Monday, March 31, 2008

It didn't rain!

Today the forecast was for rain and what with it being dead soggy already over at Five Tree Field I thought that I'd go and have a look at Great Berry Open Space and see how that was fairing. Partly because I'm now wondering whether these blokes are going to be around this summer? Last year I used to see them a lot on the train, but I've not seen any of them recently so maybe they've all moved on in some way? Someone said that most of them worked at a company based in Basildon - some lived locally but several used to live up London way and these were the blokes I used to see in the morning, but as I said I can't say that I've noticed them for a few months, so have they all ended their contract or something and moved on? If so this whole Idea will go down the pan, unless there's still a group of them that still live local and want to play?

Great Berry was worse than the Five Tree Field - really soggy - so soggy you wouldn't want to play football on it. The middle section of the field didn't look that amazingly flat either compared to last year and if we end up playing there again I'll cut the wicket further over to one side I reckon.

The weather held out dry and sunny all day today, so the field would have had some chance to dry out. I went round to Thomas's gaff and measured up the handle for the roller and then cut up some of our old Apple tree wood and made a handle. The weather continued into the evening and Thomas rang in the evening and asked if we were going over the field, I assumed primarily to get the roller over there. So at 6.20 we went round to his gaff and tried the handle and it is still too big, so it needs reducing in size by a couple of millimeters. So instead we went and had a bit of a knock about.

The field is still soggy but the wicket had dried up quite a bit - enough to have a bit of a bowl and bat. what I did notice is that in the crease we are already wearing the grass very thin. I had a look along the wicket and stamped out some lumps but I reckon it would definitely benefit from some rolling - but it's not too bad. As we packed up I had a look at the adjacent bushes which are planted in clumps all around the sides of the pitch and the first one I looked at had the perfect place to stash the roller if we were to be able to get it onto the field and the longer the summer went on the more hidden the roller would be. I still advocate rolling the wicket under the cover of darkness because the roller would come out of it's hiding place not seen and go back not seen and it's unlikely anyone would see us doing the rolling which is going to take a good couple of hours I reckon each session and it may take 2 or 3 sessions. Thomas is still saying to do it in daylight, but even tonight there was a member of staff on duty in the Netball courts office which looks out onto the field and there was a landrover driving around past the field as well - who I think is the balif for the lakes, but who is still a council employee. I reckon any confrontation whether it's friendly or otherwise is not a good idea because at the minute we've got the council on our side.

If I can get the handle sorted tomorrow - Thomas is talking about doing it at the weekend, I reckon as soon as possible e.g. if the handle is fixed tomorrow - we roll tomorrow night for the first time while the ground is still soft and saturated with water.

Got in tonight after our session and Michelle said that Suhail had called. Now if you've not read the blog all the way through Suhail is a bloke who originally comes from Pakistan and when he was younger played cricket at quite a high level. He played with us a couple of times and looked like a really handy bowler, I can't remember how good he was with batting other than I bowled him at least twice getting him with my Wrong Uns - but I seem to remember he wasn't too bad - you could see he knew what he was doing. Anyway he'd rung and left a message with Michelle saying that his commitments this year with his work (He's a surgeon I think) mean that he can fully commit to playing in a cricket team, so either he can join in with us and our plans or he might be up for joining me at Grays and Chadwell? He's going to call me back another time. No matter what happens - if Suhails on the scene that is nothing but good because on all the ocassions he played with us he was always giving us tips and suggesting what we should do - he was really confident in his abilities and what was right and wrong - he's a good bloke.

Came back a bit stiff tonight and I'm thinking what shall I do in order to get some exercise - so I might do something over on the field across the way as much as I can 20 minutes of throwing and running. Across the width of a football field or the length do something like throw a ball as far as I can run up to it pick it up throw it back sprint after it, throw and run, throw and run, throw and sprint for 20 minutes or however long I can do it for. I reckon that sounds cricket specific.

Update - Suhail

Suhail phoned back - now there's a man with a plan! Blimey he is well up for it, he's talking nets once a week and out on the field once a week and reckons we can get 22 blokes together to do it within a matter of weeks. He's suggesting we roll Great Berry Open Space as soon as possible and start maintaining the wicket as soon as possible at GBOS - so maybe GBOS is back on track as the main venue. He was saying that he is still in contact with Ankul who is the bloke who knows all the blokes over at Gloucester Park and reckons that getting 12 people together is no problem at all. But the main thing was his enthusiasm and positivity - he reckons this is a goer and was even asking "Shall I get in touch with the council"? So tomorrow one of my first jobs is to try and see the caretaker at James Hornsby and try and establish the availability of the nets in the evening. So watch this space cos it seems it's going to get very busy!

Oh yeah and the cricket.....

