Thursday, April 30, 2009

Last nets

Nets went okay tonight, didn't bowl too bad. Batting went slightly better kept most of it out although I still struggle with Waynes speedy off-spin, he combines arm balls with with balls that turn quite well. A couple of people noted that my batting was better tonight and I kind of felt a lot more confident, they said they couldn't get through me and that it was frustrating. I'd taken a stance of not coming down the wicket and defending anything that looked as though it was going to hit the stumps and only went after the balls that were a bit wayward and it seemed to work.

Still no sign of a match either which is disappointing. On a more positive front Neil said that he'd got a copy of Wings to Fly for me, so that's good, but when I'll be able to collect it I don't know as nets has finished now. He also said all the other videos were well worth a look at and that he'll lend them to me. So at least that's something to look forward to.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Now that was good!

On the forum recently we've been discussing Flippers in all their infinite varieties including the very obscure Clarrie Grimmett Top-Spinning Flipper. But of interest to me at the minute is the Basic Clarrie Grimmett Flipper because it has an attribute that I've not seen in my bowling before - it swings/drifts and much of the discussion has been very pedantic around the arguments of what is swing/drift when you're bowling spin. Anyway the intention tonight was that I was to have gone over to The Rec near where I live and shot some footage of me bowling this particular Flipper. As it turns out my plans were scuppered because of a high Chav count and I had to resort to a low profile approach to setting up the camera and I ended up putting the camera on top of the stumps at the bowlers end looking down the wicket. Having got home I've found that this hasn't worked because of the lowness of the camera angle the ball doesn't appear in the frame until the last few yards and therefore you've got no real sense of whether it's swinging or not, so I'll have to re-do it.

But as I arrived I noticed that there was a couple of blokes and a kid on the outfield already in my usual place practicing and I recognised the bloke and his kid being from Ben & Joe's club - It was Jodie and his Dad plus one other bloke. So once I'd done my filming I went over and joined them just at the point when the other bloke had just padded up to face some balls from Jodie's Dad while he kept wicket, so seeing that they were having a go this was my que to get in there and join in and I was met with -

"Yeah we were just about to ask if you wanted to join in". So it was game on. As I joined in the other bloke Jamie was saying to Reg (I think that was his name - sorry if I've got that wrong).
"Yeah I'm not really that good facing the faster bowlers, it's spin that I'm good at playing" As he faced another of Reg's off-spinners despatching the ball with relative ease. Hearing that it was music to my ears and eventually the ball was handed to me. I'd noticed that the wicket was offering some bounce so thought I'll come in early with a Top Spinner and get it to drop short right from the outset. The ball dropped straight on target and Jamie played the ball and hit it and it came straight back at me low for a bowled and caught first ball - lovely!

Over the next 6 or 7 overs I bowled a mixture of Leg Breaks, Flippers of both types, Wrong Uns and a few Top Spinners and bowled the bloke clean 6 times! How adept he was as a batsman I don't know but he looked well versed in the art of batting and wasn't tempted down the crease at all, but he couldn't deal with the accuracy combined with different trajectories and speeds. He was especially undone by the Wrong Uns that followed up my Leg Breaks. Jodie's Dad joined in later and I got him as well once. So why did I do so well? The green grass was certainly assisting the spin, but I was bowling a good line and length and neither of these blokes have ever faced me and haven't got a clue as to what I'm about. It was especially nice because he had come out with his 'Playing spin's my preference' and at the end all three of them were obviously impressed with my bowling with both of them suggesting that I should play for B&PCC or Westleigh heights CC. I told them about G&CCC and the fact that I've been seemingly side-lined or retired early and they suggested I move elsewhere, but I like Grays so I'm sticking with them unless my position becomes untenable or it's blatantly obvious that my days atG&CCC are over.

There were several other good aspects to this meeting as it turns out that Jodie's Dad seems to be the key organiser or the head of the selection committee with regards the B&PCC Under 11's. It turns out that they've got a match on May 10th at Orsett and he was saying that because of the Bank Holiday and the fact that there's not an under 11's training session there wasn't any opportunity to see who's in form to be selected and the only information he had to work on was how all the U 11's had been at the indoor sessions over the winter and last Monday at Mopsies. He then went on to say 'Your boys are up for it - will they play'? Of course! It then got better as he was saying that around the Rec there's another couple of boys from the club and he was saying that him and Jamie and Jodie were going to make this Wednesday night at the Rec a regular thing, which is brilliant because there's a few other kids over there which are likely to get involved and this could easily turn into something good.

So all in all a good evening all round.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Blimey 10,000 hits on my blog!

I had a look earlier on this afternoon at the count and it was at 9980 so since then I've had nearly 40 hits which isn't bad going? I think that works out in the region of about 1000 hits a month!

Cheers to anyone that links to my blog it's appreciated and cheers to all those people that look in and read the blog and special thanks to those that take time to comment and join us over at at what is probably the busiest wrist spin thread on the internet?

Monday, April 27, 2009

Ben & Joe's cricket.

Eventually the rain came this morning after an amazing sunny Sunday where I even had my shirt off bowling on the field. Still sticking with the Leg Breaks but after the realisation that a place on the team was no longer a foregone conclusion the landscape as such looked bleak. So in part it was a day of contemplation and the bowling without any real raison detre trailed off a bit enthusiasm-wise. By the end of the day I'd evaluated the situation a looked across this new bleak and ruthless G&CCC and thought - Yeah I'm up for a fight for a place on the team. If it now takes 10 -15 hours a week training to make an impression then so be it. So maybe I'll get an hour in each day before work once the light is bright enough and it's not too wet? That'll give me an extra 5 hours.

Anyway tonight. After a superb weekend it's rained all day today and it was looking as though Ben and Joe's first outdoor training session might be called off. Michelle rung the man and he said 'If it's not actually raining - it's on'. So as soon as I got home from work I had my dinner and got them sorted and made our way to Mopsies Park.

The main feature of the night was loads of new kids. It looked as though 60% of the kids were new, kids that would need training as to how to bat, bowl and field. I was concerned before I came out whether Ben and Joe would be up for it. We've just come out of 2 weeks of school holidays where the weather for Easter (Especially the 2nd half) was excellent - dry, warm and for the most part sunny. I'd have though that given the fact that they were about to start training on a field Ben and Joe might have jumped at the opportunity to play cricket over the holiday? But they didn't and I had to be careful not to be to persistant with my requests that they play cricket or practice their skills. In the end they practiced at the start 2 or 3 times and played a game with the other kids on the estate once. So come tonight when I asked them to get ready for cricket Ben had already come up with 'I've got headache and a fever - I don't want to go' and Joe was just lethargic and looking for an easier option than cricket - like sleep. So I said to Joe 'You're coming because you're like me - you just can't get started - but once you're there you'll love it', and he agreed. Then once he started getting his whites on Ben for some reason sensed he might be about to miss out on something and said 'I'm coming Dad'.

So on a spitting rainy day with a slate grey backdrop of clouds threatening to tip down any second we turned up. They did some drills and then played a match where they were partnered by wicket keeper Jodie. Again of all the kids both of them looked particularly good with their actions, Ben with his new 'Super Dave' action and Joe with his loopy Leg Breaks. Both of them struggled a bit as they were using Windballs over a short distance whereas they've been using 4-1/4 ounce cricket balls over 17 yards recently so the difference had them flummoxed a bit to start but then they got into it. Both of them threw 3 x 5 ball overs (I think) and Joe took 2 for 6.

