Saturday, May 31, 2008

Another day a better practice.

What makes that happen? yesterday my bowling was appalling and today it was a lot better - not brilliant but okay in comparison with yesterday.

The weather forecast today was sunny and warm or at least warm and no rain. I'd got text last night from my captain saying that the game wasn't going to happen (Or did he read the blog and think - strewth Dave's bowling crap - I'll tell him the games off) so no cricket this weekend which pleased Michelle. I noticed that my backyard was really overgrown because of the recent rain so I got the shears out and cut it. Having cut the bulk of it short with the shears I then got the mower out and gave it a going over with that and it ended up looking really nice. I then got the bug so me and Ben went over to "Local Field" and cut the wicket which also was on the verge of getting unmanagable again and I knew that there was more rain on the way - scheduled for Monday so it needed to be done.

Despite cutting the wicket I didn't bowl on it and bided my time till the evening and went over to Gloucester Park and had an hour on the artificial strip. It wasn't brilliant but it got better towards the end. In the last 15 minutes or so I was bowling "The Gipper" spinning from Leg to Off and the new Doosra's which went the other way and I was bowling them alternately trying to pitch them in front of the stumps. Generally it went okay and seemed to be improving as I was going along.

So overall because of the relatively big improvement over yesterday I was quite happy. I tried some Leg Breaks and they spun a little and were quite accurate so that was okay too.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Pile of crap

Man has it rained! Going in to work this morning all of the fields have loads of standing water and we're due more in the next couple of days too leading up to and into the weekend. So it does look at though the weekend could be rained off and I wont get to play. Still, possibly more time to work on the Gipper? Last night on the internet forums I came across a bloke that bowls 3 different variations of the flipper and he was saying that he's got all three working - The straight back spinner the one that turns into off from Leg (The gipper) and the opposite version which is a really difficult one to bowl I found so far. But he was also saying that he bowls the slider and described it in a way that I'd not heard before - like a wrong un but with the hand back to front. It makes sense but I can't imagine it's at all easy, just imagining that strains my brain!

Jump to Friday 30th....

After nearly a week of rain it looks like we may be in for a dryish weekend and some cricket. Looking on our clubs website last night though there was no mention of a game being organised just a note saying TBA. I've also emailed Neil the captain a couple of times now and as yet he's not got back to me so perhaps there's no game? This morning it was wet everywhere but not any rain, on the news overnight there'd been floods in West England (Somerset) so the whole place is really soggy and damp and crying out for some sun. At the moment it's overcast with little wind so if it stays like this the wicket will still be damp I reckon? Watched some of the world cup this morning England Vs Sri Lanka the game where Paul Nixon and Ravi Bopara had to get 3 off of the last ball to win and the Sri Lankan bowler ran up and stopped and then bowled Bopara out with the next ball. I was watching Mularitharan's bowling and realised that I bowl the Doosra as well! So that's another one of my experimental techniques that has now been recognised as being a standard delivery, so in my selection of deliveries I've got -

The Flipper
Top Spinner
Wrong Un
Leg Break

This morining I was experimenting with Flipper variations (The Gipper is a flipper variant). It seems possible that 3 variants of the flipper are possible - The straight one that back spins and goes straight on "The Flipper" but then you can turn your wrist and arm and make the ball spin into off from leg (The Gipper) and the reverse which is trickier but a bloke on Simply cricket was saying that he'd been bowling it and seemed to find it relatively easy. This morning just throwing the ball short distances I was able to do all this with just 90 degree turns of the wrist in different directions and get considerable deviation off the line with the spin. So it looks like there's a whole load of scope with the Flipper yet to be discovered?

I'm on the train at the moment and the suns come out - let's hope it stays out for the next couple of days.

Later - On way home.

It's remained dry today and fairly warm with sporadic sunshine so there wont have been any substantial drying of fields happening. Works really hard at the moment shed loads of stuff going on, both sets of students that I teach 1st and 2nd years are the worst students ever and each year it gets worse and yet somehow they have all got to pass and excel and there's other stuff going on as well so it's more stressful than usual, so I'm desperate to escape it all with a game of cricket. Over the next couple of days I should really avoid going on the internet as I should be working towards a teaching qualification that I'm doing - but I've got no enthusisam for it and just can't bring myself to do it, but I'm going to have to at some point otherwise I'll be out of a job!

Ignoring the fact that if I don't get the teacher qualification I'll get sacked I had such a crap day at work I had to do something different so I went over to Gloucester Park to the artificial wicket. (It's the light strip on the field in this ariel shot),0.446277&spn=0.00284,0.010772&t=h&z=17

Having watched Mularitharan this morning bowling Doosras and realising that I've already been experimenting with the Doosra not realising what it was! I was looking forward to trying it out and seeing if I could improve it. What I'd noticed on the video was the flick that he gives it, I bowl it without the flick and it turns fairly well, so with the addition of the flick it seems as though again this is another variation with loads of potential?

The practice session which was around an hour and half was a total pile of crap. My bowling was awful. The only ball I could bowl was the bog standard flipper, the top spinner and the Doosra. The ones I wanted results from were The Gipper, Leg Break and the Doosra with the flick. For the first hour or so I bowled badly. Towards the end I started to get it together a bit and then went on to try the Doosra again with the big flick. The flick works making it spin really well from Off to Leg, but I was bowling it massively wide either side of the stumps with hardly any control over it. But it feels like something I can work on and get right in time.

I'm not going to go over all the negatives because it's too depressing. What I'm going to do is go along with the idea that when I haver crap bowling sessions they're usually followed up by a good one later. So I'm going to be positive about playing Sunday and it's a home game.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

The Gipper is ready

An amazing practice day today! The rain had stopped and everywhere was wet and damp and the sun came out and it got hot and muggy. In the morning I'd checked out GBOS and it was soaked and will be for a few days so initially I thought I was scuppered. I'd taken the day off work so I was also in a position where I was having to look after my kids and they'd already moaned because I'd stopped off at GBOS to look at the state of the field, so it was obvious that If I'd suggested "let's go over to one of the fields and........." they be giving "Oh no Dad, not cricket"! So I was stuffed. I tried bowling outside the house but I need to be bowling the Leg Break over the full 22 yards if it's going to develop and there isn't the space. Then I noticed within sight of my house there's a little patch of rough grass that the local kids all play football on. I've bowled there before but we're talking rough, but being desperate I thought at least I can practice bowling the length and I can leave the two boys playing with their mates directly outside our house and I can still see them and hear them.

So with my stumps and a handful of balls I went and had a look. This patch of grass has one other good feature it's surrounded by a wire fence but that's about it. It's other features are that it's covered in dog crap, it's uneven and it's on a fair old slant. Initially I tried going across the slant but didn't like that and resorted to bowling up the slant as I did a couple of times last summer. That was preferable. Within a short while I thought it looked as though despite all the bad things going for it I could improve it by cutting the grass a bit and seeing how uneven it was down there. Some time later with the grass cut in front of the stumps for a few yards and bashing the lumps flat with a spade it looked do-able and bowling could commence with some purpose.

See the image here. The red spot indicates where my garage is and our house is directly behind the garage.
So the order of the day was The Gipper again but this time concentrating on getting the leading arm up high and the bowling hand too at the start of the rotation as suggested by someone on The other thing I was looking to do was to get the ball on the stumps, none of that bowling it wide of leg or off with the intention that it turned into the stumps. I also got an inner tube off of a kids bike and used it as the target into which I was bowling.

The whole session went like a dream. Of all the balls the Gipper was the one that was working best turning from the middle towards off, but I was getting a consistent line and length with it and was able to vary the placement at will, so if I wanted to bowl down the legside and turn it into the stumps I could. I also noticed there are subtleties to this delivery like the leg break. Small variations in the way you grip it and twist your wrist mean that it can vary massively in what it does - Straight and skidding in like your bog standard flipper or straight and bouncing like a top spinner and then when you get it right and slow it up it turns very affectively. But the best thing was how consistent it was in the basic delivery aspects - line and length. I was also trying the Leg break and by the end of the session that was coming along nicely but requires of me absolute concentration in order that it spins towards off. The good thing about it is that it's faster than all my other deliveries I think and it bounces well.

By the end of the session I was bowling alternate balls - off-spin and Leg spin at will and hitting the stumps all the time.