Yeah I didn't do so bad turning the ball lots with both the flippers and the Wrong uns. In between getting knocked all over the shop I had Thomas dancing about - one ball I'm turning it into his body with the Flippers (Leg to Off) and then he steps back to whack it on the next ball and I bowl a wrong un which goes away from him. When this all goes to plan it's good. I think I've just got to not freak out about being hit big. In a real game the balls that get hit in the air are going to be the ones that get caught (Assuming the fielders are up to it) and besides all spinners get hit big all the time - so it's just a consequence of being a spin bowler.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Pitch Inspection

Spent the day in London at the Tate Modern with the kids watching a dry warm day go by with little prospect of cricket. Then was delayed by cancelled trains on the way home, but last thing after dinner Ben, Joe and me went over to the five tree field for a pitch inspection and to mark out the wicket ready for mowing.

What with all the rain the outfield was very soggy, but we measure out the wicket and put down markers for when the mowing commences. Had a look at how flat it is and the prospects of whether this new roller would make any diference to the flatness of the wicket. Considering how soggy the ground is, I reckon that if we were to roll it a couple of times it would make a dramatic difference and therefore it's probably worth doing it. But the weight of the roller is such that it's a problem. I reckon it would be a nightmare getting it in and out of the car. Thomas suggested using a plank - but I reckon even a couple of good scaffold planks if you could get hold of one would possibly still snap or twist or something. But if we could get it there in the next week or so it may be the case that we could leave it there hidden in the bushes and undergrowth till we've rolled it enough times to flatten it out.

We stayed on the field and we all had a bit of a knock about. Ben didn't look at all interested which is a shame, but later on in the year I reckon he'll get into it more.

Weather is patchy showers and sunshine tomorrow. Lets hope we miss the showers and have sunshine all day and the fields start to dry out. I reckon I may go and have a look at Great Berry Open Space as well tomorrow, so what that's like.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Some Good News

The first bit of good news is that the clocks go forward tonight so whereas it's currently Dusk at 7pm tomorrow night dusk will be at 8pm meaning anyone finishing work at 5pm has potentially got 3 hours of cricket time! Which means - my blokes over at Gloucester Park! So could this be the factor that brings them out onto the field (Sunshine and warmer weather will help as well no doubt)? That remains to be seen over the next couple of weeks while I'm off work.

The other good news is that while I was outside trying to bowl Leg Breaks (See I've not completely given up) Michelle came out and said that Thomas had phoned and was waffling on about he'd scored a roller from somewhere, so I rang him and sure enough he had and I said I'd go round and have a look at it.

Before I got round there I was thinking how big is this roller and where would have he got it from and how would he have got it from A to B and concluded that it wasn't going to be that big?

Sure enough it wasn't that big and initially it looked like the same kind of roller I used to roll the Wicket across the road from where I live. I gave it a look over and rolled it back and forth on the grass outside Thomas's flat and tried to lift it. I couldn't - it was bloody heavy! Rolling it back and forth on the patch of grass outside Thomas's house it became obvious that despite it's "Only just bigger size" than the other roller it seemed a lot heavier and more affective in flattening the grass. Admittedly at the moment the grass and earth is sodden, but so too is the wicket at "Five Tree Field" and going by how much I was able to improve the football pitch across from my house last winter with the little roller, this roller looks like it may have potential. So what now?

My approach would be to do the same as I did with the football field - e.g. roll it under the cover of darkness, but Thomas reckons that we should do it in broad daylight on a Sunday (Tomorrow even). As far as I know the Park is staffed on a Sunday and we'd draw attention to ourselves by dragging this bleeding great roller from the car to the wicket which is 200 yards much of which is across roads and paths and therefore noisy with a dirty great roller. So I'm not so sure whether we should be so bold. But the benefits are pretty obvious, with the state of the sodden earth at the moment this roller would make some impact I reckon and it's worthwhile giving it a go? Even if we did a bit 6' wide in front of both wickets stretching 6 yards down the wicket at either end that would be a result.

But if someone does turn up while we're doing it I'm not sure what they'd say or how crappy they might get about us doing it? The other thing is when you do this initially it does appear to have a very damaging affect on the grass, so they could well get on their high horse about that - "What the **** are doing - look what you're doing to our ****** grass"! etc. I subscribed to a website for green keepers last year and put a post on their website forum asking what they'd think about a random bloke mowing a wicket on their playing fields and 98% of them were up in arms at the suggestion! So the general consensus would be that if we were busted whilst doing this they wouldn't be that happy!

The other thing is - it is heavy and I'm wondering how difficult it would be getting it in and out of my car and across the aforementioned paths, car parks and tracks. In an ideal world the best option would be to leave it there chained to a tree in the wooded areas and drag it out when needed, but that requires buying a lock and chain. I'll have to see what Thomas says tomorrow and whether he's come up with any ideas. I may in the short term go and have a look and see how bumpy the grass is on the wicket and see if all this effort is worth it. Other than that keep hold of it and use it on the old Great Berry Open Space wicket.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Holiday and video camera

At last a bit of a break! I've got the next four days off, so Tuesday night I'm hoping to go to Nets with Grays and Chadwell and fingers crossed have a few days where I can get out on the grass as well? I've just looked at the weather charts and tomorrow doesn't look too bad - it even be the case that it doesn't rain. Today was supposed to have been really rainy and that didn't seem to happen either - so things are looking good? It's windy at the moment and that'll dry the ground out as well.