Both of them followed in the Thompson tradition of not being able to bat and were both dismissed cheaply! Once they'd batted there was a young bloke on the outfield that then went through their bowling with them which is good as they take a lot more notice of other people than me. The bloke had asked Joe what he bowled and Joe had said.....
"I bowl Spin".
"What kind of Spin"?
"Leg Spin".
"How do hold the ball"?
"Across the seam like this"....... And away he went with the bloke suggesting that he adpated his finger positions slightly. It'll be interesting to see if Joe follows this up? The bloke also had a look at Ben's bowling and got him bowling at another kid. The net result of all this was that whereas I was thinking this looks like it's all going downhill as far as their cricket futures were concerned, they came away refreshed and excited and gagging to do more! That's what I pay my money for, so I was more than pleased. Well done B&PCC!

But the main thing was th

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Ups and downs.

The weather held out today and was quite sunny and pleasent all day. Once or twice during the day I've been out bowling the short distances and then this afternoon before tea I went over the the Oak Tree which is 14 yards and bowled exceptionally well with the 70% rate that I was looking for. Bouyed by this after tea I went over onto the field and set up the stumps at 15 yards - yeah I know I said I wouldn't do 15 yards for a while, but it went to well earlier on I thought I'd try it. This time I took the camera and filmed myself bowling and it wasn't that clever. I had some success maybe about 20%. So I need to go back to the 14 yards and stick with that for a while.

But when I was doing the 15 yards I could feel it coming out of the hand right when it was right, the flick is there and it's the inward flick a la' Peter Philpott that makes the difference and that combined with the ball coming off the 3rd finger with conviction and it's a lovely Leg Break. I'll work on the video tonight and upload it for comments to be made on Youtube.

With that being a bit disappointing I then tried the 14 yards at the Oak Tree and as expected that went fine with a lot more success.

Tomorrow's match

All day I've been waiting for the nod as to whether I've got a game or not and still no word as yet which is disappointing. I'll have to go through tomorrow as though I am expecting to play so that'll give Michelle the ache, in fact as I type she's asking 'Have you heard yet whether you're playing or not'?

Friday, April 24, 2009


Back out again for an hour tonight trying to get my 'Other' Leg Break working. This is the one that I call the 'Real' Leg break because this one has a big flick. But it's the one that I can only bowl over short distances. If I stand still I can bowl it forwards over 15' or so and it turns as in Fig 1.

But as soon as I put any real effort in getting it to go 22 yards it either goes straight or turns into a wrong un. Recently I've been bowling the type in the diagram over ever increasing distances. For the last 2 weeks or so I've been bowling it over a distance of about 11 yards as much as I can. Inevitably with more flight I've lost the ridiculous angle as indicated here, but when it comes good which it increasingly does it still turns like a really good leg break far better than my Leg Break that I bowl that relies simply on the fingers alone and doesn't have the wrist flick.

So tonight just across the road at the Oak Tree I measured out 14 yards and set a beer can wide of Leg and was trying to pitch the ball on the can so that it would 'Shane Warne' into the Oak Tree. I didn't do too bad. I reckon I must have had about 30% success rate with the ball turning enough to come back into the tree - enough in fact to bowl it round someones legs. I'm fairly certain with more flight the turn will become less radical, but that remains to be seen. At the minute I'm quite happy that I've moved up to 14 yards and I'm able to turn it so much 30% of the time. It looks as though if I stick at 14 yards and get the success rate up to 75% I'll then be happy to move up to 16 yards or something. It sounds like a plan, I reckon that if I keep at this over a period of months I might have it by July?

Thursday, April 23, 2009


Yep, that was a pile of pants. The first 4 or 5 balls were okay and then it all went to pieces. Batting was ropey as well. Neil gave me some guidance towards the end and then the session ended and I was out of there before having any time to try his suggestions out. I have real problems with anything that's on my legs and Neil was trying to show me how to play across and get the ball down the legside, but for some reason my timing that side is exceptionally poor. I was also dabbing at the ball when it looked as though it was threatening the stumps rather than playing any strokes. But I did after an initial one or two balls refrain from stepping out of my crease and then I noticed that the bowlers all tried to change their tactics. Waynes balls were the ones that I find most difficult other than Dave Gaylors fast balls that are on the stumps. We'll have to see what happens next week. The bowling I'm not even going to mention it.

Other than that it seems as though there's a lot more players this year and I'm not guaranteed a game this Sunday. Selection it seems is now done on merit which I suppose is fair enough and then once they run short of good players they move on to the likes of me. So the situation is they've got to contact all the good players first (it seems) and then we get a shout? As I sort of expected and found with the MPA 1st XI when we got into this situation, it causes a degree of bitterness and I had a conversation with one individual who was bemoaning his exclusion in favour of someone else who he saw as being on equal terms with his game. So this will be interesting to see how it pans out over the year and whether people will get the real ache and ultimately leave the club? Or will they stick it out and whinge all year about it?

I suppose in my favour at least I've got a car and I don't mind travelling to away matches? So in view of that it doesn't make sense that you'd ever invite one or more of your mates to go along to nets or join the club because it seems that if they then end up being a better player than you - you could easily find yourself demoted.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Nets tonight

It's going to be interesting to see if I can get this Leg Break to work in the nets. On the grass today it was spinning well and looking as though there was some real potential with it. If it does work the question will be what do I combine it with mostly. I'm thinking Top Spinners and the faster Wrong Un. Yesterday the last 36 balls that all went well were all pitched down the off-side aimed at the off-stump and all spinning away to slips with varying degrees of bounce. It's the bounce and the height of the bounce that is the Wizards key bowling attribute from what I can tell. It seems that his bowling becomes predictable in one sense as you know that it is more than likely going to spin away towards slips. I've noticed that the better bats then reach out for it and play the wide balls, but this strikes me as being a high risk strategy. I've been advised to sit tight and not play those balls, just let them go and then see what his strategy is. The straight ones - play them on merit but go for a soft hands defensive approach. Don't leave the crease no matter how tempting. But Legside balls will potentially be my undoing.

So if I adopt an offside strategy I can do what I did today bowl on the off-stump, but mix it up with straight Top-Spinners and then as do as I did with the last ball - The Wrong One. 35 balls that all went wide turning away towards the off-side field and the last ball comes in and takes the stumps - Love it!

4 Days and counting

Whoa! A very good session with the Leg breaks! I had a day off from everything apart from exercise yesterday - 70 -80 press ups and more exercises specifically targeting the rotator cuff and shoulders. So tonight I was gagging to get out on a field and bowl. Our field was being used so I had to drive over to the Rec. Took a bucket of 36 balls and went through that 3 times, so that was the equivalent to 18 overs. I focussed primarily on the Leg break and right from the outset it came good and then continued pretty much the same through all 108 balls. Through the middle 36 I bowled some variations and then the last 36 I bowled leg breaks and every ball turned and did so in a way that I was happy with. Some of the them turned big, some turned just good/well, so this was an exceptionally good session. For the most part if I wanted them on the Leg stump that's where they were going and if they were needed on the Off stump I was able to put them there as well. All in all a very good session.

The only fly in the ointment seems to be whether I'll be selected and whether it'll rain or not as at the minute the weather is perfect, but it's scheduled to go down the pan through Saturday.

