Monday, March 30, 2009

Cricket at School - Ben

Ben came home from school today and they'd been playing cricket in sports, he'd taken 6 wickets and had been told to declare when he was batting because none of the other kids were able to bowl him out which he was a bit miffed about. I asked him about his bowling - had he used the new 'Off the left foot approach' or had he reverted back to his old approach off the wrong foot and he admitted to reverting back to his old technique but saying "But the teacher said that I was bowling too fast when I was bowling the new way and the only way I could bowl slower was to use the old technique". Hmmm - I don't know what to think about that as an excuse, but I'll live with it in the short term. We'll see how he does over the coming weeks with the new off the left foot technique?

Field news.

Came across the field tonight on the way home and it's looking a bit damp still. The weather today was nice - sunny all day and fairly warm, but Monday nights the boxing club is on site using the buildings at the edge of the field. Additionally Ben goes Karate on Mondays with a 6pm start, but I think that is all about to change. One of my wifes friends has a son who's Joe's age (7) and both his Grandad and Uncle were big cricket players in thier time and she wants the kid to play cricket. It seems she rang the Basildon club and asked them if he could turn up at the training sessions. One thing that came out of the phone call was that the training is due to go from being indoors to outside in the next couple of weeks and all the Under 11's will be training outside at Mopsies park on Monday nights. Which means Ben will have to forfeit his Karate on Monday night and change it to Saturday morning. So that's good news I'm gald that they've gone to that option.

I'm just wondering how the Coaches will deal with this new kid because it seems to me that they stick to a schedule and already differentiate across the kids as it is and if a completely new kid was to join in it would possibly cause problems? They seem to have a definite strategy of taking on new kids in the Autumn off the back of taster sessions in the Mid to late summer getting the kids ready for the season in the next couple of weeks. I reckon the kid would probably be better off joining us on the field over this summer seeing if he likes it and then progressing from there? So I've said to my wife get the kid to join with our games on the field - I don't even mind going and getting the kid and taking him back home if he's up for it.

More on Ben's bowling

From the forum I comment on a lot the following -

Sounds great Dave...Now for the really, really important bit and don't wait too long before you introduce it.If you look at Ben's video, you will see that, although his femur is rotated at the hip, his hips actually face, parallel to the wicket. This is what is going to cause his injuries.After his first hip lift, as his back foot is placed, his hips must face in the same direction as his foot, ie 90 degrees to the wicket.However, his head must face parallel to the wicket. He needs to be looking towards the stumps.As his non bowling arm comes down, get him to flex his elbow and drive this down and through in a straight line. As his arm passes his sight, he MUST look to the left of it. This will keep his shoulders in alignment with his hips. At the moment, he is looking to the right of his arm.As his back foot is lifted off the ground, he must drive his hips round to face the stumps. He does this at the hip, not the foot. It is important that he does not fling his lower leg out; it must move in a straight line, parallel to the wicket.

So that's something we'll be looking at to add and address.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Bowling progress Ben and me

My Progress; Cold today although quite sunny and therefore managed to get outside a bit and throw the ball around. I've been flicking the ball all the time indoors with the wrist turned inwards trying to re-wire my brain into accepting that this is how I now bowl and that when I bowl the wrist needs to be cocked in this manner so that when the flick happens the ball spins like a leg break. It may be coming together, because all day the ball has been spinning off in the correct direction with varying degrees of spin. At one point I was even attempting with some success to get the ball to dip, so this all looks quite interesting so long as I stick to the fairly short distance that I'm bowling to at the moment and don't jump up to the 22 yards too soon.

The other thing I did today was try the Clarrie Grimmet Flipper. My own Flipper is the single middle finger and thumb variety a la' Shane Warne and as far as I can make out he Clarrie Grimmet Flipper uses all of the fingers. So I gave that a go and it looks as though it may actually produce even more backspin than the Warnesque version. I knocked up a little video showing how it's done and how much backspin that it produces which is something that none of the on-line resources at the minute fail to demonstrate. So when I get a minute I'll upload that to you tube or perhaps try and link it to my blog here? *Note - I could do the flick but I've got no accuracy with the Grimmet version.

Ben's bowling development;

Ben's had a good day today with his bowling. I have to be careful not to push him to hard with this stuff otherwise he gets frustrated with it and creates set backs. So this afternoon just before his cricket training with his club we went outside the house and I showed him what it is that he needs to be doing and he pretty much got it within a few goes and conceded that it looked to be fairly accurate and he felt that it gave him more speed with his bowling. So with only 10 minutes of trying it at home he went to his training session and gave it a run out in the nets.

The only thing is he gets the Yips when he's there doing it his own comfortable off the wrong foot way so then for him to try it in the nets in front of all his peers and the coaches I thought showed a real sense of determination to get it right and I was well chuffed because he did get it wrong loads of times but stuck at it.

When we got home we then set up the stumps and gave it a go and he then came up with the goods consistently. There was so much of an improvement I had to get the wicket keepers gloves on and some keeping pads! At the minute we're not working on any speed aspects, he's just walking in going into the jump off his left foot (which is the key thing he was doing wrong) landing on his right then pivoting round/over onto his left fading into the right through the follow through. At the minute he kind of stalls on the left foot pivot and fades away, but I noticed at his training session all his contempories do the same and the coach said to give him time and it'll come together. The best thing was he was really pleased with the accuracy and the increase in speed that there seems to be, so it looks like he's on board with getting it fixed.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

W'Hey the clocks go forward tonight!!

I didn't realise that it was that time of year already

- that means it'll be cricket on the field in the evenings as soon as it's dry! Summers on it's way.

