Thursday, December 29, 2011

Sidearm - Cricket

Gutted, somehow I've lost my adverts, so I'm not getting paid for my blogging at the minute and I've just realised that I can increase my income through blogging my writing entries like this one - ah well never mind, I'll have to try and figure out how to reinstate my ads.

So, on our joint Christmas present list was the 'Sidearm Pro'..

Which as you can see is like one of those things you see people chucking balls around for dogs. But these things which retail for around £30 here in the UK are longer and more rigid in the arm than your cheap dog jobs and enable old gits and spin bowlers to get their own back when using against seam bowlers (My Older son Ben). If you've seen people on fields with the Dog versions of these you wouldn't immediately see that they'd have any real application in cricket, but if you check this link here you'll see that they have very useful applications in cricket training, primarily bowling, but if you look at the other side arm links on Youtube you'll see that its usable in fielding and wicket keeping too.

We've only had it a few days and I've been practicing with it for probably an hour now just using a single ball and I'm able to get the ball within inches of the off-stump fairly regularly. Ben my older son has also got the hang of it quickly and its going to be a boon to him as neither my younger son Joe or I can bowl any where near quick and as a result Bens batting skills are limited. Hopefully, if both Joe and I get the hang of using the side-arm our batting is going to improve?
One of things that seems to be implied with the Sidearms is that the pro version is only usable with cricket balls but we've been using it perfectly well with windballs and hockey balls and I'd say that if you were going to get one go for the pro version which seems to give you more options.
You can get them from here
This afternoon I had a go on my own with a bucket of 12 hockey balls and that went really well. With a little more practice I'm going to be pretty adept at using this Side Arm, I just need to get Ben and Joe using it as well so that I can face some fast stuff! It'll be interesting to see if these turn up at the club as they seem to be pretty useful bits of kit. The only thing is, they negate the need for a bowler, so if one of these was being used in a net, it would deny bowlers the opportunity to have a bowl. They're really batting training specific, so in the context of a club situation they would possibly deny bowlers the chance to have a bowl?

Check out my other blog here - this is all about Leg-spin bowling and nothing else. Double click on the image below.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Welcome aboard G-Man!

I've been away over Christmas, so haven't had the chance to Blog and have just logged on for the first time in a week or so and noted I have another follower who I believe could be G-Man from Basildon & Pitsea Cricket Club! Cheers for your endorsement Graham, hope you have a look in every now and find something useful or entertaining!

Check out my other blog here - this is all about Leg-spin bowling and nothing else. Double click on the image below.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Leg Spin Bowling - Drift

Drift - Leg Spin Bowling (Work in Progress)

Also see this new post here with details and links relating to Top-spin and Drift and the use of scrambled seam -

Update 26th April 2012 - That's not bad this comes up 5th in the Google search for Spin Bowling Drift. Please note that this is work in progress and doesn't at this point include a conclusion. At the moment it is primarily as series of links to videos and articles all looking at and trying to explain Drift. The reason it's here is that I'm trying to come up with an explanation that I'm comfortable with that the layman and the aspiring spinner can grasp without having a degree in Physics.

Strewth! I've been looking through all those physics papers, looking at Laminar flow and the magnus effect, I looked at Pencil Crickets blog where he's put in a massive effort to shed some light on the matter and just now I've looked at Woolmers book "The Art and Science of Cricket". Now... Bob Woolmer was a man with a lot of connections in cricket and there's a pretty extensive list of people that helped him on that book along with a massive bibliography that cites all sorts of sources. But despite this when it comes to both seam bowling and swing and more so in the case of 'Drift' he concludes with the fact that there isn't enough scientific data to actually pin down either of these phenomena and explain fully why they happen.

Dip and the ball staying in the air with back-spin - that's kids stuff, I can't see why anyone would dispute that and it's easy to put into practice and see it happen, but drift, with the ball drifting in the opposite way to the way that it spins... that's just screwed. What doesn't help either - and I don't know if anyone else sees it in the same way as me, but the illustrations in Woolmers book in the spin section seem to completely miss the relevance of the seam with regards to the direction the ball is spinning? So on that note I declare that I've given up on trying to get my head round this whole issue and join the 'Spin hard' brigade and hope that it drifts!;)

Maybe I'll engage with discussions on empirical observations over at One parting glimmer of hope that I'll maintian some interest in this is that - Woolmer in his analysis of Warnes BoC proposes that the ball was spin at almost 90 degrees to the direction of flight and that the axis of the spin was either tilted upwards or downwards which if was the case, kind of ties in with some of the data I found on the effects of laminar flow, but still goes nowhere near explaining drifts direction being opposite to the spin direction.

