Saturday, July 31, 2010

The Big Leg Break

I've just written a big update around my perseverence with the Biggun (Big Leg Break) have a look

Don't you just hate it when your counter disappears!

Gutted, I was just coming up to 25,000 hits on my counter or was it 29,000 and it goes and disappears? That's the second time that's happened - what's that all about eh?

Friday, July 30, 2010

The Big Leg-break

So today I've been working on it again. I have a go at it sporadically and always have some degree of success with it - especially if I bowl across a shorter distance. Out side my garage I have a couple of garages with a section of brick wall in between the two doors and I bowl at that pitching the ball miles outside of the wall section (legside) and can turn the ball back onto the wall again and again with real ease. This is over about 10 yards. I'm able to convert that to 15 yards fairly readily out on the paddock and again with good accuracy both line and length. But, it always seems that I have a good degree of success over the 15 yards and then move to 16 yards about 3 or 4 overs later and then 17 and 18 and so on, but then it starts to fall apart and the ball starts going the other way and I then get disillusioned with the inconsistency and the fact that the ball is going both ways despite the fact that it feels like I'm bowling in exactly the same manner. It seems to be that with the extra effort required to get the ball the 22 yards something goes wrong with the release. The overall issue is the lack of patience and the fact that I move on too soon.Giving this some thought I'm now thinking - go back to basics and work on the big flick and even looking at this video I'm aware that my execution of the big inward flick is more compact and controlled which I reckon bodes well. Theoretically, if I keep doing this as much as I can, my muscle memory will start to work and put this down in my brain as the wrist position that it's most familiar with and this may then convert to being the wrist position and action that happens when I bowl? It might turn out to be complete rubbish - but it's worth a go eh?So I worked with it yesterday in the impatient manner and sure enough a good start panned out into a poor conclusion - Big Wrong Uns. So today I did the 10 yard wall practice and then this evening I spent 20 minutes with six balls, a 12 x 12" car mat and a single stump over 15 yards and that went exceptionally well with a potential 75% success rate with good line and length with massive turn. Although tempted to extend the length to 16 yards I stuck with the 15 yards and kept at it feeling for the release and the familarity of the same snap off the fingers I get with the 10 yard wall drill and it worked again and again over the 15 yards. Furthermore I was able to use variations of flight and speed and still get good turn off the wicket. I think what I need to do is make notes and record any discoveries in the nuances of what I'm doing. For instance tonight all this was coming through a single step in and a side on delivery. So I need to return to the same approach tomorrow. I just have to keep thinking 'Richie Benaud - fours years' and be patient.

Bit of practice in the paddock

I've been commenting on the forums about Richie Benuads claim that you'll need to be bowling Leg - Breaks for 4 years before you'll get any real control over them and I'm going with that because I'm still struggling with the Biggun - the one with the big pronounced flick that has the ball leaving the hand with seam at 90 degrees to the direction of flat and tilted forwards slightly to get some drift. As always I have short periods where it happens and I can do it over shorter distances - 18 yards, but can't produce it over 22 yards on a consistent basis. I can always fall back on my normal leg break, but I need to be able to bowl the Biggun in order to install an increased fear factor.

I have seen recently a different style of Leg Breaks from the captian of B&PCC 'Pinno the Spinno' who's bowling looks very unorthodox with a weak follow through, no real 'Explosion' through the action and very slow loopy flight. He gets the ball to turn off the wicket, so I'm assuming he is ripping the ball out of the hand - but he also makes a fair few mistakes - drag downs and pitching the ball off of the cut area sometimes through the amount of effort that he puts into turning the ball. But then when he gets it right he seems to really worry batsmen and it looks as though it's the loopy flight that causes the problems. I noted at Lords when Ben, Joe and I went a couple of weeks back - Marcus Norths bowling was flighty.

