Wednesday, April 28, 2010

10 steps back

It's Wednesday and I've not even picked up a ball all day - not even to flick. The only thing I've done which is cricket related is to say that I'm not playing this Sunday at Chalkwell Park and I've mowed the wicket in the paddock. I dropped the blades even further and gave it a really short cut and then said to Ben and Joe that tomorrow night we'll have a bat on there. The only thing is all the local kids seem to have taken to playing football in there in the early evening whereas I'm pretty sure that last year they'd have been on the football pitch just across the way?

Last night I bowled and it was pretty shameful in that I couldn't do anything consistently apart from bowl very innocuous small turning leg breaks on the off-stump. The thing is - I thought that this was pretty much what I was doing last year and yet I was taking wickets galore and yet this year I've been taken to task so far. After last nights bowling where I was showing a tendency to bowl wrong uns when I made any effort to spin the ball big I've decided not to bowl tonight and see if that helps in some way?

When I get back to it I'll be trying to bowl the Biggun and I'll be setting up the other set of spring back stumps and putting them in front of the actual stumps in the position of the batsman and I'll be trying to bowl round the back of them from outside of leg.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Slowly but surely

I had another poor game on Sunday with no wickets but slightly better figures, but I'll blog about that later. With the fact that I'm bowling so badly it seems far more important that I get the Big Leg Break sussed. I spend varying amounts of time with it and have differing levels of success with it, but there's a few little things that are coming together.

1. The length, I'm gradually getting the length and during some sessions I can bowl it and get it to turn big off of 22 yards, but most of the time I'm working at 20 yards.

2. The accuracy isn't horrendous bad and if it doesn't turn it generally goes on to hit or just misss the stumps or slightly worryingly it'll be a wrong un instead that goes the other way almost as good as the leg break! The subtleties in the wrist position are exceedingly difficult for me to perceive still, which seems to bode well for the future if I can get this sussed, because it feels to me as though I'll only need to change the wrist position a smidge and the ball will do other things?

With my old style bowling I'm still being tonked everywhere because there just seems to be so little turn off the wicket whereas over the winter and even now using a Hockey Ball on concrete or tarmac I can get the ball to turn, so maybe because of the nature of the dimple plastic ball it does grip the surface and assist the spin? Maybe with my own bowling I'm landing the ball on the smooth area of the ball. What I have noticed about some of my own bowling is that it's not spinning through the air that much - but somehow it still turns okay. Maybe when I'm practicing I float it in a bit slower whereas when faced with a batsman I'm less inclined to float the ball in and I'm bowling a lot flatter?

Tonight I was bowling the Biggun and there were degrees of success, when it turned it did so massively and when it didn't it went straight or the other way. But again as with recent sessions the accuracy was pretty decent along with the length. So I'll continue to plug away slowly.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

I reckon we must be in to week 4 of a very dry and sunny spell here in the UK and as you can see our practice wicket in the Paddock is drying up and big cracks are appearing just short of where I bowl. I gave it a mow this morning with a lowered blade. I've left the middle of the wicket for the moment but I may finish it off tomorrow. The bowlers end though is a bit of a mess - very uneven in comparison with the batting end and if it rains heavy over the summer I'll look to trying to improve it and level it out a bit more.
I've got an away match tomorrow and I'm not 100% sure where it is, so I wont actually know till I turn up at the pool and find out where the venue is. Lets hope I can be more effective than I was last week?

Friday, April 23, 2010

The Big Leg-Break

This is slowly coming together, I don't think it's something I can rush. I'm currently in a poor form stage with my bowling, but I had a couple of hours today, including half an hour in the Paddock bowling in my normal manner not trying to do anything special and that was pretty good. Then later I went over to another field and towards the end of the session I focussed on bowling the Big Leg-Break. I put a single stump in the ground and then another with a bag over the top of it a yard & a bit in front of the single stump blocking the view of the single stump. I then tried pitching the ball legside turning it round the back of the bag/stump - it went okay - it looked quite promising - with a set of three stumps I reckon I'd have hit them a few times. This was over about 18-20 yards I reckon.

Match Sunday, so hopefully I'll be able to do something a bit better this week?

