I haven't made that many entries of late because I've just been trying to practice the spot bowling. I've been out every evening and probably managed to bowl between 75-100 balls each time. It's difficult to assess how good it's going and I'm beginning to think that I'm getting into a rut where I'm not going forward with it that much and I may give it a break for a couple of days before returning to it again. I've noticed that I've changed my run-up slightly and it may be for the better. I can also now probably switch to bowling faster and I've been working on delivering the ball on a higher trajectory above the bats eye-line. The amount of spin differs from day to day and the Gipper ball has morphed into something that is usable but is far less radical than when I first come up with the idea, but on the odd occasion it does spin and turn like a big leg break. I'm still sticking with the training regime of alternate offspin (Wrong un) and leg-spin (Gipper).
Additionally I've resumed exercising my shoulders - rotational press ups, pull ups on a bar and stretching those bands behind the head. Whether this is all going to make a difference in a game situation I'm reserving judgement. I think that I need to be more aware of what the bat is trying to do in future and try and force the bat to produce certain shots. Another Sunday yet to come without a game and my first game will be an away match in July if I get the call up for it? That's a lot of practice still to come.
Ben and Joe news.
I've now cut the grass on the local field to create a 17 yard wicket so that my boys can play and bit by bit more of the local kids are getting involved and there's real potential for the summer holidays for a fair crowd of kids to get involved and maybe even play with several fielders, a bowler, 2 bats and a wicket keeper? Some of the kids that have joined in have never picked up a bat in their lives and most of them have no idea about the neccessity to have a straight arm to bowl. One or two at the minute just can't do it but some of the others including kids who's Dads never do anything with them and seemingly never get any praise for anything in thier lives are bowling really well and you can see they're well chuffed when you say to them "Well done mate - really good bowling". So every night now I have a gang of boys from about 6 through to 13 years old knocking on my door asking "Are Ben and Joe going over the field to play cricket"? It's brilliant! I don't feel like such a mental case now for rolling the field under the cover of darkness in the middle of the winter and taking my shears and lawn-mower over there and cutting the grass!
The added bonus is that both my boys are gradually getting better and they love it because they're obviously the better players what with having been doing it some time now (reluctantly on occassions). Tonight at the end of the game I swapped the windball for a 41/4 oz cricket ball and got my older son to bat against that and he hit every ball and seemed to appreciate the increased ping off the bat and the fact that it went further. There's another little kid about 7 who can throw down balls and hit the stumps from a good distance who's also looking promising as a wicket keeper, so it's looking good for the summer holidays.
The wicket itself is wearing out and is becoming bare earth now around where the bats stand and it's pretty even. God knows what the groundsman makes of it when he comes and cuts the grass, I don't know what they'd say if they turned up and we were all there playing?