Found this today - Vivitar DVR 7300x you can get it for around £100 it seems & one's just gone for just over £50 on ebay.

These are dead useful for video filming when you're practicing because they're the type that save to a CF card or similar and readily download to your computer and are then easily put on youtube.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

26th March

The awful weather continues, the thing is realistically this normal weather so why I'm expecting it to be dry and warm I don't know? Global warming I suppose and last years weather? So after a weekend of rain I was kind of hoping that this weekend might have been sunny and dry but seemingly not looks like tomorrow (Thursday) and Friday will be okay and then on Saturday and Sunday it's just going to be a repeat of last weekend - wind and rain.

Still haven't shaken this cold off which isn't good as it means I'm kind of resting my body and not doing any exercises. I almost felt inclined to go for a run tonight but then thought it'd make my cold worse. So it looks like another cricketless weekend coming up.

School holidays and the leaflet from the local council drops onto the doormat and I was expecting that there might have been some more cricket coaching for my boys to get involved in. But nothing - Kick Boxing, Butt Kicking, House burgling, Grafitti spraying and Hip Hop dancing sessions aplenty - but no cricket! I was gutted as that last session was excellent, but it's obvious that the low turn out probably meant they felt they couldn't book it again? Shame.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

No chance of any cricket today

No cricket happening here even though it's Easter and last year we were playing cricket with our shirts off if I remember rightly!

But at least it's not like 1962-63

Fed up with crap weather - forgotten how much fun cricket can be - check this out - This is my garden above check out this Aussie garden -

Saturday, March 22, 2008

22nd Mar

Woke up this morning feeling a bit ropey - like the beginning of a cold coming, so I want to get that sorted and out of the way by next weekend as next week marks the start of the 2 week holiday and I've got several days off in which to tighten up on my bowling further still. I'm quite happy to have come down with a cold as that part explains why I was bowling so badly yesterday (Well that's my excuse). The downside is that if I do go down with a proper cold that will mean I'll lose any of the fitness I'd have built up - not that there's a lot of fitness.

My athletes foot has all but cleared up seemingly down to the Canesten cream, as soon as I started to use that there was a marked improvement, I've just got to carry on using it now till mid April for it to work 100% it seems.

I've done some stretching of my calf muscle this morning and the left one which was the one that was injured in the last game with Grays & Chadwell still feels tight, whereas in comparison the other good leg suffers from no tightness at all. I obviously need to stretch the tight one more still. I reckon generally I'm still very unfit and not particularly agile, which feels like something I should address. Other exercise such as core strength exercises are going well with things such as the plank - I'm able to do the arms and legs off the ground at the same time with that (Diagonally) and my rotator cuff exercises seem to be okay too. But the running does concern me and the prospects of pulling the calf muscle again early in the season if I don't get that sorted. As I've said before I kind of consider the fact that I'm usually able and very willing to run with full commitment when fielding and see that as an asset when I'm playing cricket, I can't bat and if my bowling turns out to not to have improved in reality I need to be half decent at something and that's my ability to chase after balls and stop runs being made. Which then brings me on to catching which is another weak area. I dropped a catch yesterday when practicing which made me look like a right woman - in fact I didn't get my hands anywhere near it and it was embarrassing, I'm so glad there wasn't a whole team watching cos I'd have died. But in my defence the field is dead uneven and when you're running and looking up at the same time and uneven surface doesn't help as it sets you of balance. So catching high balls is something else I need to practice.

In the short term though let's get rid of this cold - Lemsips and sucking raw garlic cloves here we come.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Freaky Friday

Here in the UK we're looking at the prospects of a snowy weekend or at least cold sleety rain. Fortunately the weather cleared this morning and was windy so it dried out a bit and I managed to squeeze in an hour with my mate Thomas before it did pour down with hailstones. Nothing to write home about other than it was one of those practice sessions where nothing went right and nothing felt right. I'm not going to dwell on it because I reckon you can just have really bad days and this was one of them.

In the evening I went to a "Gig" where one of the blokes that played with us last year "Boffa" was playing with his band. Partly to catch up with people I used to hang about with back in the period 1978-1987 and partly to see some of the blokes form my past that are up for a game of cricket if I can get the "Five Tree Field" blokes shaped up into a team and it was all a bit strange. I bumped into my cousin who I haven't seen since 1988 and found out his Dad is still alive and he said that they'd been talking about me recently. So I might go and see them, I haven't seen this uncle since possibly 25-30 years! I bumped into a few people I hadn't seen for in excess of 20 years and it was all a bit freaky. But speaking to some of them they seem up for a game and in a way I'd feel far more at home seeing all these people in that situation rather than at a gig where you're having to shout at people standing 2' in front of your face. So maybe a game might be on the cards.