There's some discussion on the forum I subscribe to with regards the image here of Shane Warnes grip. It looks pretty unusual on a couple of counts.
1. I've blown the image up in Photoshop and drawn over what looks like the positions of the fingers and digits and then seperated the layer in order to examine the photo. The low resolution doesn't help that much but the appearence is that for a start he's got his thumb tucked into his hand.
2. The seam is in the position for a big turning leg break but looks interesting with regards the emphasis of the 3rd finger and the position of the wrist - it's definitely something I'm interested in exploring.
On the subject of the Biggun - I've just been outside the house bowling the Biggun across a short distance doing it again and again and giving it a real big flick and it turns a country mile as it's supposed to do. I need another spinner to practice with so I can throw it back and forth and he/she can watch my action and see if it changes as the distance gets bigger. That way I can bowl it and step by step getting the distance up from 10 yards (which I can do), slowly up to the 22 yards. I think that would help massively.
Slightly inspired by the session outside the house I thought I'd go over to the basket ball court and throw some balls there and see if that came up with anything. Again it went okay but again I'm lacking in patience - I started off with a 10 yard length but soon moved onto 17 yards and within minutes I was bowling the full 22 yards and again it was a case of some did some didn't. I also had a go at bowling using pretty much the grip in the picture above with Warne and it had some merit, it felt like the grip with all of the other fingers was pretty much non - existent but the ball was released and thrown only using the 3rd finger and it looks fairly promising. But I think half the problem is the fact that if I start looking at this seriously that means I'll be mucking around with 3 different variations of the Leg Break and I don't think that can be a good idea. I think I'm going to go back to trying to bowl with a big flick using all the levers.
Back home and outside the house again I was trying the big flick and it works across a shorter distance, so I may have a go again tomorrow and maybe use a phone to set time limits e.g. bowl at 10 yards and do so for 15 minutes and then go to 15 yards and do that for 15 and so on? But again outside the house very promising.
Generally the whole session at the basket ball court was pretty good. Flippers were good, wrong uns and Top Spinners were good. The conclusion has to be I have to keep bowling and once a week in the nets isn't sufficient.
Rain There's been a lot of rain in the last few days which means the field will be a bit soggy again after the 2 weeks or so of dry weather we have had. I'm looking at the field and thinking is this now the last opportunity to roll it again while it's fairly soggy? So I reckon tomorrow night I'll give it another going over and then when it's dry next depending on whether the grass gets a major growth spurt on or not I'll possibly lower the blades and cut the wicket. If it grows a lot I'll have to leave the blades high so as not to cut off more than a 3rd of the grass's height.

Friday, March 27, 2009


Laid in bed last night going back to the Leg break, it might be that I'm being too hard on myself, but I can't see why I can't consistently bowl a good or big leg break? It may be that if I put in some more practice I'll get the small leg break back and that'll be okay, but thinking about it I reckon my small leg break is more akin to a leg cutter than a spinning leg break. Last night in the kitchen doing what the master (Peter Philpott) recommends - flicking the ball, giving it a big rip everything I do is right, the ball turns big - massively in fact and with a lot of concentration but admittedly an awkward jerky action I can bowl it over a short distance. But then if I try and get it down a wicket it then goes very wrong and turns into a wrong un! I did declare that I'd given up on trying to bowl a biggun, but I feel that I shouldn't give up on bowling a good leg break using a obvious flick. Weirdly and worryingly my captain Neil was watching me bowl and he was saying that he'd swear that as I was bowling and releasing the ball it was a Leg Break but then when it pitched it was a Wrong Un - whereas I was bowling a Top Spinner.

I think the answer would be to bowl over ever increasing distances to someone else as it's this approach that has produced the most dramatic results in the past, but I just can't get anyone to do it with me.

In the short term I'll go back to my small leg breaks and recover them, but in the meantime I'll go back to spinning the ball completely unaware of what it is I'm doing that is so wrong to make the ball turn completely the wrong way. Gutted.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Pies anyone?

I bowled a heap of pies tonight which wasn't good. I haven't been bowling in the way that I normally do e.g all the time and maybe this has something to do with it? So that's 2 weeks in a row now that I've bowled badly, so this weekend weather permitting I'll have to get out there and have a go and see if I can rectify the situation?

I shot some video of Super Dave bowling so hopefully that may be of some use to Ben, so I'll have to edit that at some point and upload it to youtube, but the clip I've got of 'Super' could do with being closer.

Our fields been cut again and it looks as though it's been done again with a proper mower again because it's got nice stripes. Maybe they've got someone to do it on a contract and this is going to be a regular thing? That'll be good because our outfield last year was a bit long some of the time. Maybe I should lower the blades on our mower as they're cutting the grass relatively short and the pitch is still pretty much indistinguishable from the outfield still?

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Ben wrong foot part 2

I've spoken to Ben about this and he seemed to be up for correcting it and when I told him what he should be doing he was up for trying it out, so as long as I don't push him too hard he should be okay? What I will need to do is video someone tomorrow night in the nets who's got a good bowling action - preferably with a front on action and not mixed or sideways?

Jumping off the wrong foot

At the weekend you may recall I video'd son No.1 (10 years old) in red in the banner at the top of this page bowling. I think I mentioned that there was something odd about his action that I couldn't put my finger on. Having taken the video off the camera and running it through virtual dub to make a slow motion version copy of some of it I was able to compare it with some Slo-Mo clips of Brett Lee and I sussed out what it is that he's doing wrong and it's taking off on the wrong foot. Now whether this is a complete disaster or not I've not ascertained as yet because despite this he's reasonably fast, very accurate and produces good outswing when he bowls.

So at the minute I'm uploading the clip to youtube in order that the blokes on can analyse his action and give me some ideas as to how to help him rectify this problem.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

General stuff

Slightly colder today with a bit of a North Westerly wind, but generally very sunny and pleasent. So that meant around mid day having realised there was no football on the field I could get some bowling in. So with a stump at each end and 16 balls I worked on the Big Leg Break for an hour. Compared to yesterday it was worse which was a complete disaster and very demoralising. Over the hour or so that I was there it simply got worse. But despite how crap it was I kept at it and in the end sticking with the Leg Break I went back to the normal variety to see how I'd do with that? Initially it was awful - too long and shed loads of wides down the legside and it wasn't going anywhere, but I persevered and eventually it came good - right length and right line with loads of bounce and this is off a soggy field.

Sometimes I have to wonder about myself because I have a way of bowling the Legbreak but because of the total obessesion with the Big Legbreak I neglect a ball that works for me and chase after the impossible. The other thing is I write all this stuff down but then try several different ways of bowling still chasing the elusive Biggun not sticking to the technique that works for me. The thing is my normal legbreak when it's going well produces a healthy amount of turn which for all I know is as good as my mate the Wizards and it's him that I'm out to beat this year with regards a target. So having eventually got it together I've decided that I'm going to write it down in a little book (The technique that works for me) and chuck it in my bag of balls and sit and read it before I start to bowl. Get my head in the right zone and focus on bowling my Bog Standard Legbreak (BSL). I reckon if I do this I'll be on the right track and maybe come back to the Biggun next year in the off - season? This way at least I'll have the Legbreak and it'll be my stock ball. So that's my new obective.

