Saturday, so that means loads of cricket activity. I was hoping that Simon, Alex and Badger would be around and that we'd get a bit of practice in today, Simon was up for it and I couldn't get in touch with Alex and Badger had already said that he was working so it was called off.
There had also been an issue with the venue that we practiced at last week (Laindon Community Centre). I went back to book a bay in the hall for today and the woman said that she wasn't sure that she could accomodate us. She asked about the balls we use (Kookaburra practice balls) and about how much they weigh etc. I told her they were soft plastic and that they're what small boys use when they train etc and she went on to say that previously someone had come in asking to play tennis and they were forced to use foam balls because tennis balls were deemed to be too hard! Which is totally bizarre because before we were able to get in the hall last week there was a bunch of blokes in there kicking a football around at 100mph that weighs 10 x more that a Kookaburra cricket ball and they were using the whole hall with impunity. Yet both us and the tennis players are sectioned off in 1/3rd of the hall but are somehow being penalised as playing a sport that is going to damage the hall? The woman went on to suggest that I ring Markhams Chase and ask the manager there if it would be okay to use our Kookaburra balls. I did this and the woman at Markhams Chase was totally bemused saying that what they do at Laindon Community centre had nothing to do with them and then offered their facilities instead!
Off the back of the first practice we had at the Community Centre I'd already decided to look elswhere and had contacted Woodlands school with a view to using it after the Basildon and Pitsea Colts for our practice. On Friday I'd got a reply from the bloke who does the bookings and he was saying that yes it was a possibilty and the indication was that we'd be able to use it from 12.00 to 1.30 after the Basildon and Pitsea colts had finished which would leave us a bit tight for time? But today at Ben and Joe's practice it became apparent that Basildon and Pitsea are only using the venue one more time prior to Christmas and thereafter the venue changes to Fitzwymarc school in Rayleigh leaving Woodlands available to us to use at an earlier time - maybe 11am to 1pm, so I'll be contacting the bloke tonight.
Because the venue is bigger we'll also invite some of the other MPA blokes along and get the use out of both nets - so hopefully we'll get Mark Soye and Nick Naughty along and perhaps Terry the Bloke, so there could be 7 of us when we all turn up?
The weather has been dismal recently with a series of cold days and fairly heavy frosts so I thought I'd go and have a look at our field/wicket and look at ways of getting the roller over there and back off again in the Spring.
The field along the side that's permanently in the shade and retains the frost all day when it is cold was saturated with water. The middle of the field in the wicket area was very wet and the worms are active so the ground is very uneven. The damage from the irregular football games is nowhere as severe as I'd imagined and as far as I've noticed there's been no matches over there for 2 weekends and I'd be surprised if there was a match tomorrow although the lines have been recently re-painted. The markers for the wicket are still there and easily found and the grass does look different because of the fact that I look after it. So it looks okay.
With regards the roller it looks as though it maybe easier to unload it from the main road side and then leave in on the field padlocked up through the week that I do the rolling? All of this relies on whether they cut the field through the spring and summer though and not let it go to fallow as they did 3 summers ago.
Ben and Joe's practice
Nets again at Basildon & Pitseas colts session and another fairly well attended session with 13 kids this time - these were made up of the regualr main team members from last summer. It was Ben's turn this week to bat in the nets and Joe let him use his pads and gloves. The coach Dave put him through his paces and showed him what to do but Ben was bricking it a bit and was nervous about facing the bowling machine and ended up playing primarily defensive shots which has always been his way and he errs towards swinging at the ball with a sideways bat rather than a straight bat. Dave came in to correct Ben a few times and encourage him to follow through with the straight bat drive. I video'd it and was able to play it back later with Ben and evaluate his technique and Ben sat there shouting at himself on the playback "Follow through! Follow through"! Clearly unimpressed with his own performance, so hopefully he'll remember this for next week and I may even go over it with him again with the video clips before the next session so it's fresh in his mind that he has to keep a straight bat, step out to the pitch of the ball and follow through. Watching the video's he does do it a few times which is encouraging and it looks so much better and appreciates that himself, so I hope in time it will come?
Before Joe had a chance one of the other coaches spoke to me saying that he'd seen my blog and that he was reading that I was interested in Wrist Spin Bowling and I went on to say about how obsessed I am with it and he then said - 'Have a go here - set up the stumps and have a bowl'. So I was able to throw a few balls - albeit the Kookaburra balls with their lightness. Bowled mostly flippers which were okay, was tempted to bowl my Googlies but I'm still trying to keep away from them so that I get the Leg Break back in order. I didn't even attempt the Leg Break and stuck to bowling some of my weird balls - Flippers and the variations of that.
As I was involved in bowling I didn't see how well Joe batted but he said later that he felt that he didn't do as well as last week. That's to be expected as he was ill up till last night and in the last 48 hrs has hardly ate anything. It was at the end of the session that coach Neil announced that next week would be the last session at Woodlands paving the way for an opportunity for Alex, Simon, Badger et al and me to get in there at a reasonable time and use the nets on a Saturday. Seizing the opportunity I asked Neil what the arrangements would be after Christmas and he said that they'd be at Fitzwymarc and I think the nature of the way the training takes place differs in that the adults (I think) train as well leading into the new season at the same session and he said that I could come along and join in as well. Additionally this will be a Sunday instead of a Saturday which also means that if the MPA boys are still practicing at woodlands which I think is the intention I may be getting 4 hours of practice in over the weekend! So that's something to look forward to. I've just got to wait for a letter from Coach Neil confirming the details.