Blimey it's tricky this having kids lark. When you're own kids are the modest, shy retiring types it's difficult watching talentless but mouthy kids with all the front and no substance more or less pushing your own kids around as if it's them that are the losers. I just have to bite my lip and say nothing and just hope those that are in the know also see what's going on.
Today the format was totally different again, they played a game in the style that they did in the other hall running up to Christmas. But as there were so many kids the two teams consisted of about 12 or 13 kids a - side. The coach seemed to pick the kids randomly and both my lads ended up in the same team and they were put in first. Both teams were made up of under 11's and 13's possibly even under 15's as some of did look a lot older than 13? Neither of them batted that well, Ben edged his 3rd ball for a catch at point and Joe was stumped out of his crease on about his 5th or 6th ball having not scored any runs either. They've yet to grasp the idea that they need to communicate with each other and take risks with regards making runs off of any ball they hit or is misfielded. Again I think this is where the situation is made worse by over zealous and over critical established players who are shouting at and sledging their own team members who are probably initimidated by the whole event and don't quite get why when you're training these mouthy types are treating it like it's Australia v England in the Ashes!
Then it came to the bowling and a chance to get a look at who bowls and who can't bowl. Some of the older boys definitely can an Asian kid in particular looked very clever with his bowling. They were only allowed 4 ball overs. This kid bowled his first 3 in a conventional fast manner threatening the stumps and inviting the bat to play the shots and the bat may have scored a few runs. Then the next bit was really clever if it was a strategy, he bowled a really short ball and the bat lifted his bat and tried to play it and the ball just glanced off the top of the bat and was caught at Gully easily - top bowling!
Joe's over was first and he was up against a much bigger boy (Older) who's also the son of one of the coaches and similarly plays alongside of his brother. I don't know whether this was the older or younger boy, but they're established players who've been there at least a season and are definitely the nicer kids on the team and can bat quite proficiently. Joe bowled his first ball loopy and slow trying to turn it, the kid played it coming down the wicket and missed it and the ball just went over the stumps but the keeper was miles back because all the bowlers up till Joe had been trying to bowl like Flintoff, the bat grounded his bat before the wicket keeper was anywhere near retrieving the ball to stump him.
Joe then went for a shorter ball but straight this time and the kid went for a defensive block - dot ball. Joe's next ball was longer this time and straight and again the defensive block and the ball edged out to point but there was no-one there - gutted. His last ball was faster with more of a run up - again the defensive shot, this time the ball pinged up and came back down the wicket just short of Joe who'd reacted far too late to get him bowled and caught! A Maiden over for Joe. All through the 4 ball over from the first ball all the kids were giving 'OOohh and Aahhh' Ben said that one of the kids turned to him and said - 'His bowling is dangerous because it's slow'.
When we got home Joe disappointed with his performance spent another 20 minutes or so practicing with me behind the stumps outside the house, he was turning the ball (leg breaks) and increasing his speed and was hitting the stumps 25% of the time and only bowled 2 wides in 30 or so balls.
Then it was Ben's over. Ben looked a bit rusty with his action and his run up was short, but it seemed that all of his balls were straight and just wide off stump from where I was sitting. The bats both had to try and play the shots and and I think the 1st three went past the bat and the 4th was edged but was fielded. Again another maiden over. So I was well proud. Then it was the mouthy kids turn, this is the kid that walks around with an aura that would suggest that he was in fact Kevin Pieterson without the manners and sense of decorum. He took the longest run up of anyone giving the impression that something special was going to happen and it did. The other team scored possibly 16 runs off his over! The gutting thing was no-one said anything, not a peep, this is the kid that shouts and hollers if people screw up - shouting 'Line and length' to the kids that haven't got a clue and falling on his knees with his head in hands shouting and making it clear that everyone else is useless if they screw up. 16 runs off a 4 ball over sounds like an almighty screw up to me.
I'm now wondering how they're going to pick the teams in the summer, might it be he who shouts loudest? Let's hope not. I'm wondering what I can do to help Ben and Joe secure a place and maybe it's the nets idea that'll help? They're aware that they've got a weakness with their batting, so we need to work on that so hopefully as soon as the weather does become conducive with playing on grass we'll get that going. With so many kids at the club it's difficult to see who it is who is in the under 11's - but looking at the website it looks as though a team is alreay pretty much in place.