Ben and Joe had a better (More involved/interesting) session today at their training. Neither of them bowled that well - Ben got a lot better as the session went on, but Joe the Wrist Spin Legend bowled pies! Yet before we left we had a bit of a muck about and Joe was bowling brilliantly. Ben also batted and yesterday I bought them a forearm guard and he seemed to bat with a lot more confidence and after he said that it had made him feel safer. The coach Neil seemed to be encouraging him and praising him when he was getting it fairly right. Joe didn't get to bat. On the way home I asked them why they'd been so poor with their bowling. Joe didn't know but I've just realised Joe's got a cold and possibly doesn't feel that well but Ben put it down to The Fear. He was saying that he gets very nervous bowling in front of everyone even though it's just practice. So this gave me a good opportunity to explain that I used to have the same feeling simply because I wasn't that confident that I could do it and it was only once I'd put in the hours of practice that the confidence came. He seemed to understand so once we were home and with the light on our side for at least an hour we had a quick bowling session on the field. He bowled brilliantly. His first ball was a full toss that hit middle about halfway up and then in about 18 balls he hit the stumps another 5 times and bowled about 4 wides. Off the back of that I think he could see that more practice would help him feel more confident. Joe had an over as well again 5 good balls - 1 wide and his fourth ball had me - top of off stump. I played a front foot drive and ball went wide of the bat onto the stumps so he was pleased as well. One of the kids off the estate joined us as well and he also bowls right arm Wrist spin and he had an over and he bowled well too. So hopefully over Easter we'll get some good practice sessions going and the kids off the estate will join us?

Had a good look at the pitch today and it's looking good - at the moment a little bare which isn't that bad as long as it's flat. It still doesn't need to be cut though and I've left it for another week. The forecast is that we may have rain on Monday or Tuesday which should get the grass growing well. It'd be nice if it did rain heavily before Easter because I could get the roller on it again and maybe even put some seed down? I was in B&Q's yesterday and found that they sell roundup which what I'll need to kill off the Plantain once it gets going and that was relatively cheap. They also had a sturdy sack barrow in there for 14 quid which may be a far easier way of getting the roller from our house to the pitch. It's how I used to get the old smaller roller over there, but the current one is too heavy for my current sack barrow - but this new one is good for 31 stone (200KG) so may be an option?


I've been really slack on this of late mainly because my stretchy band thing snapped and Decathlon was out of stock of them for a few weeks. Now I've got it replaced I'm back on the fitness trail and rightly so as I think I've got my first match in 3 weeks time. So Monday, Wednesday and Friday are fitness training nights.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Not many updates here lately as I've been working on getting my wrist spinners on-line resource in place

On Thursday went to nets and it was pretty uneventful, bowled poorly and batted badly. Got smacked all over the place by Ross Fulbrook which was pretty depressing after having his Dad a week or so before all over the place and saying 'I haven't got a clue what to do with your bowling' and his Dad used to be one of our better openers I think. Whereas Ross is a number 6 or 7? Anyway the less said about Thursday the better I reckon.

It's been nice here in the UK very sunny all day with the temp around the 16 - 18 degree centigrade mark which for this time of year is about degrees too warm. We've had now about 2 weeks of dry weather so all of the playing fields and pitches are drying out and our own field is drying up nicely and we're now already reaping the benefits of the little bit of rolling I did over the 2 or 3 weeks just gone when the field was still a bit soggy. So today I had half an hour on the grass bowling at one stump trying to bowl the Biggun. It wasn't that good - sometimes it happens a lot of times it doesn't, but when it happens there's a lot of turn, but the difference in the action feels absolutely minimal. Later outside the house in the road I replicated it again after trying for 15 - 20 minutes and bowled 4 - 5 in a row and then was asked to do something by my wife, which then seemed to be the pattern for the rest of the day as I bowled at every opportunity I could.... At the school outside when the kids were swimming, again in the street and it seemed every time I was getting into the groove as such and getting the turn I was called to do something else! Hardly what you'd call a situation where you could focus 100%.

I've been reading some of the Philpott book and again picked up on some more insights into what I might be doing wrong. Page 62 he talks about bowlers with a vertical arm action (that's me) and he says that the vertical arms good for Off-spin (That's me again with my bloody wrong uns), but points out that the greatest Leg Spinners, Grimmett and Warne bowl with a far lower round arm action. He also mentions their height in relation to this saying that smaller blokes bowling wrist spin need to flight the ball upwards so the ball leaves the hand in an upward trajectory. I'm only 5'10" so it sounds like I'd benefit from the round arm action when trying to bowl the leg break? I also decided that in order to get the Biggun going I'd have to incorporate the flick. I can manage the big flick with the wrong un and the top-spinner but not the Leg break, so it was with all of this in mind that today during all of these bowling sessions all I did was try and bowl the ball with a much lower action and give it a big flick. Philpott also mentions using all the segments of the arm 'Use all the levers' - shoulders, upper arm, forearm, wrist and fingers to get the flick to rip the ball and spin it. I think this is another aspect of my bowling (especially the new leg break I've got) that is missing from my action, but today trying to flick the ball with the wrist, with the lower arm action I noticed stress in my forearm muscles for the first time ever, so perhaps that's an indication that I'm using all of or more of the levers?

In the latter session in the afternoon I resorted to shortening the distance over which I was bowling and it worked. Over a shorter distance using a stand start I can bowl a flighty Biggun that turns the proverbial country mile. So I think there's potential there and a key feature was the awareness of the position or my wrist, if I don't concentrate it turns round into the position for the wrong un, but if I 100% focus I can get the arm over and flick with the wrist in the right place and it does turn. So it looks like another intensive few months of practicing and observing what it is that I need to do to bowl big leg breaks.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

First mowing of the year

As promised a lovely sunny and warm spring day. Simon sent a text in the morning and said that he wasn't going to be able to make the practice, so I cancelled it and let Alex know. During the morning Ben and Joe see image below went over the Rec with their mate Oz for the first time ever on their own, this represents quite a big step in their lives and an equally big one for us as parents because it means they were about half a mile away with no form of contact and out there on their own in the woods and stuff. My only concern is cars and getting across roads, if anything is going to happen that's going to be it. So for them it's their first step from being little boys towards being more responsible for themselves and us letting go a bit more. They admitted when they came back that it was a bit daunting but they liked it as there was no-one to say 'Don't do that don't do this'.
Cricket Stuff.

The field that we establish the wicket on (see blog header image) is still being used for football on Sundays so after lunch I went over and had a look at how much damage was done to the wicket area and whether it was obvious that I'd rolled it last night. It wasn't too bad and it wasn't overly obvious that wicket area had been rolled although on closer inspection it's ver obvious as it is so much flatter and than the surrounding field.

