Sunday, June 21, 2009

Grays & Chadwell CC v Old Gravesendians CC

Another Good day with the ball. 4 for 31 off of 4 overs. Batting didn't come to much but best of all I can now bowl 'The Flicker' and I'll be trying it out for real in the match next week. This is a ball ressurected from the 1930's and one that Ashley Mallett and Terry Jenner do not acknowledge as being physically possible to bowl over 22 yards! More to come..... A cup of tea first though.........

So 2 matches in a row where I've taken 4 wickets and another day and another opportunity to try and keep that kind of bowling going. Before the match I'd pondered the chances of it happening again but honestly thought that so far I'd been riding my luck and 3rd time lucky was kind of asking a for bit too much. Initially set to play in the 3rd Sunday team there's been a swap around and I'd been put in the 2nds with Neil. Tonight in the post match de-briefing back at the clubhouse Matt Hills said that prior to the swap around one of the team had 8 spinners in it and then went on to say across the whole team that there were only 5 real fast bowlers? I wonder who he counts in his top 5 fast bowlers?
So a nice day on the cards with cloudy bright conditions and quite warm at 21 - 23 degrees centigrade with some chance of some rain during the afternoon. I got off to a late start not being able to get the car till nearly 1.30 in the morning I'd been over at Mopsies Park to watch Joe

play with his team Basildon & Pitsea in a inter-team match where they mixed up the under 11's with the under 13's as the team they were to play had dropped out of the league. Joe bowled well conceding no runs off the bat across his 2 overs but giving away 3 runs with 2 x wides and a no ball. But I'll do a seperat entry for all that later.
The Old Gravesendians were again like last week surprisingly sprightly and young and it looked like another challenging game was on the cards. I got my balls out and threw a few up against the fence to get loosened up. Neil came back from the toss and we were to field. A quick warm up and a stretch and we were into the game. Looking around the team there were a couple of blokes I hadn't played with before - Bootsie and Chris Wren.

Bootsie AKA A. Stephenson and Rees Downes opened the bowling to Edwing and Skye who both looked about 20 years old - ish. Initially cautious they batted well ticking over at around about 4.5 runs an over. Rees and Bootsie bowling an offside line and as I recall fairly tight with Fozzy behind the stumps. The highlight of their joint spell was that off Bootsie's bowling which was considerably more rapid than Rees's bowling he nearly managed to knock Fozzy off his feet with a ball that he didn't quite see. I didn't get any come my way fortunately that were catchable but the ones that were within my reach I stopped including a pretty good one where I produced a dive to stop the ball that Neil felt was commendable. I chased a few down and generally did okay in the field. The opening pair kept the run rate around the 4.5 region and finished their spells without a wicket.
Tom Hills replaced Rees at the pavillion end and he too plugged away initially without anything to show for his efforts. Meanwhile at the other end Bootsie kept at it too with no fruits for his work. eventually a long way into the game we got a break- through Tom took the wicket of Skye just short of the bloke making his 50 - clean bowled him. Shortly the first of the spinners came on Ross Fulbrook bowling from the 'Flats end' taking over from Bootsie. Ross was economic but didn't meet with any success. Joining him was Chris Wren (Mason's brother)? Another bloke who can throw the ball from here to Dartford at about 300mph and earlier in the match he'd done one of those 'Wren' type returns to Fozzy and it was travelling at light speed and went past Fozzy and about 2 or 3 other blokes and I think it may have gone for a 4 as over-throws! Anyone trying to stop the ball using the long barrier technique would run the risk of having you knee cap decapitated! Anyway he was up to bowl and I was right down at Long Off and Tom hills was out at Deep Mid wicket and the bat kept hitting the ball deftly between me and Tom - but closer to me but being 30 years older than Tom I'm not quite up to his speed and agility and I was soon swapped over and Tom did a far better job stopping that batting tactic from producing 2's when I was there to singles while Tom was there.

Chris's bowling was unorthodox, he was taking very short run ups and looking as if he was spinning it, some of the balls were exceptionally fast and others much slower - I'd say 20 mph slower in some instances, some of the deliveries included as stall on the run it just as he was about to pivot and bowl. One of the bats was looking to get at him (C. McDermott) hitting 4's and he may have even hit a six, but he was definitely trying to get at Chris and Chris was trying all sorts and varying what he does massively.

