Note for Danny Groves Sorry Dan turns out when they're enlarged the images are a bit ropey so I've only uploaded a couple.
Wow! I got that wrong a few days ago, none of those blokes were in this match at all and man is this a big old club with some pretty nice facilities. An oldish cricket club with a history that goes back more than a 100 years, but recently seems to have funding to build some really nice facilities, maintain 2 fields and 2 outside nets and more. The trick is multi-user occupancy of the facilities, so on the fields that surround the clubhouse they play Rugby, Cricket, Tennis (Tennis courts out the back) and bowls. But we noted at the end of the day there was no-one in the bar hardly - just us and few of the oppo that we played against. Then someone said an Aussie player that plays for SLHCC attended one of our clubs beach parties and was amazed at how well it was patronised and how good the atmosphere was. He said that they'd tried to do something similar and only 10 people turned up. It was suggested that the difference was that whereas our club is ours entirely and we say what happens and what goes on because it is ours, their club is multi occupancy and anything like a party has to go through a series of committees before it's agreed and the element of spontenaity is removed and probably more than anything else the cricketers don't feel like it is there's and have no commitment and empathy with the club/bar?
Driving there I went through a heavy-ish shower and drove out the other side of it and it was dry again. The skies were leaden and ominous and I could easily see this match not happening or being abandoned. In the end after a little more rain in Grays the team eventually turned up and I gave Cat (Mark O'Neil), Bobby Ewing and Wizard a lift in my car. Went straight there and got some sense of who the team was and here it is in batting order.
Liam 'Princess' Gant (Bat & Off-spin)
Callum Sellars (Off-spin)
Glen 'Bobby' Ewing (Bat)
'Swiss' Danny Groves (Bat)
'Cat' Mark O'Neil (Bat)
Matt Hills (All rounder, fast & Capt)
'Pomph ' Colin Pomphrett (Off-spinner)
'Wozza' Warren Engwell (All rounder - Fast)
Alex 'Wizard' McLellan (Wrist Spinner)
Dave 'Blogger' Thompson (Wrist Spinner)
Billy Gargan (Medium pace)
I'm slowly picking up who all these people are. The only ones I didn't have a clue as to who they were, were Billy Gargan and Liam Gant. So we had a big cross section of ages and sizes from Billy Gargan who looks about 11 and stands at about Matt Hills elbows to Pomph who's been around the club since the days it was based in Tilbury and that's before the Docks were built!
Then we got a look at the Oppo and they weren't so much of a mix. 8 lads with an average age of about 15, a girl Laura Knight who was about 18 I reckon?And two older geezers around my age maybe slightly older? Nothing like the team I envisaged that they'd put up to play us. I think that team was playing on the next pitch in a League match.
Anyway in a force 6-7 cross-wind http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beaufort_scale it was decided by due process that they bat first and we opened with Wozza and Billy Gargan. I've played alongside Wozza before and he has got a weird bowling action that all of the opposition players that get bowled out by him complain about and say that he's throwing the ball. Sure enough what with him ending up with 6 - 1- 18 - 4 there was plenty of whinging going around 3 of them going for a duck. I even questioned the legitimacy of his action and Matt said that an ex - international player now umpire had umpired at one of the matches that Wozza bowled in and he said that his action was fine. But it looks very odd in every way, but God is it fast. His gather before he bowls is odd and he seems to catapult the ball, it's like his shoulders go forwards first and then his arm slings the ball like one of those Roman catapult, kind of like Lasith Malinga but not as round-armed. At the other end Billy was bowling his medium fast stuff and coming up with some results as well. But looking at the score sheet they've not been recorded that well. But one of his balls was a much slower ball as I recall and the other similar but with the added bonus of an extra bounce. Billy was taken off of bowling duties and I was thrown the ball. I was bowling downhill for my first 5 overs with wind blowing across me from my right and man was it windy, the worst conditions I've ever bowled in!