After tea -

What with having such a succesful bowling session I now needed to try it out on someone so rang my mate Thomas and he was up for it. But.... Instead of going to one of the many grassy fields that we usually frequent he suggested that we used the artificial wicket over at Gloucester Park. I'd completely forgotten that it was there within the fenced off square at the main council pitch in Basildon. We drove over there and sure enough it was within the chain fence, so I'm not entirely sure that you're allowed to simply turn up and use it? We threw caution to the wind and set up there and threw a few balls and took a turn each to bat.

Now, what was interesting is that like a real cricket pitch (the ones I've played on) it didn't bounce that much and I couldn't get the ball to turn much either. So that now gives me the opportunity to practice on a surface that reacts like a cricket pitch potentially? Because of the lack of turn I could get out of this surface my bowling didn't look that special and I was getting tonked all over the gaff. But then towards the end of what seemed like a real lack lustre bowling session I realised that I hadn't incorporated the high leading arm and high starting position of the bowling arm. As soon as I did this my bowling immediately improved! As with earlier on getting it turn in either direction at will.

So what with re-discovering this artificial surface I feel like I'm onto another potentially important chapter in my development as a bowler.

10 top tips for Wrist Spin learners (Leg Spin)

214 views so far since the counter was put in place around a week ago. Not bad. Anyway we're coming up to the blog being a year and half old, so I've now been trying to bowl wrist spin for the same kind of period of time and I'm beginning to get it. So by way of a review/evaluation I'm going to state some of the key points which I believe are good starting points if you're trying to bowl wrist spin. If you've got a differing opinion by all means post a comment and put me right, I'm looking to learn after all. I'll also try and put the 10 key points in some kind of order too.

1. If you're starting out with Wrist Spin concentrate on being able to bowl the Leg Break. Don't worry about all the variations at the start, just make sure that you're able to bowl this delivery and that it's your main weapon against the batsman.

2. If you can, learn with a coach - someone that already bowls wrist spin affectively, or learn with another Wrist Spinner and learn together - bowling back and forth to each other and evaluating what you are doing.

3. At the earliest point borrow, steal or buy Peter Philpotts book - "The Art of Wrist Spin". Read it and follow the instructions!

4. Familiarise yourself with the videos that are available on-line via youtube - there's one with Shane Warne himself at the Wacca and 3 with Terry Jenner 2 from the BBC and the other is part of the Cloverdale video series. All of these videos are helpful.

5. Leg Spin/Wrist spin is acknowledged as being potentially the most difficult form of bowling so be prepared to put some hours in getting it right - be prepared for the long haul.

6. Look after your shoulder - check out the threads on or subscribe to and follow thier advice relating to shoulder exercises to prevent injury.

7. When you're learning and playing at the same time don't try and be too clever - aim at the stumps don't bowl wide in the hope that it'll turn in to the stumps. If it doesn't turn you're still on target and the batsman has got to deal with the ball. If it does turn you're going to force errors.

8. This discipline rarely comes naturally and requires a great deal of concentration and the use of pre-visualising techniques - adopt the techniques and learn to focus utterly on what you do.

9. You never stop learning - wrist spin is a continual learning process.

10. Practice, practice and more practice. All summer, all winter flick and spin balls, apples, oranges anything keep flicking and spinning and bowling.

I think that covers the basics and should set anyone that is interested in bowling wrist spin on the right track?

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

Monday, May 26, 2008


Sunday it pretty much rained all day and today it has rained all day with occassional 10 minute lapse. So - no cricket. Watched the highlights of the NZ v England match on channel 5 and we won quite comprehensively despite a ropey start. Monty Panesar did well yesterday taking 6 wickets and Andrew Strauss scored a century today ensuring we won. Commenting on real cricket's not my forte so I'll leave that for all the other blogs and websites and concentrate on the more down to earth world of club cricket and obsession.

I've been contributing to a Leg Spin thread on and in just under 6 months it's been viewed 10,000 times and it's had more than 700 posts on it - most of which were mine. I've just started a new one as they've shut the old one down and it's at;new the old thread was by a long way the most popular thread on the site both by contributions and viewing. Looking around (Albeit quite quickly) I've not seen any other forums with anywhere near as many contributions on the same subject so it's a little sad to see it go. But I'm hoping and expecting the new one to be just as popular if not more so. In fact the website admin blokes are looking to try and get someone who's a pro Leg spinner to make some kind of contribution to the thread as it is so popular - so let's hope that comes off?

Sunday, May 25, 2008

No match

No match to report this weekend as I was away with my younger son on "Beaver" Camp - (Cubs but not so hardcore). But I am happy to report that whilst on site there was evidence of cricket being played by scouts and cubs. They probably had to fill in a 28 page H&S report and ask the district commissioner if their game proposal was within the guidelines etc. My God the world has gone H&S mental and it is to the detriment of rounded human beings.

Last night I was mucking about with a ball outside bowling flippers and the derivative “Gipper” and I realized something really obvious. The gipper is just your bog standard flipper but with the hand rotated and twisted loads so that when click the ball out of your hand instead of the ball coming out with backspin you’re giving it loads of side spin. I then realized if you then twist your wrist a different way you’ll be bowling the ball and spinning it so that spins from off to leg? The potential seems enormous if you can click the ball in all sorts of directions and still get it up the wicket on a decent length and line.

So I had a go at the Gippers last night and as previously reported did okay. This morning I went over to the Rec and had an hour or so there practicing derivatives of the flipper – the one that spins from leg to off “The Gipper” and now this new one that does the opposite maybe the “Offer” or perhaps the “Floffer”? It works but like the Gipper it’s going to need practice. I also noticed that because I am twisting my hand, wrist and arm in really peculiar ways – probably 180 degree opposite to the bog standard Flipper instead of under-spin its producing top spin and it kind of bounces up quickly and higher that expected.

All of these derivatives of the flipper seem at the moment to be pretty inconsistent as to whether they turn or not but fairly accurate but again working against them is the fact that they’re slow. What is going to happen is that the batsmen are going to then go for hitting fours and I’ve got to learn where I should be trying to place the ball in order to force errors and secure a catch when this starts to happen . I kind of got the sense that I was beginning to get this sorted at the last match where I was putting the ball down the off side trying to produce wrong uns, but they were too slow and the batsman was just stepping back and hitting the ball off the back foot almost every time to Super Dave. Perhaps if Super Dave didn’t mind losing his teeth he might have been brought in closer to try and take the ball at 130mph while it was still in the air because in his position at cover it was dropping short of where he was fielding but always ending up in that area?

In amongst the Gippers and the Floffers I was trying normal Leg Breaks and they were working some of the time. But I’m not going to get my hopes up yet about whether I can bowl them well because when I transfer to a cricket pitch I can’t do them. In the meantime I’ll just keep on spinning and flicking apples, oranges, tennis balls, golf balls etc as much as I can so that the reflex eventually becomes almost instinctive and natural so that when I do bowl it – it works!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Gipper news

This was posted elsewhere on a cricket forum - so kind of reads odd....

Yeah I'm kind of doing okay, one minute I think I've cracked the leg break and the next minute it's not happening. A week ago mucking about on tarmac throwing a hockey ball back and forth to my mate I was getting it turn massively and every single time with fairly good accuracy with the line and length. The next day in a cricket match - couldn't do it!This week same thing - just couldn't do it - just goes straight. But going backwards as Peter Philpott recommends - I can turn the hockey balls on tarmac and over short distances get a cricket ball to turn massively. It's just that when I move up to the 22 yards, the effort that I have to put into getting the ball up the end somehow dilutes the spin. I suppose what I need to do is gradually creep up the wicket in length during practice and be patient?All the other variations are going nicely and I've been playing around tonight with this variation I call the "Gipper" see the images here - images are the view that the batsman sees so when you bowl it you do so with a weirdly twisted arm and wrist. But tonight it was coming along nicely - I'm managing to get a good length with it and fairly good accuracy. It's a weird ball and sometimes it spins away to off massively and other times it seems to really bounce. But I can't pinpoint what I'm actually doing in order to be consistent. Towards the end of the practice I was getting the speed up but it still remains a mystery as to what I have to do or exaggerate in the delivery in order to get it to spin like it does sometimes. When I first started bowling it - it use spin away to off at a ridiculous angle. But that seems to have reduced at the expense of speed and accuracy. But it still looks like a useful ball and I reckon I'm not too far away from trying it in a match.

This practice was over at FTF (Five Tree Field) I went over there to see if there was any evidence of the Gloucester Park crew having used the field this summer and there was any at all. But the grass has been cut and was nice and short - I'm tempted to keep it that way now? The ground is quite flat over there as well and the ground quite hard so there was quite a bit of bounce. Tomorrow morning I may go over there and have a couple of hours and work on my leg break and the gipper. If I don't go there I might go over Great Berry instead?

