Sunday, May 31, 2009

1st Game of the season for Grays & Chadwell CC

And didn't I do well! And this is with Medial Epicondylitis........
Before I start this I just want to mention that I'm not a member of B&PCC and therefore the opinions and observations made here are in no way representative of the club.

Similarly these views and observations are not the views of G&CCC and do not represent the club in any way.

But before we get onto that I'll report on the rest of a busy cricket day which in part has been spoilt by the fact that CF in my camera has somehow become corrupted and many of the files that were shot in the morning of Joe and Ben's match are corrupted e.g. screwed. Including the Bowling stats for Joe and Ben. The good news is that Reg their team organiser keeps the paper copies on file as far as I know and I'll be able to copy them at the next match.

But the talking point of the match has got to have been Joe's bowling. Before the match I usually take a stump or two or the whole set and the boys bowl at the stumps as a warm up. Ben and Joe started and were soon joined by the rest. Because the ground was so hard I only had a single stump and in the 6-10 balls that Joe bowled he hit the single stump at varying speeds and varying trajectories 3 times. (Over 20 yards) One other kid who throws the ball hit it twice as well. So you can imagine my surprise when the game got under way and Joe was on the team sheet to bowl 4th or 5th and he was over-looked and then as the game went on I realised what was happening. At the start Reg had said something about the game had been agreed beforehand to be 18 overs with each team fielding 9 players so that was 2 overs each, but one of the kids hadn't turned up and the game was reduced to 16 official overs with the 2 overs at the end being outside of the game and not counting. As the game went on everyone was getting a bowl and it looked increasingly like Joe had been designated as the 'Decoy' bowler who's overs wouldn't count and yet it was Joe that that had hit the single stump 3 times in 6 or 10 balls before the game and all the other boys including Ben had thrown pies. Across the 16 overs our boys had taken 3 wickets as I recall. Then it was the decoy over with Joe stepping up the crease. For all intents and purposes all the boys on both sides thought this was still in the game as such. Joe's 1st ball was a dot ball being picked up by a stand in wicket keeper. His second ball was straight on the stumps and Joe had taken a wicket, cheers of elation all round the ground as the smallest kid and quite likely the youngest kid at 7 years old had just cleaned up a big kid. Joe's next ball a lot faster and dead straight and down go the stumps again. Reg turned round to me holding his hands up in disbelief from the umpire position as Joe took the ball to go for his hat-trick. I shouted out.........
"Reg he hit a single stump 3 times before we started".
"What can I say - I should have been watching".
"You should say sorry to Joe". I shouted back. Joe's ball again straight as a dye but the kid played a defensive block. Across the 2 overs I think he got hit for a couple of fours and a single or two but mostly dot balls. So maybe next time he'll be given the ball earlier and they'll give the chuckers the last overs in a similar situation?

Other events and things of note was the 11 year old that stepped up and bowled at Joe. Joe's 4'6" or something and this eleven year old that bowled at him stood 5'11" or thereabouts! Someone joked 'I saw him get out of his car - he can't be eleven'! Anyway this kid bowled the ball down like Brett Lee with grudge - as fast as he possibly could with real vehemence. The first one was straight and little Joe just dabbed at it and blocked it. The next ball was short and cleared Joes helmeted head by about 2' even though he was standing tall. The rest of the balls seemed to be fuelled by rage as the kid tried to get his bowling up to his equivalent of 100mph but they were hideously short and wide and Joe's body and skull were saved possibly by the kids inability to control his rage? Maybe he thought that Joes 2 wickets counted, but he certainly had it in for Joe.

The following Monday (1st June) over at Mopsies Park at the training session all the boys were put through a few training exercises and then were split into 2 teams. Joe was up 3rd to bowl. In his first over he took 4 wickets for 2 runs and in his second over he took 2 wickets for 3 and threw a couple of wides. He almost had 2 bowled and caughts that dropped short of him. Not bad going for one of the smaller kids in the team! No one else in the team got anywhere near that - possibly a few of them took a wicket each. The next match is this Sunday at home (Mopsies Park) and Joe is definitely going to bowl. I can't wait till they play my team Grays and Chadwell.