I made a good start with a Maiden bowling Leg Breaks, I'd only thrown a few balls on arriving at the pitch so wasn't that ready to bowl and didn't feel that good about bowling. In changing ends I was then faced by one of the dreaded Lefties and didn't know whether I'd exorcised my fear of the Left Handed Ones, the obvious solution was to bowl Wrong Uns, but I wasn't feeling that good about my bowling and we had this situation with the wind and they'd have to turn into that wind. The first 3 balls were dot balls all 2 on his legs on middle stump and the other a wide-ish ball on the off-side. Then I dropped one that was on Middle stump a bit short and he gave it what it deserved a spank for 4 on the legside backward of square Leg. I was bordering on being worried about this lefty but realised I just needed to get the ball right up there under his nose preferably on his off-side. It didn't work and again it strayed into his legs and he hit a single which suited me as he was no longer on strike. Two more dot balls and Wizard took over at the other end. I shouted 'Make sure you leave the Leftie up your end'. Giving him the impression that I was worried about his batting trying to lull him into a sense that he might be getting the better of me which he almost was, but I thought if I could get him coming down the wicket at me I might have more of a chance of getting him, because both of these lads were playing very conservatively.
Then the Wizard (See below) did his stuff with the Leftie at the crease and was hit for a 4 and a 2 so that kept him at the other end, so when I bowled my next over I had the RH bat & bowled a 2nd maiden, so I was happy with that 3 over and six runs down to a Leftie.
Alex was up again bowling to the Leftie again. Alex conceded 2 runs off his over and again the Leftie was at my bowling end out of the way. This over went okay with a series of dot balls and then I tried bowling a Flipper. I must admit I was out of salts for some reason and didn't feel good about my bowling and didn't feel that good that I was sure that the Flipper would work that well, but when I did chuck it up it was a disaster, landing 12' wide of the stumps! So that was my first wide and I gave up on bowling conventional flippers although normally they're one of my more accurate balls. The sixth ball was lobbed up as a slowish full toss, I don't now whether the bat thought it was going to dip or not but he didn't get the bat to it and it hit him in the torso somewhere and then fell to his feet, he'd turned his side/back to the ball and realised it had potentially fallen to the ground with a chance that it might hit his feet and sure enough he looked down and it was trickling towards the stumps, he quickly tried to kick it aside but all he managed to do was help it on it's way and it hit he stumps with the faintest of taps, but assisted by the force 7 wind, the bails were probably hanging in the stump grooves by the skin of a viruses teeth and down they came and back to the sheds he went. First wicket.
Wizards next over he went for 6 runs including a wide which meant the leftie was facing me again. This time possibly having seen his mate go and having a new bloke at the other end he played far more defensively and our boys fielded well to see me through to another maiden.
Wizard was up again; He bowled a tight over only conceding a wide, somehow I was then bowling against the Leftie again? This time I was beginning to get a rythmn to my bowling and some consistency so I was able to tie him down and negate the possibility of runs. The bowling was tight and consistent and I then saw the opportunity with the last ball to put one in there a bit faster on the same length and bingo, the increase in speed completely caught him unawares and he was bowled with a Leg Break that turned into him from outside his off-stump. A nice wicket maiden and a Lefty at that! Back to the sheds he goes. Cat hits a nice drive through the Off-side for 4
Matt signalled that was enough for the moment sensing that this was going to be all over in a matter of an hour or so as we were now on 5 wickets for 43 runs in the 16th over.
Wizard kept plugging away with Billy at the other end with his medium/fast stuff. In his 8th over he got himself a maiden and in the ninth a wicket so he ended up 9-1-30 -1. Meaning I'm still on track to reach one of my goals for the end of this season and that was to end up with better bowling figures than the Wizard. I've not looked at the batting figures as again my goal on that front was to do the same with the batting but he's definitely got the potential there to beat me as my batting is still very poor. I'm still nowhere near reaching Neils target that he's set me and that was to get 20 in a match, but as I bat at no.11 more often than not I don't get to see if I can do this as I end up being Not Out as the other bloke gets dismissed, but I'm not that fussed. With regards missed opportunities. I think there were a couple of near catches but I never remember them as they're quickly washed from my mind and I don't dwell on them at all, but in the final over which came later there was a ludicrous LBW that was so plumb it was beyong belief and I still didn't appeal!