Thursday, March 20, 2008


Four days off and it's going to snow! Walking home from the railway station tonight I was looking at how wet the grass/earth is and noticed it was pretty much saturated again after a good period of dry weather and now the forecast is for snow probably tomorrow and almost certainly Saturday. So it looks like there's not going to be any cricket at all - devastated!

The image here was taken at Great Berry Open Space on the wicket I used to cut and maintain there - this was early April last year, so lets hope in a couple of weeks "Five Tree Field" will be looking the same?

So - what to do now? I suppose I could go back to bowling on concrete in the basket ball courts, at least that'll be some exercise and it'll keep me going, I might even be able to tempt Thomas down there as well as it's just round the corner from where he lives and I could get to bat a bit if I use one of the really crappy bats? So if there is a let up in the weather that's a definite option.

Other than that I could carry on trying to learn all the fielding positions. I think I now almost know all the basic legside fielding positions apart from the ones that are behind the bowler "Long On" I think is one of them which is at the edge of the field. I'll try and test myself later on and see if I can name them all. The other thing I also need to do is carry on learning the rules regarding umpiring and how to use the scoring books, I've not had a look at that for a while and I need to get back to that as well.

Today at work the dept that's adjacent to us had a bit of a shift around of all their desks and it seems that the Sports Science blokes are all moving up to where we sit, so I'm going to be sitting right next to a bunch of cricket players and all ready they're saying that later in April they'll all be getting down to the nets and that I should go along too. (These are the blokes that are mates with the 6'8" South African or Aussie bloke that put a fast one in my ribs last year). So that'll be something to look forward to!

Another thing I can try and do is replace my grips on some of my bats. I had a look around at the applicator devices today and didn't realise they were so simply constructed. Being as skint as I am I'm now trying to think how I can make one myself, they seem so simple in design I can't see why there's a reason not to be able to come up with some kind of idea that would work? Looking at the construction I reckon I could probably make one entirely out of wood and I may give that a go tomorrow?
Just to brighten up the blog - here's "Five Tree Field" with 3 of the 5 trees just to the right of the wicket. Not ideal but everyone will have the same batting fielding issues so we'll just have to live with it. This was shot in February and is the place that I've designated as being my main practice area and the intention is to do exactly as I did with Great Berry Open Space (See above) - mow it, maintain it as best I can and mark out the crease. In case you're only just looking in and catching up on the rationale and asking why choose there with the trees when you can use the same place you did last year in the image above? The reason I'm using this field (Five Tree Field) is that last summer there was a big group of blokes 20-30 of them that played cricket on this field all summer using kids size stumps and bats and a cricket tennis ball. what I'm trying to do is get them to play cricket with real equipment and a full size wicket.
You might also ask why not get them to go to the other field? Well that is the intention once I've got their trust as the other field is about a mile away and is a much better field that the council have already said they have no issues about me marking out the wicket and mowing it and it's flatter. But some of these blokes are first generation immigrants I think and I'm not sure they're all English speaking and when I spoke to them last year they seemed slightly wary of me. So I've got to gain their trust and make friends with them before I start getting them to move out of their comfort zone and playing elsewhere. It may sound like a lot of aggro, but these bloke were playing 20/20 matches nearly every night of the week it seems and they looked pretty handy. They all looked like fairly decent medium pace bowlers, so if I can get this up and running not only is there the potential for real cricket matches on the nearby council pitches (400 yards away) but it's non-stop practice and cricket all summer!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

The weather looks bad

Rain today and the prospect of snow over the weekend. Not looking good. Positives though are the flare up of Athletes foot is in reverse now and looks like it's clearing up nicely. I didn't opt for the voodoo remedy in the end and initially went for the powder which didn't really seem to be doing much. After a few days I opted for the Canesten Cream which seems to have worked a treat.

I've been in contact with Boffa one of the Tilbs and he's up for a game and he's working on getting "The Boys" together for a match in the summer. That might be interesting?

Neil my captian at Grays & Chadwell CC emailed me tonight and said he's been following the blog, which is kind of weird for me because he's a proper cricket player and Leg Spin bowler and it just seems really strange to think that there's something in the content here that's of use to him - God knows what? But - cheers Neil for having a look and offering encouragement. He asked whether I was improving? I must have - surely all the effort I've been putting in and the decision to limit the variations to just 3 and concentrate on them must have had some impact. I spend a lot of time on the cricket forums elsewhere and ask a lot of questions on there and make suggestions and I'm sure I've picked up tips there? I'm certain my line and length has got better and just my understanding that just varying pace, length and flight can have the desired affect all must mean that there's got to be some kind of improvement?