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

21st May

Went over the field (Local field) and bowled a few gippers and they're okay, fairly accurate, very loopy and possibly getting faster. The weird thing at the minute (and this could easily change) is that when I try and bowl them faster they end up just being straight and much faster, so I'm assuming that if you're batsman and you're one of those cocky types that is able to pick the delivery - you'd have spotted the gipper a mile off and you'd be waiting for it to spin away to off, so what with it suddenly being slightly faster and suddenlt straight that might cause a problem? It needs more work.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Gipper update

I'd noticed the last couple of days that my practice wicket was growing to the point that it needed to be cut. So just after sundown I went over there with the mower and gave it a trim. I also cut the long grass another foot towards the uncut end.

Having cut it, it was still fairly light and I was tempted to throw a few balls, so I took the mower home and collected some balls and a set of stumps. You can see how close the field is to my house in this ariel image below.,0.426144&spn=0.001421,0.005386&t=k&z=18

The practice wicket is on the football pitch that you can see here in the botton right hand corner where the trees are casting a shadow. My garage is at the bottom of the image right next to the cluster of houses in the bottom centre here. See the red cars just to the left of these and slightly lower beneath the text that says "Images". This is the very same garage that was home to the only ever case of a Steatoda Grossa in Essex It was a biggun!

So anyway being wary that there might be more of them around I got the stumps and went and threw a few balls as dusk fell. Initially I just threw a few top spinner, these went okay but I'm looking to bowl Leg breaks so gave those a go and nothing. With my thumb getting progressively better and being able once more to click the ball out of my fingers flipper style I thought I'd give the Gipper a go.

I threw 16 up there and 12 of them went okay turning acutely, so I might start looking at it again now with a view to getting it moew under control. If I could repeat what I did tonight on a regular basis I'd say that I might be ready to unveil it to the public in a match situation where we'd already batted and established an unasailable lead and were clearing out the last 2 bunnies with overs in hand and no chance of them catching up. It was going so well I'm hoping that Friday will bring fine weather in the morning and I might get an hour or so on the field before work?

The balls that I was pitching very wide down the legside were hitting the off stump just about or going wide as in the diagram here.

Admittedly it's still ridiculously slow and sometimes it bounces 3 times to a roll and would go for a no-ball, but when I do get it right it looks like a wide which then turns viciously. I desperately need to bowl it on a wicket and see what happens.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Monday 19th May

Monday 19th May

08.15 hrs (On the train).

Cold over night in some places it was down to zero or lower here in the UK (Scotland) but a lovely blue sky sunny morning, but still with the Northerly wind that is keeping the temperature down.

No evening practice at least until Wednesday and the only chance of a practice otherwise would be if I was to get up ridiculously early and have a chuck around between 6.30 and 7.00. I’ve done it before and if the sunny weather prevails I might do so because I obviously do need to practice. No injuries this morning apart from bruising and slightly swollen fingers on my right hand. I feel a bit stiff but nothing of any concern.

I was watching the Ashes in Australia from a couple of years ago – watching Warne bowling and the fact that even he does get smashed all over the park sometimes continuously getting smashed for fours and this is heartening. But in our games this has a dramatic affect on the score across 40 overs especially if the other team doesn’t have as many spin bowlers. Looking back again this morning I think I need to do several things –

· Concentrate on accuracy and get the ball down the middle on the stumps.
· Give up on pitching it wide either side.
· Continue to practice with the Leg Break, but not use it until I can get it down the centre on the stumps – not worry too much about whether it turns big or not in match situations.
· Don’t use the flipper much in games concentrate on Top-spinners, Wrong Uns and Leg breaks.
· Try and get faster – look at the walk in and the issue with “Driving the hips forward”.
· Review all this on a game by game basis.

The rest of the team do acknowledge I have improved, so if I keeping going and keep practicing bit by bit I should make small advances. I’ve just got to temper my own expectations. But I am disappointed with the Leg Break situation – I really did think that was coming together and yesterday in between umpiring and taking photo’s I was trying to bowl them on their practice wicket and wasn’t getting anywhere. I feel I need to have a practice where I’m throwing the ball back and forth to someone as I did with Thomas and Alex with a set of stumps. That way you can practice with some kind of consistent approach and it seems to be more affective than practicing on your own and there’s the obvious benefit of someone offering encouragement.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

The land of a thousand cricket pitches

To have a look at where I mean - paste all this gobbledygook into your browser and you'll hopefully get a satellite image?

View Larger Map

Other than go onto one of the on-line satellite map things and type in Ilford, then once you're there type in fairlop waters and you should get a Lake with an island and the pitches are just above the Lake on the map.

So the team we played were Loxford Falcons and their pitch is one of the ones over the back as you look at the map - bigger than most of the others with a clubhouse and a practice wicket just next to the clubhouse. So a slightly bigger pitch than most of the others we've been playing on. The team consisted today of.... (I think this was the batting order)?

John Buckley - Bat
Chris Buckley - Bat
Nick Buckley - wicket
Lee Downes - Bat & PT Bowler
Glen "Bobby" Ewing - Bowler/Bat
"Swiss" Danny Groves - Bat
Dave "Super Dave" Gaylor
Lee's brother who's name I can't remember (Reece/Rhys) maybe?
Lovejoy - Bowler
Dave Thompson - Bowler (Supposedly)
Neil "Sammers" Samwell - Capt/Bowler

Blimey I just saved the blog at this point and just checked to see what it looks like and was kind of surprised how efficiently that big link I pasted in brought up the satellite in the blog! How good is that! I'm most impressed, that's a whole new toy to play with!

Anyway - I haven't got a clue who won the toss, but as with previous weeks we fielded first - I think the theory here is that we then have a total to chase? This week what with having a bit of a nightmare with a load of wides I had a bit of a throw around with Lee before the game started and that seemed to go fairly well. So a short while later in cloudy bright conditions (more cloud than bright) and 15 degrees c with a cross wind blowing from the NE and the sun in the SSW approx the game commenced with Lovejoy and Super Dave as the first bowlers.

I have to confess at this point - I've not been able to record the events so well this week as we didn't have our resident umpire with us (Bruno) and we all had to take turns umpiring which means whereas last week I was able to sit and look over the scorers shoulder at the figures this week I was out umpiring and taking pictures again.

Initially it looked quite healthy with Lovejoy and Super Dave keeping the runs down to 3.8 an over or something in that region and their two openers looking a bit cautious. But as they settled in they started to gain their confidence and the average crept up to around 4 per over and eventually by the time they'd got 100 on the score board it was in the 5+ an over region. Neil then started to swap the bowlers around a bit because it looked as though the 2 openers were there for the duration of the match and were getting the hang of Super Dave and Lovejoys bowling. I think Neil bowled along with "Bobby" for a while and there didn't seem to be a great deal of difference and then he brought me in (I was tempted to write attack - but attack is hardly a word I'd use for my bowling). I think I shared the bowling with Super Dave and again I was into the wind and Super Dave was given the wind behind him end.

As far as I'm concerned I bowled crap again. Admittedly not as many wides as last week, but a few none the less. The wicket was one of those really nice looking ones - all compressed mud and no grass and I think they were all saying that it was good for bowlers especially if you can get the ball to spin. I always think they look lovely and smooth like the tarmac I practice on a lot and get Hockey balls to turn a country mile - but here in the reality of a cricket match it seems I can barely throw the ball from one end to the other let alone make it spin and turn. My thumb has got better now and I'm able to bowl flippers and with Lee earlier I was getting them to turn quite nicely, but here in the glare of the spotlight I felt apprehensive and bowled only what I can describe as cautiously - trying not to repeat the wides of last week. Anyway so as not to bore everyone - I didn't get a wicket at all and was batted all over the park especially when the ball went down the legside. I've still got lots to learn. Some of the "Wanna be" Wrong uns turned slightly and they kept getting hit towards Super Dave but over his head or along the ground most of the time. He was in a position between Silly Mid off and extra cover (Might be mid off)? Some of the balls also went up in the sky and in the direction of Mid wicket but always a bit short or over their heads.