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Not as bad as I thought

Here it is the bowling figures from Sundays game. Having looked at them I feel an awful lot better about the whole situation now. They've got me on here as Johnson, so as you can see I went for 11, 15, 16, 5 and 10 - fifty seven off of 5 overs works out at 11.4 an over which is half as bad as I thought it was going to be. Just experiencing those 6's right from the 1st ball was obviously massively psychologically damaging, I'd come away feeling like Dan Von Brunger who got hit for 6 sixes by Herschelle Gibbs in the 2007 world cup. My team mate Wayne who's an off-spinner who varies his speed massively and gets good Off-spin only did slightly better than me with 9.5 and he's a far more experienced player than me, so that's some consolation as well.

All at sea

Had an hour out in the paddock tonight. Most of the time was spent trying to bowl the Big Leg-break. Worked intermittently over a short distance - 15 yards, but any more than that and I lost it completely quite quickly. I keep saying this, but I suppose I'll have to work at it at a short distance for some time before I move up to the next stage. Maybe I'll try 16 yards for a few days and see what happens and move up in increments of 2 yards at a time. Realistically I could come up with a 4 week plan, bowling a whole week at each length seeing if I can get it sussed at each of the lengths before moving on? Something needs to be done, because whatever the changes are that I've made with my usual bowling action, they seemed to have improved my accuracy, but not the amount of turn I get off the wicket. It's all a bit depressing at the minute, but I'll have to see how it goes over the coming week and maybe ask to bowl last so that I'm only subjected to the tail enders in my next match just as a precaution?

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Back to the drawing board.

I don't have the exact score but a rough score will give you some idea what kind of a day I've had with my first game of the season......

Hornchurch 369 for 4 and in reply we were 54 all out. One of their openers scored 220! It was the worst bowling performance I've ever come up with in any game it was like this for all six overs. The final two did get better, but by then it was far too late. Now the excuses...... The bloke that scored 220 was a 1st team player No.3 batsman and it wasn't just me that he took apart, although I reckon I was the worst by far.

So, what now? I've not felt like I've been on form for the last week or so, so that may be a contributory factor. I've also been mucking about with the way I bowl, my action, the way I grip the ball, the rotation and more and over the last week all it's really done is messed my bowling up. Other people have said to try and lose the skip that I do when I bowl and basically I've been listening to loads of other people and trying loads of different stuff out. The main thing is - I've just not felt comfortable in my overall action.

Most of the stuff that I bowled today were full tosses and half-volley type balls, the pitch didn't offer any bounce, so I'd imagine that worked against me as normally the irregular bounce causes problems and a lot of the shots were playing the ball from the off-side hitting it out to deep mid-wicket or rather about 50' over the top of deep mid-wicket. I only bowled 2 wides and they were both down the off-side. The ball wasn't turning much either and the wrong uns which came out okay were being hit 50' over the top of deep square leg. None of it was good, 80% was just simply too long, loads of full tosses - just a total disaster.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Wrist Spin frustration

Managed to bowl a lot today 3 or 4 seperate sessions all of them kind of frustrating. It may be the nature of the wicket in the Paddock, but I'm not getting a great deal of turn off the wicket at all. In recent months with the practice on tarmac using Hockey balls I've been getting the ball to turn very well, but on grass with a seamed ball it seems a bit inconsistent. My accuracy is good, but the turn I get with my leg-break seems a bit minimal and I've not been that happy with it. Maybe I need to go back to hockey balls and just see if it works with them or whether I've changed something in my action that means I'm not spinning the ball which is what I suspect is what's happening because if I try and bowl my wrong un it turns beautifully.

What I have been doing is trying to work with my over-rotation and limit that as that's the likely cause of my feet/calf muscle problems and people are suggesting that if I don't over-rotate I might get more spin. But the evidence today has been that I get the ball to turn more off the wicket if I stick to my natural way of bowling with the over-rotation.

