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.