More impressive was my fielding today - I stopped a few shots with some dives and caught some dude at square leg who looked like he meant business. He hit the ball and again like last time it seemed I had loads of time to think about it - ooh s**t here it comes and I'm quite close so this is going to hurt like hell, I had started to move in the wrong direction bodily but somehow I kept my head in line with the ball and just stuck my hands out where I thought it was going and caught it nicely as I fell away to the ground backwards. So that was okay. That was a ball off of Lee's bowling who then went on to take another wicket and Lee's noted to be a Part time bowler. In fact Lee took their main batsman who was on 93 with a ball that went through his legs and caught leg stump.

Super Dave took his wickets bowling Leg Spin - he'd bowled all the overs in his spell up until the last 2 or 3 seam balls but then turned to bowling leg spin and took out one of the openers and then bowled the next bloke out on a golden duck "I've been reading your blog Dave and tried some of your techniques"! Neil also took two, one of which Lovejoy caught and I think the other he bowled clean, but I don't remember the deatils.

They finished on 221 with wickets in hand. A better result than last year when we played them as they made 250 +. So now we were chasing. Within a matter of minutes one of our openers went on his second ball - John Buckley. Chris and Nick Buckely stuck it out for a while but we could see right from the outset that the run rate was slow and they were keeping us pinned down with less than three runs an over. Nick was next caught making way for Lee. Lee was there for quite some time with Chris hitting a few fours, but still the run rate was low and the game was disappearing out of our grasp. Chris was next to be replaced by Bobby who played alongside Lee. Then Lee went to be taken over by Danny - Danny hit some fours, but we were in need of a Dave Skeels innings, but he wasn't with us today. Then our lot started to fall like flies Rhys? was next and I had to stop taking pictures as it looked like I was going to get a bat. Rhys went fairly soon to be replaced by Super Dave. By now I'd Almost got all my gear on and we lost another wicket and we were on on the 37th over of 40 and Lovejoy said I could go on in place of him, but I couldn't get my bloody leg pads sorted in time and said for Lovejoy to go on and he did. So once again I missed my chance to bat - not that I'd be likely to make any runs let alone impact on the game, but then as Super Dave said later - "You're only ever going to get better by doing it".

We lost 221 - 161 which is apparently slightly better than last year, but they did have the services of a really good fast bowler Danny apparently asked his if he could slow down a bit because he couldn't even see the ball it was that fast.

In bewteen my umpire duty which I screwed up a bit - I should have given a no-ball for a shoulder height beamer that Lee had to fend off, I used their practice wicket and bowled far better on that. Although I still can't bowl Leg Breaks despite all the optimism recently and seemingly being able to do it on concrete with seamless balls? Talking to Super Dave after the game he was saying that I'd improved massively since last year and he was making direct comparisons with "The Wizard" it seems that they've been winding him up saying that I'd moved ahead of him in the potential dept pointing out that I can get the ball to spin both ways. If I could get a bit more speed I'd be inclined to say I'm in the competition and try and prove the point, but all the time I'm so slow I'd say he's still got the edge, but the bowling figures will no doubt be the proof. So I wonder how he got on today as he played with the Sunday 1st XI?

So more work to do - faster and more accurate. I think the thing I was doing wrong today was that I was trying to bowl down the sides - trying to get a bit flash and get the ball to turn in. I reckon and I think Super Dave said to do this I'd be far better off just bowling straight at the stumps and if it turns that then may force an error and if it doesn't turn the batsman has to do something with it?


I never expected this to be easy as sports photography is a specialism that generally requires specialist lenses. But today the light was fairly poor so shooting at 200 iso at f5.6 meant that I was shooting with shutter speeds of 1/250 and hand holding them at that speed was never going to be advisable. As a consequence many of the shots today were rubbish and the conclusion is that I'll have to start using a tripod or just shoot on days when there's a lot more light around.

Top shot - is the end of the match with Lovejoy leading the way off the pitch
2nd shot is Dave "Super Dave" Gaylor at the end of the match and the last shot is Super Dave again just after being dismissed.

Saturday, May 17, 2008


It seems I've now stumbled across the weird world of the scambuster at I had a look around to see if there was any organisations that follow up these scams and posted the blog entry on where this blog is duplicated. One of the admin blokes on the forum directed me to the 419 website as I'd drawn a blank with any agencies in this country. All the official agencies seem to state that this is such an enormous problem they do not have the resources to deal with it. That to me sounds like we still don't pay enough tax in order that government organisations can afford to do their jobs properly? But that's a whole new issue that I'm not going to get into here. But it does seem that there's an army of weirdo's out there that play these scammers at their own game - pretending that they've bought into the scam and are following it up! I'm tempted to dabble myself - maybe give false account numbers and stuff, but quickly looking at the 419 website it seems the 419- ers even go as far as winding these people up by ringing them and giving them their phone numbers totally engaging with them pretending that they're being fooled! Good on em I say, but I don't think I'd go that far!

If you're interested in how much of a problem this is and what types of letter are being sent to the likes of you, me and more gullible types have a look at this - but heed the warnings. The first one in the list I skimmed through all the way and it's hilarious how long it goes on for and how the 419er bloke strings the scammer along, but it ends in the way you'd expect. After what seems like weeks and weeks of emails and phone calls it ends up with the scammer threatening to kill the 419er, but as he says it doesn't happen!

Fantastic news for G&CCC

I logged on to my email account last night and had some brilliant news! For some strange reason some Woman had decided that I was to be the beneficiary of her will. Being the nice bloke that I am albeit agnostic I thought that if she's giving me this money I'll donate £100,000 to my cricket club so that we can have a new pitch in Orsett. What's this all about? you're no doubt wondering? Here's the story so far.... This is the email I got last night.....

From: Mrs. Mary Johnson.17 Copse Hill,Wimbledon,SW20 0NE, London,United Kingdom.

My name is Mrs. Mary Johnson, I am a dying woman who have decided to donatewhat I have to you/ church.I am 59 years old and I was diagnosed for cancer forabout 2 years ago, immediately after the death of my husband, who has left meeverything he worked for. I have been touched by God to donate from what I haveinherited from my late husband to you for the good work of God, rather thanallow my relatives to use my husband hard earned funds ungodly.Please pray thatthe good Lord forgive me my sins. I have asked God to forgive me and I believehe has because He is a mercifu l God.I will be going in for an operation in less than one hour. I decided toWILL/donate the sum of £10 MillionGBP(Ten Million Great Britain Poundssterling) to you for the good work of the lord, and also to help the motherlessand less privilege and also for the assistance of the widows. At the moment Icannot take any telephone calls right now due to the fact that my relatives arearound me and my health status. I have adjusted my WILL and my lawyer is awareI have changed my will you and he will arrange the transfer of the funds frommy account to you. I wish you all the best and may the good Lord bless youabundantly, and please use the funds well andalways extend the good work to others.Contact Person:Barr Teddy WillaimsE-mail: tell him that I have WILLED £10 MillionGBP (Ten Million Great BritainPounds sterling) to you and I have also notified him thatI am WILLING that amount to you for a specific and good work. I know I don?tknow you but I have been directed to do this. Thanks and God bless.NB: You will be entitled to 40% while the balance will be use by you to helpthe work of God and the less privilege?s will appreciate your utmostconfidentiality in this matter until the task is accomplished as I don't wantanything that will jeopardize my last wish.And Also I will be contacting with you by email as I don't want my relation oranybody to know because they are always around me.

Yours sincerely,

Mrs. Mary Johnson

So I replied..........


I'll be looking forward to it in the post. Hopefully it's all going to be used notes. If you could cash the money in for Gold and send gold instead. Send via Fedral Express or someone like that. If no-one is in leave instructions for the driver to go round the back and tell him to throw it all over the back gate. If you think the gold is too obvious I will take cash as long as it's UK pounds sterling or US dollars. Put it in a good sturdy box and the same applies if I'm not in.

I'm so glad you're doing this for me because I'm totally skint and I've got children and this may now set them up so that they go to a good school and get a good education. With the money I'll also donate £100,000 to a local cricket team so that they can buy the lease to a piece of land and make a new cricket pitch and pavillion.


Dave Thompson.

Then this morning as quick as a flash I got a reply this morning from her lawyer......