Earlier in the day I'd also gone over to the cricket pitch that's local to us to see how that's getting on and whether the green keeper has cut it yet and he had. The wicket is looking very lush at the minute and nothing like our field, but then our field has been cut a few times in the last month or so and gets a pounding from the football games. We decided that as the wicket had been rolled and the weather is set to continue in this fine vein it might be an idea to mark the wicket out more prominently and cut it so as to establish it's position this year. So armed with our Ransomes Ajax (that I'd lowered slightly after testing in our back garden) 4 posts and a long bit of twine we measured out an area 8' wide and about 24 yards long and got down to cutting it for the first time this year.
As you can see from the image despite the fact that we cur virtually nothing off the grass you can just make out the lines. The intention is that we'll cut it once every 2 weeks or whenever the weather allows just to promote good growth. If it rains sufficiently for the roller to have some impact I'll roll it again in the future, but the rolling that's already been done has made a substantial impact already which is good.
Once that was done I took a couple of stumps over there and threw a few balls (60) and again I had the same lame results with the Leg breaks. Dead straight or just slightly going towards slips with some decent bounce and again as the session culminated it did start to come together. Once back home I then threw a few outside the house and they turned really well but I'd changed the emphasis of my grip again in comparison to what I'd been doing at the start of the session on the field. It is that 3rd finger very much the key to the spinning, the two up fingers hardly doing anything and the throw more or less off the 3rd finger and that was giving me a good amount of spin and improved bounce.
Ben & Joe had their usual training session, this week attended by 15 kids in the under 11 group. There's another group of boys some of who look as though they're potentially under 11 as well and they're in the nets but they're part of last years team. It's going to be interesting to see how they select the team because if the boys that were in the nets are in the Under 11's they are far more superior players to the group that practice with Ben and Joe.
I feel as I mentioned last week Ben and Joe are losing the will to go to the sessions because they are repetitive, but they don't seem to grasp that if they want to be good players they need to practice and they need to listen to the coach. We'll have to see how it develops as the final weeks come together.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Rolling #2

No rain and a fairly decent day. Just after lunch I went over to 5 tree field to check it out for tomorrow and just as I was about to leave Ben and Joe said that they wanted to come and play cricket so we all went over there with all the gear and had a knock about. Both of them are really out of practice despite their Sunday excursions to Rayleigh and this shows in their struggle to bowl the full 22 yards. Having said that I don't think Joe's ever bowled the 22 yards as he's only 7 years old so we must have been letting him bowl 17 yards last summer? Anyway we did the same today and he bowled alright in the end - in fact he bowled me round the back of my legs with a really nice Leg Break a la Shane Warne V's Mike Gatting! Ben was most impressed and I was too - I couldn't believe it and reckon he must have had some assistance with a lump or a hole in the ground - but still impressive.

5 Tree field was fine - slightly sticky with very little bounce and a bit lumpy, but I'm up for it tomorrow if the others are, so I've sent them a text but as yet no reply.

This evening worked on my new blog - which is coming along okay and the good thing is I've already managed to put a counter on it and already it's had 12 hits which 6 must have been my own. Earlier in the evening at dusk I dragged the roller onto our wicket and gave it a good rolling for 1/2 an hour and it did seem to have some impact. When I'd finished and came away from it, you can see clearly that someones done something there as all the grass is flat. But I reckon that it is a worthwhile venture as when you walk over the area you can feel underfoot that it is different from the rest of the field. I've gone along the length of the wicket and across it concentrating on the areas 3 or so yards in front of the stumps and down the very centre. I'll try and do it every weekend, but I would like at least another big bout of rain. I also reckon that once we start cutting the grass the impact of the roller will increase and I reckon that by June or July we might have a half decent wicket?

Friday, March 13, 2009

Mowing #001

Another dry day with the prospects of at least two more and the chance that we may get out on 5 Tree Field this Sunday rather than go in the nets.
This evening I contemplated rolling the wicket again and then run out of light and time and instead thought perhaps I'd mow the wicket as everything is definitely in growing mode. I know from the research that I did over the winter that it's best just to keep cutting the tops off the grass not cutting any more than a 3rd off at any one cutting. So I went into the garage and had a look at my Ransomes Ajax mower with the intention of quickly adjusting the blade height as it was still in 6mm mode which is far too short for this stage of the mowing and quickly go and do the first cut of the season.
In the end it took a lot longer than I imagined and I ended up having to bring it indoors in the light and finishing it off there. What it did do then was allow me to photograph it so that I could upload the image to the internet and show you what I've done (like you're interested)! Anyway as you can see from the image the gap between the floor and the blade is now in the region of 2" so will give a long cut. What it will do once the cutting is done is establish where the wicket is, which will then facilitate good rolling e.g. in the right zone (Emphasis down the centre). So hopefully the weather will hold out tomorrow and there will be no rain and I'll be able to cut the grass last thing tomorrow night and perhaps roll it as well?
The plan with regards cricket with the MPA boys this weekend is - if it doesn't rain we'll go over 5 tree field. What I'll have to do is conduct a pitch inspection tomorrow at some point and see what state the field is in. Usually the field drains quite well and after a period of sun, wind and no rain it's okay to practice on.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Oh Yes!!!!

What a fantastic night at the nets! Initially it was rubbish as I got warmed up, not helped by the fact that we had 7 blokes in the net bowling so none of us were able to get into a rhythm. So Neil passed through the nets not too bothered with anything I threw up there and Danny had pretty much the same experience, but then we had 'Colonel' in the nets. I don't know Colonels history so whether he's seen as having any strengths at batting I'm not sure, but he arrived just at the point when I got into the groove as such and my new Leg Break began to come together with a bit of dip, bounce and some turn. So with it all coming together I hatched a plan - bowl a consistent line Leg Breaks up towards the off stump trying to keep it accurate and threatening the stumps. Colonel saw what was happening and then took to stepping back and square cutting the ball quite effectively out towards point or a bit forwards of point. So I kept that going and he was loving it and then threw up the wrong one - Got Him! Then I got him with a Flipper and possibly a Gipper as well, all bowled at differing speeds and lengths after the initial series of Leg Breaks. He was all at sea and I think he conceded that I'd got him at least 4 times out of about 7 balls.

Then Wayne had a go and he fell for the same trap, got him as well. He also had problems with simply just turning it from one direction to the other and bowling varying lengths and the Colonel had the same issue with the length as well as I think I hit him on the toes once or twice but outside of leg stump with Leg Breaks.

But then I had Matt come into the net. Now that is a different situation altogether, for one he's left handed and exceptionally adept at coming down the track and hitting the ball at the point it pitches. He also detected the longer balls and simply defended those by tapping them away down his leg side. With his attacking approach that kind of got me unsettled and I couldn't come up with a solution so he completely dominated the spell that he was there for, I got one or two balls past him, but they were wide of the stumps and even though he tried to play for them they were nowhere near getting an edge. Coming back in the car I was thinking about what I might have done and come up with this. Because he's left handed my Wrong Un's which are possibly my best delivery are the equivalent of a Leg Break ball for him turning away towards slips. So I should have bowled them - this might be a useful strategy because they probably differ in nature to finger spin offies and therefore might be trickier in flight and bounce characteristics? So if I was to then bowl a sequence of these up, prepared to get hit a few times that might then psychologically allow him to settle and relax a bit? Once he's there I then bowl something like the Gipper or the leg break that turns the other way into the stumps or his body and might come off his gloves. I suppose this relies on how clever and aware he is as a batsman, he looked pretty sharp to me, but it'll be a challenge to see if I can work a plan on him.

