Sunday, November 22, 2009

Paddock news and more 15038

If you're looking for my Legspin Blogs....

Quite a good weekend on the cricket front, Ben and Joe were involved in an Indoor game with their team Basildon against Horndon at Grays. This was their 2nd ever 6 aside indoor game, so I’d said before I left for work in the morning that they should have a knock about when they got in from school and do some bowling and when I got in they were all full of themselves and gagging to prove me wrong and tell me that they had done so as I'd left that morning thinking it was highly unlikely they would.

Whatever the outcome of the toss was their captain Ryan put Ben in to bowl first as they were fielding. The team was made up of 50% boys that are the key players and the best players in the Basildon set up - Jody, Ryan, Killer and Harrison, these kids are leagues in front of my boys in terms of their knowledge and skills with the bat and fielding. I think two of them play at County level for Essex under 11’s .

In Ben’s first over of his 2 allocated overs Ben bowled okay one wide down the Leg-side maybe 2? But generally they were okay with one ball that he got a faint edge to down the off-side which should really have been gloved but the keeper fumbled it and put it down, no-one said anything though understanding that everyone has bad days or makes a mistake every now and then and that in fact although they do want to win this isn’t the Ashes. Joe was second up and he bowled pretty much the same – a couple of wides, but being a slower bowler he got hammered a bit, nice flight though.
What was good to see in Ben's 2nd over was that he almost pulled off a 'Bowled and caught chance' and he went to ground getting his body fully in the way of the ball stopping it going for a four although his team mate Ryan was also on to it and he had it covered anyway. The fact that this is with the plastic training balls and is bread and butter cricket practice for the other boys with Joe and Ben this represents in my opinion a big difference in attitude and it was good to see. Similarly both Joe and Ben caught balls that were thrown from the other ends of the hall and both of them caught them - these are little steps, but they're significant.

The opposition Horndon batted well and seemed to be putting down what looked like an insurmountable score. The ‘Pro’ boys bowled well with Killer taking a wicket hitting the top of off-stump. Harrison had a bad day with the ball but fielded exceptionally well stopping absolutely shed loads of balls. My lads were put at Square leg and point or positions just backward of those. My lads being new to the game and only just having finished their first season are not the most adept fielders yet and were in positions close to the bat where a far higher degree of skill is required to field the ball, whereas the 'Pro’s' were in positions more akin to Mid on and Mid off giving them far more time to gather up the ball and field it.

The game panned out that my younger son who's just turned 8 was left to score 3 runs as the last man standing, the 'Middle order' having done well and got runs on the board, his partner at the other end who still bats but who's runs don't count stopped Joe in the middle and I could see him telling Joe to but the ball into positions like square leg and point! Joe's lucky to even get the bat on the ball let alone decide which direction it's going to go in. Apparently Joe was absolutely crapping himself as up till that point he hadn't been aware of how pivotal his role in the game was and now with 2 balls to go he suddenly became aware of the gravity of the situation, and remember some of his team 'Mates' play the game in with an attitude that makes the Aussies in the Ashes look like a Sunday 3rd XI team. Joe said afterwards "I was poohing my pants nearly - my hands were shaking and all my legs had gone wobbly". Joe had a go but needless to say he didn't get the neccessary runs and his team lost.

Staurday & Sunday

So Saturday and Sunday with the weather being really mild (Saturday it was 16 degrees centigrade at 15.45hrs) we were able to go over to our new practice venue - The tennis courts at The Rec and see if they could improve in their batting and bowling. (See below). I take a couple of cones and mark out the V and try and encourage them to drive the ball through the V and if they do that they get 4 runs whereas all the other fences are 2 runs unless the ball hits it in flight then it's 4 and if they get over the fence it's a six. On Staurday we were joined by a load of their school mates including another kid 'Ben' who could bat quite well so all in all they had a good game and really enjoyed it.

Similarly we did the same again on Sunday but in much colder and windier weather and we were joined by another one of their mates Ozan and he batted quite well and again they enjoyed it and it was good fun. The result hopefully is this will improve their bowling and fielding and maybe even their batting, but no matter how I try and tempt them to drive with a straight bat they're not having it off me! But it's encouraging to see them enjoying a game of cricket, to tell the truth the fence helps as it means the ball never goes that far. I invited Talak and his son as they also live local and his son has joined the Basildon team this summer too, unfortunately he was away in Bury but he sent me a text back saying that he'd come along another time.

If the weather holds out this mild throughout the winter we'll keep going along to this venue and hopefully inspire more kids to get involved and join in. I also intend to use the field adjacent to the tennis courts for our games in the summer as the kids on our local estate didn't seem to be so up for it this summer and besides they're now reaching and age where they'll be able to get over to the Rec under thier own steam anyway and might turn up for a game anyway. But Whenever we've practiced at the Rec in the past we've attracted the attention of groups of kids and they've joined in and many of them because it's a fairly up-market area already play for their schools and therefore can bat and bowl and have their own bats. So it makes sense to make this our primary practice area.

The Paddock

As you can see it's recovered massively from the state it was in at the end of the summer. The only thing I'm doing at the minute with it is raking it and keeping it clear of weeds as this encourages worms. The worms produce a lot of worm casts and this works to make the ground uneven. The levelling looks good and it looks as though it is going to be massively better than last year which was the intention so that we will be able to bat on it. I also noticed today that where I am raking it further up the wicket I'm beginning to have a levelling affect through the raking. The rake seems to be taking the tops off the lumps and then redistributing the earth in the gaps, so at the minute it looks like a win win situation.

Last week I contacted the council bloke who's always been really good with offers of support for me in my attempts to get people into cricket and my request this time was whether there was any chance that the paddock fence could be repaired. He came back with a response really quickly saying that the Fence had already been noted and that it was waiting for approval from local councillors and that if the budget was there it was earmarked for replacement already. So that was good news.

The paddock in September 2009.