Monday, April 20, 2009

6 Days and counting...........

Typical - I've been off for two weeks and although the weather hasn't been that bad seeing as it is only April as soon as you go back to bloody work it gets that much better - today it was a 'Shirts off day' and tomorrow it's going to be better - 21 degrees centigrade. It should be around 14 at this time of year.

No cricket tonight apart from mucking about with the Bradman bat up against the wall in between the 2 garages. I've noticed that if you leave the ball a split second longer and hit it later it stays low rather than flying off the bat at a catching height, whether my timing is sufficient that I could risk this in the nets I don't know? Another thing I noticed tonight is the application of the advice that you should watch every second of the ball from the had and focus on it totally. This sounds like something you would do naturally, and you do - but to be honest you don't to the extent that you're advised to - I've come across texts that advise total concentration 100% full focus on the ball and tonight I gave this a go and that too seemed to produce even better results with the ball coming off the middle of a 1" Bradman bat more frequently than edging it. I think it's easy to assume that you're watching the ball fully, but you don't unless you make a concerted effort to do so and this approach does seem to make a difference.

One of the blokes on the website has challenged me to stick out my time in the nets without being bowled. That'll be challenging against Wayne because he bowls sneaky straight ones. Also with the Wizard it'll be tricky too and I'm not sure what the tactic with the Wizard needs to be, but I'm hatching a plan, but it'll be tricky to stick to it I reckon.

Other than that I bought Older son 'Emo' Ben some new leg pads at a bargain price which was nice.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

7 days to go

Seven days to go till the first match of the season assuming I get a game. But I am so up for it and I cannot wait.

A good day with the Leg Breaks

Once again the field was used for football (When does all that lark finish)? The damage sustained wasn't too bad, but I reckon some repairs will need to be made over the next few weeks as later in evening I cut the grass and it does seem pretty uneven. There's some bare patches that should be filled with some earth and some seed so I might look at doing that over the coming weeks especially if there's more rain due as that'll get the seeds going.

I had a look at the potential for bowling up against the wall of the building at the edge of the field and it's do-able but not that good. I gave it a go but wasn't happy about it and decided instead to set the stumps up on the field with a bucket of balls. I started with 11 yards and gave it a go but it wasn't that productive and after a short while I reverted back to the 22 yards and worked on some proper bowling. With a bucket of 34 balls throwing them from one end to the other for an hour and half I got through the equivalent of a lot of overs and it was very productive right from the outset. Remembering all the points from yesterday I started out with all those attributes included and it went great right from the start. There were still dips and troughs were instead of turning away to off the ball went straight, some of the balls bounce ridiculously low others bounce high like Top Spinners, but over all my line and length was good pitching the ball right up and on the off stump for it to turn away towards off in varying degrees of spin, with varying degrees of bounce. I didn't muck about with hardly any variations and kept plugging away at the leg break and it seems to be paying off as I was more than happy with my progress. How well it'll convert to a proper wicket I don't know, all I know is on this sticky and damp wicket I can get it to turn well and on concrete with a hockey ball I can get it turn well too. But I know from bitter experience last year that real wickets are often dead with no potential for the ball to turn, so I've got to keep this in mind.

I was so pleased with the results today that I'm tempted to get the video camera and set it up on the stumps at the bowlers end and chuck down a bucket of balls and upload the results onto youtube so that all my chums can have a look and evaluate my progress. I've also been bouyed by learning about Anil Kumble & This bloke reputedly had a weak Leg break and a bucket full of variations including a killer Fast Wrong Un, Flippers and Top Spinners (A man after my own heart). The bit I like about him is the fact that despite the fact that he had this weak leg break he is the 3rd most successful bowler of all time behind Warne and Murali. For years he lacked variations and it wasn't until a long way into his career and nearing the end of it did he learn the variations. His tactics included varying the speed and length and this apparently was one of the key elements to his bowling that brought him the wickets.

I had a couple of hours break and had my dinner, batted with the Bradman bat and tennis ball up against a wall and that's still going well and then cut the grass. Then found I had 1/2 and hour and went and threw 2 buckets worth of balls (70 balls) wondering if I could repeat the earlier success. The answer is yes. The second session also went really well including some bowling wide of leg that came back in and hit the bails. I also bowled a few variations earlier today including The Gipper which I don't really bowl that much, but despite this I managed to pitch them all up at a good length and they all turned like leg breaks. I also looked at the potential of bowling it mixed with Wrong Uns and starting the Wrong Un with the ball held like the Gipper because it has got a very distinctive grip at the start of the gather. So if I was to use it the bat would see the grip at the gather and think 'This is that weird ball that's going to turn away from me' and then it would come back in faster into the stomach! The Gipper also has the potential to go straight without any reason, so it's dodgey old ball for the batsmen.

With 7 days to go I'm going to focus on the Leg Break and try and improve on the accuracy with my line, length and flight. I'd like it to be more loopy with dip and at the minute I don't really know how well it dips, so it'll be good to see how it works at nets this week? Overall running up to the new season I reckon I've improved a lot over the last six months. I've put in a lot of work to get my Leg break back and this now looks as though this work is coming to fruition. At the close of last season The Gipper was still in a developmental stage. I'd lost my confidence to bowl flippers and I couldn't bowl a leg break at all. I go into this season with -

1. The Leg Break.
2. A good Wrong Un with variations in speed, dip, bounce and spin.
3. A decent Warnesque Flipper.
4. The Clarrie Grimmet Flipper with In-swing.
5. A good Top-spinner that dips.
6. The Gipper.

In addition I'm beginning to grasp tactics and starting to recognise weaknesses in batsmen's play. I know longer get the Yips and will probably bowl with a lot more confidence.

So it's looking good - I can't wait! All of which leaves me very optimistic with regards this season and beating my mate the Wizard.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Frustration with the Leg Break

A quick re-cap. I've played cricket for the same amount of time that this Blog has existed, so this coming summer will be my 2nd full season. Prior to that I had almost another year mucking about with a team formed at work. When I started out the main inspiration was Shane Warne and Leg Spin Bowling and right from the outset I was able to bowl a leg break that I was more than happy with. But then as I learned more about cricket I came across the notion of 'Variations' and very quickly learned the Flipper, Top Spinner and then not so quickly the Wrong Un. But after months and hours at a time practicing it, I got it only to discover 'The Googly Syndrome'. I then spent the best part of a half a year trying to recover my Leg Break and last January I made the declaration that I'd got a Leg Break back.

My Leg Break; I have got a Leg Break, the ball pitches on Middle and Off and then deviates away towards slips. Note the use of the word deviates rather than spins. The fact of the matter is it's a piddly leg break that I reckon is more akin to leg cutter than a break. I find it exceptionally difficult to bowl in comparison with all my other variations yet this is supposed to be my stock ball. I work on it all the time trying to get it to spin more, but probably the same as most people it's difficult to practice in an intensive manner and have a life that isn't consumed wrist spin bowling (My wife would say it already is). Directly outside my house there's a walkway and a bit of a wall that I can bowl to but it's short and to the left of it is a big dense prickly bush, so if I'm ever bowling Leg Breaks and getting it to turn well the ball ends up in this big bush every single time and it's difficult to recover the ball and it breaks up the rhythm.

Recently I've been bowling out in the road up against a narrow bit of wall that divides my garage with a neighbours garage, which in itself is good practice as the bit of wall is about 18" wide so if I miss the wall it clatters against the neighbours metal garage door (leg side) or disappears into my open garage (Off-side).