Sweep shot

Before the nets Terry did his usual training drills and this week he was showing us the sweep shot amongst other things. This is a lovely stroke to be played against spinners and Matt had done me a couple of time using this shot in the nets. But in the practice drills I had a go and was able to hit the ball down the leg side which is unheard of for me! So I was looking forward to giving that a go in the nets against The Wizard and Colonel, but I didn't get a chance, so that's something I'll have to remember for next week and try out in the nets.

All in all this was an exceptionally good net session for me with the Leg Breaks coming good all night and getting better as the night went on. I didn't focus on the shoulder rotation too much but was aware of it and gave it some consideration, whether that caused the good bowling and the increased turn I couldn't say, but some of the stuff I was bowling up there was fairly impressive for me. One in particular against Wayne that went down the Leg Side that Wayne nonchalantly went to dispatch in his usual adept manner spun off the matt viciously with a hig bounce and got him in the stomach.

I can't wait for the season to get started and for the weather to turn just so that we can get out over the field. The weather prediction so far is fine for the weekend so there's a chance we may get out on a field this weekend?

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Shoulder Rotation

Just been reading some more of the wrist spinners Bible , it seems that every time I go back to it I find something I've over-looked or just didn't bother to take on board. This time it relates to the rotation of the shoulder. Page 60 The Art of Wrist Spin Bowling, Peter Philpott - Published by crowood.

"The shoulders during the delivery should rotate over one another in a line towards the batsman, not around one another towards Gully or Point. Thus the body chases the ball rather than falling away".

The context that this is mentioned in is another point with regards that wrist spin bowling is a 2 arm action, the high - reach for the sky leading-in arm that then powers through driving the delivery arm with more ooomph. It's not something I've focussed on before and I'm kind of hoping that now when I look at my bowling action on video I'm already doing it. Apparently if you're doing this correctly one shoulder goes over the other and it leads to increased accuracy. There's a mention of the reach for the sky arm coming down into a 'Tuck into the ribs' position 'Before it is thrown away' which is slightly confusing description that doesn't register with me so I'm going to have a look at the Jenner and Warne vids to see if I can make sense of this and turn it into laymans language.

I've looked at the vids I've got of myself and I'm fairly okay, looking at Jenner bowling it's not that obvious but his rotation is definitely up and over but looks relatively relaxed yet he gets loads of spin on the ball. Looking at Warne it's a similar story it looks effortless. So tomorrow night in the nets I'm going to continue looking at my leg break and give this some thought and bring the arm through in the delivery down to the hip trying to get more oomph.

With regards the back-spinning ball to get the Big Leg Break, I've been doing it in the Kitchen with a fully extended arm only using the wrist flick up above my head and getting ridiculous amounts of spin and turn over a very short distance and it just feels as though it's only a short jump away from converting to a cricket pitch. I'll have to try it at some point?

Weekend prospects

It doesn't look like the nets is going to come together this weekend because Badger is away and Mark Soye can't do Saturday. Our normal Sunday slot has been taken by Ping Pongers so Saturday seemed like the only option. We've had good weather of late with little in the way of rain and the temp is in the 13 degree centigrade region so I'm now thinking maybe we could have a go outside either on an artificial wicket or over at 5 Tree field which has good drainage and is relatively flat? So I'll put this to Simon and Alex and see what they say.

Our own wicket looks like it's growing quite rapidly now with the increased light and warmth, so I'll have to keep an eye on that. I did contemplate rolling it tonight but had other issues at home to deal with so perhaps tomorrow before going to nets? I may also have to cut it as well before I lose control of it otherwise the only way I'll be able to cut it if I leave it too long will be with a pair of shears!

Monday, March 09, 2009

Joe Thompson Wrist Spin Legend

My younger son today was demonstrating his Leg breaks. He's got a funny little grip but it works for him. He has all of his fingers across the seam and bowls out of the face of the hand like my leg break and probably brings his arm across his body and in doing so trails his fingers around the ball producing the spin. He has been erring towards trying to bowl Wrong uns out of the back of his hand and having a good degree of success, but I've been warning him that if he keeps it up he'll end up like me. So it looks as though he's heeded the warning and returned to bowling his leggies.

I can't wait for the weather to turn nicer so that they can get out there and bowl and force some improvements. I'll be able to update my mast head as well with a better image of Joe bowling and being in the foreground rather than at the other end batting. I need them to get on the field and play against the other kids to maintain their interest and keep up their performance and skills. Ben I noticed seemed to have developed a weak follow through so I want to video him and show him what he's doing so that we can work out how to correct it?

Today at school Ben was telling me that they're doing cricket in PE and being taught it by a lady teacher and he was saying that it was a disaster, but then when I asked him to elaborate he came up with the instructions she was giving the kids. 'Something about making a 6 shape when you bowl - it was rubbish' he said, but there was definitely something in it, it kind of produces a Grahame Swann bowling action and I reckon she got it spot on myself! But it does sound like she was a bit weak with her run-in, leading arm and follow through. 'It didn't matter' Ben said 'Me and Ozan (His mate) were furthest from her and she had us bowling back and forth to each other and I was showing Ozan how to do it properly'. Maybe in their next session she'll do the run-in and leading arm? I think that it's good that they're being taught cricket at school.

Wrist Spin Bowling round the loop

Now that I've got the Leg Break back I've felt compelled to show you the different grips and wrist positions when I bowl the ball including my unique 'Gipper' ball. All the of the following images would be an approximation of what the bat sees of my hand just as the ball is released.

The first image here is my leg break hand position and one of the key features which I over-looked to some extent when I was getting my head round the idea of how to recover it having suffered from the Googly syndrome was the wrist position. The fact that the under-side of the wrist A was facing the bat. It's the realisation that this was integral that finally brought it all together and gave me consistency.

It now follows that with a slight more turn 'Going round the Loop' with the little finger and possibly a slight twist of the wrist turned towards the bat that this will produce the Big Leg Break. This at the moment is very much at the fledgling stage, but I'm hopeful that it's going to come good because it employs Peter Philpotts 'Round the Loop' theory.

The Top Spinner you'll see has the thumb come round the loop another 90 degrees towards the bat from the Leg Breaks position. No longer is the palm or the under-side of the wrist facing the bowler but the side of the wrist. This is the delivery that I'm able to execute the maximum amount of wrist flick with other than the Googly/Wrong Un. In my case I have to err towards having the palm slightly towards the bat and not so straight on otherwise I tend to produce Wrong Uns.