Dear Dave Thompson,

I am Barrister, Teddy Williams a barrister to Mrs. Mary Johnson latehusband I was directed by Mrs. Mary Johnson regarding your e-mail yousend to her for you been her next of kin to execute her late husband willas you know very well that she is not in a better position in any wayto respond to your e-mail due to her present condition medical treatmentin Barnes Hospital, South Wimple Way, SW14 8SU, London, England First i will like to welcome your interest to be her next of kin to iwill like to execute her late husband will that is to say Mrs. MaryJohnson is putting all are trust in you to execute her late husband willand I know that you will not let her down or disappoint her.Before we proceed, I will like to update you that you must be areliable and truthful person to execute her late husband will and you mustdistribute her late husband fund of £10 Million (Ten Million Great BritainPounds sterling) with a Finance company in Europe to the lessprivilege/orphanage in your country she will be directing you to as time goeson. And you must show one or two prove showing that the fund is welldistributed to the less privilege and the work of God. Note that at the end of this transaction, after you have receive thefund been transferred to your account through the Finance company you areentitled to 40% of the total money while the balance will be use tohelp the work of God and the less prevelege in your country she will be directing
you to as time goes on be inform that before i direct you to Financecompany you must get back to me with your full details. Processing as thenext of kin(NOK). 1. Your date of birth2. Your place of birth3. Your Occupation4. Any valid identity card5. Full name6. Tel numbers7. Contact address8. Sex Upon receipt of this e-mail, I will then direct you to the Financecompany for the facilitating/processing of the fund transfer to youraccount in your country. Note: i am not demanding any money of form of payment from as herbarrister for service and directive i will be rendering to you because ihave been fully paid by my late client and all we need is to comply withour directives to make sure your funds is fully transferred. I await your prompt response.

Yours in Service,

BARR TEDDY WILLIAMS .+44 7045722387

So in reply to that I've said.......


Cheers for responding so quickly, I can't give you any of those deatils as there are so many people that are working scams on the internet, but if you're giving the money away I certainly wont be saying no to it. So if you can put it in a suit case and then put the suitcase in a black plastic bag and take it to Blackshots playing fields in Grays, Essex. You can drop the money off at the cricket pavillion at 2.30pm on any Sunday. You don't have to identify yourself and you can be as discreet as you like. Simply walk up to the pavillion building and place the money where the lawn mowers and score boards are. Cheers in advance and thank you for your genorosity.


So with a bit of luck in the next couple of weeks some bloke will be dropping £10,000,000 off to me at the cricket club. So any cricket club members reading this - don't forget if you find a suitcase or 2 with £10,000,000 in it or bars of gold that look like 10 million quids worth - it's mine. I'll pay for the new pitch and I'll pay for a big party as well and I'll take everyone on a world tour as well - and we'll do all the best cricket pitches and beaches for a year, maybe go and meet Shane Warne and have a session in the nets with him? (We'll donate £100,000 to a charity of his choice if he accomodates us as long as it nothing to do with animals - especially cats).

Anyway - on a more mundane front while I'm waiting to become a multi millionaire, it's rained all day so I've not been able to practice. I've just realised I can build my own indoor nets facility as well when this money comes through? Tomorrow though is supposedly starting sunny so I may get out on one of the fields and have a bowl? Let's hope so.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Not so good

07.50hrs Thursday

The weather has closed in and we've got overcast skies and the threat of rain. As yet the ground is still try and the rain is in the South West and over the southern half of the country (Kent and Sussex). I got up too late to walk to work via the wicket to check to see the affect of last nights nocturnal activities, but i'll check it out on the way home tonight.

Today's the last of the Ofsted inspections of class activities. So far I've not been seen and the closest I got to one was the woman stuck her head round the door and was looking at the facilities and then left. I've been prepared in the ridiculous manner that they expect for all of the lessons so far, but this mornings is the one I'm least prepared for as I have to cover stuff which is not in my subject area. We have to do tutorial sessions each week. Everyone on the planet knows that in tutorial sessions you basically conduct one to one sessions with students and help them with their work and general issues surrounding deficiencies. Somehow you're supposed to see and do this with 18 of them in 1 and half hours. In reality you're lucky if you manage to get through 4 of them simply because they all having some kind of aggro or problem. But in Mickey Mouse world in every lesson we're supposed to deliver lesson content to the whole of the class and today it's scheduled to be disability awareness and issues that surround attitudes and laws relating to disabilities. The thing is the students have come to socialise - whoops sorry learn photography and the last thing they need to be doing is wasting time learning stuff that doesn't help them attain their main qualification in a direct manner. Okay so it may mean that if they're taught this stuff they may be better more rounded people, but surely that kind of stuff is taught by the parents?

Later 17.00hrs - did that and survived. The lesson as expected didn't go down that well, there were several individuals that wanted to speak to me one to one regarding thier work. Despite that some of them filled in the worksheets and did the research but since then it's all gone in the bin - it's not part of their accredited course. A pointless wasted exercise.
So now it's 17.25hrs and I'm typing on the train and the world as of tomorrow will return to reality. I reckon we all did pretty well and that our dept may even get a grade 1. As for the whole college I reckon we'll retain our grade 2 status. We'll see, but there's been consequences that I may talk about later in the month, but one of them is terrible and relates to people suffering from stress. It's raining and overcast and a great deal cooler and I feel good for having gone out last night and mowed the practice wicket. The weather for the weekend looks fairly grim, but there has been an indication that as the weekend develops it improves, so fingers crossed. Doesn't look so clever as regards getting over the field on Friday evening with the boys though.

Friday 12.15

Dry but overcast damp in the air. Been spinning the ball all morning but no bowling, watched a bit of the Ashes in Oz last year or the year before when we lost like dogs, good watching Warne get them massive big leg breaks very impressive. Went outside the house and tried bowling a few up against the wall I can get massive amounts of turn on the ball but the line and length with this new "backspin approach" isn't there yet so the ball was flying all over the place. I need to get out on a field somewhere, so hopefully tonight the rain will hold out and I'll be able to get over to Blackshots with Alex and some others? My little - un Joe (Aged 6) has noticed that I'm now spinning the ball backwards into my body rather than from hand to hand and he's asked why? Which is good as it's meant that I was able to explain it's what he needs to practice if he's going to be Englands Shane Warne when he's older. He likes the idea of being Shane Warne and has been picking up different balls and trying to spin them back like I am at the moment. It'll be interesting to see if either of them want to go over the field and join in with the colts again tonight? I think Ben the older one will if he thinks it means he'll end up going to bed later, but Joe might go because I think he is interested in playing cricket and does enjoy it and he's mentioned Neil our captain a few times and has obviously remembered his name. In fact this morning watching the news and the report on Eng v NZ I asked him (referring to M. Vaughn).
"who's that bloke Joe"?"Don't know Dad"."That's Englands captain Michael Vaughn"."No it's not.... Our Captain's called Neil Samwell"?
So maybe he though that the practice last week at Grays was an England team practice or something??!!

Now that I'm getting the ball to turn to off when practicing outside my house, it's spinning so much that it's ending up in the bushes everytime I bowl which is a real pain in the jacksy and I'm going to make more effort to practice further afield which is aggro. In an ideal world I'd be able to practice in the manner that I was able to last weekend - bowling it back and forth to someone. It was interesting that in discovering what I needed to do, my mate Thomas was also discovering that he was able to do the same and seems to be in the process of changing his bowling to spin rather than seam bowling.

The thumb.

The injury sustained at the match in Loughton still hasn't got better, so I'm still unable to bowl Flippers or Gippers which is a pain. It's got better slightly but if I put pressure directly on the area that was obviously hit it still hurts, so it seems like there's going to be at least another week maybe two before I'm able to use it to put Flipper type spin on the ball.


We did it - the Govt have gone and overall the college got a "Good" which is what we had last time. There was a bunch of additional stuff saying that our dept almost a grade 1 which is exceptional - the grades being 1 - Exceptional; 2 - Good; 3 sufficient and 4 Poor. We were let down by the fact that the attendance this week overall was 65% and that the building is designed badly and hinders learning, both things that are totally out of our control as teachers. I'd say that 80% of my students have no interest in photography whatsoever and my attendance is around about 75% on average so I reckon I don't do too bad considering.

The weather's holding out so far - still dry and overcast so hopefully there's a glimmer of hope for some practice tonight and hopefully little Joe will come along too, maybe even Ben we'll see. The weather looks as though it may rain over the weekend but Sunday looks fairly promising with some sunshine and the possibility of showers. I had a look on the internet for info on the next team we're about to play - Loxford or somewhere and it looks like it's somewhere round Ilford (East London) on the very borders of Essex. I asked last week what the area was like and Neil said it was okay but nowhere near as nice as the last place we played.