As a result of these observations, I may look at this approach and possibly adopt it as part of my bowling variation? Yesterday I bowled in excess of 200 balls on the paddock flighting the ball and getting it to land in a large deep bucket, the flight with a steeply dropping ball is required otherwise the ball hits the side. Overall the drill looks good as a way of working on accuracy and I keep an eye on the balls that land around the bucket to see how well they turn off the wicket and they're still turning okay. I'll try and photograph it or look at video-ing it just to show what I'm doing.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Plantar Faciitis

I've not mentioned this for a while because it bores me to tears that I'm suffering from it and I got fed up of going on about but I've still got it and it seems to be getting worse. For weeks now I've not played a proper game, in part due to the fact that no-one has asked me, albeit apart from 1 or 2 weekends when we were away, but I'm not fussed as I've considered it to be a chance to recouperate and maybe let the heel repair.

Unfortunately that doesn't seem to be how it works and seemingly by not practicing and not playing it seems that then when I do have a bit of a knock about with my kids I then suffer more than I ever have done in the past. At the minute I reckon I'm on my way to being a walking stick user in the not too distant future if it gets progressively worse at the same rate. But what with some holiday coming up and not being able to afford to go away this year it looks like an opportunity to see a physio and get the problem looked at and see if it can be rectified. In the short term I'm getting some relief from it through icing it and have ice foot baths when it's sore. But I want to be able to do something to stop and prevent it rather than fix it short term. I need a long term solution.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

The big heat continues

People have very short memories and I don't suppose that come Dec they'll remember how damn hot it's been this summer. But I reckon we've now had the best part of 2 months almost with virtually no rain. As a consequence the paddock wicket, which for a brief period was lovely and flat has now been reduced to a lumpy dust track. With some rain there may be some hope that the grass may be revitalised into life and the roots beneath the surface that hold the earth together might grow a little and stop the wicket from totally disintegrating.

I can see now how some groundsmen have real trouble maintaining wickets and ensuring that there's a surface to play on. But I reckon if like most wickets if I was able to water the wicket in the paddock it wouldn't be in half the state it is in now. It does look as though without any rain in any one year the paddocks life span may be very short to offer any use as somewhere to bat. With dry weather probably putting an end to batting practice around early to mid June?

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Tom Redfern Update

Tom Refern's updated his brilliant and witty VLOG where he seeks to score a maiden 100. The introduction by his girlfriend is hilarious and then the video entries and his own comments dubbed over the top are just as good. Who needs television when there's this stuff on the internet!!!

Monday, July 05, 2010

The Big Match

There's been a sudden interest in playing Kwik cricket and cricket generally over at the Paddock with the football/estate kids joining in and some of them doing really well. So much so that I ventured that maybe they should all join us over at the Rec in the disused Tennis courts and we'll play there, where the surface is flat and the shape and size of the courts is not dis-similar to playing indoor cricket in a sports hall. So far they're all really up for it and it sounds like we've got a game this Thursday at 7pm. One of them has so far been exceptionally good with both the bat and the ball and is a far better batsman than Joe, Ben and me, but it'll be interesting to see how well he does over 20 yards with proper bowling?

All I've got to do is come up with an idea for a form of the game that's going to keep them all interested and rotating the strike but rewarding those that do well and I think we're going for our partnership 25's game I came up with in the winter. The idea being that the emphasis is on building partnerships, thus reinforcing the need to communicate a la' Joe when batting and scoring singles and running between the stumps.

Initially the forming of the partnerships will be organic, the batting order will be chosen on the basis of their height with the little kids going first forming the first partnerships. The bowling similarly will start with the smaller kids working up too.

Sunday, July 04, 2010

B&PCC U11's v Rayleigh

For some unknown reason I read the email with the instructions for where Ben and Joe's game was going to be as Wickford. So at 09.15 and no-one being there a phone call to Mike Blerkham revealed that we were (as I suspected by now) meant to be somewhere else - Rayleigh. But then there's at least 2 different grounds in Rayleigh and the ground he described wasn't one that I was familiar with. Eventually we got there - thankfully with ease and seemingly not too late as the match didn't get under way for at least another 20 minutes or so and there was one other bloke and his son who did go to one of the other Rayleigh pitches.