Neil was then introduced (Chinaman) and pretty quickly he got the other opener T Edwing - clean bowled. Chris was then rested and I got the nod to take over from the Pavillion end. No wind this week and no idea of how I'd do? Surely I couldn't maintain the current record that I've been coming up with over the last few weeks. I had it in mind that I'd talk to the bats and umpire (or at least myself as a desperate measure within earshot of them both talking about where I'd be spinning the ball and how I'd be spinning it) as a tactic to get under their skin. First up was the bloke McDermott that had really been getting in to Chris's bowling so I needed to get rid of him as he'd been there some time. I hadn't noticed whether he was weak anywhere as I was miles out on the boundary? Besides my first over on the last few performances tends to be a bit wayward so I was prepared to go for a few runs and see how he was going to play me. First up a series of Leg Breaks to see how he'd cope with those. First ball came out of the hand wrong and went leg side looking like a full toss, the bloke swang at the ball and didn't quite connect with it and it looped up and over towards backwards square leg where Bootsie was. Bootsie came in a bit - steadied himself and caught it. McDermott was gone off the first ball of my over. There's merit in full tosses I reckon that go slightly leg side and around shoulder height as they invariably end up in this fielding position for a catch, but not something I'd look at intentionally, but I've noted it.

Unfortunately because I've not got a copy of the bowling analysis I can't remember the exact ball by ball account. But the bloke that came in next had walked in and met the other geezer and they'd had a little chat like they do, trying to come up with their little plans and strategies and stuff. I think he got hold of a leg break and dealt with it quite well and then repeated it again getting a few runs and looked kind of cocky and pleased with himself obviously ignoring me running through what I was going to do next when he'd been at my end. I bowled a bog standard Flipper and this fizzed through with Neil commenting positively from Slips. The next ball again was another leg side cock up and you could see the look of glee on the blokes face as he went after it giving it all he could and the ball sailed through the air massively and initially I thought s**t - that'll be at least a four and then I saw where it was going and who was coming in off the boundary - Tom Hills. He took a few steps in and just like Bootsie steadied himself and it landed safely in his hands and the next victim 'Plumber' was gone. 2 Wickets off the first over and I still had another ball to go I think? Neil again was laughing at the fact that the fasts had plugged away using all their skills and years of experience and got nowhere and here I was 'Johnny s**t bowler' of last year with less than 3 seasons worth of bowling under my belt and I'd already taken 2 wickets off my first over! But I have to admit they were bad balls, that hadn't been intended for the leg-side so there was a lot of injustice in a way.

Neil got the big Geezer Stoneham for 0. I wanted him because he'd come to the crease looking like he intended on taking us apart at the seams. So we were both on 2 wickets each. Neil then got Wilde. I think in my 2nd over I went for some wides and was hit for a four by this bloke Wilde so I was glad to see the back of him for 17. In my 3rd over still mumbling within earshot of the bats and the umpire about what I was going to do next I changed tactics going for the Wrong Un. I'd said to Lee Downes at the drinks break when he'd swapped with Fozzy and taken over the role of Wicket Keeper to look for the signal for the Wrong Un. I didn't bother and just chucked it up there. I went nice and wide of off - stump and then turned in and came across about two or maybe two and half feet to hit the off-stump - a lovely ball, even if I do say so myself and that was the end of 'Ting' who'd only accumulated 4 runs. Neil and Lee appreciated the turn off the wicket as well.

My next ball again was intentional a leg break down the middle as the balls that were wide of the off-stump were being hit. This one pitched on middle and leg came across the front of the bat with a lot of bounce and took the top of off-stump and it's bail. That one as well was very satisfying as it was a simple leg break and it's this ball that is the reason for my current success and it's just really nice having put in so much work since last September when there seemed to be no hope of recovering from the Googly Syndrome to now be able to bowl these balls and take wickets with it.

Overall though in comparison with previous weeks I didn't bowl that well. I bowled several wides, got hit for a 6 which Ross Fulbrook almost stopped for me but he'd gone across the line by the time he'd got his hands on it. A handful of 4's as well. Off 4 overs I'd been hit for 31 at least 10 maybe even 14 had come off the last over. In the 3rd over I tried something new......

The Flicker a la' Clarrie Grimmetts 'Mystery Ball'. This is a ball that was devised back in the 1930's by possibly the greatest Leg Spin bowler ever Clarrie Grimmett and then lost to history. On an internet forum me and a couple of other blokes have been discussing wrist spin bowling now for some months and one of the main contributors Macca has been researching some of these old techniques and he's dug up 'The Flicker" named and described by Don Bradman and carefully kept secret by it's owner CV Grimmett.

