day before the match we'll waive the £5.00 charge and all pay £10 for the match fee the next day.

The Food situation

Consensus seems to be that we're happy to pay a caterer to do the food and this is going to cost us about £60 but it may be well over the top - but we'll see? We're going to have to pay Welstead £22 for tea - but it'll be unlimited it's the only way they're able to make money out of us.

The Bar shuts at 8.30 pm

I've got to check this as it might be that they want us off the premises by 8.30 pm.

Wanted - 2 Cricket Players (preferably ones that resemble Adam Gilchrists skills)

Gutted - one of our better players - Rod Jeanes 'The Aussie' isn't going to be able to make it to the first or 2nd match as he's on holiday so we need an 11th man and a 12th man still. What with Richard dropping his wicket keeping bombshell on us the 11th man would be good if he fanices or has experience at wicket keeping. (See next item).

New Kids on the Block

This evening Nakul and I had an hour and half of practice - batting and bowling and we were joined by a couple of youths (16 year olds) who fielded and kept wicket. Talking to them they said that they'd played on Great Berry last summer and that locally there was 4 of them that played cricket relatively seriously (School teams) and that they'd be up for joining us for our practices and I got the sense they'd be interested in joining the team. So if the weather holds off over the coming week they'll be joining Nakul and me and getting involved with our evening practice sessions. I'm thinking that if one of them is a wicket keeper and he also says he's handy with the bat - could he be our eleventh man? He'd have to get a helmet (ECB rules) but he might be who we're looking for?

Other than that - could this be the start of the MPA2ndXI ? Or the Great Berry First XI? They're definitely the real article as they have their own pads and bats so who knows?


Just had a look at the finance situation and we're currently in credit to the tune of £132.00 - that's assuming that on Monday Simon and Naughty pay in their £10.00

It's been agreed that we'll all buy our own shirts see previous entry, as it was decreed that we'd only pay £10 this week whereas I was hoping for £15. So the general rule from now on will be that formal practice sessions will cost everyone £5.00 (Even the last net session Saturday 19th May)

Our kit/strip

Just a quick update till later in the day when I can get on here properly. A good session today despite the threatening weather we had 2.5 hours without rain and 9 turned up so a real result.

So this is our kit. The shirts are £6.00 each and they're from Primark so get yourselves down there and buy yourselves a shirt. The team's not going to pay for it, so it's a case of buy it yourself or if you can't get to Primark bewteen now and Sunday email me and let me know your size and I'll get it for you and you can pay me back.

Either dark blue/black jogging bottoms or dark blue/black shorts.

If you buy a helmet go for Dark blue as well. They've got helmets in JJB Sports in Southend and Basildon, but they're not cheap - but then neither is a ball in the teeth at 70mph?

Don't forget - get yourself a box and if you can stretch to it cricket shoes with spikes - again you'll be buying them at the wrong time of year - i did post links back in November for a place on ebay that was selling them new for £10. The more protection you have the more confidence you'll have to face up to the fast balls and there's only going to be you and the other batsman out there when your batting amongst all the sledging and pressure, so the more you can do to boost your sense of confidence the better.

Friday, May 11, 2007

8 Days to go.........

A couple of screw ups first.

1. There wont be any net practice tomorrow as the school is using the hall and the caretaker did tell me about it and I just forgot. So the next and last net practice is Saturday 19th May the day before the match.

2. Rod Jeanes wont be playing in the game against the Aussies and Kiwi's so we need 2 more players - The 11th Man to replace Rod and a 12th Man in the event that someone doesn't turn up on the day. Suggestions and volunteers required.

Practice - Saturday 11th May

I'll try and ring round to everyone and let you all know that the net practice has been cancelled and that we will be out on Great Berry Open Space and under the threat of rain. We're not going to be playing a game more than likely setting up the stumps somehow maybe 2 - 3 lots of stumps and all having 15 minutes of batting practice rotating while everyone else bowls and collects the balls. Everyone needs to be clear on the idea of defending the stumps and your legs until the ball goes wide and then having a go at it. This is probably our weakest point in that some of us think it's just a case of whacking it. Hopefully it wont rain. The forecast is rain over night but between 10.00 and 13.00hrs it's cloudy/bright....

This is the chart for 10.00hrs on Sat 11th May. So we may get lucky.

Other than that me and Richard went over to Welstead tonight to have a look and it looks okay. The wickets a bit green for me but the rest of you will do okay. The outfield looks a bit irregular in shape and I'm not sure what they'll be designating the boundary on the day, I'll have to ask Gavin what they normally do there.

The bar will be open till 8.30 and then we're out it's normally shut at 6pm on a Sunday but Gillian at Welstead is getting the bar staff to stay longer.