So with the weather fine at around 25 degrees centigrade and hardly any wind the game got underway. B&PCC were fielding first which is always my preferred option. Harry Davie opened the bowling with some of his pace bowling. He was unlucky to get another wicket when my Joe (Thompson) was unable to hold on to a ball at Mid wicket. Their batsmen were a bit shakey with their communication between each other and the B&P boys missed out on a few run out opportunities in the first 3 or 4 overs when the ball should have been returned to the bowlers end rather than the wicket keepers.

The impression I had was that they'd put in their better batsmen and they dealt with Harry's bowling quite well, scoring a couple of runs through inept fielding from some of our blokes - primarily not using the long barrier and balls going along the ground on at least one occasion going through 2 fielders hands!

Travis Singelton bowled superbly and could have come away with a wicket but had a dolly dropped off of his bowling. Ben similarly might have taken 3 wickets but had one of his dropped too. He also was hit for 4 which should have been stopped as it went straight to one of our fielders that again must have seen all of the previous runs not being stopped, but still didn't get his leg down for a long barrier which would have limited the runs to a single if that.

The little and younger boys did the best and came away with some good bowling figures, Joe Franks was doing really well bowling off a short run up and tossing the ball up, but then made the fatal mistake of assuming that a long run up and bowling faster would get him wickets, as soon as he did that his bowling went pear-shaped, but he realised and reverted back to slower loopier bowling.

The best of the bowlers were as follows

Joe Thompson with an average of 1.5 + a Wicket Maiden; Travis Singleton with an average of 1.5 + a maiden; Joe Davie average of 1.5 + a wicket; Alfied Davie average of 2.5 + 2 wickets so potentially he might work out overall as the best with good economy but 2 wickets, meaning his strike rate is a wicket per over. Followed by Ben Thompson with the same strike rate but an average of 3.5. Harry Davie works out as an average of 3.3 with a strike rate of 1 wicket every 3 overs. The most expensive was batsman Frank Farrington with an average of 5 with no wickets or maidens.

The most effective bowlers as in real cricket were the slow bowlers, the ones that toss the ball up, that the batsmen have to go after and make some effort to get the ball out of the park. Inevitably in their attempts to make runs and therefore show no respect for the slow bowlers they come unstuck and find themselves losing the game for their team. The pick of our bowlers as with their team were the slow bowlers. Their teams best bowler was James Hedges who was seemingly brought in at the end as an after-thought because no-doubt they're as deluded as most cricket people in assuming fast bowling is the answer to their woes. Maybe people should look at Grimmett, Benaud, Tiger O'Reilly, Murali and Shane Warne and examine their stats before putting on the slow bowlers as an obligation rather than as a strategy? Maybe Anthony Ayres the captain for B&PCC has something about him with regards this captaincy lark and perhaps that's because he's the wicket keeper and he sees what's going on from a different perspective?

At an average of 1.5, a strike rate of a wicket per over and a double wicket maiden I make James Hedges the 'Man of the match'. Well done James Hedges of Rayleigh! I did note that his 2nd over was faster and flatter and you can see the effect this had in comparison with his first over!

Rayleigh held back a couple of their better batsmen and made a spirited attempt at getting the run rate up, they demonstrated some good running between the wickets nicking some singles. Joe Franks was unlucky at the end of the game with a catch dropped at point and Frank similarly unlucky with an edged ball being put down.

Overall the bowling was superb with only 5 wides being bowled throughout everyones innings and the only no-ball was Joe's (Thompson) so that means he actually only went for one run off his 2 overs and incurred 2 runs for a no-ball. Looking again at the scores most of the lads bowled amazingly well with a lot of their runs being incurred though the wides and no-balls!

The conclusion I have to draw from the game is that if you're going to bowl fast, like the Aussie Shaun Tait in the recent 5th day of the one dayers the ball has to be on the stumps. If there's any width the balls going to come off the edge of the bat and go for runs. If you're going to bowl fast you need to practice and practice a lot, but then if you do that as a youngster you're going to cause yourself problems with injuries that might then last a lifetime.

