Sunday, May 10, 2009

Ben and Joe's 1st cricket match

Blimey Sunday up 07.45hrs for cricket! With a 09.00hrs arrival time it had to be done. We arrived on the dot 09.00hrs at Orsetts cricket ground. Quite a nice ground - really nice clubhouse and promising looking weather. The boys were to play on the artificial wicket and the size of the boundary had been reduced and marked out with flags. But the actual wicket itself was pretty big - 20 yards. 20 yards is good for Ben as he tends to over-throw some of his balls, but Joe I realised might struggle to get the ball down there being only 7 and used to practicing on 17 yard wickets.

I was asked to do the scoring as there was only a few people in attendance and they know I play a bit of cricket although I've never scored before. But then I was introduced to the format - 'Terrier Cricket'. I've heard of it before and I know it's designed for younger kids, but I'd never come across the rules and principles and initially I was a bit flummoxed by some of the rules that are applied to the game, but as the game got underway it all fell into place and eventually made total sense.

Before the match Jeff the head of the youth section of the team went round all the boys that were new to it explaining the basic idea. The key to this game is to play primarily defensive and not let your wicket go. I'll try and explain.....

1. It seems that it's a foregone conclusion at this age that the kids are going to be bowled out easily. So in order to give them a fair crack at the whip each boy faces 2 overs. If they lose their wicket they stay in but swap ends and lose 8 runs. So in theory in 2 overs they could be bowled 12 times thus conceding 96 runs against them. So the order of the day as a batsman is defend your wicket and look to take adavantage of any balls wide of the stumps which is pretty much as it goes with the real deal. But the idea of giving away 8 runs I'd imagine focuses their attention on the job of playing well at your defensive game.

2. Both Teams start off with 200 runs to allow for the prospect of losing 8 runs per wicket.

3. Wides and No-balls are added to the cumulative score and recorded against the bowler. 2 runs are conceded for wides and No balls, thus again focussing on the neccesity to keep your bowling tight.

Initially I didn't get it so I don't suppose the boys did either. I took up my position as scorer along with the Oppo's scorer and off they went. Neither of us had used the system for scoring Terriers and there is a designated method, but we listened to the instructions given to us and both agreed to a system we'd both use and conform to that simply checking each others scores as we went along and it seemed to work okay.

But down to the business end of the day - Ben and Joe's bowling figures -

The only figure we can look at at the minute is the Economy rate.

Ben (Econ) = 5
Joe (Econ) = 9.5

Joe bowled 1 wide.

But to be honest Joe hasn't bowled over such a distance before and the kid was good that he was bowling against. So Joe's got some work to do.

With regards their batting neither of them scored any runs and they were both bowled twice, but man this was a steep learning curve for them. In the team their was only 3 kids that were new and the other kid Anthony Ayres did exceptionally well. This kid hasn't looked too clever in the training sessions over the winter but today on the field he took 2 wickets in his first over. He also batted well not conceding any wickets, but didn't make any runs either.

It'll be interesting to see what the coaches do in training tomorrow now that the boys have been through the experience and hopefully have grasped how important it is to defend your wicket. With regards their bowling Ben (although his line and length were good) looks as though he needs to speed it up slightly and Joe needs to bowl over the 20 yards as that seems to be the length the kids bowl. Good bowling seems to be a key area of this game, but then to be honest as a rudimentary skill - good defensive batting. I reckon it was a massive eye-opener for them, because the kids on the other team were a fair bit better and talking to the scorer he was saying that Orsett have 2 x U11's teams. So their team may have been made up primarily of kids in their 2nd year at this level? The final score was Orsett 255, Basildon and Pitsea 192.

They bowled 11 wides and our boys only 7 but their bowling was a lot more productive with

8 wickets as opposed to our 4.
My Stuff
The game ended early enough for me to have gone home and dropped everyone off and got my gear and to have got to the match in Kent quite easily if I'd been well enough and had been required to do so. I'm hoping that over the rest of the week I'll progressively get better and shake this cold off and be in a position where I'll be able to play.
Once home the boys were knackered, we marked out 20 yards in the road outside the house where we practice sometimes and it is so much further than Joe has been practicing and I'm wondering whether he'll be side-lined because of his size? I kind of think that he'll be alright, but it's going to be interesting to see how the next team is picked for the next game that's in 2 weeks time against Pegasus/Corringham? Once we'd set the distance Joe threw a few balls and was getting them down there as he had done today in the game, but it's definitely something he needs to practice. I reckon in view of how nervous he must have been and the fact that it was so much longer than he's been bowling he done exceptionally well as did Ben. The good thing was that although Ben was mortified to have been bowled out twice and not made any runs he was pleased with his bowling. He did get one ball that should have been a dolly, but it's kids cricket and there's always going to be dropped opportunities and no doubt Ben will have his day of dropping balls. In fact Both Joe and Ben let balls go by them due to shoddy fielding e.g. none application of the long barrier technique, but they did learn quickly and were using it by the end of the game. They didn't resort to hands in their pockets which was good to see and finally at the end both of them agreed that it had been good and that they'd enjoyed it and were more than up for it for another match.
Ben was so mortified at being cleaned up twice that he once he came off he broke down crying because he'd let the team down and himself. But all the coaches rallied and told him not to worry and that it was okay. Jodie's Dad Reg said that when Jodie first played he was bowled 5 or 6 times and I think this made Ben feel better as he can see that within a year Jodie is no longer a player that would be bowled 5 or 6 times.
The football field across the road where we play and practice although hasn't been used for football now for more than a month had been cut and marked out again on Saturday so I mowed the wicket as it had almost disappeared into the outfield as it was cut so short. Then I went back before dinner and had an hour bowling. I worked on combining Wrong Uns and Leg Breaks and did okay, but this is on grass which does seem to be conducive with getting the ball to turn. My Wrong Uns were good, some of them had mental amounts of spin which was good to see. I was also looking at bowling Flippers in a really loopy fashion getting them to drop short wondering whether as a variation that approach would have any merit as the ball almost stalls. If you could bowl one of them followed by a Top Spinner that then rushes on with a lot of bounce - that might cause problems? I may try it in the nets with the SRB blokes on Friday?
All in all a good day with more tomorrow at Joe and Ben's training session. I can't wait and we'll get there early tomorrow!