The ball is a Flipper delivery but with the hand rotated 180 degrees clockwise so that you flick the ball towards yourself as you turn the arm over. It's a seam up spinning delivery with a tendency to break like a Wrong Un. But if it's done right Grimmett says of it that it's got so much over-spin (Top Spin) that it comes off the pitch twice as fast as it has travelled through the air. Terry Jenner, Shane Warne's mentor claims that it's physically impossible to bowl more than 10 or 11 yards because it is so difficult. Ashley Mallett who wrote a book about Grimmett Clarrie Grimmett the Bradman of spin also denies it's existence and suggests that it was just part of Grimmetts psychological warfare against the batsmen. But neither of these blokes have read Grimmetts book taking wickets of 1930 in which he describes it to some extent and has images of the grip. Whereas my mate Macca has done an incredible job researching this delivery. So today in Grays, Essex in my 3rd over I may have attempted to bowl for the 1st time since 1940 Clarrie Grimmetts 'Flicker'. As it happens because I have been only messing around with it a bit - it didn't go that well. It went wide down the off-side and would have been given as a wide but the bloke got the toe of his bat on it and hit it for four down to a non-existent 3rd man. But there's more of this later......

PS if anyone thinks I'm talking horse s**t regarding this delivery by all means point me in the direction of someone else that uses it or describes it as we'd be really interested in hearing about it.

To be continued..................

Batting Figures -

Before I got to bat I had to do my umpiring duties and I got to see one of the older blokes bowl. I'm always interested in old blokes that bowl slow because some of them do it with some level of skill and no doubt experience. This bloke 'Goosey' (I think that was what they were calling him) was flighting the ball but I'm doubtful whether he was turning it at all. But despite this loads of the players were talking him up as though he was Shane Warne, but then they turned to taking the p**s saying "Come on Goosey show him your Flipper" and "Bowl the Googly Goosey" only too aware that I was there and that when I'd been bowling I'd been saying the same things to their blokes. Difference being though I was coming up with the goods and Goosey came away with one scalp (Bootsies).

Bowling; Crap! I didn't photograph the scorebook with the breakdown of the details of the overs! Gutted.

What's interesting to me as a novice at this game with no real grasp of the tactics involved. Is that if you look at the batting and the fall of the wickets and who they're credited to it's primarily Neil and Me both of us taking 4 wickets each and both doing so within minutes or seconds in my case of coming to the crease. Without a breakdown of the overs I can't quantify it but I'm sure that Tom was bowling quite some time before he picked up his wicket. Rees, Bootsie and Chris all bowled more overs than me for instance yet got nowhere. Yet I came on and got McDermot out with my first ball. Neil said at the fall of that particular wicket who again needed to be stopped as he was heading for his 50 'Dave - that is really going to p*** off some of the other bowlers, that you've just walked on tossed up a full toss and had it caught by Bootsie off your first ball'! Why then if spin seems to be the way forward and gets results - (remember these blokes were the openers and the top order batsmen), is it held back till much later in the game when they've made a substantial score, when it seems to me that if you want to wrap the game up and humiliate the opposition you would use your spinners? Surely when they first come to the crease this would be when they'd be more vulnerable? Instead it seems that the spinners are used far too late in the game once these blokes have got their eye in? Or is it that the logic being used is that after having a to play fast stuff, the inclusion of slower spin is so radically different it then causes problems? It's obviously something I'm going to have to look into and ask about.
Post Match

I eventually left the clubhouse at around 8.45 after listening to The Wizards account of his day and as I stepped outside Callum the Demon Leg-Spinner (He of a great many wickets and single handed destroyer of teams) was outside having a knock about with Ross. Just as I came out Ross was going and Callum said 'Now who's going to bowl at me'? Needless to say I offered and threw a few at him trying a few variations including The Flicker and the 2 or 3 that I bowled were on the money as such. He soon left and I thought I'd have another look at the flicker before I went home and I ended up bowling the Flicker at the fence for another 20 -25 minutes and whereas I only bowled the one in the match because it went wide - here and now they were coming out perfect - right on target. Of the 30 - 40 that I bowled maybe 2 or 3 went wide down the off-side. But I've now discovered that they have another attribute - they swing and they swing big, but this may be down to the nature of the balls that I use and the atmospherics as it was cloudy and warm. The balls I used are smooth on one side and artificially rough the otherside, designed to explore the potential of swing. But other than that they were coming out of the hand perfectly and rushing on when they hit the ground and breaking like an Off-Break ball, but they seem easy to aim despite the fact that they require an odd hand/wrist position. The success I had here in just a matter of minutes is so promising that it's inevitable that next week I'll be looking to use this ball in the game.
Neil made the point in the game today when I was mixing in Flippers with Leg Breaks that the oppo wouldn't appreciate the bowling at all and that someone like Cat who's a good batsman and watches the ball come out of the hand would appreciate and respect the variation. Neils comment came off the back of seeing a Flipper come in a lot faster than the bouncy Leg Breaks and skid in really low and still break towards off beating the bat and only just missing the off-stump by millimetres. So things are going well.

Coming away from the bowling session, the arm felt okay and I'd bowled without the stretchy support thing