I've done some pictures and post them on here later. The pitch isn't as small as I thought it would be and it's probably similar in size to our pitch at Great Berry and similarly there are some short boundaries and long ones (Unfortunately for me the long ones are in my favourite hitting zones.

I've heard that Sports Science have been taking the mick out of my obsessive desire to get this right particularly the etiquette aspects. I think I've got the food bit sorted now for the game on Sunday, but now Gillian at Welstead has thrown a spanner in the works for the friday matches. It seems she doesn't get there till 7.30 to open the gates to the field - but Dean has got the code and the keys to the field and the changing rooms so hopefully we'll all be able to pile over there at 5.00 pm approx and he'll open up and we can start. Gillian also said that on evening games it's unlikely that there'll be a food requirement - I'll have to check with Gavin....

Having checked out the food/tea situation it looks like we're going to call on volunteers to knock up some food. We need sandwiches, cakes, sausage rolls, quiche, a bit of salad and orange/barley squash to be sorted. The tea is going to be provided by Welstead as it's the only way that they're going to make any money out of us unless of course the match finishes early and money is spent in the bar.

Harrowdrive have good link tonight if you subscribe. There's a podcast between David Hinchcliffe and some bloke called Pat Legge who's a coach. Have a listen to it while you're doing something else, it's interesting and there's some good points that may help how we play and possibly train. There's some excellent points made about commitment and the attitude of English players at all levels compared with the Aussies.
Play Better Cricket -
Cricket coaching podcast

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Not long now..........

Not long now till the first game with the Aussies and Kiwis. The preparation is coming together and there's only a few things to iron out. Money - I need a fiver from everyone that was at the last practice and on Saturday It'll be a tenner so basically I need £15 off of everyone this Saturday which'll go towards the food on match day.

Team Sheet

Again to go over the team selection and no doubt at some point Alex is going to have to over the order in which we play, but as it stands it's still this....

Thomas Slater
Mark Soye
Richard Sainsbury
Rod Jeanes
Alex Wood
Simon Grainge
Dave Thompson
Nakul Handa

Personally having seen Nakul bat a bit I reckon he should be further up the order. If you're aware that someone in the team doesn't check the blog and might not realise the game is only just over a week away - can you text them or phone them to make sure they know and feed back to me whether they're going to be there please?

The 12th Man

We need a 12th man who might also serve as a scorer but also for injuries and in the event that someone doesn't turn up. Any ideas..... Customs Paul? Darren Hart? Either of you fancy it?

Last Net Practice & formal training opportunity

Needless to say this Saturday is our last opportunity to have any practice, hopefully you'll have all taken on board the advice in the links I posted in the last entry on the blog. We've only got an hour in the nets on Saturday at 10.00hrs so we need to be there early and set up and ready to go at 10.00hrs. If we all have 5 minutes each having the ball thrown at us that'll take up the hour, so we need to have the next person up and ready to bat while the first one is batting for his 5 minutes. Once you've batted you then do five minutes of ball collecting and then join the bowlers.

Everybody needs to understand that you face up to the bowler standing in front of the stumps and if the ball looks threatening you defend it. If it's going wide you hit it and do so in a way that it's not going to get caught, so try and keep it low. You need to move around using your feet to get into position to defend the ball or hit it, try and do this in practice. If you're afraid of being hit by the ball at this stage maybe crickets not for you or you need to think about getting a helmet and wearing a box, maybe even thigh pads or forearm pads?

Running between wicket only use the words Yes No and Wait don't say 'go' as it sound like 'no'

If the ball goes behind you - the other batsman calls as he can see where it's going, as you run you need to look where the ball has gone and be aware of how it's being fielded. In short have a look at the video links and watch them again and again until you know the drills.

Everyone needs to watch the fielding videos, don't watch East Enders or whatever crap there is on the tele get on-line and watch these videos over and over till you can recite the words like a living coaching manual. Then next week if you can get together with someone and practice even if it's tennis balls!

Umpires - LBW & Wides

Tony Sweeney is umpiring for us and they're providing the second umpire. LBW decisions it seems will be the most contentious point and I still need to consult with people as to what the consensus will be, some games at our level don't even include LBW as a rule because of the nature of how iffy the decisions can be. This is something we need to discuss before the match? See ref 6,7 and 8 Also note that there are issues regarding wides - anyone have any idea what might arise as an issue over wides? Do the umpires have specific roles?


The ball has been ordered for the match and it's been agreed that they'll supply another, hopefully they'll use the same Slazenger Crown Match ball. If we lose any balls it'll be down to using a cheap one as we usually do.