I've just had a look at the John F Cooke you tube video of Beau Casson bowling and noticed that maybe my follow through isn't that strong? Casson brings his arm through powerfully and then it tucks up - whereas my arm kind ends up dangling loose after a bit of a follow through. The other thing in the Casson video is the use of cones to try and train you to not to rotate, funnily enough the main bloke David Freedman demonstrates a drill to increase power in the follow through and massively over-rotates.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

The kids were away today at the beach with some friends and my wife leaving me at home to have a bit of practice. It ended up being a frustrating couple of hours with nothing going particularly right. Extremely accurate, but not a lot of turn with the leg-breaks. The wrong un on the other hand turns like Shane Warnes ball of the century nearly every time! After about an hour of persisting with the Leg-Break it eventually started to come good with a far more relaxed approach and a looser grip. So for the latter 3rd of the session I was back on form, but I was still trying all sorts of things and never really found a good groove where I felt I was bowling with a
degree of ease. At the end, for an extra 10 minutes or so, I had a go at the Biggun having been practicing it up against the garage and it working well. The same success was initially found over about 15 yards but I then quicky changed up to 17, 19 and 22 yards and it went to pieces again. I find that the more effort I put into bowling it the more it has a tendency to be a wrong un.

Later in the day I had another 1/2 an hour bowling just the Biggun over fifteen yards and that went fairly well. This delivery in comparison with my other Leg-Breaks is fundamentally different. To the point where maybe my usual Leg-Breaks may not even be Leg-Breaks, but might be defined as Leg-Cutters because they do not use Philpotts much vaunted 'Flick'? Maybe it's the case that because I've had the 'Googly syndrome' I'm still really struggling to produce what Philpott would call a proper Leg-Break with the big wrist flick, I can do it with the Wrong Un easily and it turns massive and with such ease, but getting the wrist and fingers to flick so the ball comes out as a Big Leg-Break I'm finding very difficult. Having said that it's coming together slowly. This second session I just stuck to bowling over 15 yards and for about 66% of the time I'd say that it worked well and it turned massively. The rest of the time it went straight or come out as Wrong Uns. I'll stick to 15 yards and just see if I can get it working well over that distance far more consistently before I mover on to bowling a longer

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Wrist Spin Bowling: Day 13 of 18

Wrist Spin Bowling: Day 13 of 18

Day 13 of 18

Cloudy and overcast today at the minute, may clear later. Things to do this morning, we're off to Decathlon to replace the balls that were lost yesterday and buy a few other items. I've got to pay the boys club membership at their club - Basildon and Pitsea Cricket Club and then mayb this afternoon we can carry on with our game. The good news is that when I got up Joe reminded me that it was his turn to bat, so that's a good indication of how enthused he is as well, so this current format that we're practicing in and the all the work preparing the wicket in Paddock does seem to be paying off.

Noticed I had another friend added - which might see my views increase even more. If you're reading this and you're looking for links or opportunities to ask questions about cricket you should try - sign up and started asking questions or maybe even answering other peoples questions.

Didn't get to play cricket till later and we carried on with our game. Joe was doing okay but wasn't hitting the ball cleanly so gave up after about an hours worth of batting but he did okay. Our pitch marking paint came and later in the day we painted up the crease, so now we've got a crease to work with. When Joe's bowling to Ben he often tempts Ben out of his crease and there's often a chance for a stumping, but the issue of no crease line makes the decisions disputable, hopefully tomorrow we'll have some stumpings that are given. Another ball has been lost today, so there's 4 out there now, I'm going to have to plot where they are and get in amongst the undergrowth with a rake and a machete and see if I can find them! We did notice today with the new white balls that they tended to stop quite quickly in the undergrowth and not travelled as far as we'd imagined, so that's something to consider when I have a proper look for them.

I practiced properly today and it went well, exceptionally good accuracy with the Leg-Breaks and the Wrong Uns. The back-spinning Flipper is a bit of a risky ball because it takes one or two REALLY bad balls to get the hang of it, but then it's okay, I'm still not that convinced that it's a particularly good ball though. I had a go at the 'Biggun' but it was a disaster - coming out as a wrong un rather than a Leg-Break so I gave that up, I'll have another go some other time. Overall though it was a 9 out of 10 type of practice and my bowling I would say is far better than it was last year. I've just got to wait now and see if I get a game this Sunday.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Day 12 of 18

Another lovely Spring day with the temperature hovering around 15 - 16 degrees. If it wasn't for a NE wind it would probably be in the mid 20's, but can't complain. We invented a new game today for the Paddock 'Test cricket' where one player plays the role of the whole batting team and therefore is in for 10 dismissals. The other two - Joe and me, we just had to bowl Ben out and Ben mid way through it was saying things like 'I like batting' which before now was not something Ben ever said! We bowled him out for 118. We score runs on the basis of whether he gets the ball over or past the fielders marked out by cones and how fast the ball comes off the bat. It worked out well with all of us really enjoying it and playing cricket today for probably 5 hours!

