Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Availability & Fixture dates (Updated Apr 1st)

Fixture Date confirmations 30th March

This is the email I've just had from Gillian at Welstead Gardens today

Hi Dave, 20th of May is one of the dates you requested, did you want Friday 18th? I will check with the Groundsman on Saturday if the 18th is free. The other dates you have booked are Fri. 1st June. Fri. 22nd June and Sunday 1st July. I will get back to you a.s.a.p.

So it looks like the first match against the Aussies and Kiwi's is set for a Sunday which is a good thing as it probably means Rod, Thomas and Trevor can all turn up.

I now need to know who is going to be okay for that date. So far I've got -

Dave (Me)
Alex
Thomas



Friday Matches

We've got a problem - subject to it being confirmed it looks like we're going to have problems getting the whole team together for these Friday matches. 90% of the people involved that's our team, the opposing teams and the venue are all based around people that work in education and in the Southend area. For all those people that fall into that catergory getting to Welstead Gardens for 5.30pm on a Friday evening is not an issue. But it might be for 3 of our key players - Thomas, Rod and Trevor all three of whom are potential bowlers. (I've spoken to Thomas about this and he's okay for Friday evenings).

But the main issue are the matches against Sports Science - June 1st (Friday). I have to know soon whether Thomas, Rod and Trevor can make it for 5.30pm if not we're going to have to start looking at getting stand ins to play till they get to the match (Not good if we have to Field first as we'll be 2 bowlers down). The other thing is who's going to want to play 15 - 45 minutes of a match and then get told to get off the pitch cos Rod,Thomas or Trevor have just turned up? I dunno - it seems to me to be a bit of a dilemma.

June 22nd is an even bigger issue because the college is having some kind of big publicity event centred around MPA and it seems most of us will be required after 5pm. I'm sort of holding fire on this till we get more info, but the longer we leave it the more likely we'll not be able to get an alternative booking for Welstead? Personally and I know most of our team are okay with this I'd like the 22nd changed to Sunday 24th for a 40 overs match, but it seems Sports Science prefer the Friday option.

I'm still working on what we should do with the June 22nd date.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Team Profile update 27th April



Thomas Slater - No. 1 & LH Bat & LH fast pace in-swinger
Our opening Batsmen (Our version of Freddie Flintoff). This bloke gets on the end of anything in the nets and whacks it with a 'Take no prisoners' approach, hits the ball hard and long - spin or speed nothing worries him. Has a good eye to bat co-ordination and bloody hard to get out, nothing phases him. Out on the grass and against fast bowlers Thomas is untested and is yet to prove himself, hopefully the skill he displays in the nets are going to be transferable and he'll keep his position as opener? But as we approach our first game in May and the practice emphasis changes new strategies are being discussed and moves may be afoot. If Thomas can adapt to grass and play the fast balls and spin low or over the top the chances are he is going to maintain his No.1 place and be a big scorer.

Bowling - he's one of our medium to fast bowlers - very accurate with a ridiculous in-swing (Indoors with new balls - God knows what it'll swing like outside with an older ball)? Takes loads of wickets with the mental in-swing that he produces, the swing indoors means his tradjectory changes by around 18" the balls seems to chase you even though you're trying to get out of it's way! Good fitness levels, doesn't smoke, runs marathons for the fun of it, goes to the gym and all that stuff, good all rounder potentially one of our key players? Been playing cricket since Sept 2006!


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Mark Soye No.2 RH Batsman

Our other opener. Standing at 6'8" Mark represents an imposing site for any bowler to face. Again like Thomas has an all out no holds barred approach to batting, he's looking to get on the end of it and take your head off if you're the bowler, don't even think you're going to pull off Aussie style 'Bowled and caught' tactics, cos you'll be taking your teeth, along with splintered finger bones to Southend hospital! Again has good eye to ball co-ordination and gets on the end of almost anything and is completely unphased by spin or fast pace bowling, he just stands tall and whacks the ball into the Stratosphere and over the rope. Okay fitness levels, aggressive and gutsy player doesn't seem to care about getting hurt, (see bruise image elsewhere) he's gonna be in there with the action. Been playing cricket since January 2007 (Don't even begin to think that's a disadvantage - just be scared). Mark is full on up for this.

