Again lovely and sunny and warm 13 degrees. So late in the afternoon I drove over to the field at Gloucester Park for a bit of a practice and look at the prospects of marking out and maintaining a wicket there this summer to try and encourage the blokes that play there to take their cricket a step further.
Got over there and there was no-one around, but the light was low in the sky and was picking out the lumps, bumps and undulations in the field allowing me to have a good look and make a decision as to where I might position the wicket. I found a relatively flat spot running in the same line as the blokes had their wicket last year but more towards the centre of the field. I measured it out and pressed some of those flourescent orange lucozade lids into the ground to mark out where the stumps will go. I set up some stumps and bowled a few overs to see if I could get someone's attention even at this early stage.
My bowling was pretty good which was nice, even the leg breaks looked okay, all in all it seemed pretty good with me hitting the stumps very frequently especially with the wrong Uns which I was getting to turn nicely (Maybe I'm Off spin bowler more than a leg spin bowler)? Anyway I kept bowling and was enjoying myself and had just delievered a nice Flipper hitting the stumps and I heard someone shout something in approval from the outfield. Looking round I saw one of the blokes from last summer and he came over and offered to keep while I bowled. It turns out that he bowls a Chinaman normally but screwed up his shoulder some years back. We threw some balls had a chat and he gave me some advice about my bowling saying that pitching the ball 5 yards/metres in front of the stumps was too short - it would allow the batsman to step back and hit the ball which is true as that's what my mate Nakul always did.
At the end of the session he said "Do you come over here often"? I said not normally and explained what had happened last year at Great Berry had kind of forced me to look at this field as a practice option. I then told him about my intentions of maintaining a practice wicket and that usually the council support me with this and that they'd even offered the use of the nearby council wickets free of charge if I was encouraging "Grass Roots" involvement in the sport. He asked if I'd be back next week or if I played in the evenings? I said yeah and went on to explain if he was up for it (Or indeed if he'd turned up earlier as the gear was in my car) I'd bring all my gear - bats, gloves you name it. He then said he'd bring his over as well next sunday and we'd meet up at 4pm.
So brilliant already and it's only February and my plan is swinging into action! Furthermore a couple of the blokes from our team last year - Rod the Aussie and Thomas are both syaing they're up for a knock about as well. So things are on the up!
Also, despite the fact that there's a group of trees right near the wicket and we'll have to play around/with them the field is quite a nice field surrounded by fairly mature trees so it's quite a nice location. There's always the option once I've got all these blokes on board that we change the location to another nearby field (J Field) which is only a few hundred yards away - that's big and open and flat and can be as big as we want it.
I just hope that the weather holds out and I can meet up with this bloke and get the ball rolling and get something really good going this summer.