But as I have said every now and then - that's all fine as long as when I step up to the crease I don't get freaked out by the occasion. I also think that there may be a marginal improvement with my batting in that I think I can appreciate the importance of moving your feet and keeping a straight bat. All these things are so basic - but they're all new knowledge to me as I'm a virtual beginner and unless I'm told about them I'm totally unaware. The straight bat thing - that for instance is so obvious and I've only learned it through the link from a couple of days ago with the video with Bob Woolmer!

Enough of all that - let's pray to the Gods that the sun comes out and we have some proper weather this weekend or that there's a massive improvement for the school holidays and I can get out there and have some practice?

Monday, March 17, 2008

Good video clip

This looks good in conjunction with the practice ideas I've suggested with my mate Thomas. If you look at this video with Bob Woolmer at the point 18 mins into the video he talks about how to throw the ball at the batsman in order to practice gliding/glancing the ball off the bat to legside. He advocates throwing the ball from the position it bounces from upwards.

Other than that crap weather with no real prospect of it getting much better for the coming Easter weekend. On a more positive front it was still light at 6.45 this evening and that's with cloud cover.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Ebay - cheap?

My younger son Joe seems to be getting more interested in cricket especially after the coaching session by the bloke from ECCC a few weeks back. So trying to encourage this I thought I'd get him a new bat. I had a look on ebay and there were what seemed like cheap bats and I was tempted, but all these were new. His size is the smallest as he's only 6 and it's the size you see in the kits sold in toy shops and beaches. I then remembered that Sportsworld were selling really cheap stuff at the end of last season - Duncan Fearnley and Slazenger brands. So I went and had a look. There was a Duncan Fearnley beginners set with a bat, 4 stumps and a ball - it was £6.00. You couldn't go wrong. When I got to the till I got charged £3.00 because it was a sale item! I almost paid £16.00 for the same thing off of ebay.


Crap day today, more or less rained the whole day, so what with yesterdays rain and now todays all the fields are going to be soaked. We've got a long weekend coming up with two bank holidays, so with all that time on our hands could this herald the emergence of the Gloucester Crew? So I'm thinking do I get the mower out some time towards the end of the week and cut the wicket on the Five Tree Field? I noticed too that even though the sky was really dark it didn't get dark till well after 6pm. If I was to cut the wicket the locals might notice that something was being done and they may all start talking about the prospect of playing there again and start turning up? The other scenario might be that they always get there before me and don't let me join in despite all the gear and looking after the wicket and cutting the grass? No matter what happens I've got to try.

It's a bit early for forecasts but this Met Office Synoptic chart shows a strong high pressure area in the south for the coming Friday. Fingers crossed and it may be the high will keep the wet weather at bay?

Other than that I'm trying to learn all the fielding positions so that when someone tells me to go and field at Fine Leg I know what they're on about! I've also been trying to learn the rules as well so that I can help out with the scoring and the umpiring. I've also been teaching Joe some of the umpires signals - he loves it and he's been watching the video recordings of last years world cup in the West Indies. Michelle in fact today said something positive with regards cricket, she suggested that Joe joins the colts at Grays and Chadwell or at least goes along to the matches with me this summer! I'm not sure he'd stick out 6 hours of cricket, so that may work against encouraging him.

I emailed Boffa last night as he'd contacted me. He reckons he can get the Tilbury boys together to form a team, I reckon that's a real possibility we could use one of the council pitches - either The Rec or the Gloucester Park pitch. I'm just wondering if any of their lot could umpire? I'll have to see what he says about my proposition.

Another thing I've got to do now if I intend to mow the wicket some time this week is mark it out. So I'll look to do that at some point. Also using the markers that I've been using they can stay there permanently and that'll be useful also for when it comes to marking out and painting the crease - that'll gaurantee that they're square and painted in consistent place.

Another thing I want to do is practice with my batting and try and persuade Thomas to bowl or through the ball in a manner that will be helpful rather than trying to throw the ball so hard that if it ever made contact with the body it would take flesh and bones with it! So I'm going to try and do some kind of exercise where I try and learn strokes and put the ball into areas I want it. Hopefully he'll be conducive with the idea?

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Bit of a practice #2

With the threat of rain all Sunday waking up to no rain and a bit of sunshine and relative warmth today meant one thing. At some point I was going to have to throw some balls on my own even if only for 3/4 of hour. So after lunch wearing not much more than a t-shirt I set off for 5 tree field.