Again like Thomas an unproven entity on grass that has yet to prove his worth. Be ready to see shifts in batting positions as we approach the first game and adopt different tactics. But if Mark can cope with the grass and keep the ball either high and long or along the ground his powerhouse approach will see him high in the batting order. But grass beckons and could be a leveller!

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Richard Stainsbury No.3 RH Bat & Wicket Keeper

"The contender" One of three very clever players that have experience and knowledge of the game. Richard has played team cricket before and has a range of batting skills and tactics. An intelligent player that will respond to the task left to him by the two openers. A skillful batsman with a good eye and a range of skills to get a rhythm going in our favour, one of the key players looking to set up a partnership between any of the first 7 batsman to build on the work done by the Kamikazee openers. That was then this is now......... "Richard the contender" Richard is one of our team members that has played before and as such has been coached and as the months have gone on this has come to the fore. In competitive situations Richard displays a very versatile and imtelligent approach to his cricket and demonstrates higher levels of skill than the rest of us and is now vying for a place as an opener. With the strength that the team shows in bowling new strategies are being looked at whereby Richards approach to batting may be the way forward? With his school experience on grass it may well be that Richard could prove to be our opener?

Richards other role is key to our success as he is our specialist Wicket Keeper working closely with me as the Leg Spin bowler (Think Gilchrist and Warne). Again this was one Richards key roles in his earlier cricket career and he's lost his front teeth through the commitment he shows playing in that position.

And yes those scars are from a head injury sustained whilst playing cricket (Alex again).

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Rod Jeanes 'The Aussie' No.4 RH Bat and RH outswinger medium pace bowler

Another key player in the team with two pivotal roles - no.4 batsman and medium to fast pace swing bowler specialising in outswing. Rod being an Aussie has played cricket on and off all his life including stints with a team in New South Wales where he was coached by NSW state coaches (Like being coached by Essex county coaches I presume? Not being able to keep away from the sport he now works as a Green Keeper at a large cricket pitch in Chelmsford so is one of our resident experts on the team and when he's not cutting the grass or rolling it, he's probably there for hours putting in some bowling practice (That's why he's so good at it) . Very experienced player which is obvious in his batting - he selects the shots and puts them where he wants them. We're looking to Rod to be in the crease for a long period building up good partnership with any of the first six players getting runs on the board. One of our players that we're looking to attain centuries with.

Again as with all of the top order batsmen his position in the order is dependent on how Rod proves himself on the green stuff. Again because of previous experience Rod is likely to move up the batting order - watch this space over the coming month.

Again Rod's experience shows through in his bowling - very consistent and like Thomas makes the ball move through the air in a ridiculous curving action that's going to unsettle any of the opposition from their openers right through to their last man.

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Badger No.5 Badger RH Bat & RH medium pace bowler

is one of our Middle order batsmen, coming in at No.5 at the time of writing. Played cricket at school and used to attend out of hours practicing so he’s had some coaching and this shows in that he has a good range of skills and plays tactically. He's got a good knowledge of the game compared to some of us and this is evident in his approach to his batting. We’re looking to Badger to play cleverly and build up the run total gradually. We’re relying on his skills to read the oppositions bowlers and be able to hit the 4's and 6's when the opportunity arises or go for the 1’s and 2’s if it’s looking a bit lairy.
Bowling Badger is also very handy with the bowling, medium to fast pace bowler very accurate and consistent. One of those blokes that can bowl straight down the corridor of uncertainty and keep the batsmen on their toes by varying the pace(Think Paul Collingwood in the last tri nation match where we took the title against the Aussies). Doesn’t smoke, fitness levels okay - ? But he’s one of the youngest team members so will be able to take the pace. Badger’s been playing cricket since he was 13 or 14 with a few gaps in between.

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Alex Wood No.6 & Captain RH Bat and FAST bowler

Batsman and the first of our two fast bowlers. Again another one of players that played when he was younger representing his school this time in Kent. Again because of his previous experience and the fact that when he was younger he was coached another really good player with a range of batting skills. More importantly though is his vast knowledge of the game and his ability to direct the team as a tactition. Alex along with Simon who also has a vast knowledge of cricket strategy have already been formulating ideas and plans for when we play. Already at this early stage we as a team know how we're going to take apart their openers and our roles and objectives on the day. We have fielding plans in the making and the important cricket partnerships between key players are already being directed and forged all under Alex's guidance as team captain.
As a player Alex can take Richards role as wicket keeper if he is out of action, but his primary role is as our second fast bowler. A slightly different style to Simon, but equally as fast and accurate and just as scary. As a batsman and a fielder Alex has inherited the Genes of his Grandfather who was an Olympic athlete who ran in either the 100 yards or 400 yards, man he is fast!