Towards the end of the game Matt brought me back on again possibly to finish the game off quickly so that we could all play again and turn it into a test match! So I found myself bowling against the girl Laura Knight and Ryan Sidebottom. SLHCC's young Ryan Sidebottom lookalikey (M. Easter).
Laura Knight looked a bit handy with the bat even though she'd come on as the No.11 and she got a run off me and her dot balls were off the bat and fielded well by our lads rather than misses or leaves. (I'm sure there was an over that they've not recorded). Because I would swear that I bowled more than 2 balls at Laura? One of them, possiby the dot ball if I did only bowl one over in the second spell was a plumb LBW. Laura Knight came out with a big low defensive stride to a Leg break pitched well up. The stride was so big it negated the potential for the umpire to tell if it was turning or not and somehow there was no bat there at all and it hit her plumb on the legs. I saw it and realised that it was an LBW and then noticed her reaction as she realised that she'd been caught plumb LBW and waited for the shout looking up at me, then the umpire and then me again in total disbelief. It was too late, I turned to Matt at Mid Off and said 'That was Plumb wasn't it" He shook his head. "You didn't appeal". Laura couldn't believe her luck, but she only survived a few seconds more as there was a rotation of strike on a single. Then it was Sidey's turn and he'd already got a 2 and a 4 off some positive looking batting and it looked as though he was up for some spin (because it's so easy to play). He came after me and top edged it out to Point and Bobby Ewing caught it. That was their innings - all out for 81.
Pomph leads the oppo off the pitch at the end of their innings
Bobby Ewing leaves the field laughing in disbelief that he fell to their wrist spinner who had the weirdest action and no follow through, but some how he managed to hit a Dolly off it to square leg.
Cat grounds his bat in a near run-out scenario, whilst their wicket keeper wearing shoes with no studs or grip slips and head butts the floor!
Princess of Grays faces the Princess of SLHCC.
Liam 'Princess' Gant.
Callum Sellars News. I've always been under the impression that Callum was a wrist spinner, but it seems that he's being trained in the technique of Off-spin and we're not talking Wrong Uns we're talking Finger Spin techniques. But he's being encouraged to use the two different techniques by the sounds of it - Leg Breaks to get the ball to go one way and Finger Spin to get an Off-Break. I suppose because most bats wouldn't know a Leg Break from a Finger Spin Off-break it doesn't matter that he's mixing the two techniques and I suppose from that point of view it makes sense. But it does sound like it could lead to another loss of a wrist spinner and that's never a good thing, who will pass on the knowledge in the future? We'll have to monitor his progress as he goes along.
Danny risks one off of Laura Knight in direct contrast to 99% of his batting which were all defensive blocks. I wonder why that was?
The poor kid that used his knee to stop Danny's ball that came out of the middle of his bat. That'll be sore in the morning mate. Use your hands next time!
The official match was all over before teas and it was decided that we'd carry on playing as we were all here to play cricket and it was all over too soon. I'm not sure how it all panned out but I think what happened in the spirit of the game was that we set an acheiveable total for them to chase, so we batted through to 190 and declared. They were then put in to bat and batted in a completely different manner and rushed through their innings and got in front of our total and then declared leaving us only a matter of overs to force a draw. To be honest I was a bit confused as to what was going on, but I know at the end we needed a small amount of runs to win and we didn't make it and it was declared a draw. The thing is it was a far more satisfactory end to the day as opposed to all going home at 3pm. The good thing was in their second over the SLH boys came out and batted with far more confidence and were hitting 4's all over the pitch. Maybe because they had something to chase rather than having to set a batting total and being in the middle of a collapse as they did in the first innings?