Probably threw 100 - 125 balls and it went okay. Again I had that realisation that I don't really throw loads of wides anymore which was nice. I threw combinations of Flippers, Wrong Uns and Top spinners and spent a short period trying to bowl Leg Breaks. The main three went well especially the wrong uns and I noticed that even my top spinners tend to drift off to off when I bowl them, but the Wrong Uns themselves were good - slow and fast they were turning nicely. This made me reflect on the question if one my strongest and potentially best ball spins to off does that make me an off spinner rather than a leg spinner? I bowl mostly Flippers mixed in with Wrong Uns and Top spinners and the flipper as I've said many times here spins to leg like a Leg Break - but not as consistently as the Wrong Un. I was thinking about this and thought maybe I'm just a spin bowler not necessarily a Leggie or an Offy just some weird hybrid? That made me think - Let's have another go at the leg break and I tried throwing a few, but they were all over the shop - too long, too loopy and slow and none of them turning.

I find that if I try and bowl Leg break balls over short distances I can get it to turn, but I seem to be able to do this with a really short walk in that ends up with an abrupt stop rather than a follow through. If I then add the follow through I don't get the spin. There seems to be something about me that's not that bothered or defeatist when it comes to the Leg Break, but another part of me wants to be able to do it hence the reason I keep returning to it half heartedly and trying it. A part of me believes that if I was to put the hours in it might come good. I reckon that if I was to get some one to one from someone I might get it, but in the short term it evades me and I'm obviously not that bothered. So surely that means I'm not Leg Spin bowler and if I keep posting in the forum I do eslewhere I'm in the wrong thread!!!!

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Weekend weather

Not looking very promising -

Fingers crossed - we'll see what happens. If it does screw up though I'll look at it as time for my foot to get better from the bout of athletes foot that I'm suffering from at the moment.

Sunday, March 09, 2008


The weather here in Essex has been remarkably dry and the weather that's forecast for the next few days is the first drop of real rain (If it happens) for weeks and weeks. Looking at the longer term forecast on the BBC weather website it looks as though by Thursday the weather may change for the better as there's a big high pressure zone on it's way and it's going to be pulling warm air from places like Africa and Portugal and the pressure is predicted to be 1020 milibars so that should mean a warm and sunny! That's something to look forward to.

Athletes Foot remedy

Has anyone tried this and had any success - it's a bit "Voodoo" but I like all these "Voodoo" techniques and it includes some ingredients that have been tested against all sorts of ailments for over 3000 years (garlic and vinegar) so I'm optimistic.

2 x crushed garlic cloves with 4 x table spoons of cider vinegar in 2 pints of warm water, soak it for 15 minutes a day and it's supposed to disappear within a matter of days.

Sunday 9th March

All day long the weather threatened our scheduled stint over at Five Tree Field and just as I was getting Ben and Joe ready to drive over there it started to spit and the clouds really blackened up. We went for it as Thomas had already phoned and said that he would meet us there with one of his kids and as I expected as we drove away from our house a difference of half a mile meant that we drove out of the heavier rain.

This morning I'd been to a DIY shop and dropped into Sports World having remembered that last year they were selling off cricket gear really cheaply and Joe was needing a new bat. I'd almost bought one off of EBAY which would have been too big and would have cost me along with the postage in the region of £15. I managed to get a Duncan Fearnly kids cricket kit - bat, 4 stumps and a ball for £4.00 so I was well chuffed, but on paying for it discovered in fact that it was £2.00! The original price was £19.99 how gutted would you be if you'd bought it at that price!

So once over there the kids set up there own stumps and played across from us and we had a knock about in the middle. Thomas made the point that today last year (His Daughters birthday) was warm and the kids were wearing T-shirts, whereas today it grey and cold at 10 degrees centigrade.

The practice went okay, no-one else joined us, we were hoping that Richard and Rod the Aussie may have turned up, but they didn't. Still no sign of the locals either - I'm beginning to think that we wont actually see them till the clocks go back now? So as usual it was just Thomas and me. We did the thing where we set a certain amount of runs to score off an over - 10 runs. Normally without the pressure Thomas is hitting the ball all over the shop, but then once you do this it's a different story all together and suddenly my bowling takes on a new dimension. Most of the time I'm forcing errors and he'd be caught easily, but he'd be the first to admit that he's not a good batsman - he's very strong and has got a very good eye to ball ability but he doesn't know the strokes and rarely plays defensively. But as I said - with the pressure on I am far more affective. It would be really interesting to have a few more people turn up and I'm seriously thinking maybe we should get people like Mark Soye, Nick Naughty and Terry back in the game? I wonder if Darren would be up for it as well?

Overall it was a good session I stuck to the 3 balls - Top Spinners, Wrong Uns and Flippers. The Flipper with Thomas being left handed is like a Wrong Un for him and I was getting it to turn quite well and I turned the ball into his nuts a couple of times and the Wrong Un worked well too turning a lot in some cases. So overall using the 3 variations with Thomas under pressure seemed to work well. I still need more variety in form of different batting approaches, so I'm looking forward to anyone else joining us. I also had a bat and managed again to get the bat on the ball a few times, but even though I managed to whack it hard a few times the ball wasn't going that far and the bat feels quite dead - it's a Gunn and Moore bat one of the cheap ones, so I don't know whether it's just a crap bat, I may try one of the others I've got and see if they're any better?