Warning standing in front of a set of stumps with a skinny little bat and no helmet is not advised - see the images of Mark Soyes injuries and Richard Stainsbury's injuries where he didn't wear a hat. If you are competing against us please bring a helmet.

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Me - Dave Thompson No. 7 RH Bat and RH Leg Spin bowler.

I'm the only slow spin bowler in the team. Completely obsessed with the art of spin bowling, I spend hours and hours with 24 balls and a set of stumps throwing the ball trying to perfect the fve different deliveries currently in my repertoire. My main delivery is the leg break backed up by 4 other varitaions - The Wrong Un, The over-spinner, The under spinner and the Flipper. Recently all five of them have been coming together nicely and with the weather taking a turn for the better recently I've had the opportunity to try them out on grass and man am I good at it! In net practices the others have reported back to me that I'm the most difficult to bat against because of the variety of deliveries - and therefore potentially the highest wicket taker on the team. On grass I can get the ball turn even better and I'm able to pitch the ball where I want it - I am gagging to bowl competitively and try this out for real.


Batting. I've moved up the batting order! Not happy with my approach to batting I decided I needed to do something about it. Having watched Australia's Mathew Hayden on the world cup I noticed a few things he was doing and decided to take a completely different approach. I've changed bats and now use my lighter MRF bat. I take a far more assertive approach to batting and move around the crease in order to place the ball where I want it. I've also come up with a solution to the fast balls and now instead of fearing the fast bowlers I'm going after them and it's reaping rewards!


I'm relatively fit, I don’t smoke, I exercise and surf in the summer. I reckon I've a potentially got a key role to play with my leg spin bowling. I'm a big fan of Terry Jenner, Stuart McGill and of course the worlds greatest Shane Warne who's bowling I'm trying to emulate. In the style of Warne I try to be tactical not neccessarily aiming at the stumps but looking to make the batsman play particular shots, I see myself as a part of the captains strategy and hope to work closely with Alex and our wicket keeper Richard. Richard and me we are Shane Warne and Adam Gilchrist - so watch out!

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Nick Naughty No.8 RH Bat and chief sledger

The last of the specialist Batsman. Nick's role will be to consolidate the position we have when he walks out onto the field, either to maintain the steady momentum or to add some extra 4's and 6's and help out the tail as our time at the wicket begins to run out. He'll be looking to add another 50 or so runs before the last man is bowled. Nick's other role will be chief sledger as his fielding position will be Silly Point. If it looks like we can get any of the opposition under the cosh Nick will be getting in there nice and close and personal looking to make those short balls matter for us.
Nick is another of our younger players so will be good at the endurance aspects of the game. He doesn't smoke and since joining the team has become a fitness fanatic looking to hit his peak when he walks out onto the field of play in May. Rigid diet plans and SAS fitness workouts will no doubt be evident when Nick takes the field. Again another new player to the game, but the seriousness of his approach to the game and his own preparation are evidence that this bloke is going to come up with the goods. And he's a Northerner - Cricket is in their blood.


Simon Grainge No. 9 RH Bat & RH fast bowler
Simon is one of our key players, in his youth he played at County level and is an excellent bowler. Simon is one of two fast bowlers and we're talking fast - really fast. His Dad played cricket and still would do despite his age and Simon reckons his Dad is better than he is, which I find hard to believe. Fast and accurate and very stylish, it looks like the real thing seen from the viewpoint of the spectator, but facing him you soon find out this is the real thing and you're thankful for the pads, gloves and helmet. He is fast! Batting Again I think he's being modest here with his own designated place in the batting order. It could be that he's not one of the blokes that you'll find working out in a gym or running round the outfield prior to the game, more like laying on the couch in his pants with a fag watching darts and then turning up just as the game starts! So being at No. 10 and an advocate of the 20/20 game I reckon he's just looking to not have to play, rather that the game is all over by the time the 9th man reaches the 20 overs? But I reckon he can bat, he's got a few different batting techniques and remember he played at county level. I reckon the captain should keep an eye on him and that he'll be going up the batting order.