Joe marking out his Middle stump using a bail to make a dent in the ground a la Sanath Juyasuriya. You clearly see that with only a few days cricket we've worn the grass away already at the batsmans end. There's no hope really of it recovering, so we'll just have to have a dusty wicket. What I may do though is move the wicket forward possibly and bat at the other end just so that we wear that down to the earth layer in order that we then expose the uneveness of the surface beneath the grass with a longer term plan of flattening that out as well?
Joe faces one of Ben's increasingly faster and straighter balls.

We lost 3 balls today, which'll cost us at least 10 quid to replace. The other option is that we put the net up on the On-side to prevent the balls going into the woods. We may get lucky though, because in the past the foxes in the woods have weirdly retrieved the balls leaving them out in the open in the paddock!

I filmed myself bowling today and it was inconclusive as I was bowling either at Joe or Ben was wicket keeping with no helmet, so I wasn't bowling with full commitment. The stumps are only about 6' in front of the fence so if you're wicket keeping you're on top of the stumps almost. Joe copped one of Ben's fast balls in the face today, fortunately as we're using real balls he had the helmet on and came to no harm, but if he hadn't had it may have been a concussion job and 2 black eyes. I've ordered another helmet last night, so maybe anyone who's wicket keeping can wear a helmet as well.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Day 11 of 18

Busy cricket day today. We lowered the blades on the mower and cut it again and rolled it in the evening. I had a bowl in the morning after it had been cut and it's pretty good, straight balls go straight and at the minute I'm finding it tricky to get any substantial turn off the wicket.

The wicket was so good Ben spent more than an hour and half batting on it which by far the longest he's ever spent batting so that's a good omen as normally he'll get 'Bored'. Joe similarly with me bowled more than an hour and Ben bowled for 1/2 an hour as well. Both of them have improved a lot since last summer Ben is just a lot faster and probably more accurate with his bowling and hopefully he'll do really well for his team this year? It looks as though all the work done over the winter may be paying off with the bowling and a little with the batting. Both of them still tend to swing at the ball all the time rather than trying to play straight shots or blocks when the ball is on the stumps, but I reckon in time they'll get the idea, but in the short term their confidence at the minute is relatively high as they're both getting some bat on the ball. We'll have to wait and see, their outdoor training starts next monday and tonight is my last net session indoors for Thurrock CC.

I've ordered some stuff off of ebay - a helmet so that Ben and Joe don't have to share the same one and Joe/Ben can wear it behind the stumps at the Paddock - I noticed today that you have to keep right up on the stumps and if it's edged it could easily get up into your teeth! I've also got pitch marking paint on order and hopefully that'll come either tomorrow or Wednesday. I might even look into buying a set of wicket keeper pads for Joe and Ben for using over at the Paddock?

Just back from my nets session, it went OK, there wasn't that many people there. My accuracy was good, the wrong un was coming out nice and turning, but the leg break although turning wasn't doing too much at all, still worked fine though, would have got most of the blokes out easily 2 or 3 times over with catches, hit the stumps a couple of times as well, so quite happy with the outcome. It may have been better if I'd had more grip with my trainers as they were slipping all over the place which wasn't helping at all.

Paid my membership fees today 55 quid and there's a game this Sunday, from what I'm hearing I'm a bit sceptical as to whether I'll get a game, so I'll just have to wait and see and keep in contact with Wayne.
Last week the Paddock was so wet that the middle of the wicket had ducks sitting in it sifting through the water with their beaks and this week - look..... cracks already. I suppose this is because it's 99% clay. The image here is at the bowlers end but up around the wicket it's pretty much the same story as well. I'd imagine this'll eventually become crumbly and turn to dust?