Grays and Chadwell v Woodham Mortimer

An incredibly nice day with wall to wall blue skies and hot and a bit of a breeze blowing across the wicket diagonally. From the direction of the pylons towards us as you look at the image here.

On a arrival I threw a few balls at some targets and did okay with the Flippers. Then Alex 'The Wizard' joined me and we threw some balls back and forth to each other. His bowling when he practices appears to be very different to when he bowls for real, but then so does mine because while we threw back and forth to each other the ball wasn't turning and was miles off target 9 times out of 10 whereas Wizards balls were on target fast and with a good deviation off the line. It looked like he was on form and I'd be taken off after the first over. My impression was that because of the fact that I've not been bowling I'd lost the knack. Neil and the captain of the Oppo went out and tossed and we were first to bat.

Lee Downes (Wicket Keeper)
Roy Gant
Phil Downes
Wayne Simmons
Ifty Ali
Chris Buckley
Reece Downes
A. Love
Neil Samwell (C)
Dave Thompson
Alex McClellan
I think Lee opened and Roy was the first victim bowled clean by Hewitt within the first few minutes having hit a four and a single. Lee began to get into the bowling hitting a few nice 4's out through the covers. Roy had been followed in by Lee's Dad Phil and he soon put paid to Lee's chances of maintaining a fairly good run of late by going after a tight ball that was fielded quickly and accurately thrown at the stumps leaving Lee short of the crease. Lee had gone for 11 and walked off the pitch looking pretty miffed. Phil was joined by Off-spinner Wayne Simmons. Wayned started out cautiously getting his eye in and then around the 6th over quickly started to let loose a bit hitting a series of 4's at last getting the score board ticking over after what had been a fairly lack lustre start. Phil and Wayne settled in to start the beginnings of a good partnership but then were momentarily thwarted by something I've never seen in my 3 years of playing - a girl stepping up to bowl (V. Brown)! I'd seen her arrive and had glanced at her thinking that bloke looks like a girl and not thought anything more of it as I was practicing. Again as she got into her spell I didn't consider what was happening in Phil and Waynes heads potentially, as I was watching her unorthodox bowling. A woman sitting in front of me chirped up that she'd taken 3 wickets in the previous week and that she bowled off-spin. It looked as though she was fairly accurate as both Wayne and Phil were playing very cautiously in the initial over and a half. She was getting loads of flight really looping the ball up high, but as she bowled she simply stopped on the crease line and didn't follow through with her non-pivoting leg and yet the lady said she'd been playing since she was 14 or something and she looked as though she was in her early 20's? A lot of their bowlers had very weird actions, one bloke had a really weird swing of his arms with loads of peripheral body movement, made him look like an Orang U tan bowling. Another bloke who looked as though he was fairly pacy simply stood there at the crease and bowled standing still but really brought his front arm down fast to get some speed. Needless to say loads of wides were bowled. But for Phil and Wayne there was the prospect that they might get bowled out by a girl and never live it down so they were being ultra cautious, but after an over and a half they got the measure of her and started to get into her bowling and she was quickly removed from the attack.