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Nakul Handa No. 10 - R/H Batsman and Medium Pace/Spin bowler - Living in India most of his life Nakul has grown up with cricket and played it on and off all his life, so he's quite an adept player able to bat well and bowl very well with a good range of techniques ranging from slow leg spinners through to tricky medium pace straight ones that catch you out, very accurate and very tricky to predict. In comparison with the rest of us he looks like he deserves to be in the middle order from the evidence I've seen so far? Needless to say Alex will have to have a look at how affective he is and maybe us bowlers will have to prove ourselves?


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Trevor No.11 R/H Batsman & Medium Pace bowler - Bit of a Michael Vaughn character in that he seems to be continuously injured. Bowls well when he's on form.












Monday, March 19, 2007

Injury of the month update Mar 31st

March 31st - Protective equipment.

In the nets today only Alex was slightly injured having a ball hit him in the side of the knee. I think Richard may have copped a ball in the inner thigh whilst batting as well. Outside on the grass Mark copped a Wrong Un off of me right on the end of his nose giving him a nose bleed. A shortish delivery (therefore slow) that he swung for and missed as it turned into him. I think he'd dropped to his knees to hit the ball as it bounced up and inwards and caught him. So Alex's bat is now blood stained!

I had a go at some batting and Alex said 'Don't worry about padding up too much I'm going to try and throw some off spinners'. I always pad up fully but this time only went for the box, helmet and gloves. I think the second delivery got me square in the bollocks, but because of the box I was saved! I'd always advise getting padded up - especially on the grass. Bot Mark and Alex tried wearing my helmet after Mark got one on the nose, but they both wear glasses and found it difficult to see clearly. I'm going to have to watch how Daniel Vettori from New Zealand copes with it?


Here it is on day five, as you can see it's beginning to dry up a bit and get a bit crusty. I can flip the ball a bit but it feels a bit lumpy as there's obviously a build up of scar tissue along the top edge of the injury. But it's coming along nicely.



Flipper News






No - not the dolphin - my finger! It needs to get better so I can start practicing with the flipper again and pick up where I left off. Here's another image of the finger now 3 days on. Looks to me as though it's healing quite nicely and quite quickly which I put down to my diet and the fact that I let the air get to it over night. It'll be interesting to see if it seals itself by Friday and in affect healed within a week? I'm pretty certain that on past form it'll be virtually gone by the next practice session.


Bat News

Another animal reference. Sports Science seem to have got all excited today as one of them had been out and bought a bat. Richard was winding them up about the fact that they were a little behind if they were only now buying bats. He had the impression that the whole team would be sharing this one bat! Again further evidence that we are going to thrash them as far as I'm concerned. What with the bowling form I saw over the weekend I can see us bowling their team out really quickly. It'll just then be a case of us standing our ground and not getting carried away - the suggestion has been made that perhaps we should start with people like Richard and Rod who seem to have a variety of strokes? The tactic being that their slower more precise and accurate approach would mean we'd get points on the scoreboard and build a solid base. This might also take the sting out of their bowling and then once the we're nearing their score let loose a bit and let the openers take more risks with thier batting. Then if they're bowled out in come the big guns - Thomas and Mark once the bowlers have been worn down a bit?

One of our team has got himself a bat wont say who because of the story behind how it was obtained. The bat was stolen by a member of the police force from the police cricket team somewhere in the country - nice! They'll be the same kind of police that were involved in the miners strike and the battle of Orgreave etc - you know the type.




Injury of the week




This is a fairly mean looking bruise and I've got the shot 3 days after the event and it looked worse yesterday! Mark copped this off of one of Alex's fast ones unable to get out of the way in time. Incidentally Alex smashed four uprights on two sets of stumps as well. If you're facing Alex I'd advise using a helmet as he'll admit openly that his balls do tend to go a bit wayward on the odd occasion. I think Thomas has said in the next net practice he's going to face some of the other bowlers, so maybe Mark can have a break and face me instead?


In addition Mark also got one in the Thigh, the wrist and forearm I think - all off of Alex and they're mates - so if you're one of our opponents looking in at the blog - be warned this bloke is fast and he took 11 wickets during the net practice!

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Plans & Stuff Happening (Updated Apr 1st)

It's been suggested that we give up the nets by a couple of people now and I myself am an advocate of playing on grass but I can see giving up the nets causing problems. Because of the committment to paying £70 for the venue I think there's a collective sense that we should turn up as if you don't it's just not cricket as the other chaps will have to pay for you being absent. If you take that away there may be a tendency for people to think that there's no real loss if you don't turn up?