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Day 9 and 10

Nothing has been happening as we'd gone oop North to Derbyshire. Played cricket with the kids and had a bit of a practice in the nets at West Hallam as mentioned before. Before I mentioned the fact that I couldn't bowl in the nets that well because they were simply too low. How can we ever train kids to bowl spin when the practice facilities are designed with fast bowlers and batsmen in mind? No wonder we're so low on good quality spinners when the practice facilities fail to cater for anyone that wants to learn the craft.

Got home tonight almost in the dark and was hoping to have a look at the Paddock and see how it was looking after a its mowing and rolling. Unfortunately even though it was dark there was a bunch of kids on there playing football. Hopefully it'll have survived and they've not been wearing boots with studs in. With a bit of luck we might get another rolling session in and perhaps cut it again?

Friday, April 09, 2010

Day 8 of 18

Got up this morning and it was warm and sunny, the boys had their hair cut over at a place near Great Berry Open Space, so when we'd done that we went over and had a pitch inspection and I took a few photo's. The ground over there since the last visit has dried out considerably and is more or less ready to be rolled and maybe cut as well. I'm only going to do it if the other bloke who is up for it gets involved and is there when I do the cutting and rolling, as I don't want a situation where we end up having a run in with the blokes at the Pavillion. As he's a member there hopefully he'll be able to liaise with them and clear it and get their support? I'll have to see how it goes over this coming week?

Once back having seen how much that field had dried out, we had a look at the Paddock and we decided that the time was right for the first mowing of the year and a good roll. Joe, Ben and I got the roller and the mower over there and we did the work and spent over half an hour cutting and rolling. It's very obvious that the work that was done over the summer and through the Autumn at the bowling end has made a massive difference as that area is very good with regards flatness, then as you walk towards the bowling end it get progressively worse. By the time we finished though it was looking pretty impressive and looking like what it is meant to be. We've just got to keep our fingers crossed now that other people don't get on there and take the Mick and ruin it. The weather looks to be good over the next few days with it staying warm (Today was 18 degrees centigrade and sunny) so hopefully it'll dry out and the grass will recover a bit from the rolling. We shot a few pictures and when I get some time I'll upload those as a visual progress report.

Later in the day we found ourselves up North at a place called West Hallam and had the opportunity to bowl in the nets there,-4.064941&sspn=18.252022,32.519531&ie=UTF8&hq=&hnear=West+Hallam,+Ilkeston,+Derbyshire,+United+Kingdom&ll=52.965664,-1.362999&spn=0.001139,0.003007&t=h&z=19

I bowled with the kids for a while and they eventually wandered off and went exploring in the nearby woods leaving me to bowl with the Hockey Balls I'd brought up. I soon found that I couldn't bowl that well in the nets at my full capacity because the height of the nets was about 3 metres and I flight the ball a lot with dip, so I was hitting the top ceiling net 50% of the time. I decided to bring the stumps to the front of the net and try bowling the 'Biggun' and was soon up to 22 yards. I made some interesting observations - the more loose and relaxed I am with the Biggun right through the body the better it seemed to work. I have to be quite specific with the placement and position of the fingers otherwise it goes straight, but the rest of the body seems to need to be very fluid and relaxed and acts like whip does. The power comes through the body in a really smooth fluid manner and the crack at the end of the whip is like the rip out of the Fingers. When it works it turned really well and this was with a seamless ball that my usual Leg break approach wasn't producing any spin. So an interesting session giving me more incentive to work with the Biggun.

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Day 7 of 18

Nothing doing today, my best mate Dave Ashwell died on March 28th aged 48 and he was buried today in Surrey.

Once home this evening I had a look at the Paddock as the weather has been warm today with back to back blue skies and sunshine and it's in a state where I could mow it and roll it tomorrow morning, so I'll aim to get that done.

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Day 6 of 18

Damp today, very fine drizzle.

24hrs later...... The Big Leg-Break In the drizzle I went over to an old tennis court near me with the Hockey Balls and had another go and extended the length to 20 yards. It went okay and looks promising in the longer term. Line was generally good, length was a bit iffy and the consistency of the release technique was erratic. Additionally over the longer distance with the need to propel the ball faster the sting was being taken out of the turn off the wicket a bit, but it was still bigger than my usual leg-break and this is with a ball with no seam. The longer term prospects look promising.

