Sunday, December 13, 2009

Practice session

At last I had a practice today for the first time in weeks and it went okay, Very accurate varying degrees of turn off the surface in accordance to how I bowled - I do have a variation that turns big and my usual one which turns well and is faster. Threw a few wrong uns that went well, I was more impressed with the line and length than with the amount of turn I was getting off the surface. Threw a couple of the Flipper Top-Spinners they were good both went straight on to the stumps. Normal back-spinning Flippers were rubbish all were full tosses, so I'll have to work at them. All in all a promising looking session. Tried the Biggun with very limited success, there's something there - but it'll need a lot of work.

The Paddock

Here's where all this DIY pitch prep inspiration came from -
I had another look at the paddock today and it looks as though the same person has been on there again since yesterday and the dog has done the same thing. I reckon if I could catch whoever it is that's doing it I'll have a word with them and try and get them to stand somewhere different. I had a walk round the rest of the paddock which was depressing because it now looks like the bit of the paddock that looks to be in the worse state of disrepair is the bloody wicket area! I'm now trying to come up with a different solution to the problem.
As you can see the damage of the 'Dogged' section in comparison of the 'Non-dogged' section nearer the stumps on the Leg Side is obvious.

I went over to my Father in Laws and had a look at his school field (He's the caretaker) as it's being repaired by a professional company and he was saying that a large section of the field was still looking a bit poor because the seed was sewn at the start of a 6 week drought in the summer when it didn't rain once. He was saying that the company are going to put seed down this coming week because of the continuing mild weather. I considered doing the same, but the fact is if the grass does come through it's only going to be ruined by the dog.

I was watching some old video of the 2007 world cup in Jamaica and noticed the Sabina Parl wicket

and how shiny it is and realised that if it wasn't for the dog I could roll the surface now because the surface is so wet and possibly work towards getting it this kind of flat. I think in the short term there's not a lot I can do and I've just got to live with the fact that this damage is obviously going to continue. Timing is a major factor because when I roll it in the late winter or spring I need to do so when it's in the kind of condition it's in at the moment e.g. ultra soft and saturated with water. I reckon too at that stage I should also seed it and then just hope that it slowly dries out without sustaining any more damage from dogs or people. If the grass doesn't take I may have to change tactics and work towards getting as above. The grass that does survive which looks like it's all going to be on the Leg side I'll just have keep ridiculously short. All that aside I came across this article about earth/bulli

Clay mineralogy
Clay soils are composed of secondary minerals derived from primary parent rock minerals during the natural weathering processes. Most of the clay in natural soils is colloidal and which is of a crystalline structure. The crystalline structure can be seen by high-powered microscopy. The crystalline structure of clays are either of a two-layer or a three-layer. The dominant atoms are silicon and oxygen and to a lesser extent, aluminium. The degree and pattern of � soil cracking� during normal wetting and drying cycles of wickets is primarily determined by the type of clay crystalline structure. Clay minerals are basically classified into one of three clay groups. These groups being kaolinite, illite and montmorillonite (smectite). Clay mineralogy is typically determined by X-ray diffraction techniques and differential thermal analysis. Wicket soils are typically composed of each clay mineral in varying proportions. Uniformity of the cracking of the wicket surface is an inherent characteristic within the soil, based on the proportions of each clay type.
The kaolinite clay group comprises a two-layered, rigid structure that does not expand when wet. Illite has a three-layer structure and is another clay type like kaolinite, which does not expand when wet. English wicket soils are largely composed of illite and kaolinite. Montmorillinite or smectite on the other hand is a two-layer structure. Montmorillinite does have space between the layers and which expands when wet. In addition, montmorillinite clays have a greater capacity to exchange cations and which are held in the exchangeable (plant available) form (Donahue et al 1971). Both Bulli and Merri Creek soils are largely composed of smectite. Bulli and Merri Creek soils are alluvial black earths. Collins wicket soil (Sydney) is a volcanic black earth with properties which mirror those of the original Bulli soil.
Clay mineralogy results in linear and volumetric changes of clay soils, which explains their cracking ability. This is readily seen during wetting and drying cycles. High quality clay soils must possess plasticity (ability to be moulded and shaped without rupture) and maintain coherence (ability to remain dense when in a dry and moulded state). Changes in linear and volumetric shrinkage have long been used by civil engineers to characterize the structural stability of soils. Linear and volumetric shrinkage can be readily measured by laboratory methods and is a useful physical measurement to compare unknown soils in order to predict their behavior in the field. Intimate knowledge of the properties of clay soils plays a vital part of wicket preparation to achieve the desired results.
I've just seen that Ryan Giggs has just won the BBC sports personailty of the year. I'm not a big fan of football but I've always liked the way Giggs plays football and I especially like the fact that this bloke is almost double the age of the people he plays alongside and with and he's still there in the Premiership. Well done Ryan Giggs!