Badger suggested that even when we stop doing the nets it would still be a good idea if we pay to play - maybe £5.00 each a fortnight and that can go towards gear? I for one am up for that - don't know what you all think?

But if we can all get out on the grass I've had an idea for how we might play the game in a competitive manner. I think we need to have two blokes in at a time and I could see that as individuals that's flawed as there's no looking out for each other. So if we play a game as a method of practice (Which I think is essential) we should play in pairs so that both the blokes in have to look out for each other and the scores are collective and individual. (this also instills a sense that you need to turn up in order not to let your fellow team mate down and thus ensure attendance)? Your innings are only as long as it takes the rest of the team to get you out. 1 out = both out so again as a team it might be tactically advantageous to make sure your better half is on strike and therefore the running between the wickets becomes more pressurised? The rest of us who are all looking to get in and bat will all have to field for our lives in order to reduce the pair that are in's scores. So there will be a need for a captain and a bowling and fielding strategy. To me this sounds so good I'd pay a tenner still to play and give up the nets next time and play every weekend! I've had a look at who we've got and have come up with a suggestion as to who the pairs might be.....

Dave & Richard
Thomas & Rod
Mark & Alex
Simon & Trevor
Nick & Badger

Or would it be better to actually do it in the batting order so that we learn to communicate with the people we're more likely to be really batting and running with?

If you partner is looking like they're going to be lettting you down then there should be some onus on you getting a stand in from somewhere?

What do you all reckon?
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Saturday April 6th
There was talk of a few of us getting out on the grass early next Saturday for a couple of hours (Thomas, Alex and me) but it looks like I'm off up to Derby that weekend so watch this space for confirmation of that fact.

First Match - May 22nd - Welstead Gardens 5.30 start
Aussies & Kiwis

May 22nd is a Friday and I need to know if there's going to be a problem with anyone in getting there for 5.30? It's been suggested that this'll be a problem for Rod and Thomas. If that's the case I need to know in order to get other players in for the match. The other thing is that this team is an unknown entity other than they are there in part for the drink after, so the actual playing/winning isn't as much of an issue as it is for us?


Fixture Clash & start time problems

The June 22nd fixture with Sports Science looks like it may have to be re-arranged for another day as June 22nd is some big do at the college - fashion shoots in the studio, Nikon in the atrium and other stuff and apparently it's going on beyond 5pm (Even though June 22nd is a Friday)? I reckon we should go for another Sunday so I'm now looking at Sunday 24th June a midday start 40 overs? What do you all reckon? In a lot of respects this will be better as I'm sure some of our players might struggle to get to Welstead Gardens for 5.30-6pm on Friday whereas I think everyone is generally free on a Sunday?

Other fixtures in the pipeline

I need to have an update on the Leyton team - are they interested in playing us if so I need some possible dates.

Badgers mate who is the Customs & Excise Team says they're up for a game, I need dates for this too.

Richard needs to follow up the possibility of a game against the SEEVIC sports department as well - what's the news there?

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Bowling Stats 24th March


Whoa! This got a reaction yesterday, which was good to see! If you have a look at the comments David Hinchcliffe from www.harrowdrive.com has cleared up for us what is what with regards the figures that we need to collate to make any sense of our bowling stats. Bowling Average is runs divided by wickets. Economy is runs divided by overs. Strike Rate is Balls bowled (Overs x 6) divided by wickets. So it's now important when we're bowling that someone keeps a tally on how many runs are made during the over and I'm assuming that includes points given for wides and no balls? I've designed a score sheet so we can collate the data and it'll be interesting to see how it comes together and again if we can get out onto a field and practice we can start to feed the data in and see how we all do? So here's a revised version and I might scrap this as the 'Runs' figures are a bit iffy and we'll also have to be a bit more tighter on ensuring people bowl their regulation 6 balls during their overs. All this adds up again to the neccessity of getting enough people to the practices to have two teams, because the batting team can collate and keep the scores.
Bowling Averages
Alex 4.5
Dave 4.5
Simon 4.5
Badger 6
Rod -
Thomas 10
Trevor -
24th March update
Alex 4.5
Dave 22
Simon 4.5
Badger 10.6
Rod -
Thomas 4.6
Trevor -