Towards the end of the practice I was joined by an old bloke Gerhardt a South African and took up the role as wicket keeper and he was very impressed with my ability to turn the ball both ways at will. My Wrong Un was going exceptionally well - going back to the loose grip method I used to use and man was it turning and pretty accurate as well on the Off-Stump. My usual Leg-Breaks were good - very accurate Off-stump line and length, so things are looking very promising for the start of the season. There was a chance that I could have played this weekend but we're away -going up to Derby to go to Alton Towers, but I've indicated that I want to play on the 18th of April, so hopefully Wayne will get back to me and let me know?

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Day 5 of 18

Another sunny day and the sense that spring is really here with the temperature in the 16.5 centrigrade region and back to back sunshine all day right up till 19.00 hrs. So much sun that I've got a sun burnt forehead. For much of the day from about 10.30 this morning we've been outdoors, so that's been good. First up our usual session over at The Rec in the old tennis courts and the usual fun. I've been teaching Ben and Joe to recognise the release from hand with the Leg-Break and the Wrong Un, because Joe keeps copping it in the face and the body with my Wrong Un, which is coming out of the hand particularly well, which bodes well for the start of the season.

The rest of the day I've spent over on the Paddock trying to bowl the Biggun with some real success over a short distance. It's still not dry over there, so I've been bowling from the middle of the wicket towards and beyond the bowlers end. I didn't measure out the distance I was bowling over but it must be around 15-16 yards. I'm getting a seamless (Hockey Ball) to turn 45 degress, but the good news is the Line is looking consistent and very promising. If I can keep at it over the holiday and have the Big Leg-Break as my development ball, there's a good chance I may beat my objective of getting sussed by the end of the season and may have it working at the start of the season. Currently though, it feels like a ball that I would have to bowl almost all of the time to keep it working, but that may change as I get used to it and get it sussed. I've had three short sessions today bowling it and each time I've gone back to it, it's not taken that much work to get it working well again - maybe 6 balls?

Paddock News

Still very wet around the middle of the wicket and because I'm watching it every day, the grass doesn't appear to be growing at all. I contemplated rolling it today as the surface of the earth in certain places is now beginning to dry up and crack a little. I'll probably let it dry for another day and maybe roll the wet bit tomorrow night if it looks okay. I may also cut it soon as well as the grass is beginning to get long now and the shorter grass may help to dry it up? We're busy tomorrow so possibly a rest from cricket during the day with a short window of opportunity in the evening, I'll be looking forward to seeing whether I can go straight into bowling the Big Leg-Break and maintaining the line?

Monday, April 05, 2010

Day 4 of 18

Another dry day and blustery with it, so the Paddock would have dried considerably today? I went over and had a look and sure enough it looks a whole lot better than it has for the last 4 or 5 days or so. Further more the grass seed has sprouted and there's evidence of new growth on the wicket up around the stump area. I've got a feeling that now leaves me with a new dilemma in that after this bout of rain the wicket will need to be rolled again and I'm not sure how this brand new grass is going to survive a roller? Given how wet the wicket is I can't really see that I'll be able to roll it for at least another 5-7 days, so the new growth will be able to establish itself a bit before the next rolling?

Another exceptionally good day with Ben and Joe with them both really enthusiastic about their cricket at the minute and they're really enjoying it with both of them batting and bowling better than they have ever done. We had one of the scenarios going where I was the last Aussie batsman needing to score 24 off of 2 overs, the first over with Joe bowling I got up to 16. Ben then bowled 2 balls that I couldn't get hold of and I was swinging wildly to try and hit him for 4's. Ben bowled slightly wide of off meaning that I again was lured into swinging at it and the ball just clipped the top edge and Joe gloved it, they were well chuffed at their good work!

Me and Joe were working Ben over with my Leg breaks, Joe taking loads of edges and Ben just not knowing what to do. My Wrong Un was coming out lovely, turning as big as and bigger than my Leg Breaks, so that was good to see.


