Sunday, September 13, 2009

Capricorn cc v Grays & Chadwell cc

Dull, grey and cold and very different from yesterdays hot and sunny weather. The field still having had no rain for in excess of a month was like concrete with barely any grass on it with only the sqaure showing any indication of ever been watered in the last month or so. Again a mix of young blokes and Roy, Bootsie and me. The opposition was probably a more evenly balanced team with a lot more blokes in their 20's and 30's with only 2 kids and their old blokes not as old as our ours. We didn't have any 'Batsmen' that I recognised as being such and certainly no 'Known' openers. We were put into bat and had to open with Roy and Wizard.

Initially because of a real lack lustre response it seemed from the players e.g. when the game was due to start there was only a handful of us there whereas the opposition was there and waiting. The captain today was Bootsie who's real name as far as I'm aware is Mike, he's not that agile in the field but being the olderst player on the pitch he's got a wealth of cricket experience under his belt and potentially a good captain? The game looked to be another write off from the outset. The clubhouse and surrounding area lacked the general buzz you get earlier in the season and it felt like everyone was there under duress. The team wasn't your usual Sunday 2nd team crowd with the exception of Chirpy, Rees and Alex all of the rest of the faces were new or colts that you see in the team on the odd occasion.

In the end I think we had to use two decoys in place of players that didn't turn up. We had 3 old blokes Bootsie, Roy and Me all over 40 and the remainder of the players were mostly under 16's along with Alex McLellan (Wizard) and one of the decoys who looked as though he was in his 30's. The opposition were made up of blokes in the region of 20-35 with one older bloke and the 2 youths of about 13 or 14. These blokes were all of Asian descent so again probably brought up with cricket from the day they were born which I reckon is a fairly safe generalisation. All in all it looked like we'd probably be finished by about 2.30 - one of those kind of games.