Friday, March 09, 2007

Sledging

The sledging has started! Last night I sent one of the video clips to Gavin Etheridge with a comment along the lines of 'We're already in the nets practicing - how's your preparations going'? Knowing almost for certain that they're not practicing at all and that they are relying on their innate sportiness and physical prowess to win on the day. I had a couple of cheap comments aimed at us/me relating to using kids equipment, I said have another look at the video and look at the stumps in the foreground that's the affect of our bowlers on the stumps - the video features the set of stumps that were totally smashed to bits. Anyway it ended up me sending him an email with details of Kwik cricket equipment and prices because none of them have bats etc and no doubt there'll be more leg pulling as we go along. But having had a bit of a laugh with them and realising that they all are aware of their impending fate I had a cup of tea with one of them and got the inside story on their preparations. Their preparations so far have been non-existant and probably will continue to be like that right through till May by the sounds of it when they then start doing cricket as a part of their course content. Between them they can easily get the 11 players together but there are only 2 players that would call themsleves cricketers - Gavin and a AL, the AL bloke plays for Westcliff but the 8th XI or something. The bloke I was talking to was up for it, but mainly from the perspective of having a laugh and I got the sense that he didn't expect to win and that he thought that because we're all older and they're all sportier (but not practicing) it would be anybodies game.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Useful general Info


This is quite satisfying - people have said I put a lot of time effort into producing this Blog, I'm not one for watching a lot of tele and I've always kept a diary so it's kind of substituted the diary writing. But it's nice to have recognition from someone outside of our circle of friends and this has come from Harrowdrives David Hinchcliffe who's listed us (Probably not in order but I'm going sell it like that)! as a blog that makes you think. http://www.harrowdrive.com/blogs-that-make-you-think/ and he's got us down at No3 in his list! Which is nice.
Tomorrow (In fact today as it's 00.53 I've just finished watching the highlights of the world cup) we've got an impromptu practice session on the grass (Thomas's idea) and there's a few of us turning up.....
Rod, Simon, Badger, Thomas and me it seems are dead certs with the possibility of Naughty & Trevor? I've checked my wicket and it's pretty dry despite the fact that in Southend we had rain, it seems Basildon missed out on the rain, so if there's no football being played there we may end up there. Hopefully we'll be at 'Great Berry Open Space' which is a much larger field and we'll be able to play out in the middle and let loose with the batting? I did check to see how flat it is a couple of weeks back and it wasn't too bad, I'll have a look early and see how long the grass is, but again this field is fairly well looked after so it should be okay.
We'll treat the practice like a game and throw overs and having running between the stumps and we'll look at all the aspects I discussed yesterday and I'll try and keep a tally on the run rates and bowling stats so we can build up an idea of how we're doing. I'm looking forward to it and I think most of the others are too. I'll report back tomorrow with all the results and how it goes, just hope the weather holds out for us.
If Alex doesn't turn up we should all come away injury free as well.
Practicing on concrete
I've bought a new ball today, I've been looking for a ball that's cricket size and around the same weight but plastic so you can practice in the street on tarmac or concrete (tennis courts/playgrounds etc). I've found the perfect ball - Practice Hockey Balls - they weigh 5.5oz the same as a cricket ball and they're the same size so ideal for throwing/bowling practice. They've got a little bit of bounce in them and they slightly soft with a little give so they are quite similar to a cricket ball. Without any seam on them it means (In my case) I've got to really make them spin in order to get any turn on the ball so they're especially good for that as it means when I then transfer to cricket balls and grass I become Shane Warneesque in my abilities! So now at lunch at work I can get outside round the back of the college and throw some balls - there's a nice corner there and a straight run up just enough for a spin bowler.If you're interested you can get them at JJB sports I've thrown the packaging away but I'm almost certain they were made by Gunn and Moore and they're £5.00I've been talking to some of the Sports Science blokes trying to get a sense of how up for this they are and I'm beginning to get a picture of their team as previously mentioned. But I'm also getting that feeling that they are of the school of thought that -

'It's the taking part that's important and not the winning' and all that liberal inclusivity crap that dictates that everyone can be a part of the team irrespective of how crap they are so as not to hurt anyone's feelings garbage.

Whereas we are in it to decimate the opposition at almost any cost as long as it is fair. So it looks like we're going to win all three matches!