This ball is the Flipper. Clicked between the fingers as if clicking the fingers to the beat of music. Suppposedly the most difficult of all the basic variations. The hand and wrist is pretty much the same as the Top Spinner in appearance as you make the delivery, if you don't spot the finger grip you may then be surprised by the fact that it doesn't dip, but stays in the air and then skids in low and stalls to some extent with the back-spin that is it's main characteristic. I love this delivery as it's one that I'm able to bowl considerably faster than the others or alternatively really loopy and slow to the point where it stalls and almost stops in front of the bat because of the back-spin.

The Wrong un AKA The Googly. The wrist here has turned right round 'The Loop' in comparison to the Leg Break and this ball comes out of the back of the hand and as we all know turns the other way. It's supposed to be a difficult ball to master but again I've not had that much of a problem other than it screwed up my Leg Break for the best part of 2 years. The secret is to learn it slowly and bowl it only for short periods when you're learning it. Maybe spend 5 minutes trying to suss it out and then go back to your Leg Break and check to see if that's still happening. You have to keep returning to your Leg Break and check to see if you can still produce it.

Finally The Gipper a hybrid of the Googly and the Flipper. Bowled out of the back of the hand with a ridiculously twisted arm and wrist and flicked like a Flipper. Extremely difficult to control initially but if you keep at it you'll find that it comes together. Bowled up loopy and above the bats eyes sometimes it produces drift and dip and then turns like a big Leg Break. The delivery is unmistakable because of the neccesity to hold the ball and arm ready to deliver it, but you can bowl it straight with no turn. Potentially good as a variation.

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

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Ben and Joe had their training session today and came away saying that they weren't that excited about the whole affair because they're going over the same thing again and again. I think Ben is beginning to suffer from teenager - itis, where he doesn't like to be told that he's doing it wrong despite the fact that the coach was explaining that if he continued to field as he was he'd end up with broken fingers. Neither of them seem to grasp that the amount of practice required in order that they attain a decent level of proficiency. I think all the coaches today worked well with them - Neil, Dave and Graham and kept them busy. They even had a bit of a game in the middle and I'm wondering whether they too sensed an overall feeling of despondency amongst the kids? This is where no doubt the wheat will be sorted from the Chaff and I'm hoping that my lads are 'The Wheat'.

In the game both of them bowled 2 overs of 3 so the equivalent of an over. Joe bowled a maiden across the six balls and every ball was met with a 'Ohhh'! From all and sundry and Neil was encouraging him from the umpires position - from what I could tell from Neils reactions and Joe's indifferent report after was that 6 of his balls were right on the stumps 2 went over the stumps and the other 4 were Leg Breaks that all spun away from their original trajectory of hitting the stumps. Ben was slightly less successful but then he bowls straight and had better calibre bats to bowl against, I think he went for one. Similarly he either went over the top or just missed the edge down the off-side. One was hit and a run taken and one got an inside edge that then bounced off the leg and ricocheted passed the off-stump. But despite this they were indifferent to the session. Neither of them batted particularly well either. The rest of the session was made up of catching drills, long barrier practice and throwing accuracy. I thought it was a good session.

The weather needs to turn in order that we can get out onto our field and put some of this stuff into practice. Let's hope Easter is fine weatherwise?

With regards the field, it was used for football training this morning. It rained heavy this afternoon while we were at the training session, but the weather turned too cold for me to bother with another rolling. But it had been dry enough recently to get the mower on it I reckon and I need to keep and eye on this as it will get out of control. The field itself was cut last week, so for the moment it's quite short.

Preparing a cricket pitch

Preparing a cricket pitch - nabbed off Wikipedia reason I nabbed it was there was a warning saying that it was instructions and it implied that it might be removed.

a) Carefully assess the drainage requirements. Unless there is a danger of a perched water table developing, a perimeter drain surrounding the table should be sufficient to drain surface water and reduce lateral uptake of water by the table if a plastic lining is not present.
(b) Avoid elaborate (and unnecessary) combinations of a range of materials under the bulli. Medium crusher-run stone should be sufficient.
(c) Ensure that only good quality clay which has been analysed and passed as suitable is used.
(d) Consult widely and make certain that each stage of construction has been carefully researched and planned. Do not allow a hurried operation to justify short cuts.
(e) Be absolutely sure that adequate compaction occurs at every possible stage.
Summary: Recommended procedures for constructing tables vary considerably. Consult local Cricket Union groundsmen and follow proven specifications for your area.
A few examples are given here of recommendations which have been published (our additions are in italics).
Construction specifications will refer to the following factors:
(a) Base conditions and base layers. The general specification is medium crusher run stone or crushed slate.
(b) Each layer of material must be bonded or keyed into the layer below.
(c) The quality of clay must meet standard specifications. Refer to your Union groundsman before deciding to purchase bulli.
(d) Good compaction must be achieved at each level and sub-level.
(e) Ten examples of pitch construction revealed that, on average, the total depth of excavation was some 450 mm, of which the clay soil depth was 240–250 mm (54%). Our information suggests that senior games lasting four or five days demand greater depth of clay for adequate preparation and strength. Shallow bulli must be avoided.
(f) Less than 100 mm bulli is not recommended. Bulli of this depth should be compacted onto a stone layer and not onto loam or sand.
(g) Insert plastic sheeting between the table and the outfield to prevent encroachment of invader grass species.
Example No 1.
(i) Excavate table to 280 mm.
(ii) Lay strips of plastic down the edges of the excavation to prevent grass from entering the pitch area from the surrounds.
(iii) Add crushed stone or slate to a depth of 150 mm. Compact the stone and then score the surface.
(iv) Apply 40 mm fine to medium gravel. Wet and compact. Score the surface.
(v) Complete filling with 90 mm of bulli, firming the material while filling. (Fertiliser, and particularly phosphate, could be mixed in with the bulli at filling to promote root growth. The amount needed can be determined from analysis).
(vi) If necessary, apply potash on the surface.
(vii) Plant sprigs 40 mm apart or spread sprigs over the area after watering, cover with a thin (5 mm) layer of finely crushed bulli and roll with a light roller.
(viii) Once established, topdress to level three or four times.
(ix) Fertilise monthly, irrigating the fertiliser in. Apply, in alternate months, 60 grams of 3.1.5 and 30 grams sulphate of ammonia per square metre.
(x) Roll in all directions—across, diagonally and in line with the pitch. Repeat this often after flooding.
(xi) Cut regularly to a height of 20 mm.
Example No. 2.
(i) Excavate to 300 mm. Slope base gently towards a sump, filled with stones, at one end. Compact base of excavation.
(ii) Line the vertical sides of the excavation with polythene/plastic.
(iii) Place 120 mm of 13 mm crushed stone into the excavation and compact. Mix in sand to assist with compaction.
(iv) Add 80 mm of a loam soil and mix in 50 g supers and 50 g 2.3.2 fertiliser per square metre. Level, water and compact.
(v) Add 100 mm bulli and compact.
(vi) Wash grass sods to remove all soil and tease sprigs apart. Lay sprigs on bulli surface. Add a thin layer of sieved bulli to a depth of not more than 15 mm (sieve apertures 10 mm or smaller) over the grass and smooth.
(vii) Apply 3.1.5 at 50g per square metre and water.
(viii) Water lightly twice daily with a fine nozzle spray until grass shown signs of sprouting.
(ix) Continue to water once daily until grass has covered.
(x) Apply Ammonium sulphate or 4.1.1 fertiliser (50g per square metre) monthly and water.
(xi) Once the grass is well established, topdress.
(xii) Cut to 15 mm.
(xiii) Rub in sieved (1.25 mm gauge screen) bulli, making sure that the grass tips protrude above the bulli.
(xiv) Lightly water twice daily until grass shoots push through.
(xv) Repeat (xiii) and (xiv) until the final level is reached which should be slightly above the level of the outfield.
(xvi) Roll for half an hour with a hand roller in a dry state.
(xvii) Once established, cut as short as possible and apply 3.1.5 and supers (25g/m2 of each) and flood.
(xviii) Commence normal preparation.