Friday 21.22

Gutted - as soon as I walked up the garden path both Ben and Joe came running up saying "Dad we don't want to go to cricket tonight, we'd rather stay here". Initially I thought that they'd been brainwashed by Michelle, but it panned out over dinner that Michelle was actually trying to get them to go, but neither of them were up for it. Joe almost did change his mind but then asked Ben if he was going to go and Ben said no and that was it Joe swapped back again. I still intended to go on my own, but then sensed that might be problematic and opted not to go. But I still needed to get some practice in as I've not bowled all week and after the weekends positive new approach to bowling Leg Breaks and it seemingly working really well I desperately needed to get out on some grass with some balls and try it out. So suggested that we go over to the "Rec" and play on the outfield, they were both fairly up for that but not specifically with cricket in mind. I chucked all the gear in the back of the car including theirs in the event that they did change their minds. I wasn't that pleased with going to the rec as it's on a slant (The outfield) but at least it's flat. Got there and set up and Joe wicket kept and Ben mucked about in some adjacent long grass. But what with Joe being at the other end I wasn't able to fully concentrate and my bowling was pretty crap. The ocassional ball was okay with some nice turn, but the flight, length and line was pretty much all over the place. What I need to do is get out on a field on my own for a couple of hours or with someone else throwing the ball back and forth to each other with some stumps. The whole thing was pretty frustrating with no rythymn or anything. Tried a few flippers and found that I can do them with a bit of back spin now and also tried bowling wrong uns in a different way and that worked as well and looked quite affective. All these things need loads of practice and that's not really going to happen till the school holidays which is still weeks away.

Tomorrow I'll be gagging to get out on a field and bowl Leg breaks, but I don't want to really p**s Michelle off, so I've got to be diplomatic and bide my time, but I do need to practice before Sunday. I certainly need to practice before the match as well otherwise I'll have the same problems that I had last weekend.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

End of the weather

Here in the UK we've just had a run of about 10 days where the weather has been amazing. Back to back blue skies and as hot as 28 degrees centigrade which is 10 degrees or more warmer than the average for early May. It's not unknown to have 2' of snow and be sub zero as late as April 20th (see weather stats for SE England Aprill1993) so this weather has been most welcome! Needless to say we'll be probably looking at droughts later in the year if it keeps up and already the Met Office has been suggesting we're on track for the warmest May on record and now doubt warnings of global warming and global melt down.

But tonight there's a low moving in over France which is currently over the Channel and tomorrow we'll have some serious rain. Walking home from work tonight I noticed that my practice wicket on "Local Field" was looking a bit grassy and needing a trim and was unable to get over there earlier to cut it. What with the rain the growth will be accelerated and I might lose control of the grass length and have to resort to cutting the bloody thing again with hand shears! so just now at 10.45 at night I've just gone over there with my mower and mowed it in the dark ready for the deluge!

I went over to "5 Tree field" where I practiced in the early part of spring and at the end of the winter. The grass is pretty long and there's no evidence of the Asian blokes having been playing over there. Last year at this time I'm pretty certain they were over there almost every night. It'd be nice to have a practice wicket over there as well just on the off chance that I could encourage them as I'd planned to get involved with playing with cricket balls, but it's just too much what with my real team and all the practice I need to do on getting my Leg Break fully sussed. But I am tempted.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Grays & Chadwell CC V's Horton Kirby CC

I had a look on the internet where this was and the website kind of gave an impression that it was a fair looking ground, but then when I got there I was quite surprised - it was a lovely ground just near the River Darenth . The day was pretty amazing for May 11th - back to back blue skies and 27-28 degrees - lovely!

I got there before everyone else which was odd as I'd left home late, but then I use maps rather crapnav or whatever it everyone uses (The thing that sends ambulances 200 miles off course etc). I had a wander around and took a load of pictures and realised that this was one venue Michelle, Ben and Joe could have come along to especially if they'd bought the bikes as they could have just cycled around and explored. The surrounding countryside was beautiful.
While I was out taking pic's the rest of the Crew turned up and I found them already looking a bit weary in the bar moaning about it being too hot to play! I've been waiting all winter for weather like this!

The Captains went for the toss and think we won and Neil chose to field first much to the surprise of the other capt.

This is where I'm not sure whether I'm going to be dragged into the whole stats thing with cricket and whether the blog is a good place for it and what's going to be too much or too little. Anyway unlike 2 weeks ago I had my note book and took a few notes as well as pictures. I've got to say I know there's a few readers out there who take cricket pictures and they're going to be casting a critical eye over these images. I'll just state my case here in my defence. I'm not a sports photographer and today I was only using a 28-80 zoom so there was no way I was ever going to get a good shot anyway. I did shoot a load of "Action" images but I've only included one which you'll see later and I had to Photo-shop that as the ball was lower and was merged among the bushes, I've cloned it so that it's more visible in the sky.

So, Lovejoy was the first up for us bowling with the wind behind him running in from the pavillion end. We had 5 bowlers, 8 overs each and again sorry I still haven't sussed everyone's Christian names yet. Nick Buckley was the wicket keeper. Lovejoy's a fast bowler and he started off well bowling nice and consistently and by the end of his spell he'd had a maiden, no wickets and restricted the runs to 37 off his 8 overs. The fielding was a bit lack lustre with people seemingly not putting there all into it and getting a bit of verbal off the captain - Lee Downes in particular. I was crap as well - the ground unlike the previous match at Loughton - in - the - Rain which was a marsh almost was rock hard here having had a week or so of hot weather, so you kind of feel less inclined to dive even though I did once half heartedly. But worse was my now starting to feel as though it's healing thumb was being pounded by people throwing the ball from one to another as the bowlers walked back to their starting points - including me. Worse still half the time it was coming out of the sun and I must have dropped it about 15 times just catching it from a few yards away.

Along with Lovejoy we had bowling into the wind "Super Dave" and he bowled very well producing 2 maidens and getting 2 wickets with 38 runs made against him. He took some bloke called D. Chamber which Sammers caught and P. White that Lovejoy caught. Then the spinners took over starting with Neil downwind and the Pomphrett bloke bowling into the wind. The Pomphrett bloke is an older bloke (Older than me even) but probably has loads of experience, they both bowled seemingly quite well. The Pomphrett blokes bowling looked clever, looking so much slower than Sammers but bowling short thus tempting the batsmen out of the crease to really have a go at it and he drew 2 of their blokes D.Bull and B.Bull forward of their crease so that Nick Buckley the keeper had their stumps, made it look easy - experience counts for a lot in this game I reckon? The bloke D.Bull was looking for his hundred as he'd reached 92 at the point of being dismissed.

Then I was called in to bowl from the field end into the wind. That didn't help psycologically and additionally because of the less than relaxed atmosphere at home this morning I didn't dare pick up a cricket ball and have a practice this morning as I'd liked to have had done! So I was straight in there cold as such. Thinking about it I should have spent 10 minutes or so bowling in the outfield rather than walking around taking tourist board pictures of Picturesque Kent? So up I came and bowled a heap of crap. Wide after wide after wide, by the end of the 2nd over I thought I'd have been taken off, probably would have done if there'd been other bowling options? But Neil kept me on encouraging me saying don't worry about it and good bowling when it did go right. I think in either the 2nd or 3rd over I bowled 4 consecutive wides. At which point I gave up trying to bowl wrong uns hoping that I'd get them to turn and started to bowl straight balls - top spinners and then it started to come together a bit.

Meanwhile Pomph was given the other end and finished off his overs and Neil and me finished off the the last few overs. Eventually getting into the groove a bit I got a ball to go down the Legside and the bloke - Pellatt hit the ball towards Mid wicket and Neil was there to catch it, as it flew towards him I remembered the game at Loughton and his 3 consecutive drops, but he was safe this time! My first wicket of the season. In the next over I bowled a top spinner straight down the middle and hit the middle stump just at the bails dismissing N.Toomey. So I got 2 and had 54 runs scored against me with about 58 wides or something (10 I think)? So just a bit of room to improve I'd say? Neil took another bloke - B.Lane clean bowled. Neil only gave away 35 runs.

I also reckon I had a bloke LBW but no-one else shouted. One of Neils was also not given and that was a decision given by our very own resident umpire "Bruno". Everyone around for miles saw and heard it thud off the middle of the bat almost straight into the hands of Nick, but Bruno said no - reckoned he didn't hear it as the wind was in the wrong direction! Pomph threw his hat down in disgust he was that p*****d off about it.