Anyway cming home on the train tonight I picked up a paper and read the cricket news leading up to the world cup and there was an interesting article by some bloke called Bob Williams.

The gist of it is that the England team beat Australia by playing good old fashioned English one day cricket. Which means they ignored the power play period where most teams put in their Gilchrists and Chris Gayles and look to smash the ball over the ropes and instead went for a more measured approach looking to put down a solid foundation. The plan according to this bloke will be that England will play Vaughn, Bell and Ed Joyce to create a solid platform and then release Pieterson and Flintoff further down the order. Jamie Dlarymple commented on the tactic "You can't get away from good basics". I like the sounds of this - what do the rest of you all think with regards adopting the same approach when we play?

Next Practice Session

Ever the optimist I'm of the impression that the next practice will see our biggest turn out so far - Me, Simon, Mark, Alex, Badger, Naughty, Richard, Rod, Thomas, Trevor seem almost dead certs and then there's the chance that Tom may turn up and Carl Hodgson? The first ten in the list seem to be our ten regulars that have almost certainly cemented their places within the team, leaving only one regular place to be taken - Tom maybe? Anyway what I'm getting round to is I want to try and focus peoples attention on their bowling and I've created a bowling evaluation/score sheet that I certainly am going to use to self assess my own bowling in order that I can track my progress. The same sheet then also doubles up as stats record in the event that we eventually start to play a game with 2 sides in the practice sessions - which fingers crossed and with new bloke Trevor is going to be a possibility this coming session?

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Diary & Updates April 1st

April 1st

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

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

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

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

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

30th March

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

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

Bowling & Batting form

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

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

Thomas

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

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

Dave

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

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


General

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

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

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



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

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



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


25th March

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

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






24th March - Grass practice Great Berry Open Space.

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

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

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








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





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





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






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

Weather

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

Monday, March 05, 2007

Fitness Stuff updated 26th March

26th March

Biorythmns

Week before last I was on form and this weekend I've been crap. Last week on Thursday I walked into a metal post and nearly knocked myself out and I'm sporting a classic 'Dennis The Menace' black eye. I've felt crap for the last week or so and generally lethargic. Then it dawned on me that maybe it was my Biorythmns. These are some kind of Voodoo cycle hippy crap thing that I've read about before, but I kind of noticed that there did seem to be some evidence to support the theory. So I'm blaming my bad physical form on my biorythmns.

So I've now taken it further and looked on line and there's a website - www.bio-chart.com you fill in a couple of fields and it gives you a reading. With regards my physical reading I'm.....

35% physical on a downward slide, so that concours and my general well being is described as ....
your general well being is moderate but declining and getting worse.

It goes on to advise - Give yourself a rest and try not to be so physical. That's enough for me - that explains why I can't bowl and I'm now going to have some early nights and wake up for the cricket highlights on BBC2. Hopefully come the weekend I'll be back on form.