Match Fees & Food

There will be food and tea provided at the end of the first 50 overs. Someone will have to provide this, I'll be speaking to Gillian at Welstead tomorrow to see how much this is going to cost. Our match fees will be £10 each on the Sunday. The other team will be chipping in £3 each towards the food. Ideally we'd sort and bring our own food but I don't seem to have any volunteers to who are prepared to do this? I'll keep you posted as to what's happening regarding this.

Pitch inspection

I'm going to try and get over there tomorrow if possible either in the morning after about 11am or maybe later in the evening and have a look. In the images that are available it looks like a mud wicket free of grass, but it could be a green wicket at this time of year?

You Tube - Don't you just love it!

Here's a real non - cricket treat - give it a minute and it kicks in - literally! and there's tons of it! This could be a whole new blog subject!

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Cricket Training video links

I've found some good links to cricket 'How to' type videos - Batsmen have a look...

Also - Fielding tips

There's some really good basic advice at the end of this video about stopping balls and throwing balls - obvious stuff that should make a heap of difference, the one I liked regards picking up a ball that's roll towards you - keep your foot behind your hand so if it goes through your hand, your foots going to stop it.

fast Bowling

Wicket Keeping

Tactics - Captaincy

Acute Leg spin logistics

Most people even with a vague interest in cricket (As with me) know about the Shane Warne ball against Mike Gatting (June 1993). It was a leg spin ball that was pitched wide of leg seemingly so wide that it was safe and as we all know as soon as it landed it deviated off its natural line turning in so acutely that it went round the back of Gattings legs and took his bails off. Here's another example of Warnes bowling but the video quality is a lot better than the Gatting incident (See previous blog entry for that example)
The question I have is what are the conditions that are required to facilitate this kind of movement/deviation off of the natural line?

I'd love anyone out there that bowls leg spin - especially if you bowl flippers to comment and share your knowledge as to the combination of variables that enable this to happen. No-ones going to believe this for a second and I'm working on someone recording some footage of me doing it but - I can do this using the Flipper. Explanation of conditions...

Scenario 1. I practice for hours and hours and the flipper is my stock ball. Becuase of the time constraints and where I live etc one of the places I practice is a kids play area with a tarmac surface. The surface is not one of those smooth tramacs (I'll get a picture of it over the next few days) but it's flat and even. The ball I use is a hard plastic ball about the same weight as a cricket ball but the size of a 4.75oz ball (it may even be that weight). It has no seam and it's round, slightly pitted all over and scratched as you'd expect it would be.
I throw it the regulation distance 22 yards pitching it so that it lands 2'-3' wide of leg about 5 or 6 yards short of the stumps. I use a target so that I have a point to aim it at and it sometimes lands spot on target. Doing this - using the flipper not the Leg Spin I can get the ball to deviate off course so acutely that it comes across the face of the stumps and often goes wide of the off stump.

Scenario 2. Just across the way from where I live there's a football pitch and my obsession is such that over the last winter I rolled a section of the pitch flat in order that I can go over there set some stumps up and throw some balls. Rolling it has meant that the grass has been starved of oxygen (Compressed earth) and it is pretty threadbear in the area into which I pitch the ball. The quality of the earth is that it is heavy duty clay and it is rock solid when it dries - not inclined to crumble at all. It's not phenomenally flat, but when you bowl Wrong Uns they turn right and when I bowl my flippers they turn left and the straight balls go fairly straight. Again recently I had a practice session bowling 138 balls on this wicket primarily flippers looking to do the Shane Warne 'Round the legs' ball. Initially the balls did the right thing as in the description above regarding the plastic ball on tarmac, but I put it down to the fact that the wicket is a bit rough. So I tried some Wrong Un's and they turned correctly and then returned to the flippers and I was consistently able to make them turn at acute angles across the face of the stumps, so much so that I had to conclude because of the consistency that it was indeed the spin that was facilitating the deviation and not the luck of hitting lumps otherwise the conistency wouldn't have been there?

Scenario 3 And this is the bit that is devastating. We have another practice wicket that is much smoother, greener with grass growing on it nicely and densely. The field that it was on used to be a wood less than 10 years ago and therefore the make up of the earth is far more loamy and crumbly. For the life of me I cannot make the ball turn like I can on the tramac practice wicket and the clay wicket! This is where we practice in a team and it makes me look like a muppet because the ball wont turn!

So are there any experts out there that can comment on this?

One last thing written by Bob Woolmer...

It is worth understanding why Shane Warne is so good and for that you will have to understand the hours of work he put into his trade. For those who do not understand cricket and its nuances and the intricacies of leg spin bowling, it is the hardest art form of the game, it is extremely difficult to master and indeed to teach. Warne, it would seem, was a natural from a young age but spent his life perfecting the art. Indeed what drove him to become this perfectionist, what gave him the drive to become better than anyone else? Only he knows!