At the end of the session I also marked out the South East quadrant with boundary markers, so now half the pitch is marked out. We noticed today that the West side boundary which has brambles and bushes is a short boundary and will cause a problem with lost balls potentially once we get some good batsmen playing, but we'll just have to sort that problem out once it arises.

Athletes Foot?

Here's a first, tonight I've developed a really itchy foot and then noticed a rash between my toes that is itchy. I've looked it up and it does sound like athletes foot from all the descriptions I've read - I'm not pleased. I'm not sure whether I've caught it from a pair of secondhand cricket shoes or from the swimming pool where Ben and Joe have their lessons? The shoes I've had for months, so I'd have thought that this would have occured sooner - so I'm hoping it's the pool? What I'll do is ask on the cricket forum for ideas as to how to best combat it.

Saturday, March 08, 2008


Hopefully we'll miss most of the rain tomorrow and it'll be quite dry and I'll be able to face a few balls from Rod if he turns up. Rod's quite a good bowler medium pacer with some in-swing, so it'll be useful to see if the fact that I'm now using my feet a bit will help with my batting against him. Also with the bowling we'll do that thing where the batsman has to try and score a specific amount of runs off an over, that's far more realistic to play in that way and I get wickets when we do. Fingers crossed some of the locals will turn up as well or at least the one bloke that did before?

Bit of a practice

Had an hour today under leaden skies and threatening rain. Went okay despite the blustery wind, tried a few things out but I'm kind of settling with the idea that I'm going to concentrate on the my three main variations Top Spinner, Wrong Un and Flipper and see how I get on with them through the year. The Leg break it just looks as though it's a lost cause unless I get someone to have a look at it and give me one to one coaching. I'll try every now and then, but I'm not hopeful.

I also measured out the boundary and put down some markers in the North East quadrant. So if we go over there tomorrow I'll do another quadrant and that'll be half of the pitch marked out already. I've still not seen anything more of the other blokes which is a shame, but I'm sure it'll happen eventually. I noticed today amongst the trees there's an electrical box of some sort, which is ideal for putting a poster on. So if it pans out that they start playing and I keep missing them I could possibly post a notice on this box?

Did some exercises today - the band stretching behind the head things - 20 of those, five of those weird round the head with the bendy bar things. Press ups walking side to side on the hands and the plank with legs stretched out alternatley. I'll do some again tonight.

The weather has held out okay, it didn't rain as expected in the manner they'd alluded to e.g. absolutely pouring down. It rained for a short while lightly but then it stopped and the remainder of the day has been dry. It's supposed to rain badly tonight and I'm waiting to see the news and weather.

Saw Rod the Aussie and Thomas tonight at Thomas's kids party and he's up for knock about and he might bring his son who plays a bit and is 13, so if it doesn't rain that'll be something to look forward to.

Friday, March 07, 2008

Meeting with the Council

I had a meeting this morning with the Council and that went well. The Council are very interested in helping us as much as possible. They're slightly concerned about the fact that cricket pitches are being under-used and so they're definitely interested in the potential that we might be able to form a team and make use of the facilities.

With regards the flattening/preparing of the wicket at the "5 tree field" (Gloucester Park) they're bound by H&S regulations and couldn't go anywhere near the idea that they might partially "Prepare" the ground in any way even if it was to drive along the length of the wicket in thier vehicles to smooth it out a bit. As he pointed out there are 2 wickets only a matter of a few hundred yards away that are prepared and maintained properly.

So the situation is that in the short term I've still got to forge contacts with the Gloucester Park blokes and get them playing at the "Five Tree Field" and try and get them to play cricket properly with real balls and get the basis of a team together. If I can do that it may pan out that sometime in the summer they we'd be in a position to hire either Murray Fields or The Rec a couple of times and play a real match.

The Council have said that at any time once this is beginning to take shape if we give them a couple of days notice they'd take us around the facilities and show the others what's on offer. I was shown the pavillion at The Rec and it's quite impressive inside - showers, kitchen, and several rooms - enough for 4 different teams.

In the short term the main thing as always is that I meet with the Gloucester Park crew and get some practice sessions going on the Five Tree Field. I must admit I have come away from the meeting not quite sure how they'd feel if I started to mow a wicket at Gloucester Park?

Exercise log update

Exercises and stuff - still being lazy.