It seems someone has passed on the blog address to Sports Science and they now know everything. So welcome to our Sports Science readers now you know the extent of how seriously we're taking this - so bring it on! Anyway that aside let's get on with business as usual. I did contemplate creating a new blog so any new info especially if it was training specific wouldn't be seen by Sports Science but I'm confident that we've got such a massive headstart on them that it doesn't matter if they see what we're up to. Besides I think the things that we've got to look at and get better at are things that they've already got set up anyway - general fitness, speed, stamina etc. So starting off - weather permitting there's been a good response to the possibility of a group of us getting on the gras this saturday - Thomas, Me, Simon & Badger have all signed up to the idea (All bowlers - which is excellent). But Simon may bring along Naughty & Trevor and Alex is even contemplating coming all the way out from London providing he sorts his old boiler out. If this happens this will be brilliant as that will be almost all of the bowling team. I think it's important that as many of us get out on to a field and play because of the fitness factor and the throwing opportunities. We all need to be chasing after the ball at speed and throwing the ball back now in order that we iron issues such as - can you throw the ball back from the outfield without pulling arm muscles? As I'm sure a lot of you have probably not thrown something as big and as weighty as a cricket ball over long distances since you were 14 years old or younger. I know from the fact that this is something I'm good at from my days of throwing rocks and stones accurately over long distances trying to hit outflow/sewage pipe marker posts in the Thames as a youth and trying to hit swallows and swifts in flight with stones. Then trying to do similar stuff much later in life when bored on a beach and pulling my shoulder, neck or arm muscles - it's going to happen unless you've got that muscle development already there. So better to highlight it as a weakness now in practice rather than find out in the field during our first competitive match. Hence the reason I'd encourage everyone to use the opportunities to practice out on the grass. Additionally we need to go through some rudimentary cricket fielding practices such as backing up the wicket keeper and anyone at the bowling end to avoid over-throws when trying to stump their men out by throwing the ball. Follow up fielding when trying to stop the balls from hitting the boundary - 2nd man picks up the stopped ball and gets it back to the crease. 2 stage return of the ball from the outfield to restrict the chance of injury in non urgent situations as the Aussies do. Plus general fielding practice - accurracy of throwing at stumps; pick up and throw at stumps; catching high balls; Slip fielding etc. Look at the websites previously mentioned http://www.ninemsn.com.au/ follow the link to 'The Cricket Show' and the video footage of training exercises and also the BBC website - Paul Collingwood and Gearaint wosshisfaces training videos. Another good option is our very own mate - David Hinchcliffe at harrowdrive.com as fitness training is his specialist area. One of the things he advocates is cricket related exercises and the fact that what we do is short fast energetic work with fast turning and excelleration and therefore any fitness training should be built up around developing these areas of your fitness/stamina and muscle. I noticed that their in-house comedian - Ronnie had a cricket ball today. He's supposedly a bowler (I think Etheridge said he was a medium pace bowler or did he say comdian pace bowler)? and was throwing the ball around in the team room as I do. I know recently cos of my finger I've dropped the ball a few times recently and everyone sniggers and they all sledge me as I go past, but 'Ronnie funnybloke' had the ball for 5 minutes and dropped it five times! I think we may win the game on wides because there's about three of them that bowl - Ronnie, Gavin and Dean perhaps? So unless they get themselves out there and practicing we're going to be facing a lot of wide balls? What does that mean strategically - do we go for the wide balls and risk edging it? Will they have slips fielders good enough to collect the balls or should we train specifically to make sure the wides run off to Deep 3rd man and Deep fine leg? If they're only using 3 bowlers there's going to be stamina issues as well which will suit us and again this backs up the argument for a change in our batting order - If we put Richard in first with Rod who both seem to be strategically clever and adaptable batsmen (Or Ash if he turns up and proves his worth) we can take the sting out of the new ball and wear down the opening bowlers (maybe all their bowlers) before we release the Rottweilers (Mark and Thomas) to smash the ball all over the park? What do you reckon? Here's another idea - one of their blokes lives near me do you reckon we should invite him over for a knock about? (in the spirit of the Gentlemen's game as Simon would put it). For me it's still all out war and in wars the opposing teams can get together - entente cordial etc - but it's still war!

Thursday, March 01, 2007

March 1st

Predicted attendance this week - it's looking good let's just hope we get the 10 at least so we can have a match? As we get nearer the day it seems we may actually struggle to get the 10 now. If Steve turns up we should be okay for the 10 reckon?

1. Badger
2. Nick Naughty
3. Simon’s mate Terry
4. Simon
5. Thomas
6. Dave
7. Steve Bone?
8. Mark
9. Rod’s mate
10. Richard
11. Rod


Hopefully this lot will turn up and we’ll have a game. We’ll do half hour of net practice and then have an hour and half of competitive cricket, so all you ‘New Bat’ blokes don’t get too carried away otherwise you’ll be breaking them before they even see a cricket pitch!

Anyone that is inviting random people along make sure they know they’ve got to bring their tenners as the hall needs to be paid for each week and all the equipment costs money.

If anyone is aware of the fact that the people on the list are not going to be there let me know and we’ll try and round up more people, I’m hoping that we’ll have at least 10 people turn up so that we can have a game. Because some key players are missing I recommend that we get Badger and Rod to pick the teams as they have similar playing attributes?

No news on the fixtures as I didn’t get time to send an email to either Gavin Etheridge or Welstead Gardens I’ll be looking to do that on Friday at some point.

I've had a letter back from the school regarding the payment of the money. As from this week we'll be paying as we go with a week in hand. So Saturday I'll be handing over £140, so make sure you all turn up with your dosh.





Something else I need to make enquiries about re Welstead, they're bound to have one.



Also we need to clear it with Gavin and Dean that Tony can Umpire and also what rules we're going to play regarding wides and what have you.