Batting weirdy (Even in Ben's opinion) Anthony put Ben in to open the batting, but that may have been psychology at play, in which case a clever move. Their team seeing Ben take up guard and being one of the bigger and older looking boys in the team may have assumed that they'd be seeing the ball flying to the boundaries on a consistent basis! Ben did well in his first over, he didn't give away his wicket, but didn't make any runs. In his second over he lost his wicket and didn't make any runs, so there's some work to do there. His mistake was being too early on the ball and hitting it straight to cover. Joe on the other hand made 4 runs and was bowled by the slow bowler James Hedges offering up a flighted ball that looked as though it was there to be hit for six, but it was straight and Joe should have erred on the side of caution and blocked it, but his eyes lit up and he could sense the glory of his first boundary and his PB beckoning! A big heave at fresh air and the clatter of bails 1/2 a second later!

The star of the batting was Frank Farrington with 20 off 2 overs including 3 fours and keeping his wicket. Some of the other lads hit fours but had their total somewhat negated by the fact that they lost their wicket once. Harry Davie done exceptionally well scoring 3 x fours and a single bagging himself 13 and not out. Joe Franks and Anthony also batted well but gave away their wickets.

Even though he is my son I've got to mention Joe (Thompson) and his exemplary demonstration of running between the stumps, which I reckon he does better than anyone else and has no interest in keeping strike with pretentions of being better than anyone esle. If there's a run there, he'll take it and let the other bloke, be it bigger or smaller than him, with or without more potential to score runs Joe will run a quick single with a very clear Yes! or No! and waiting or Looking ! when the balls in the field potentially being fielded. As the bowler goes into his delivery Joe's off down the track ready for the quick single, with a very clear yes at the appropriate time creating pressure in the field and keeping the score turning over and his partnership with Joe Franks meant that Joe F was able to hit the fours and put the game beyond the Rayleigh boys.

Joe finishes his innings having put on a brilliant display of how to run between the wickets and communicate with the batsman on strike.

Unfortunately this image above was of Harry Davey Ben and Joe, but because of issues relating to child protection Harry Davey has had to be omitted. Simialrly there was a good image of Anthony Ayres I'd have used but can't.

Saturday, July 03, 2010

The paddock needs some rain

What with the Kwik cricket and the continuing hot weather 30 degrees again today, the paddock is falling to bits and crumbling. The area where the batsman stands is a dust bowl and is getting more and more hollowed out and looking more like a dip. You can obviously fill it in and water it, but without there being any grass roots to bind it all together it just dries, cracks and disintegrates within a week or so with just a little light use. With heavy use it can go from a sound surface to a dust bowl in a matter of hours and I can see now why concrete wickets and matting are a popular option in places like Australia.

It also kind of reinforces the need for me to develop a batting end at the other end of the wicket this autumn in order that we can leave the currently used end to recover and for the grass to re-establish itself and for a root system to bind the surface together and improve the chances of the wicket surviving heavier use the following year. Realistically we need to have a couple of strips, but there's no way that this could happen in the paddock -or maybe?

Friday, July 02, 2010

Kwik cricket

We've got the estate kids playing Kwik cricket at the moment in the paddock, but what with the fence being only 8' high we're potentially losing balls. Ben got the most runs tonight in one of his innings scoring 29 and that was almost off of just nurdling the ball into close in areas where there wasn't a fielder. I spoke to him tonight about whether he saw that as a potential tactic in a proper game and he seemed not convinced. Both Ben and Joe have been picked to play in a game against Wickford this Sunday, so fingers crossed they'll play as well as they did in their last game where both of them maintained their wickets, scored runs and took wickets with their bowling. I noticed tonight that Ben bowls the occasional Leg Break with a degree of accuracy and intention.

All I need to do is try and get this bunch of kids over the Rec and in the tennis courts and we could have a proper game with running between the stumps and half decent field settings and good bowling and wicket keeping.