Sunday, April 13, 2008

Sunday Part II

After tea what with the afternoon disintegrating into a soggy bog the only option available left was the basketball courts. So around 6.30pm I drove over the one I had in mind and it was full of kids playing football. I was just on my way to option 2 when I remembered that over near Five Tree Field (FTF) there a basket ball hoop, five a side goal and cricket stumps all incorporated into a long steel fence. I thought that of all the options this was going to be the one that would be empty so I made my way over there.

As I pulled up I could see a load of heads bobbing up and down and initially it looked as though there was already someone over there. As I stopped I realised that it was the cricket blokes from last summer and there was a few of them, it looked as though they were already on the playground area playing cricket. As I walked over I realised that in fact they were on the field/grass just beyond the tarmac area I was heading for so I could still set up and bowl. I was hoping that once they saw me they might invite me to join in but they didn't so I just did my usual thing and practiced.

The practice was awful. Didn't try and bowl any Leg Breaks because I was bowling over a full 22 yards, but I tried my wrong uns and the new Flipper variation and neither of them were particularly good - straight but not turning enough for my liking.

I kept an eye on the blokes and noticed that since last year they've stepped up their game in way but not in others. Improvements looked like they were now using makeshift stumps that actually approximated the size and width of real stumps - it looked like they'd done similar thing to me when I started out they were using broom sticks or something. The other major improvement was that they'd now got 2 full size bats between them (Slazenger bats from Sportsworld). But the step backwards was they were using a tennis ball and it wasn't the hard cricket tennis balls that they were using last year. Because they were using tennis balls this meant that their wicket was a bit short as well.

At the end of my practice I went and stood in line with the stumps and watched how they bowled and the bloke I watched was the usual medium pacer that they all tend to be with some fast bowlers amongst them, but he was very accurate and the batsman was okay too.

Now - this means that it looks like on a Sunday afternoon after tea they're up for a game and normally I'll be playing with Grays and Chadwell. Does this also mean that they'll be getting out on to FTF to play soon because it doesn't actually get too dark now till 8pm if the sky is clear. This now throws up a bunch of dilemmas. If they move onto FTF will they use the track that I've been using and will they use the full length or will they damage it by using it at a shorter length? I'm thinking the only way I can see that I can encourage them to use it properly would be if I was to take the maintenance up to another level and mow it and start painting the crease lines. Maybe that will encourage them to use it properly? The other thing is on Monday and Tuesday I wont be able to practice over there at all and I can see a situation developing where they establish themselves on the pitch and possibly don't invite me to join in if I turn up? I suppose my ace card will be the equipment and my willingness for them to use it? I just need to get there before they do on a day when they intend to play and they're forced to join me - and then I can offer all the gear and insist that we all play using real balls and all the neccesary protective gear?

So that means every time I go over there I'm going to have to take all the gear in an extra bag in the event that this scenario comes up, but that's what I've been waiting and planning for. It looked as though they all live nearby and tonight despite the fact that it was on such a small bit of grass after a day of rain and in temperatures of only 8 degrees as I left there was 15 of these blokes - so well enough for a game! Looks promising?