Today I've been on the field with 20 balls and must have bowled in the region of 160 balls + bowling primarily leg breaks. I go through spells where the bowling is good and I'm happy - balls that turn well and have a good amount of bounce and obviously have an element of over-spin as well as side-spin. If I could reproduce this again and again I think I'd be happier, but it always seems that as soon as I recognise what is happening 'Ooh - that's 4 or 5 balls now that have been good - what is it that I'm doing'? I then start looking at my grip and start to try and analyse what it is that's going right and it always then seems to gradually go from being good leg breaks at that point to worsening leg breaks from then on in. So this is exactly what happened today. I then bowled my usual weak leg breaks and towards the end of the session saw further improvement that seemed to have been created by -

1. Strong and evident leading front arm reaching up very high in the gather.
2. Ball hand also starting high in the gather.
3. Good strong exaggerated step through in the explosion through the crease.
4. Loose grip with the ball lower in the hand.
5. Third finger placed on the seam methodically when positioning the ball in the hand.

I always go through a phase where I also incorporate the idea that I need to be pushing the ball forward out of my hand, but I've had a couple of people recently including Joe my younger son say 'You're chucking it Dad' or in the nets one of the blokes said that my action looked suspect from the back. Today it felt that rather than the bowling action being smooth I was trying to put so much effort into the pushing forward aspect that my arm may have been bending. So towards the end of the session when I incorporated the 5 elements described above I also went for a more of a slinging action rather than a push and it still produced a fair bit of turn plus good line and length.

But....... I'm still not happy because all of this seems to rely entirely on the 3rd finger being the part of the action which produces the spin and there is nothing of the flick that Peter Philpott talks about in his book that I'm able to incorporate into my wrong uns and Top Spinners. The thing that is driving me mental is the fact that outside the house over a shorter distance up against the wall I can produce a big flick and the finger emphasis and get the ball to turn exceptionally well - but I can't convert it to 22yards of grass! So once again today I tried it on the grass over 22 yards and it just turns into a wrong un. So straight from the session on the grass I went back to the bit of wall between the garages (I'll have to get a picture) and bowled there. Now, this bowling is completely different, it's far more fingers e.g. the ball is higher in the hand and it incorporates the use of the wrist flick and it is accurate and it turns massively, the only downside is that it's only across 11 yards at best. What I need is either someone to bowl back and forth to or somewhere bigger with a wall or a fence to bowl up against that's right outside my house so that when I get the urge to bowl I can just go there for a matter of seconds or minutes and try some of these ideas out. I'm pretty damn sure that if I had the means to gradually work the ball over an ever-increasing distance I'd get there, but I just haven't got that kind of space near my house in order that I can do this. Or have I? I've just thought of somewhere very near that might be okay and it's on our field. Watch this space.......
Look in the background of this image - this is 'Our Field' where we practice and it's literally a matter of 60 seconds from our house and I've just realised that the building has a car park area around it which is concrete and the wall is nice and flat with no windows and potentially ideal for bowling up against? So I'll have a look tomorrow and see how much potential there is for this to be a better place to bowl.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Health & Safety issues - Bowling the Flipper.

There's been some discussion on the internet with regards kids learning The Flipper. It seems that several people have come across advice that warns against introducing the variation to children. Even today I've been reading a cricket novel that Joe's reading and in the Glossary it makes the point that younger cricket players should not try and learn the Flipper because of the stress it causes the wrist and the arm ligaments. My own personal experience is that it can cause problems with the joints in the thumb and I can also report that there's stresses put on the wrist, but I've only had problems with the Grimmett variation which does seem to require a lot more thumb leverage as opposed to the Warne/Benuad version which is far more finger driven.

I've done searches on the internet looking for medical advice or records regarding the issue and drawn a blank. I did come across a medical website that had studies into cricket injuries that looked promising but wasn't able to access the information. I'll keep an eye out for more info and I'll email Liz Ward on the and see if she can shed some light on the matter as this is her area of expertise.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

3rd from last net session

No Badger this week as he phoned in sick. I tried to get Simon Grainge along but he sent me a text saying he'd already arranged to do something other. So after a rubbish day of more rain and dampness where the only thing that represented some practice was some use of the Bradman bat I was looking forward to a session in the nets. Primarily to see if the Bradman bat made any difference to my batting?

After some warm up exercises the nets were pulled out pretty sharpish and we had about 6 blokes in the nets. I was hoping to bowl at some of the first team players as I did last week but Matt said that he only wanted 1st team players in the net as they needed to practice seriously as there's only a few weeks left before the season gets under way in a more serious manner.

Initially I bowled rubbish which underlines the neccessity for me to bowl before I go into the nets or a match. After several balls I settled down a bit and bowled primarily Top Spinners, Wrong Uns and Flippers (Grimmett Flippers). It went quite well as I hit the stumps at least twice this week and got it past the bat leaving the batsman stranded out of his crease several times too which is the technique that I tend to favour in the nets. Then the chance came to bat, I got all my gear on and then realised I hadn't brought my special 'Box pants' with me and that I was wearing baggy boxer shorts. So I stuffed the box down there and then got some support from the elastic from my hip protector but to be honest the box was rattling about all over the gaff, but I was so determined to see if the Bradman bat had caused any improvement I decided to risk it. What it did mean was that every 4 seconds or so I was having to re-adjust it, but I persevered and despite the fact that I had to concentrate more on my balls than the balls that were coming out of the hands of the bowlers I did remarkably well. Without doubt this was the best net session with the bat I've ever had. I reckon I managed to get the bat on the ball 9 out of 10 times and 8 out of 10 times it went somewhere in a safe fashion rather than high and potentially into the hands of a fielder. So for me this represents an exponentially large improvement that I'm going to attribute to the Bradman bat practice and therefore means I'm going to continue with it for the forseeable future. Additionally I was having to face some of the faster bowlers who bowl in excess of 60mph - a bloke called Mason in particular and some new bloke I've never seen before and with all of their balls I was either able to make contact with the ball or leave it. So this was very encouraging especially in view of the fact that I had problems with my box. I'm now looking forward to next week after another week of practice with the 1" bat and I'll be wearing my special pants.

Speed Gun

Again they had the speed gun in the nets and this time I had my bowling speed measured. I've always been under the impression that I bowl ridiculously slow and that even my faster deliveries were not going to be that much faster. So I was very surprised that with very little effort my Flipper came in at 43mph and my wrong un was measured at 47mph (And it took the wicket clean bowled). The faster version of my wrong un I don't generally bowl that much and it reminded me that when I first learnt to bowl it we used to practice with a Pakistani bloke over on the field (Suhail) who claimed to have toured England with the Pakistani under 21's team or something when he was younger and it was with this fast Wrong Un that I was always able to bowl him out and he was a very handy player and was always full of praise for that particular delivery. So maybe I should start to use it again as a variation, perhaps any time I bowl the wrong un this is the way I should bowl it in future? Seems to make sense?

Scaffold nets and the bloke at the Council.

This is another news item. I've scored a load of net from a building site. We saw the scaffolders taking the stuff down so I went and asked what they did with it and whether it was possible that we could take some and he said "Yeah take as much as you like mate". So I've now got 2 bits of net that are 2mtrs x 50'. Additionally I checked an old email account that I don't use anymore and found a message from my contact on the local council who runs the parks and garden dept in the area and he'd got back to me with regards to setting up temporary nets on their fields and he's okay about it and has n o problem and has just asked to see what we do the first time we do it. So that may be an idea back on the agenda again?