After the 13th or 14th over I was sent out to umpire, so the game report goes to pieces thereafter, but the bowling changed and olde bloke bowled who looked okay. Wayne was next to go caught cheaply off an edged ball. Then 'Ifty' came out and for some reason I had high expectations of him and the blokes were all shouting 'C'mon on Ifty we want a fifty out of you today'. Ifty went for 5 again caught easily off a miss hit ball again. At this point Phil was still in and was Joined by Chris Buckley. The game was played on a timed basis whereby at a designated time 4.30 pm or something the batting side were then allowed another 20 overs and that was it. At 29 overs Neil was saying that there was about another 1/2 hour to go and we were on 143. Buckers soon started to hit the ball and was getting his runs ticking over nicely and then Phil batting at the 'Flat's end hit a ball cleanly and a kid who was at short extra cover either wasn't looking or simply didn't react in time and got the ball right in the eyebrow making a deep gash with blood all over the shop. He went down and everyone piled in to see if he was okay and eventually he was carted off to the Hospital to get it stitched and seen to.
A couple of our blokes made up for the 2 men down (Roy on the right of this image) and Tom one of the 1st team blokes who I assume had already been dismissed? Both of whom fielded with gusto threatening to get their own blokes out at times especially Tom. Buckers was caught behind being dismissed for 31 which he made pretty rapidly and Phil was joined by son No.3 Reece and it looked like the Wizard and me wouldn't be getting a chance to bat today.

Reece is dismissed quickly after putting on another 4 with a lovely pull shot but is then bowled clean. He's replaced by Neil in the final over. As the game drew to a close it looked as though Phil was going to be denied his 5o with only 5 runs to make and an extra over was deemed a good show as the bails were removed and they all headed back towards the pavillion. Neil sent them all back just as he replaced Reece and the game resumed. 1st Ball - Dot ball. 2nd ball another dot ball despite getting it down the leg side - it was fielded very quickly and efficiently. 3rd ball - Phil gets onto it and hits it for 4 to deep square leg. 4th ball - dot ball. 5th ball is hit out towards deep mid wicket and the run is made to make his 50 and everyone claps and cheers as Phil raises his bat. The last ball is hit for a single and Neil gets one not out.

Teas were had and I went and got changed and took some extra strong paracetamols to see if it would help with the elbow/arm pain if it re-occured? The openers were Lovejoy and Reece and they were fairly productive getting through the first few wickets with their stuff taking one each with their opening spells. My fielding was a bit rusty and I let one go through my hands off of Lovejoys bowling. Then it was our turn. Wizard bowled from the Flats end with the wind by this time coming diagonally from behind him assisting his Leg Breaks. Wizard got off to a very good start bowling a very tight over taking Vicky Browns wicket by drawing her out of her crease and Lee Downes who was keeping and doing a very good job of it tooks the bails off. Only one wide bowled.

I stepped up and bowled the other end into a diagonal wind in direct opposition to my spinning leg break if it was going to happen. The earlier practice had been awful but as you can see I bowled well and got my 2nd ever maiden over bowling Leg Breaks using the 3rd finger only technique, but this was working and getting some decent deviation off the crease which was very surprising. All of the balls were pitched full just missing the bat to choruses of 'OOoh'! each time. Wizard came back for his 2nd over and bowled another decent over conceding 2 runs and 2 wides. Lovejoy fielded one of his balls in some manner that caused the Wizard to partake in some banter and his comment which was met with Lovejoy retorting "Wizard you don't even know what a maiden over looks like and never will - so shut up". My 2nd over went well bringing up a tally of 3 off of 2 overs and so one only one of them a wide. The Wizards 3rd over flew in the face of Lovejoys comment as he took another lovely wicket in exactly the same way - this time Paine for only 1 run and then Wizard completed his over without conceding any runs at all getting himself his first ever Maiden wicket. My next over was probably my best, I'd bowled primarily Leg Breaks with a Flipper in each over, but the flippers were looking as though they were redundant as it was these that were conceding runs, so I then bowled a Top Spinner which straight away had the desired affect with the ball being hit too early and it rose above my head falling near Mid on where the Wizard was, he made a valiant effort running in and covering quite some ground eventually diving and getting a hand on it looking into the sun, but the combination of the dive and the sun conspired to cause him to spill it and not quite get there and it went down. He was very apologetic, but I wasn't fussed he'd made a very good effort to get there.