So they left the field having scored 214 (I think). We then had a lovely tea that everyone commended as being top value for £30. Loads of cheese, ham and salad, even some chips that Lee single handed ate almost all of himself. Danny had a few but Lee was up there 3 times before he'd had enough to keep him going and then he went off and slept it off out in the oufield!

Because I had the camera and was looking to get pictures of everyone as they left for the crease I didn't really watch the batting that much. But Neil opted to bat first as the opener and went for 2 clean bowled. John buckley went out next and put on 4216244 before being dismissed caught in the slips. His six was good - straight down the pitch almost hitting the clubhouse.

Next out was Chris Buckley (His bother). I think John is also Nick's Dad? Chris scored 241241 and was put down in the slips at around half way through his innings off of an outswinger.

Nick Buckley was out next (Wicket Keeper) he okay well scoring 123112341 and in doing so smashed his bat at the toe. Nick was joined by Lee Downes who at this point must have been almost cooked in the sun what with lying there for the last hour or so.

Lee ran on from where he'd been lying to put on a few more runs but both him and Nick were looking a bit lethargic considering they're both young lads and pretty good batsman. Sammers and the rest offered support and derision from the boundary line trying to get them to step up their game a bit and get some runs on the board. Looking from where we were sitting they did look as though they couldn't be bothered at times. Lee "3 teas" Downes did well with 441221221422211121 but did look as though he should have only had the one tea at times. "I bet he's blowing Goats out there" remarked Super Dave after a couple of hits in one over where there was back to back 2's run.

Next out with the dismissal of Nick (I think) was Dave Skeels with a new bat he'd earlier been banished to the far side of the field for knocking in his bat in within hearing distance of the locals. We were all hoping for something a bit special from Dave after his 80+ at Loughton a couple of weeks back and he didn't let us down, he showed the young uns the approach that we were looking for them to take. He scored 441421121446144 before being dismissed. Lee went first and was then replaced by Danny Groves and I was then given the nod to pad up as I was possibly going to go out next, at this point I was taking pictures and getting padded up and I've lost track of what happened. But the gist of it was that Danny should have gone out there and hit a bunch of 6's as it was now down to the last 2 overs and we were still about 40-50 behind. Super Dave took my place in the very last over and made a run or two and we ended up losing by quite a few runs.

The other team were good bunch of chaps and it was a lovely place to play cricket and a really nice tea. Despite losing, it was a good laugh, but it means back to the drawing board and more practice for me and a definite strategy of bowling the ball either before I go to these matches or once I arrive, cos today I bowled like crap. Neil said he'd been watching my bowling and said one of the things I don't do is drive forwards with my hips. I know that part of my action is a bit naff, so I'll have to give it some thought - again it's issues now around the run in, this is a constant theme.

So a blog with loads of figures in - I wonder if that works for people? The inclusion of the images was long winded as well and it's difficult to layout the page well with the images. But I do like it with images, but I reckon I'll try and get portraits rather than these walking out to the crease type images shot today. I'll also try and get hold of a 400mm lens as that will help with the sports style shots and remember to take a tripod.

They had a couple of spin bowlers as well - an old geezer who looked like he knew what he was up to and a young bloke with long blonde hair. The old bloke looked the part setting his field out with confidence and bowling fairly well. The young bloke looked the part as well - spinning the ball from hand to hand but he threw a load of full tosses, but high ones - upper body/shoulder - head height, most of which were dispatched to the boundary. But these high balls started off a discussion between us as to whether you could get done for no ball off of a spinner? I'm under the impression you can't but I'm not 100% sure?

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

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Good Leg Break day

I tried to - I really did. I really tried to make today a fairly low key cricket day so as to not wind Michelle up. I held out till around 1.30pm when I felt compelled to go and mow the "Local Field". So armed with my shears and the lawnmower Iwent over cut another foot of the long grass closer to the other end and mowed the nice short bit into which I bowl. It looks lovely. Luckily enough I had some stumps with me and threw a few overs before going back home. That worked out fine - didn't impact on any family aspect to life, so got away with it!

Took the boys swimming and met up with my mate Thomas it just so happened I had a hockey ball with me so we spent 20 minutes or so outside the swimming pool bowling the ball back and forth to each other trying to get it to turn. Normally he's a wanna be fast bowler with a dodgey looking action, but today he was trying to get it to spin and he sussed it - left arm wrist spin - like a Leg break to a left handed batsman and he could do it really quite well! I was really surprised at how good he was doing it!

From there we went back to my gaff for a Bar B Que and somewhere along the way the status quo disintegrated and it seemed to be my fault. So what do you do in these situations? Yep you go and bowl and that makes me feel much better but really winds other people up - not just Michelle but my mate Thomas's wife as well. So both kind of really enthused by the affectiveness of bowling back and forth to each other using the Hockey Ball on tarmac/concrete we continued outside my house in the road. This was going okay but I was still not getting a lot of turn with my Leg Breaks and then I thought what if I turn my hand in a position whereby I'm actually trying to spin the ball so it spins back to me?

What I've been trying to do is flick the ball so that it rotates out of my hand in the neccessary anti-clockwise direction and so far this has improved my Leg Break in that sometimes it comes up with a little bit of a Leg Break. But it's not easy and the turn isn't that much. So outside my house with Thomas I thought what might happen that if I do the flick in the same way that Peter Philpott suggests at the early stages of trying to learn the Leg break. Page 23.....

"Try two methods. One is, as we have already discussed, spinning it from right hand to left hand. The other is to hold it out in front of your body and spin it back towards your chest".

He then says "I'll come back to that later". What I've been doing is the spin from right to left with the results described above. But half recalling Philpotts notion that you turn the angle of your wrist to vary the Top-spinner, The small Leg Break and the Big Leg break I had this ephiphanal realisation that the side to side wrist action might be the small Leg Break which is what I'm getting and another turn which in affect is you're trying to spin the ball back into you as described above. So I tried it - the arm comes over but you then do the "Spin back into your body" wrist action and off went the ball floating through the sky it pitched in front of Thomas he raised his hands to catch the ball and then - Oh my God it turned an absolute mile - a country mile as you lot say! The ball came back to me and I tried it again and it worked and again and again. At last after nearly 2 years I've got it sussed I reckon - I can now bowl a big Leg Break!

So tonight I've come back indoors and followed up Philpotts "I'll come back to that later". On page 34 he says.....

"Remember in stage one, I spoke about of the 2 types of spin practice as you begin. One where you spin the ball backwards towards your chest, the other form the right hand over the top to the left hand. Well the first is the maximum side spin practice and the other is over the top practice".

So it's the spinning back in towards yourself that is the wrist technique that gives you the Big Leg Break. So it seems I've arrived, I am now apotential Leg Spin Bowler and already I've told Little Joe my 6 year old son to start spinning the ball in towards himself!

So the bar b que happened and the atmosphere was slightly strained made far worse by the act that we'd gone outside and bowled for 15 minutes. After the Bar B que with the light fading Thomas and I went over to the "Local Field" with the stumps and had another go. Again it was quite successful. I'm not going to quite declare myself a Leg Spinner yet and I'm going to see how things go tomorrow, but I am optimistic because on the grass I was getting it to turn.

The quotes here are taken from Peter Philpotts "The Art of Wrist Spin Bowling" published by crowood. Pages 23 and 34. ISBN 1-86126-063-6.

Friday, May 09, 2008

A good cricket day

Last night I discovered I could log on to the college's website from home and that it worked efficiently - previous experiences have been a nightmare, so last night I was able to do loads of the preparation work for the Ofsted inspection and massively free up some time for cricket. Friday mornings is usually a chance to get the mower out, throw it in the back of the car and go and mow wickets into other peoples fields so I can practice in a variety of places. Today I had to continue with the Ofsted prep for another couple of hours leaving no mowing time, but I managed to get over "Local Field" with 12 balls and a set of stumps and my shears for an hour.

I hadn't been there for a few days and there'd been a bit of growth, so in between swapping ends with the bowling I was able to trim the grass a bit and extend the length of the wicket further still by another 2'. I don't really need to go all the way but I reckon I must be Autistic or something because I just keep going and wont be happy till I've completed the full length! So now it looks like the images above.

Anyway the bowling..... I'm still trying to develop the Leg Break and it seems to have stalled a bit, I don't seem to have gone that far forward with it and I reckon I need to go back to basics and start again with it a la Peter Philpott. But having said that my bowling is generally fine - good line and length and I'm able to put the Wrong Uns in there when I want and bowl specific lengths and put the ball down either side of the stumps when I want or aim it at the stumps. Interestingly the Leg Breaks although they don't turn much have an interesting tendency to really bounce in a very different way to the rest of my deliveries, so that's useful in itself.