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Nice weather

Had some rain last night, so the ground everywhere is damp again and the grass is obviously growing rapidly. Yesterday I cut the wicket on the field and we all had a game on the field which was okay Ben and Joe did okay. Ben more so than Joe which is good because I kind of think that if either of them was going to throw the towel in it would be Ben, so when he bats and bowls well that's only a good situation. It seems that if things don't go his way he loses interest whereas Joe even though he's nearly 3 years younger he has a different attitude. It maybe that he senses that this is one area (Sport) that he's stronger in a lot of respects than his older brother and therefore is more than willing to put time in to practice and improve his game?

After an iffy morning it brightened up in the afternoon and ended up being the warmest day this year to date. 21 degrees centigrade and sunny. I cut the Oak Tree practice wicket and threw a couple of hundred balls on the field on the freshly mown wicket from yesterday. My leg break was on and off, fairly accurate turning a little bit but still more akin to a leg cutter most of the time than a leg break. There are spates of improvement and as I've said before I don't seem to be able to pinpoint what it is that is creating the improvement.

This evening I started to read Clarrie Grimmetts 'Taking wickets". An Aussie bloke Macca, has been copying the pages on a scanner and sending them to me by email and I've been reading it this evening. One of the things I noticed was that Grimmett recommends griping the ball high up in the fingers and later today on the Oak tree wicket just throwing balls at the Oak Trees trunk I'd been doing exactly this and seemingly getting some turn. At the moment I'm very frustrated that I can't go forward with my bowling Leg Break, I want some decent turn but I just can't get the ball to turn at will. I just need to keep plugging at it.

Nets hopefully might be useful this week and I want to have a bat as I've been using the Bradman Bat and I'm hoping that it's going to lead to some kind of improvement. We'll have to see?

Some Grimmett wisdom.....

I'm currently reading Grimmetts on taking wickets kindly copied and sent to me by Macca, cheers bloke very much appreciated! Anyway he's just mentioned a point regarding round arm verses a more vertical arm. The comparison he makes is that of skimming stones across a pond. Suggesting quite rightly that if you throw a flat stone using a vertical arm action it's simply going to disappear into the water, whereas the sideways arm action means that the flat stone doesn't break the surface and instead skims bouncing several times before disappearing. The inference is that the round arm action facilitates a faster movement off the pitch. The vertical action would mean some of the kinetic energy would be absorbed into the pitch and thus slow the ball down.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Weather's rubbish

We're having crap weather at the moment here in the UK as per usual for our holidays. Slightly better towards the end of today but no where near dry enough to go and mow the wicket. The football pitch was cut last week at some point and the wicket because it's not been cut has merged once again with the outfield which at the minute it nice and short. So hopefully with the temperature predicted to be 18 degrees centigrade tomorrow I'll be able to cut both the wickets. The estate kids today approached me twice during the day asking if I was up for a game, but because of the wet conditions I declined and said we'd play tomorrow, interestingly there were another 4 new faces and all slightly older, whether they'll engage with the game I don'ty know, but the way it's looking we might be getting enough kids interested that teams might be an option and play 15 over games or something? We'll have to see how it progresses.

Been sticking with the practice with the Skinny Bats and that seems to be coming along okay, the test as to whether it makes any difference or not will be Thursday in the nets.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Bradman Bats

A couple of weeks ago someone suggested that I look up this link on cricinfo as there was something in there relating Clarrie Grimmett being one of the few people who could bowl him out. But as I read the article I stopped and noted this bit about Bradman as a kid -

"The fact that, as a boy, he sharpened his reflexes and developed his strokes by hitting golf ball with a cricket stump as it rebounded off a water tank attests to his eye, fleetness of foot and, even when young, his rare powers of concentration".

I can't bat - I'm useless and I'm frequently bowled out by both of my sons especially Ben the fast bowler. He bowls straight at the stumps and he always gets the ball past me either between bat and pad, using swing or just does me for speed (He's 10 years old). In the nets anyone who bowls straight generally bowls me out clean first ball - I just cannot get the willow on the leather. But I've been set a target of 20 in one of the matches over the year this coming season and I'm determined to do it so have been going to nets and practicing on my own trying to get some of the basics sussed. One of the things that I've noticed is that if I try and bat properly e.g. front foot drives and cover drives at straight balls I just miss. But today I remembered this Bradman excerpt and thought I'm going to get a bit of old wood and see if I can do that up against a wall with a tennis ball.

I did it a couple of times but then realised that the roundness of the wood was working against me and that in fact it may be a better idea to get a bit of timber from the garage and one thing lead to another and I ended up with these.....

They're about an inch and quarter wide and I rounded off the handle and put a grip on it. The blades been rounded of at the edges as well a bit and I ended up making one for my younger son Joe as he saw the logic in using these skinny 'Bradman Bats' as I'm calling them. So having made my one I gave it a go up against the wall a la' Bradman and initially I was useless but bit by bit using the front foot drive it came together. Then Joe came out and we bowled at each other and it we both got gradually better as the afternoon wore on. Then in the evening some more of the estate kids were about and we all had a bit of a game in the road and everyone did surprisingly well with these 'Bradman Bats' some of the other kids were using them more like baseball bats but me and Joe were generally driving the ball and playing front foot defensive strokes and doing surprisingly well.

We've both said that when we get on the field and play against all the estate kids we might choose to use these bats as a way of honing our skills. Joe I reckon might change his mind once he's bowled out - but then again he might surprise me as he did seem to understand why it would be good to use these bats to train yourself. But as for me - definitely! I'll play with these 'Bradman Bats' all summer against the kids and whenever I practice as I can only see that it's going to be beneficial?

Using the little soft blue ball you can see in the image I'm even able to throw that up against a wall in the kitchen and practice indoors! My wife Michelle will love that!

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Nets and other stuff

Had a practice today mid afternoon that went rather well and then carried on flicking the ball indoors and again was baffled by the fact that I can flick the ball in the way to get a good leg break while I'm standing still, but then when I try and bowl over any distance it all goes wrong? So for about 1000th time I tried to do the flick over a short distance and this time had some success. So I'll stick at the distance I'm able to do it over (16 yards) and not go longer and just see if I can get it good at that distance?

While I was doing that I noticed the enthusiastic cricket kids across the road all sitting around doing nothing and then one of the kids down my road shouted 'Dave do you wanna play cricket'? Daft question! So ten minutes later we were in the middle of our field with about 8 of us playing cricket. We had about an hour out there and it went okay - a bit chaotic, but amongst them there's a few that are really up for it and one kid that bowls well and bats okay that knows a lot about cricket and talking to him (The kid from yesterday) it turns out that he watches a lot of cricket on the tele.

After the game we carried on bowling and batting on the new 'Oak tree wicket'. Unfortunately Joe and Ben were not around as they'd gone to Chessington World of Adventure, but once they're involved along with one or two of the others there's going to be enough of us to set a proper field and designate roles to people. One kid Connor (Who at the minute can't bowl) seems to be up for being a wicket keeper and there's now a half decent bowling line up - Ben, Joe, This new kid who I think is also Joe and Andy. When the game finished they were all up for playing again over the weekend, so hopefully Ben and Joe will join in and this should help develop their skills.