The season fast approaches and unfortunately for me my teams net practice happens on a night when I have to work late, so as far as getting some coaching from the other Leg Spinners in my team I'm restricted to the possibility of a few sessions in the school holidays. So with regards to my action and any advice as to how I might go forward I'm restricted to video-ing myself and uploading the results to Youtube and you blokes comment and I hope to do more of that as the weather gets better.
Back home though I'm still finding it difficult to motivate myself especially with regards to running/sprinting, I kind of regard myself as an asset in my team because despite my age I'm quite fast and agile and enjoy fielding and chasing down balls so I need to focus on this aspect of my game fairly soon.
The only things I seem to be doing is stretching those big elastic bands behind my head, press-ups where you walk from side to side and the plank. Again not lots of it - every other day.
Eating is pretty much the same loads of fruit and veg and usual English quisine in the evenings. Looking to substitute my breakfast mixture of cheerios, bran flakes and Rice Krispies for something with oats in with sultana's and dried apricots. Still can't give up chocolate, although I may have slightly reduced the amount I eat recently, but that's been driven by economics rather than a desire to reduce my intake.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

The weekend ahead #2

Looks like rain this weekend is going to scupper any plans for cricket, although looking at the surf maps on it looks as though there'll be a lot of rain Saturday, but then it clears through Saturday night leaving a lull throughout the day on Sunday to return again over Sunday night. I'll keep an eye on the situation and see if it improves.

I've been trying to get Richard Sainsbury to get involved along with Thomas and me, but he keeps coming up with excuses - current one is he's got to rub down his bannister. He's got a nice Centurion bat that's only ever made contact with a ball thrown in anger about 3 times and each time it ended up in someones mits and I think last year he went for 3 ducks! This is a bloke who in the nets looks quite handy and played cricket quite a lot as a youth, so if he doesn't get out and practice surely he runs the risk of the bat never ever being used again? I keep asking him if he wants to sell it, but he insists that he'll play again at some point.
This Friday I go and meet the Council bloke who looks after all the fields in our area including Great Berry Open Space and The Rec. I'm expecting we'll have a chat about what options are open to us this summer. As I said in an earlier entry I'm speculating as to whether any cricket teams are using the Rec on a weekly basis, which is a real shame if they're not, but I think he may offer it to us at discounted prices? The only thing is "Us" at the moment is at best 5 blokes until I can get the Gloucester Park blokes on board and that may not be possible because of the cultural and language barriers and the fact that I've got to get their trust in order that the idea of a team can be come something more tangible. I'm not that optimistic - I reckon I can forge friendships and make something happen at the 5 tree field, but to get them to move out of their comfort zone and over to either Great Berry or The Rec would be more problematic.
On a slightly different front I had a look at the cost of hiring plant - specifically sit-on compactors. I was quite surprised at how cheap they are to hire. A week would cost you £180 for a compactor with 2 massive rollers over 3' wide. That's well within the realms of any cricket club to hire one for a week and flatten/compact their wicket. Imagine if you had one for that amount of time, you could guarantee your wicket to be rock hard and solid! I would assume that they're delivered on some kind of low loader trailer. Whether that'd be possible to get a trailer of that description and it's lorry onto somewhere like Great Berry is another matter, but if the council was involved I'm sure it'd be possible?

Sunday, March 02, 2008

5 Tree field update

Went over today with Ben and Joe with the prospect of them getting really bored whilst I practiced bowling. So in order to limit the chance of that happening I loaded the car up with footballs, scooters and the 2 bikes on a bike rack on the back of the car which had to be fitted, so geting all that together on it's own took the best part of 20 minutes.

As soon as we got there out of nowhere they wanted to play cricket and were asking for all their gear! Gutted! All I had was a Kookaburra plastic type windball and a full size bat. Needless to say we all percevered with the big bat and had a bit of fun. Ben's bowling was good and Joes too both hitting the stumps a few times.

I then a had a practice on my own which went okay - concentrating on Top-spinners, Flippers and wrong uns. It went okay - again I have to make comparisons with last year and in that regard it was a good practice. I desperately need other people to be involved in these practices and again I was hoping to see some of the local blokes and still there wasn't any sign of any of them. I'm looking forward to the Easter as if the weather breaks and it's fine that may bring them out on to the field? Again in the short term I might try and get some of the MPA boys involved?

I measured the boundary as well today and it looks as though the perimeter is approx just about right, maybe a bit short 60 yards instead of the usual 65 yards and it'll definitely be an oval shape with the longer boundaries behind the batsman and the bowler. I've started to mark the boundary out already having marked all the 1/4 markings. I've also obtained some pipe to use as boundary markers in the same way that GCCC use and there's the potential for using 32 of these, but in the short term I'll mark the boundary in the same way as I do the actual wicket.

I realised today what with Ben and Joe wanting to play cricket I need to have more of my gear with me when I go over there, so I'll have to take 2 bags of gear with me to cover all eventualities. It might be an idea to make some kind of wheeled device to drag it all from the car to the field being as it's so bloody heavy and there's a lot of it!

I've been increasing my exercises recently and modifying some of them. The Plank for instance I'm now doing for 30 seconds as a normal and then lifting alternate legs for 30 seconds. Other than that the stretching bands behind the head, press ups and upper body stuff is all increasing. How this will affect my bowling I'm not sure, I always feel like I have a propensity to bowl too long and getting stronger might exacerbate this even further? I'll have to see what happens.