Over the session which must have been around 60 balls I hit the stumps again and again and threw very few wides, so it's looking useful. The weather was fantastic - 27 degrees and total blue skies, shorts and shirt off weather - just how I like it.

I also noted that the groundsman had been on the field again and had mowed a strip from one end of the pitch to the other as though he'd done it for a kids race track (Running). It looked as though he'd set his sit on mower with the blades a lot shorter and the grass in this section was lookinf fairly short. I wish the bloke could see what I'm trying to do and mow mine while he's at it. God knows what he thinks of me? I just wonder what he'd say if he caught me with my mower?

12.15 and I
The whole college is now prepped and ready and we were all out of work pretty sharpish and I was home by 5.10pm. Ben and Joe were both up for coming along with me and during the day I'd emailed Alex "The Wizard" and he said that at the same time we'd be over there the colts would be there with Neil training. So there was a vague chance Ben and Joe might be able to join in? Michelle dropped us off at about 6.30 and drove onto to Lakeside for some Retail therapy making good use of our fuel consumption (Killing 2 birds with one stone as such).

Alex was there with Lee bowling at thin air using a can as the stump to mark out the pitch length. These blokes need to get on Ebay and get some practice gear. Fortunately I'd brought along enough Ebay gear to kit out an entire cricket team, so I had stumps and balls and all sorts. What I didn't have was a mallet and the ground was rock hard on the baking hot sun (Still 27 degrees at 6.30pm) so the stumps were only just about forced into the ground.

Lee was involved in the Colts training so disappeared leaving Alex and me to bowl from end to end to each other. After asking Neil if it was alright if Ben and Joe could join in they went off with the under 11's and did some training routines and again my back of gear came in handy as they didn't have any soft balls so I lent them my Kookaburra training ball (Plastic one).

Alex and me then threw the ball backwards and forwards. We've got 2 totally different bowling styles it seems he's inconsistent with his accuracy but he gets the ball to turn on his Leg breaks really well and he seems to bowl far faster than me. It looks to me like the kind of bowling that would produce loads of catching opportunities. Whereas my bowling seems a lot slower with a lot less spin unless I'm bowling Wrong Uns and then I'm able to get them to turn quite well and pitch them quite wide of off and get them to turn back into the stumps. My own perception is that my bowling is easier to play?

By his own admittance Alex says that he's not bowled all winter, whereas I've done nothing but bowl concentrating on line and length.

Super Dave turned up and gave me some advice on my run in. It seems that body twist thing that I started to do back in November, where one foot crosses in front of the other is potentially a trait that is negative in my bowling action and if I was to work on it and get rid of it, the run in might be faster and therefore my bowling faster? So that's something to think about, but it was the point when everything came together with my accuracy and having read Peter Philpott he acknowledges that some peoples bowling might look unorthodox, but they still come up with the results?

Dave asked about whether I was playing on Sunday and mentioned that the game was at Horton Kirby. Crap - an away match, I'd just negotiated that Michelle would drop me off at Blackshots on Sunday and pick me up later and now it turns out that the match is in Kent. The new negotiations for this are now going to be akin to trying to get Israel to give back the settlements to the Palestinians! We'll have to see how it goes.

Dave then joined in with the bowling and we now had a batsman - one of the colts came over and batted and I had him several times twice straight through to the stumps with slower balls, a couple of catches and loads of other chances if there'd been fielders there. Let's hope it pans out like that with the Horton Kirby lot?

I had a look at their website and pitch and it looks like this -

Looks pretty nice? I'm looking forward to it I can't wait!
Alex also bowled some flippers which then tempted me to do the same. I've not used my thumb in my bowling for over 2 weeks and it still hurts, so I gave it a go and found that I could bowl them again albeit with fairly slow back spin. Then Super Dave asked about my "Gipper"which as you may know gets it's spin by using the same Flipper action but upside down and arse about face. I tried it and it was okay with a fair bit of turn and I got it up the pitch. Do I try it Sunday? Nah! So that's good as that means my thumb is getting better.
I ended the session with a bit of batting at Alex's suggestion and managed to get the bat on the ball but would have gone about 5 times with just 10-15 balls! I'm happy to be No.11!
Ben and Joe said that it was okay with the colts, Ben said that some of the boys were a bit Posh! I think Neil had his hands full what with being on his own with what looked like 15 boys. Both Ben and Joe were possibly put off by the fact that they had to wait their turn and rotating 15 kids in a situation where there's only one coach obviously isn't easy. When I got my ball off of Neil I said that if it was the same next week I'd give him a hand, I kind of expected that he'd have at least another one of the blokes with him? On the way back in the car both Ben and Joe were fairly non-commital about going back next week, but when I said that I'd help Neil they were more positive. It seemed that it was Joe that liked it the most but as I've said before I have to tread carefully and not force them into doing this otherwise it'll back fire. What they did think was funny was Neils terminology for the "Willy protector" as my kids call it. Neil referred to it as a "Nut case".

I did have the camera with me tonight and was intending on taking some pics, but it never came out of the bag. So I'll have to make a concerted effort to do so on Sunday. I want to get pictures of each of the blokes in the team and use them in the blog, so I'll work on that alongside making more copious notes on the match details. What I have got to be careful of though is that the blog doesn't become totally inaccessible to "Normal" readers. I think that if you put too much detail and figures in the blog it can become to esoteric. I'll just have to see how it goes.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008


How nice is it out there?! Here I am stuck inside preparing for our Ofsted inspection watching the blue sky and white pufy clouds. I get into work at 08.15 and leave at 21.30 at the moment - it's not good. I've just got to get all my prep work out the way for Friday and hopefully go and have a bowl?

Monday, May 05, 2008

Chav Attack

Oh yeah I forgot to mention this..... GBOS is in a nice part of town just about half a mile from where I live in Langdon Hills, Essex. Have a look at the link below which'll take you to this is my road and if you zoom in you'll see the football field next to the woods where I live and that's Local Field. But if you move to the left of where I live about half a mile looking out for "Forest Glade" you'll see another field and that the one I refer to as GBOS Great Berry Open Space and you'll notice it's slap bang in the middle of a new private estate that we call "Stepford" because all the women look like Stepford Wives or as if they've just stepped off of the set of that program on Channel 4 about Californian Wives.,0.4057319256&loc=GB:51.56444:0.42531:16ss16%205ueSS16%205UE

So - it's quite nice in an Essex kind of way, slightly red around the neck but not too bad and they all think they're a cut above the rest of the people in the area, but to be honest they're mostly Noveau Riche East End diaspora that got rich off of the back of Thatcher, so not really kind of my people. But they like their semi detached suburbia and at the moment it's all very white and West Ham Football club so things tick along nicely.

Trouble is some of them get it all wrong and forget where they are now and revert back to type and so today one of these gormless idiots turned up on GBOS with a Farmers motorbike thing - you know a motorbike with four chunky wheels. No helmet and his leg in plaster and his stupid blonde wife/girlfriend on the back. The peaceful scene - Oak trees and spring - song thrushes singing in the bushes suddenly disturbed by a 400cc bike thing revving and roaring away. Everyone on the field stops as he gets their attention. His girlfriend gets off the back and then he pulls a few doughnuts tearing the field to shreds as he does so. Then he revs it up again and wheel spins away - grass and turf flying out the back and by now - I'm in Victor Meldew mode reaching for my phone and cursing because it's not charged and I've left it at home! I have visions of this berk flying round the field onto my square tearing it up ruining the whole place that the council look after so well. Then he roars off again having just pulled a big broadside skid in the corner of the field that gets very wet and is obviously still sticky. But now he heads out into the middle of the field which has dried out and is obviously faster to drain, he turns the handle bars breaks and tries to pull another big but faster broadside. The tyres don't skid instead they grip and catapault this idiot through the air with the bike thing spinning through the air tumbling over and over just behind him. He hits the ground crunch at high speed and the bike only just stops almost landing on him (I was gutted). But then he lays there and says something bravado in front of a bunch of young blokes that he was heading towards who were playing football. His dozy bird runs over to him and stays on the ground. Eventually he sits up obviously in shock and I then see that his collar bone is sticking out of his shoulder - but not having broken the skin. His elbow is shredded having hit the ground so hard and fast and a lovely warm feeling comes over me - there is justice sometimes on very rare occasions.