Coaching Drills; As usual we did some drills to start off with - a couple of them were really good that I think Ben and Joe would like. 3 blokes with 2 balls. In a line - the bloke in the middle doesn't have a ball and faces one of the others with a ball. The bloke on the outside throws the ball into the middle bloke who throws it back and then he turns to the bloke behind him, as soon as he starts to turnn the bloke behind him starts to throw the ball, so that by the time his head comes round the ball is already on it's way and he has to react fast and throw it back to him to then swivel around to throw back to the first bloke ad infinitum and then swap over every minute or so.

Again 3 blokes. All facing a wall. One bloke stands in front of the others about 10' from the wall without a ball. The other 2 with ball or balls bounces the ball from behind him off the floor up onto the wall so that it bounces towards the bloke closest to the wall. Again it leaves little time to react and catch the ball. He catches the ball and throws it back over his shoulder from whence it came.

Then to the nets.... The net I usually bowl in was rammed and the 1st team net only had 4 people bowling in it so I went in there bowling against the 1st team batsmen - Cat, Matt and some bloke with a bat (In brown). Hmm that was different. Cat was able to despatch me all over the shop generally with ease although I think I got an edge that a wicket keeper would have had. Matt who was hitting 4's and 6's off most of my bowling also came unstuck a couple of times coming down the wicket at me. But I couldn't really see what it was that was causing any problems. Longer balls seemed to be better than shorter as they caused defensive shots, but varying the length had them coming down the wicket. Dipping Top Spinners looked to be a good weapon and mixing Leg Breaks with Wrong uns. Knowing what their weakness was helpful and Terry our coach (Matts Dad) told us to bowl at Matts legs and sure enough it did cause him problems getting him wound up. It certainly was harder than bowling at the 2nd team blokes but a lot more challenging, so I might bowl in that net again over the next couple of weeks and see if I can out-fox the batsmen from the first team?

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

The weather held out again today despite forecasts from the Met office saying that it would rain for most of the day. Again no real practice myself as I'm trying to ease up on the Flippers so that my thumb can recover a bit. But I have realised that generally I'm out of shape and that I need to get running or power walking or something similar otherwise I'm going to end up getting pulled muscles in the first game, so I'm going to make a start on that in the next day or so.

The new practice wicket has drawn the attention of the kids on the estate and the crew of 7-10 kids that played last summer have already approached us and said that they're all looking forward to playing in the summer or even next week. Additionally there was a couple of new kids that said they'd join in as well and one of them joined me and Joe on the 'Oak Tree wicket' as I've decided to call it and he was good - very good medium pace bowler and pretty good with the bat. He looked as though at some point he'd had some tuition, but he said he'd only ever played out in his back alleyway. So it'll be good if he joins in.


I've just been over the field and had 12 overs worth. That went pretty good due to the 'No Flippers' situation which meant that I was forced to bowl Leg Breaks and Top Spinners. The Leg Breaks went really well especially the first 6-10 balls. But depsite losing my way with them a bit I got them back and finished off the session on a high note for every 6 Top Spinners I was bowling 12 Leg Breaks, some of which I was pitching outside of Leg Stump that were then coming back onto the stumps and taking the bails off. But I have make a note of caution here - it might be that 90% of the success here was down to the rough ground assisting the spin?

The Technique Today

I'm going to make a note of the technique when I do this successfully. Today it was a loose grip but with the 3rd finger very much a key part of the grip. When the ball goes into the hand the 3rd finger is placed onto the seam first and then the grip follows the 3rd finger in a loose configuration of the standard Leg Break grip. The ball is the bowled very straight armed with a very concious effort in ensuring the underside of the wrist is facing the batsman and stays like that through the delivery. The other aspects is that ball is then pushed forwards in the delivery and that for me seems to work both in terms of accuracy and spin.

Additionally I was thinking about the leading foot bringing it up and over with an exaggerated step and giving it some ooph in the delivery. I also tried moving a lot wider in the crease and that was okay too. So all in all a good 12 overs worth.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

April 7th

Here's the new practice zone which as I said is a matter of feet away from my house. We swept away the twigs from under the oak tree and cut the grass as you can see and gave it a go and it's okay, probably more uneven than the football pitch but not as lumpy. The good thing about it is the close proximity of the bushes on one side and the road the other. I've devised a game where if they keep it off the road and bushes and drive it past the stump at the other end they get 2 points, 4 points past a bush just out of site on the RH side as you look down the wicket and 20 points if they hit it past the lamp post visible in the landscape format image. Anything in the bushes or road loses points. So hopefully this will encourage them to drive forwards with the ball?
I was contemplating buying some timber and some nets so that we can set a net up here, but I'm unsure about the amount of use we'd get out of it and might leave it for a while and see how they get on. I'm not sure if they're enthusiastic enough to spend 20 minutes putting up a net and then committing themselves to spending 2 hours bowling and batting to justify the effort of getting the net up?
Bowling; I haven't been bowling much because of a general aches and pains issue, but more than that because of the Flipper frenzy that I've had over the last couple of days bowling 3 different variations of the Flipper my thumb is beginning to suffer, so I'm easing up on the thumb as well as it's sore.

Monday, April 06, 2009

Loads of new stuff

A busy cricket kind of day today even though there wasn't any real intention for it to be that way. A couple nights ago on the website on the wrist spin forum one of the blokes 'Macca' mentioned another obscure wrist spin delivery used by the great Clarrie Grimmett - and and again it's another variation of the flipper which means if I work on it gives me four variations of the Flipper -

1. The Warnesque/Benaud bog standard Flipper
2. The Gipper - now known to be Grimmetts 'Wrong Wrong Un'
3. The Grimmett Flipper
4. The forward spinning Flipper which Grimmett refers to as one of his secret balls

And it's the No.4 the forward spinning flipper that I've been mucking about with today. It's tricky to bowl as it does the complete opposite to the normal flipper and actually does what a Wrong Un does without looking anything like a Wrong Un - e.g. it spins like an off-spinner but has top spin so has the other attributes of a Top Spinner I'm assuming? The actual physical action of bowling it is tricky too as you do exactly what you do with the flipper but instead you click it back towards yourself instead of forward. Bowling a few times today it looks as though it might be useful, but feels as though it would take some time getting the line and length sorted. I've got the action and the turn I just need to add the line and length, so I may persevere with it in small steps and see how it goes?

Ben, Joe and I went over the field and were joined by one of the other kids off the estate and he'd somehow got a lot better over the winter and we had a knock around, but Ben ended up getting very upset by the fact that Joe bowled him with his first ball after he'd had to graft in order to bowl Joe out. He doesn't seem to grasp that what Joe does is far more effective against batsmen that give it the Biggun, he knows about Shane Warne and Mulrali and the fact that they take so many wickets but seems to think that bowling the ball fast is going to always be the best way. Whereas Joe just lobs up a flighty ball, Ben see 6's light up in front of his eyes like a fruit machine - swings at it misses and is out of his ground by about 3' and the newbie wicket keeper has time to go to the shops first before he takes the bails off!

At the end of the session I threw some balls down to Ben to try and get him to bat properly and gain a little more confidence.

