Got up this morning took the mower over to the strip and mowed it and it's looking pretty fine. I've also measured it out for a 20 yard strip for the kids and used the 'Roundup' weed-killer stuff to create a crease, it'll be a week or so before the grass dies and the crease becomes evident, but this way means the crease will be more permanent than painting it with something.
I then had a bit of a bowl in the 'Paddock' that went okay and then Ben joined me for some batting practice which was good to see. Joe seems to have lost interest a bit and this is in part because he's changed his bowling to what he says is fast and he bowls round arm like Lasith Malinga so bowls shed loads of wides. I keep reminding him to get his arm vertical which he then seems to get the right ache about but then he hits the stumps, but he soon returns to bowling wides with a low action again.
Noticing that the area in front of the stumps into which we bowl is still very un-even in the 'Paddock' though massively improved, I decided that I'd do some work on it today, so I cut the grass short and had a look at where we might put some earth down to even it it out even more. So I got a couple of big buckets of clay and compost mixed up and did some further in-filling of the dips and ruts in the ground. Having done that it was clearly evident that just that little bit of work had made a massive difference in front of the stumps and it's also evident that if we have a period of rain it does look as though it's beneficial to seed the patches in order that the grass roots will bind the new earth to the existing top layer.
There's also a longer term approach that I could adopt and that would be to use the 'Round-up' and kill off all the grass in the bowling zone so that we've got just earth. I could then turn the top surface over lightly, rake it, in-fill it where necessary, maybe introduce some compost and clay and then roll it so that it is perfectly flat and then seed it in early Sept right through to October so that a brand new sward is cultivated which will then become very well established in the following spring and potentially be dead flat. Realistically though this gradual approach seems to be working okay at the minute and maybe I'll consider this more drastic approach at the end of next summer if I'm not happy with the wicket by then.
We also got the nets out today and had a look at how they'd work if we were to use them. They're the perfect length and height and it looks as though the only thing we need to look at is how to fix the net at the batsman's end as the goal post to which the net attaches to is too big for the big market clamps that I was intending to use. We also need a post in the centre, but all that would need to be is a bit of tree with a 'V' cut in the top and a piece of 10mm rope threaded through the top of the net. In fact if use a bit of rope threaded through the eyelets in the net that does away with the need for clamps and makes the whole set up potentially easier to set up and take down. Sounds like if I can source some of that blue 10mm nylong rope from somewhere on the cheap and check to see if I can indeed thread it through the eyelets we could be looking at a net by the weekend I reckon.
Later in the day the same bunch of kids from last night came by the house and asked if we wanted to play cricket so we went and had a game on the big field. That was then rained off and we then had a game in the 'Paddock' and that went okay apart from Joe losing interest. While we were on the field I'd bowled wide of his stumps to offer him some encouragement and give him a worthwhile bat, but his 2nd ball he hit in the air and someone caught it, so he was out, which didn't help with keeping him on board. Thankfully later in the day at their training session he partnered me at the crease and he got a few runs and avoided being out, I was out 3 times trying to get him back on strike, but the good thing that he was pleased with was taking a catch at short extra cover. So all that catching practice we did on holiday at the beach seems to have paid off!