From there though Wizards bowling went downhill, he bowled a series of wides in the next three overs and finally recovered on his last over that went for only 1 run. My fifth over was another Maiden with my 6th being the worst as I got hit for a 4, a 2 and a single. This was where I was looking to do something different because I was getting so close but not actually getting any wickets. Ideally I'd have produced the Wrong Un, but the Top Spinner in the 3rd over that was dropped had required me having to rip the ball and in doing so had triggered the injury. I then tried the Wrong Un in the same over or the next and the pain was too much so had to look at another tactic. The 5th over I was bowling Leg side and Phil fielding out at Square Leg nearly got one for me but the others were hit backward of square leg and went for the runs I conceded. So I had to go back to Flippers and Leg Breaks on the off-stump and these virtually all beat the bat but were wide of the stumps and none were edged. So I'm more than pleased as this represented a good start and is my best ever bowling figures in one match. Bowling wides doesn't bother me as they're minimal so at the minute my bowling despite the injury looks very promising. I'm just wondering how it'll go if this injury clears up because with the addition of the Flick in the wrist which I couldn't do today there's the potential for more Top - spin combined with more spin and deviation and obviously the Wrong Un.
The only other thing is that perhaps I should temper the experience with the possibility that as a batting line up this team wasn't that strong. The bloke that scored the 30 Karkocki seen here with Neil (Karkocki on right) was described by one of his team mates as not being that special with the bat and this score represented his career best. So my kind of bowling against someone more adept may have been knocked all over the park? It's something to think about. For the first time ever I'm thinking in terms of where I might bowl the ball in relation to the players strengths and weaknesses and my 6th over highlighted the fact that this bloke was strong on the Legside and each of the balls that were bowled there gave him the opportunity to play to his strengths. But having said that might there have been the potential to look at exploiting what he may have perceived to have been one of his strengths when in fact his batting although seemingly confident down the legside retrospectively was probably lacking in any real skill? Could I have moved Phil to backward square leg, the wizard up to square leg and someone like Ali at mid wicket and then bowled the ball with more top-spin tempting him to hit the ball down the legside and force an error? Again experience counts for everything in this game and I perhaps need to see this season out and look at the potential for all of these plans? But it does feel like I'm on the cusp of another steep learning curve and that now I'm going to be watching the bats to see where they do have weaknesses. It helps I think that I'm reading books like Grimmetts 'Getting Wickets' and Ashley Malletts 'Clarrie Grimmett the Bradman of Spin' these books talk about this in some detail and I think I'm picking this up and beginning to apply it to my bowling.

The game was finished off by Neil. He came in initially just to bowl 1 over and take the wicket of a particular player to prove a point of some sort I wasn't privvy to what was going on, but he then failed with his one over objective and it went to the next over much to Reeces chagrin. Again he didn't make any inroads and took the next over and Reece wasn't best pleased. In his 3rd over he got his wicket and then Lovejoy and Reece finished off their tail enders and we'd won comfortably.

Back at the clubhouse there was a whipround to buy The Wizard an obnoxious concoction of alcohol and other drinks including chocolate in one of those dodgy 'Yard of Ale' bottles (See image) as he'd got himself a Maiden Wicket - seemingly this is the rule? Although the Wizard objected to it and didn't seem to want to do it he readily got the stuff down his neck whilst cursing under his breath and then sat there looking a bit worse for wear. On that note as it looked as though it was all going to go down hill from here on it I paid my dues and made my exit.

Next game I've just been told is an away affair which means it's going to be tight with the car and getting my kids back home from their match in Basildon and to Blackshots for the convoy to the away venue. Really I need to get the address of the club and drive there direct rather than detouring to Grays's pitch?
One last thing. Shouts for LBW. In amongst the Leg Breaks and the Top Spinners I was bowling Flippers and by my reckoning and other people around me I had at least 1 plumb LBW and one that I'd say was 90% certain but I don't ask for it or if I do it's very very muted. So I've got to remember to turn to the Umpire and shout in his face 'Owzat'!!!!! as loud as possible with some kind of histrionics as well to boot because at the minute it's not happening and I too may have had a wicket maiden?