So we were put in to bat and with some of our blokes not turning up we started off with Roy and Wizard, yes Wizard the bloke who's usually at No.9 or 10 with me. At this point I thought that the game was definitely a lost cause and more or less gave up on it and just watched half heartedly as Roy put down the initial runs dong quite well. Alex to his credit who is usually a slogger managed to stay in for quite some time making no runs at. The over rate across the first 6 - 9 overs was around 3 so all my expectations were being met. Eventually the wickets began to fall starting with Wizard. But they were then stalled with Rees coming in and batting his way to 50 making that his first 50 ever. Bootsie supported him in that having poor 'Old Bloke' Roy as his choice of runner, so Roy having got us started with a score of 33 running alongside Rees then had to stay out there running alongside him for another hour. Bootsie and Roy did well seeing Rees home to make his first 50. Bootsie was eventually dismissed for 23 and a series of youths joined Rees as he made his way steadily through the overs getting ever closer and closer to his 100. In the end it came down to the last 6 ball and Rees was on 96. It looked like the Capricorn bloke (despite being older enough to realise this was just a friendly and not a must win Test match) was prepared to do anything to deny Rees his 100. From what I heard he was bowling wide, but after some contentios decisions which had the bowler ranting and raving at the umpire (Wizard) and squatting with both fingers pointing at Wizard screaming 'HOWWWWZZZZATTTT'! And then running around with his head in his hands, stamping his feet it came to the last ball. Again the bloke flung it down the wicket as fast as he possibly could, the ball went through Rees seemingly not touching the bat and the wicket keeper missed it completely and yet the hand didn't go up for a bye so Rees must have got a bat on it, he ran down the wicket as the off-strike batsman was screaming Yes! Yes! and Roy was screaming 'Run em up' from the boundary and Rees and the other bloke ran the 2 runs just getting to the crease as the ball came back to the wicket keeper. Meanwhile the bowler was shouting and screaming at his captain arms flailing around all over the place claiming no doubt that it was a bye. He was wrong the umpire saw it clip an edge or a glove and that's why the keeper didn't get to it.
So from what looked like a dead cert losing position I felt that 199 wasn't too bad and that we might give them a run for their money and the game had taken on a far more positive status. Chirpy was opening from the pavillion end and bowled a pile of crap from what I recall, the memory being that he was cursing himself with his head dipped and at times with his head in his hands. My recollection was that he went for a load of wides but the score sheet suggests otherwise. As you can see he took a wicket in the end before Bootsie move him on. Another Youth J Warren was bowling some off-spin and he also took a wicket hitting the stumps and that
removed the youngsters (Pavan and Usman) from the Capricorn side having made no runs off the bat. But the replacements for the youngsters were the two blokes that looked like they meant business, one was the captain and the other bloke was a grey haired geezer who looked like he knew what he was about and sure enough they did and within a couple of overs they were on in excess of 6 runs an over and the game gradually started to slide from our grips.
One by one Bootsie went through his bowling options none of whom was that experienced, the only pace bowlers were Rees and Connor who posted the best figures till Bootsie himself had a go. It's when old blokes like Bootsie step up to the plate you can see how much experience counts in cricket especially with slow bowling. He only bowled 3 overs and went for 3-2-4-2. The four that were scored off his bowling were from a 4 in his first over and then he followed that with 2 wicket maidens! With the introduction of Bootsie and one of the decoys who turned out to be able to bowl half decent medium pace the 2 good players were well and truly stopped in their path to destruction and both lost their wickets to Bootsie.
Having taken no wickets myself and going for 4 - 0 - 30 - 0 I wasn't best pleased with my bowling and ended my spell wondering what it is that I'm doing so wrong. The only consolation was that at one point during one of my overs the bat that scored the 92 (who also bowled spin and had exceptionally good figures of 5-3-2-4) who's name was Ritesh Patel said to the off-strike bat "It's turning - it's like Shane Warne - good drift but slower". At the end of the game disillusioned by my poor performance I stayed outside while everyone else was in the bar and thre some balls trying to establish what was so fundamentally wrong with my bowling that had stopped me getting wickets in the same way that Bootsie and Ritesh had. While I was there the Ritesh bloke came out and had a chat, he'd already said as they'd left the pitch 'Good bowling mate' and again he commended me on my bowling saying that 5 out of 6 of my balls had worried him and that he could see that I had a few varitations. He went on to say that he'd played cricket for over 16 years and that he bowled spin and loved batting against spin saying that it was far more exciting and challenging than facing pace attack. He said that my strength was the accuracy that I had with regards my line and length but then pointed out that I was putting the ball in on the wrong length and that I should bowl slightly shorter with my accuracy. He said Bootsies bowling although it doesn't turn is on a length where the bat either has to come out of his crease and risk mis-timing it or simply block it. 'If you were to bowl that length with the turn you were getting you'll eventually find the edge of the bat, you'd be bowling exceptionally well if you had more overs, you'd have got a wicket in the end because I could sense that you were growing in confidence and you nearly had me three times in one over'. Which was true, he'd hit a ball straight back at me at a Gazillion miles an hour and I got my hand to it but it nearly took my thumb off and I dropped it. A ball later I got the edge of the bat and it went straight to slips where Bootsie had been but he'd moved round to Short Mid Wicket and the next ball - a Top Spinner came off the top edge of the bat and the wicket keeper didn't see it till too late and only managed to get his fingers to it and parried it.
He went on to show me the length to bowl - about another yard more than I normally do which is just a bit out of reach of the bat if he stretches out his bat with his back foot still in the crease. So that was seemingly quite helpful.

Despite the fact that the Capricorn bloke had given me such good feedback and what sounds like some good advice to look into I still felt pretty disillusioned with my bowling although looking everyone elses figures it didn't look that drastic. Anyway once home I got the stumps out and had a go at bowling shorter as suggested and straight off, the line and length was pretty good and obviously not an issue so with a bit of practice I could easily bowl that length. The obvious improvement looks to be that whereas yesterday the bloke would have been stretching forwards with an angled bat and taking everything out of the delivery, this shorter length would be far more likely to find the edge of the bat or perhaps get the batsman out of his ground?
But the final pick me up for all Wrist Spinners hasw got to be this -

It's rained today a bit, not a lot but the promise is for more so this evening after a practice I put down some more topsoil and sewed the seeds. I just hope now that we get some rain in the week and have nice warm weekends. As I said Monday night I was out in the paddock having a bowl and that went quite well, biggest problem seemed to be some of the balls were going Legside and I'm wondering if this was due to drift which I apparently do get but just don't notice because I'm so focused on where the ball is going to land. Good wrong Uns tonight with ridicuous dip as well as massive turn off the wicket and exceptionally accurate. So I'll be after that lefty who plays for Runwell Commoners in the last game of the season.