A couple of hours later when Ben wasn't doing anything I asked him if he wanted to bowl at me to help with my batting and he was up for it and we spent a good hour with just Ben and me. He bowled - I tried to bat and as usual he bowled me out twice. But we practiced somewhere completely new. In between our field and the house there's a big verge adjacent to a wood and on the verge is a big old Oak Tree. It's bit rough but the council had just cut the grass today so it was short. In the summer probably due to the fact that it's next to the wood the ground here is as dry as a bone and the grass all but dies off, so apart from it undulating a bit it might be a better surface that the field? Initially we bowled using the trunk of the tree as the stumps but as Ben got into the groove I got the stumps out and set them up and we had a good session (Remember Ben's the one least likely to want to practice). So I was trying to play front foot defensive shots or drives and he was trying to bowl me out. The only down side is that either side of the wicket is either a wood or a road and it's the off-side that the wood's on so loads of potential for lost balls.

This is also the location I've had in mind for our portable nets and if I can get some enthusiasm for playing here I might go ahead with the net idea and gradually get all the bits together to make it? The thing is Ben seemed to prefer bowling here than on the field, so if that continues it looks as though we might have an idea in the making. The next step which was Ben's idea was to cut the grass today to make it really short. we didn't have time for that but that's on the agenda for tomorrow if it doesn't rain.

The rollers on the mower have eventually started to give up the ghost and disintegrate, so I've made some replacement ones out of Apple tree branches from where we cut down our Apple Tree and they seem to be a good replacement. So the mower is back in action.

I'll try and upload some images of the new wicket area tomorrow if we cut it and get out there, but there's a chance that it may rain over night. The other good thing about this new wicket is that it's just yards from my garage and that means I can easily get the roller on it, so things are looking good.

Davidson Cricket Balls

These are the hard cheap balls you get off Ebay and I've been bowling with one on concrete so that it eventually disintegrated and I'd be able to see why they're so crap. They're made out of a weird array of 'Stuff'. I did take some pictures of the stuff but in between taking the pictures the macro close up mode was turned off automatically and many of the pictures are useless - but some are okay. The ball is made of a centre that is about the size of a golf ball. This is made of what looks like some kind of resin/plastic mixed with either cardboard or possibly very thin layers of cork. If it is cork it's not constructed in layers it's just mixed in with the resin randomly. This ball is slightly elastic and bounces a bit. Glued around that loosely and very loosely tied is more or the cardboardy fake cork stuff, layered quite tightly and this makes up the rest of the volume of the ball. Then the 2nd from last section is a layer about 2-3mm thick of string. Then a thin layer of cardboard and then the leather. Basically rubbish. The components inside look like recycled rubbish rather than quality materials.

Sunday, April 05, 2009

No bowling today

Decided to give my shoulder a rest today after the sudden massive increase in bowling on Saturday. Ben and Joe had their last indoor training session today and they all played together - under 11's and over 11's mixed teams. Neither of them batted that well - Joe was the last player for his team having to face one of the better and faster bowlers and he did okay - stuck his bat in the way and scored a couple of runs. Ben had it worse he had to face the unrefuted fastest and most accurate of all the kids and he's about 13 and the ball went straight through him and took his stumps out. But both Ben and Joe bowled well. Joe bowled an over where really he might have had 2 wickets if the wicket keeper had stood up to the stumps and he only bowled 1 wide and might have had a catch if there's been a bloke at short mid wicket? Ben on the other-hand did get a wicket. His first ball was full of nerves and he forgot that he'd changed his action and messed it up bad but no runs were scored. But the next 5 were fine with some mouthy batsman being cleaned out with Ben's 3rd ball to him, the kids skulked off and at the end of Ben's over someone shouted anonymously 'S'pose you think crickets easy don't ya'? And the big kid (The batsman) approached him later and said 'You got lucky there mate'. Man - that would be a red rag to a bull for me, I'd have to practice every hour God gave me in order to show that kid that it wasn't a fluke or luck and at every opportunity I got I'd bowl against him and make him my bunny. I don't think it was luck either - Ben makes the ball swing, he's accurate and he bowls different lengths, good lengths all the way up to full tosses that hit the stumps and he's fast.

Other news

The field was used for football today and it's had no impact on the wicket because it's dry. I've fixed my mower roller and I'm ready for the next cut and I may break out the bucket instead of letting the grass lie on the wicket. I also noticed that the plantain is beginning to grow.

Saturday, April 04, 2009

Up and down

Nice day today after a rainy start and just before lunch we had a bit of a bowling session out in the street and I wicket kept for both Ben and Joe. Ben was bowling better today and Joe got the ache and decided that he'd bat. We decided that it was too close to lunch to pad up now and that we'd have lunch and go over the field after lunch. With a few minutes before lunch we decided that we'd quickly go and mow the wicket ready for the afternoon.

I'd lowered the blades a couple of days ago and as you can see we've got a nice striping affect and at the minute we're still only cutting a 3rd off the top in accordance with growing good grass. There's no sign either at the moment of the Plantain which is the most prevelant weed on the field and last year they were all over the wicket in abundance. Once they do get going I will probably treat the grass with round - up which'll kill em off. But cutting the grass helps as allows the water to get to the soil more readily and the sunlight to the grass in order to promote good growth. (I think that's the theory)? The surface is quite rough because of a recent football game after a bit of rain we had - but it's not too bad and I may roll it this week if I can get a bit of chain from somewhere and keep the roller just outside the field chained to a tree.

Ben and Joe both bowled a bit - Ben's bowling is coming along okay with his new action. Joe's bowling wasn't so clever. Both of them had a bat but they both seem very non-commital with the bat, it'll be interesting to see how their coaching goes once they get on a field, hopefully they'll play alongside the slightly older kids and they'll get a game going? In the meantime I threw some balls down to Ben and he batted a lot better doing this and if it wasn't for such a rough outfield the balls may have travelled far enough to give him some encouragement?

Old Skool - My old mower - the one we cut the wicket with, which is a design classic - Ransomes Ajax MK3 as seen below here has eventually had a section of it's roller fall off due to rot. Now I've been trying to figure out how to fix it and looked around the house and garage for something to scavenge in order to make a new section for the roller. Thinking back to when I was a kid I seem to recall it wouldn't have been a problem at all, there'd have been either a boat hook/pole kicking around in the garden or shed or I could have cut off a bit of my Mum's washing line support. This was a round pole with a V cut in the top that you used to jam mid way down the washing line to stop the sag in the middle of the line allowing the sheets and big washing items to drag on the floor. In this day and age - nothing.

Similarly with making Go-karts for kids, we used to make loads of them, any old bit of waste ground or the municipal dump would have a pram or two and we'd hack-saw the axles and wheels off, nick a short bit of scaffold plank from a building site and nail a plastic bread crate at one end with an opening cut in it for your legs and bingo you had a cart- classic fun! But do you think you can find an Old Skool pram these days - no chance.

Chains - I had loads of bits of chain - masive great chunky bits, 4' long, medium size chain 8' long all sorts of bits and pieces of chain - it's like gold dust these days. My silver chain I had that was 4' long would cost you about 40 quid in B&Q's these days, yet back then I/we had loads of it. No wonder kids these days are so lifeless and dreary for the most part. I had machete's, bolt croppers all sorts of fun things that these days you'd get put in prison for possessing.

