Saturday, November 01, 2008

Colts cricket at Basildon cc

The plan was that I'd take Ben and Joe to Basildon's colts training session at Woodlands school today and then on Tuesday night Michelle would take them to Grays CC colts training down in Tilbury on Tuesday night. I think right from the start the odds were stacked against Grays and when Ben the older son came out of the session with Basildon this morning exclaiming, "That was AWESOME"! I think the deal was already a done. Michelle, my wife isn't up for driving them down to Tilbury at all and added to that it's in the evenings - everything was leading up to a negative response to the Grays option.......
"So, do you want to go and have a look at my teams sessions (Grays & Chadwell) on Tuesday night then"?
"I didn't like it at Grays..... they were too posh, I like here - I want to play for Basildon" Said Ben. Too posh - now that's an interesting assessment of the Grays lads! I think what it was, when we went along to the Grays colts set up in the summer, every single kid without exception was wearing whites and had their own bats and my impression is that they're all pretty good cricket players.

So, being only vaguely interested in cricket, my lads were very intimidated by the whole thing. Additionally, only Neil was there that night for the training and Super Dave hadn't turned up or something - leaving Neil with 20 boys to manage. Needless to say keeping 20 boys all on the go and active isn't exactly easy and that in itself meant that Ben and Joe were having to wait their turn for long periods of time. All things combined the whole experience just served to put them off rather than encourage them.

Several months later and more cricket on the Valence Way Wicket over the road with the local kids off the estate, and obviously more confidence - we went along to the Basildon cc colts session today.

  • First off there were 2 blokes split between 14 boys
  • There was differentiation - so my boys were put with 4 other boys who'd only been the week before and the "Good" kids trained with the other bloke.
  • They weren't all wearing whites. Now this might not seem like much of a big deal but I can clearly recall being from the "Poor" family when I was a kid that I didn't have a football strip back in the 1960's and all the "Talented" football kids did and this just knocks you back psychologically. It reinforces that sense that you are an outsider coming in to a new environment. Today at this session of the 14 boys that were there, maybe 4 or 5 of them were wearing whites, but the good thing was the better kids in the team weren't, they were wearing football shirts, so my lads straight away didn't feel like the odd ones out.
  • Similarly some of the better kids also used blue KWIK cricket bats and my lads turned up with their own bats and again this probably made them feel better about themselves?
But the clincher was the fact that - once they got going both my lads Ben and Joe were so obviously on par and if not better than the group of boys that they were with and it was good to see Ben itching to bat and bowl and show the bloke Neil that he was already on his way as an all-rounder. So it was brilliant to see them both getting in there and doing the stuff. They did warm up exercises and gradually got introduced to basic aspects of bowling and batting (I was listening and making notes for myself so that I can try and make some of improvements on my own batting)! The bloke Neil was really good he didn't make any assumptions about their abilities just went through the fundamentals and both my lads listened. He even went back over the points with them he'd covered asking them questions, it was a bit like watching the Bob Woolmer stuff on the internet!
But then it got so much better - this session couldn't have been any better almost. They then instigated a match and split the boys into 2 teams. Ben's team was up first with the established kids obviously opening the batting and bowling and it was pretty obvious that bowling is not their strong point. There was a couple of kids that were okay, but there was shed loads of wides, full tosses and No-balls and this is with the proper colts and I just sat there thinking If Ben can just hold it together and not be nervous and be confident in his own abilities he is just going to look like the best bowler here. I asked him what he thought of their bowling after and he said that he thought there was a lot of wides bowled, but he didn't think he was the best. Eventually all the proper bowlers had their overs and it came down to the newbies and Ben being the modest little bloke that he is didn't get to bowl till last and then he bowled his over. Most of them were on target and none were given as wides or no-balls. The blokes noticed and so did the good kids all shouting encouragement and commending Ben on his abilities. Joe's bowling was similarly impressive considering he's only 7 and again I don't think he bowled any wides in his 2 overs. Joe almost got a bowled and Caught but fumbled it and his next ball was nearly caught at Short Mid wicket and he had one dropped at cover as well all in the final over when they were looking to score 12 off 6 balls and Joe's team beat Ben's by 3 runs.
With regards batting neither of them are accomplished bats and that's one of the reasons that I want them to go to these training sessions and to be trained by other people. I think I've done okay with them regarding their bowling - and things like cricket when we're on Holiday in Cornwall is massively good for them as there always seems to be really enthusiastic and adept players on the campsite when we're there and bowling against and with them has been very instrumental in their development as to is the cricket we play over at Valence way (See masthead). One of the things I need them to do and I think it'll come in time is to put themselves forward more, both of them hung back to bowl last and this is when Ben it could be argued was possibly the best bowler there and Joe for a 7 year old is no slouch either. Remember this is Joe Thompson Leg Spin Legend 9 wickets for 30!
So I was well pleased that all my cajoling and encouragement has at last seemed to bear some fruit and Michelle it seems is on board with it as well. You never know maybe next week she'll turn up early and watch the end of the match!
So if you live in the Basildon area and you want your boys to play cricket I can whole heartedly recommend Basildon & Pitsea cc as good looking colts outfit - the boys and the blokes were all spot on today and we'll certainly be going back next week and Ben and Joe are hoping to become part of the club.
The session was also useful for me as I was close enough to be able to listen in on what Neil was saying. If you follow this blog you'll know that I'm crap at batting - my highest score with Grays being 7. So it was interesting to listen in on his advice with the boys and I made notes.
  • Look straight down the wicket at the bowler making sure the bat, elbow, shoulders and eyes are all in line with the ball.
  • Step out towards the balls so that it lands inside the line of your stride.
  • Keep your eye on the ball and your head still.
  • Make sure your stance is comfortable with knees bent slightly.
  • If you move your head the ball has a tendency to go in the direction your head points.
They had some good exercises for the boys to do - one of which we can do indoors. Drop the ball just in front of them from above - let it bounce twice and they step forward and hit the ball straight down the wicket between a target area which kind of emulates the positions of Mid off and Mid on.
Other than that it's been raining all day and the Valence Way Wicket must be saturated, so if they play football on the field tomorrow it'd bound to have an adverse affect on it and I'll have to go over after and repair it.

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