Saturday, March 07, 2009

I am a Wrist Spin bowler with a Leg break!


Played cricket with the kids and one of the kids from the estate who played cricket last year joined in too. This kid showed real promise as a bowler last year (Slow) and a year on he's not lost it at all and I've showed him what he should be doing with his leading arm and he's incorporated that into his delivery quite successfully and he took a few wickets - edged and caught balls from high bounces. He was also asking about where he could get a cricket bat and said he was looking forward to getting on the field and playing. Last year he was a bit of a pain - short attention threshold and running off sulking when things didn't go his way, but a year on he maybe a lot better and it's encouraging that he was asking about bats and when it would be that we'd go over the field?

Took the bats along to swimming as usual and while son No.1 is swimming son No.2 and all his mates play cricket and we played continuous cricket today where as soon as the ball was back to the bowler he/she was allowed to bowl again so it was fast and furious ensuring there was a quick turn round of the striker. Then the caretaker came along and let us go outside so that we could let loose a bit more and it got better. Then one of the Dads of some of the boys that also go swimming came out and joined in and this bloke used to play for the 1st team for Ben and Joe's team. He bowled a couple of balls at me and eventually got me out and then I passed the bat to him and already he'd said 'It's all coming - I love this game' and then he batted and you could see straight off that he knew exactly what to do 'This is the first time I've picked up a bat in 10 years... and I can still do it'. Every ball I bowled at him albeit only four using a tennis ball he despatched with ease. 'YOu don't know how good that feels to still be able to do that after so many years'. So I suggested that he join us in the nets next week on Sunday at the very same place we were playing but in the sports hall. He was definitely interested so I said I'd speak to him next Saturday and let him know the time.

Leg Breaks

I'm almost 99.9% certain I've got my Leg Break back. I don't think they're massive but they're looking as though if I work on them over the next month or so I'll get the accuracy and the variation in bounce and dip. You might know that I've been working on this now for months and have had varying degrees of success and stagnation. A couple of days ago reading 'The art of Spin Bowling' by Peter Philpott I re-read some of the text and for some reason a penny dropped. looking at page 33 I just saw the line 'Turn your wrist' and looked at the accompanying image and realised that this was an aspect that I had over-looked. So forgetting the hand and the fingers I just focussed on the wrist. When I bowl the leg break the inner wrist faces the bowler at the point of delivery. The bigger Leg Break it follows will be a product of the wrist turning even further anti-clockwise so that the little finger starts to come round and face the bat - the exact opposite of the Top-spinner which has the Thumb Poining towards the bat and the back of the hand facing square leg. This may not make any sense to bowlers that Leg Breaks come natural to, but if you're suffering from the Googly syndrome and all at sea as to how to get it back, this approach might be of some help? Another aspect that seems to be reaping benefits is the 'Push the ball forward' approach.

I've been bowling up against a wall on and off all day and all of the balls are turning/spinning like leg breaks. This afternoon I went over to our field and threw a ball around on there and that was promising too - very accurate and turning away towards slips.

More Re Thursday Nights Nets

more about last nights successful bowling. I made a concerted effort to change the position of the wrist and it seemed to work. There seems to be some merit in not trying to violently flick the wrist at this stage instead just ensure that the ball leaves the hands via the 3rd finger. While I was there I also recalled someone advising to push the ball forward and again this seems like a weird notion that implies a bent arm in order to push the arm. But this also seemed to work and it was with the pushed forward approach that I got the balls that drifted. The push forward seems to eliminate the chance that the delivery turns into a Wrong Un which for me is a ball that is flung out of the wrist as the hand is kind of unfurled. So for the moment I'm getting success with the following

1. Wrist slightly turned inwards using the 'Round the clock'big Leg Break technique.
2. Don't try and flick it.
3. Push the ball forwards with the delivery.
4. Explode through the crease with a good step over action in the delivery.
5. Ensure the 3rd finger is placed on the crease with a good gap between the up and down fingers.

The other thing I noticed was that my grip was fairly loose. I spoke to Ross Fulbrook our best Leg Spinner who's 15 and asked him about his grip. His grip is very relaxed with all of the fingers evenly distributed - pretty much how I bowl my Wrong Uns.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Targets & Nets

A far better session tonight at G&CCC nets. I bowled at other people other than Danny and did okay - Fozzy, Danny, Mason and a few at Reece/Rees. I managed to get the ball past all of them or hit the stumps and generally cause them some problems. Fozzy was saying that he couldn't read my bowling at all and was having real problems with it, but I was really mixing it up loads, but sticking to the bowling Leg Break style balls that were going down the middle and spinning away to the slips most of the time and varying the speed and length so that they were pretty awkward on their own.

With regards the earlier ephinal realisation that maybe I should try and bowl a la' Philpotts 'Round the clock' with my wrist turned slightly inwards it seemed to work. I was getting the ball a lot shorter this week and in the right areas and there was a little bit of turn there and on the odd ocassion some drift that I noticed myself and some improved bounce. So overall in view of last weeks appalling session this week was far better. It was nice to have someon like Fozzy who's a good bat to say that I was causing problems and it was nice to totally do Mason with a series of Leg Breaks followed up by a bouncy Wrong Un that got him on the gloves and then a couple more later put a low skidding Flipper through and on to the stumps. Danny on the other hand is getting wiser and is more likely to deal with my bowling - he attacks it and the only way I can get him these days is with balls that hit the edge and fly up for a catch. The odd one goes through and he might go for a stumping?