Up & Down - I've done a lot of bowling today and I'm now feeling a bit sore so I'm probably going to either not bowl tomorrow or bowl very little. Again today I bowled Top Spinners and Flippers of both types and they seemed to go okay. The swing that I got on Thursday seemed to be a lot less obvious but was still there nonetheless. I had an hour or so waiting for Joe and Ben on concrete with a Hockey Ball and then in the evening I threw another 100+ balls and the second session was a lot less accurate, so I don't know whether that's just because I'm out of shape. We'll see how things go over the next couple of weeks.

Friday, April 03, 2009

Next 2 weeks

The prospects for me as I move into the new season look very promising and it seems year on year I'm picking things up and gaining a far better understanding of what I'm doing or at least supposed to be doing. Just in the last week I've either learned to or suddenly become aware of the fact that I'm able to bowl both the Top Spinner and a weak leg break that dips and bounces viciously, the Top Spinner being particularly accurate and useful. Also add to this the new Grimmett Flipper with 4 finger configuration rather than the 2 up 2 down Warnesque version this Grimmett Flipper is the ball that curves through the air with considerable drift/swing which is a new aspect to my bowling. Add to that last September as the season finished I couldn't bowl a Leg Break I appear to have potentially come quite some distance in 6 months.

I've now got 2 weeks off where I'll hopefully be bowling every single day putting in the hours to improve my little Leg Break in order that it can be my stock ball. At the minute I'm in a position where I'm not sure how it can be used to best affect tactically and this again shows my inexperience as a bowler. My current approach would be to bowl it at the off stump or wide of the off stump to a field set primarily on the off - side. But I'm now thinking as it's a weak Leg Break with potentially more Top Spin which produces some severe dip and bounce might it be a better strategy to bowl at the leg stump so that it bounces into the body. I've noted that in my own team there's a propensity for a weakness for the batsmen playing on the legside, so it looks as though a better strategy would be to bowl in this manner? So as a bowler I now aware that while I'm fielding I should be looking for clues from watching the batsman prior to my own spell to see if they do show a similar trait?

So for the next two weeks I'll be working on -

1. The Leg Break - getting it to bounce and spin.
2. Top Spinner - getting it to dip and bounce more viciously.
3. Grimmett Flipper - Getting it very accurate and to curve through the air and to turn.
4. Core Strength.
5. General fitness (running - cricket specific).

So come the first match I'll be ready to take wickets - I can't wait!

Joe & Ben

I've got to be careful with these two in order not to over-do it with them. Tonight I was hoping to get some bowling in and was going to drag em along to a field but neither of them was up for it and I almost resorted to virtual blackmail and then realised the error of my ways and backed off and instead went back home. Once back little Joe said he'd join me in the road and bowl and after a while Ben joined in and they were bowling alternate balls. Ben hit the stumps first (Using his newly acquired run in) and then Joe and I announced that it was '1 all'. Suddenly it got really competitive and they both were trying to beat each other and they both bowled for almost half and hour and generally both bowling very well, so that turned out to be a good strategy. Ben won finishing off at 3-2.

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Dip and Drift or was that swing?

After two weeks of bowling pies I guessed the reason may have been because I wasn't putting in the hours in between the Thursday net sessions, so last weekend I went out and chucked the ball around and have done so over the week in the evenings outside the house and anywhere I could. At the weekend I also made a little video demonstrating the Clarrie Grimmett flipper and the Shane Warne version which was originally mastered in that guise by Richie Benuad I think? But making the video and just letting the ball drop and observing how much backspin both variations produced suggested that the Grimmett version was a better back-spinning ball than the Warne/Benuad type. Having made the observation I then threw a few over a short distance outside the house and the outcome didn't look that different/special. So I left it at that and only flicked them from hand to hand indoors over the following days.

Tonight coming home it was warm and sunny and I came home via the field and thought it was ideal to try out the Top Spinners and Flippers that I was going to bowl tonight and work on my feeble Leg Breaks. So with a couple of stumps and a bag of 16 balls I went over and threw about 120 balls. Primarily I bowled my piddly little leg breaks, some of them were okay, there's some subtle changes that can be made that produce a big bounce with some spin and others that skid in low but turn well, but for the moment I can't differentiate what it is that creates the difference in order that I can do it again and again consistently. But a key part of it as reported again and again on this blog is the concious effort to turn the wrist slightly inwards as with the Big Leg break and then to push the ball forward and then sometimes the 3rd finger just seems to stick and the ball spins.

I then bowled the Top Spinners and got them to go straight and dip. This then caused them to bounce up high even on a soggy wet field with hard non bouncy balls. I'm now wondering if I've always had the ability to bowl dipping Top Spinners but have simply not been aware of it as a characteristic of my bowling? I then thought let's try the Clarrie Grimmett Flipper and gave that a go. The first ball was unbelievable - right on target but then it swerved initially away from the stumps and then back into them - see diagram. Anything that was aimed at the Leg side stump just went for a wide, I've never bowled anything like it in my life! The ball seemed to be leaving my hands heading for he off stump or slightly wide of it and ended up on the stumps or wide of the stumps down the legside and it wasn't a fluke - I did it again and again! So if I'm to bowl this ball I need to learn where to aim it as the deviation is massive!
So massively enthused by this I went to the net session with my club and had an exceptionally good night bowling mainly Top Spinners and Flippers of both types and I had the all of the batsmen in trouble, bowling top spinners at varying lengths inter-mixed with straight non-swerving flippers that skidded in low or big swerving flippers that skidded in low. Reading Philpotts book he describes Richie Benuads Flipper as having the very same properties as this Grimmett Flipper, so it looks like I've got a new variation to play with and explore, so running up to the season and the battle with my mate The wizard who bowls an exceptionally good turning Leg Break it looks like I may have another aspect to my bowling that may give me the edge?

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Finger Blisters

Reading Peter Philpotts book again - The Art of Wrist Spin Bowling (As I do constantly) I came across a quote relating to the 3rd finger (the one that puts the rev's on the ball) and Philpott writes 'Those that haven't bled have never spun' or words to that affect. The thing is I've never even had a blister let alone a bleeding blister so the inference is that I'm doing something fundamentally wrong? Whereas with the Flipper when I was in the process of learning it caused deep blisters and callouses to the point where I had to stop bowling it and let the flesh heal up.

I asked the question on the forum I comment on and jad a few responses from the blokes saying that they suffered from blisters when bowling Leg Breaks. Additionally I used to work with a girl who used to bowl good Leg Breaks and she said that at the start of every season she would have to suffer blisters till the skin hardened up and developed callouses.

If you follow this blog or one of my others that have dealt with my problems with the Googly Syndrome and my how to bowl wrist spin blog - you'll know that I'm always changing and varying the wrist position and the grips in pursuit of the elusive 'Biggun' The Big Leg Break. Recently off the back of seeing the images several posts ago of Shane Warnes release I've kind of emphasised the contact that the 3rd finger has with the ball and brought the wrist around more so that the palm and front of the wrist faces the bat. I'm hoping that this combined with a big flick and initially bowling over a shorter distance might result in some progress with my currently weak Legbreak? But I've noticed with this new grip with the emphasis on the 3rd finger and it being a key part of the grip, there is definite potential for more finger wear and tear. So that seems to me to bode well for my spinning and that maybe at last another little piece of the jigsaw puzzle that is Legbreak bowling has slotted into place and maybe I'll be able to get more spin/turn over the next few weeks?

So what with the 2 weeks Easter break coming up starting this weekend here in the UK and some nice weather being predicted I might get myself some blisters!!! Let's hope so?