After tea I went back over to the tennis courts with the Hockey Balls and spent an hour bowling 95% Leg-Breaks and working with my three variations - Flipper, Top-Spinning Flipper and the Wrong Un. I'm still a bit rusty with the Flippers, but everything else was coming out well, turn was good and accuracy (Line and Length) was very good so I'm shaping up well. There's been talk of setting fields on the Spin Forum and I'm probably going to set my own field this year as I feel like I've got some sense of what I'm doing and how I'm going to achieve it.

Sunday, April 04, 2010

Day 3 of 18

Weather slightly better today, very light and short showers with some fairly long spells of sunshine. Tomorrow looks like more of the same with an increase in sunshine, but we're still some way off of being in a position to where we could roll the paddock.

Similarly the idea that we might start to think about rolling a wicket on Great Berry Open Space ready for the summer is literally dead in the water. The whole field is saturated with a lot of places having 1/2" of standing water on the surface. Other than that though I do like that field and there is the prospect that if we were to establish a wicket there Keith and others might actually use it in the evenings and we could get a good little crowd going over there in the evening? It's definitely something to ponder and to keep an eye on.

Didn't get to have a full-on focused type practice, but went over the Rec to have a knock about with Ben and Joe. Joe at the minute is the in-form player both with the bat and the ball, he bowled me out getting 2 wicket maidens against me and bowled Ben out a couple of times. Added to that he scored 19 off his 2 overs today beating both me and Ben. Then later he was asking me to bowl him bouncers so that he could practice his Ricky Pointing hook shots, which to be fair he did pretty well, he's also picked up hitting the ball down the leg-side in the same way that Ben has. I was able to try a new batting technique which I'll keep practicing and may try out in the nets next week?

Saturday, April 03, 2010

18 Days of practice Day 2

More rain over-night and as if to just exaggerate and demonstrate how wet the wicket is these two turn up...........They appeared to be sifting through the mud and water - probably eating my seeds or grass shoots!

The remainder of the day stayed dry and I went over the tennis courts and had a good hour or so with Joe practicing all sorts of things - throwing at the stumps, which he got better at, catching, bowling and some batting. He did well with is batting - especially off of the spin he was rocking back onto the back foot and watching where the ball went then hitting it. Not so good though when I bowled the wrong un. But overall it was a good session which seemed to increase his confidence. He also bowled me a couple of times when I was batting - sneaking the ball between the bat and my pads.

The forecast for the next few days looks to be drier, lets keep the fingers crossed.

Friday, April 02, 2010

18 days of practice - Day 1

So, what with being a lecturer it has its advantages in that I get a lot of holiday and it turns out that I need to take the full two weeks off over Easter and I'm not due back in till the 19th of April. So if the weather holds out I can get some full-on practice going and see if the calf muscles and foot hold out...........

This morning after a week of rain I had a look at the Paddock to see how that's fairing and it looks like winter again as the middle of the wicket, where fast bowlers would bowl bouncers is a swamp again. There's no sign of the grass coming through but I'm optimistic that it will over the next couple of weeks. The end that has been treated and rolled is holding up well and hasn't sustained any more damage. So it's fingers crossed now that the weather shapes up and we have some dry weather and sunshine to get the grass growing.

Shortly after it poured down again for about an hour and eventually it stopped and we went over the tennis courts and had a knock about - Ben, Joe their mate Ozan and me. The one extra bloke made a difference to the game in that we then were in a position where we played with 2 batsmen.

Later I went back on my own with the hockey balls and bowled for an hour. Earlier in the day I'd been experimenting with a variation of my grip using an extreme version of the grip that comes through with the wrist in the karate chop position with an exentuated release off the 3rd finger and it worked well over shortish distances but was less consistent over the 22 yards, but when it turned it did so really well and when it didn't turn is seemed to be coming out as a top-spinner with lots of bounce? Over the hour it seemed to be fairly accurate, so that's something I'll stick with for a while. I also bowled with the hand coming through very palm forward and coming off the 3rd finger and that was also really good. Overall everything was working well - Conventional Flipper was accurate with in-swing and then breaking like a small Leg-Break, Top-Spinning flipper was fast and accurate and the Wrong un worked well every now and then, but was the least consistent. Overall it was a 9/10 practice so pretty good.

Got back in and did some warming down with the calf muscles and I see how I am in the morning.