I had a bat at the end and faced Mason and some other bloke who's of a similar build and age to him who bowls deceivingly fast. With these blokes I've just got to bide my time and defend the balls that threaten the stumps and maybe go after the more wayward ones? Ross bowled at me - he's our best Leg Break bowler and the approach with him seemed to be stand some way forward and give the impression that you're going to come after him down the wicket - he then bowled shorter to get you out of the crease so that he could get the ball past you for a stumping, but instead of doing that I was just stepping backwards and tracking the ball and a lot of the time square cutting it. So maybe that's an approach I could try the next time I face The Wizard? But he reads this blog so that scuppers that idea!

On the subject of The Wizard and the fact that he reads it ocassionally - he noted the comments a couple of days ago regarding our stats and the fact that I'm out to beat him this year, so it looks like the battle between the lower order Wrist Spinners is on! It turns out that he's only been with the club a couple of months more than me. I joined in July 2007 and he joined May 2007 so we are very evenly matched in many ways so this should be interesting and hopefully drive me to be a better bowler?

Talking to my captain earlier on Face Book he asked what my targets were for this season and he's set me some -

To bowl 60 overs or more
get average down to 40
rpo 5
maidens 5
batting 20
runs 50
average 5
15 wickets

Around the clock

Around the clock a la Peter Philpott - The art of wrist spin bowling. I was giving this some though the other day and realised that whenever I've been trying to do the Big Legbreak I may have been trying to hard and I may get some mileage out of simply turning my wrist in the correct position and then bowl without trying to actually flick the wrist backwards? I'll give it a go tonight if I remember.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

March 4th

Tonight I came home via our field and noticed that you could see the wicket because of the fact that I'd rolled it on Sunday. Even though Sunday was the last dry day of almost 2 weeks of relatively dry weather, the roller has definitely had some impact and the surface does look far smoother and flatter than the surrounding field. Since Sunday we've had a fair bit of rain and the ground feels a lot soggier underfoot, so I am tempted to give it another going over on Sunday but I'm put off by the return journey which as mentioned in the last post is uphill and having single handedly rolled for 15 minutes or so is knackering. I'll have to have a pitch inspection after the footballers have gone and have a look to see how much damage has been inflicted.

I can also see that there's the potential towards the end of march to top dress and seed the wicket prior to a rolling session. That way the seeds will be nicely embedded in the earth with the increased potential to go. If the field isn't cut soon and the weather improves and growing takes place at a pace, I'll have a look at what the groundsman at the local cricket pitch is doing and if he's beginning to cut the wicket I'll possibly do the same.

Sunday, March 01, 2009


Busy cricket day today. First session was with the MPA boys at the school with the prospect of my captain from Grays & Chadwell turning up. I turned up early to find that the mats were locked in the cupboard and no sign of the caretaker and thought I'd sort that out once Alex turned up. Alex had already text me saying that his train in from London was delayed because of line repairs, but there was no sign of Makr or Simon and I'd even stopped off at the station on the way through in the event that Mark might have already arrived.

12.15 and still no-one and no sign of the caretaker. I'd got the nets out and started to bowl on my own and then decided that I didn't want Neil to turn up as this was looking like a shambles especially if I couldn't get the mat out. So I sent Neil a text saying not to bother. Then around 12.30 Simon turned up so I rang the caretaker and he came along a while later just as Alex arrived. In the meantime unbeknown to me Neil had sent a message indicating he was up for it but somehow I didn't hear the message come in otherwise I'd have said - yeah come on down. So that was disappointing. Anyway the session got under way and I bowled pretty much as I did on Thursday - crap. That combined with the fact that Simon had definitely decided that he was going to come down the wicket to the pitch of the ball, which he did very affectively smothering most of what I had to offer. So that was wholly unsatifactory. Then I had a bat. I took the approach of defending my wicket not swinging at wide of the off stump balls. Whilst I was concentrating this went okay as long as I went about it in my own manner, but I was aware of the fact that I was still swinging the bat round rather than through. Only when I tried to bat through the line of the ball in the style that they've been trying to teach me did it all come apart and I was bowled. Once I got my eye in I decided to come down the wicket it a bit stand in front of the crease and then step back and play back foot shots if appropriate. This kind of allowed me to play in a far more instinctive and natural way and I managed to get the bat on the ball a lot more playing what I felt for the best part were productive shots 95% of which were low or into the ground eliminating the chance of being caught. It'll be interesting to see how that works at Grays. Although there's no way that it'd work against the Wizard. I think if I batted against the wizard I'd just have to defend. Maybe if I was confident and had my eye in I might come down the wicket at him?

Out of there late the caretaker saying that the next lot were in at 3pm and he wasn't fussed if we overrun. But that meant I was straight home and back in the car and up the A127 to Rayleigh for their nets. This week they were in the nets facing real balls. They liked it, they both did okay, but I thought they were going to be a bit miffed at being forced to bowl with an exaggerated step over a little obstacle before their delivery. Ben was okay with it but Joe had real difficulty. But the thing is they both do it anyway and this obstacle seemed to be placed where it made it really difficult for them. But the coach was okay with them offering instructions and encouragement and they both said at the end that they liked it. Ben was also asked questions about fielding positions and then later said that the bloke was going to test them next week. Both of them batted okay and didn't seem too worried at facing real balls.

There was a shortage of balls, so I may buy some real ones for them from the ECB shop - the smaller variety. Once home we had half hour out in the street with some other kid but he was clueless, he just couldn't get the straight arm bit and just kept throwing it.

Just about 5pm I decided that I'd drag the roller over the field and give it a going over and see if it made any impact on it. I spent about 15 - 20 minutes rolling trying to ensure I got the middle of the track and it did seem to make some difference. I dragged the roller into the corner of the field and left it in the bushes but it did seem very conspicuous and decided that later that I'd go and drag it back. So tonight under the cover of darkness I went and retrieved it, coming back is slightly up-hill so it was a bit tricky. But I also had a look at the field and as it was dark I noticed that underfoot it felt very different where it had been rolled, so that's encouraging.

Other than that I've got a question about scoring. The stuf I'm looking at on the internet relating to scoring looks as though it's different to what we do at G&CCC slightly. The main question relates to the tally on the right hand side and the symbols/letters we/you use for extras and stuff?1. Wides, No-balls, Byes and Leg Byes do they get put onto the overall tally as we go along or do we add them at the end?2. What symbols/letters do we use for Wides, No-balls, Byes and Leg Byes? The system I'm looking at uses a cross with the runs placed as dots in each corner of the cross - have a look at this link and you'll see the symbols -

I reckon if I can get this established I've sussed it.