Read on if you're interested in what I discovered before giving up on this quest...

One of the points of confusion when describing aspects of spin bowling is the direction that the ball seam is pointed in and the method by which we can visualise this aspect. In order to simplify this on the forum I write and comment on I've suggested recently that we talk about the direction in terms of minutes on a clock. This relates to looking down on to the pitch from above. The pitch therefore would run from 0' to 30' Top to bottom.

This is the phenomenon best exemplified here with the famous ‘Ball of the Century’ bowled by Shane Warne. As Warne bowls the ball its initial trajectory sees the ball head off towards Gatting on a conventional straight line, but then towards the end of its flight it veers (Drifts) towards the Leg-side to then ‘Break’ back on to the stumps. It’s this late veering towards the right as the bowler sees it that is Drift. The batsman on the other hand sees the ball veer off to his left as it dips prior to bouncing.

The more you watch videos and read about spin bowling the more frequently you’ll hear about drift and the sense you’ll get from commentators and protagonists’ is that it’s an attribute that you should have as a part of your bowling. But, there’s a universal problem, all of these people mention it and comment on it, but no-one really seems to pin it down, no-one really says - 'this is what you do in order to make the ball drift' apart from the basic 'Spin it hard'. If you start looking a little deeper and changing your search criteria you get the other side of the coin and that's the Heavy on the Physics approach. Dig a little deeper still, and you then end up with Baseball. The reason for this seems to be that they (The Yanks) seem to take far more interest in the technicalities of their sports, maybe its that whole 'Jocks v Geeks' thing that we seem to get fed as a generalisation about the USA? It could be that, if you're not that clever academically you then seek a route through education studying sports science and playing sport at college? As a consequence, it seems as though there's a lot more information over there on the subject of spinning sphere's - specifically baseballs. But what they seem to do slightly better than us is find a middle ground between the 'Spin it hard' explanations and the 'Magnus effect/Physics' explanations. So hopefully I'm going to be able to come up with a good explanation.

The reason I'm trying to get this across in a different manner is in part due to the fact that I'm whats called a Kinaesthetic Learner and understanding complex stuff like this requires a connection with the actual practice, I can't just read it and fully comprehend it and the process has to include tactile experiences. In addition I find my level of comprehension to be enhanced by connecting the reading with the physical and then explaining it in my terms and this is what this blog entry is - a part of the process of comprehending.

To those of us with an enquiring mind including me, this vagueness "Spin it Hard" isn’t good enough, I want to know how and why, what, when and who? How do you make the ball drift and can I ‘turn the drift on’ and can I ‘turn the drift off again’ at will? Surely, if you can have that degree of control you’re moving towards becoming a master of your craft?

So, with these unanswered questions and the whole vagueness issue, I set about looking at what is out there by way of explanation and trying make sense of it and ascertain if it is possible or even desirable to produce drift on demand and what is it you need to do to produce it.

The 'Spin it Hard' section.

Here's a few starting with Terry Jenner - the interesting details in this account are the fact that he focuses primarily on aspects associated with body actions and position - shoulder rotation and side on alignment. He mentions that Top-Spin wont produce drift, as that creates dip and he says that seam alignment needs to be side ways. In this video here (Cloverdale series) he simplifies it, stripping it down to 'If you spin the ball hard it can drift in to the RH batsmans leg stump and spin away sharply towards leg stump'. (1:44 seconds into the vid).

This site here compiled by Julian Fountain is another useful one. It's interesting in that at the start of this website he too questions the lack of understanding associated with Drift and the Magnus Affect, which is the scientific explanation. I find his simple scientific explanation still difficult to grasp in relation to drift. I can see how it works with Top-Spin with the seam aligned between 30 and 60 minutes, but once I try and get my head around the seam aligned at somewhere between 45' and 55' I can comprehend this would still produce the dip that we need, but why it veers off course away towards the Leg-side (drift) I'm still unclear and his explanation doesn't clarify it for me. There's a video on the site here, but I've got to say I think this is too much, yeah maybe the students that compiled the video can make some sense of it and explain it, but to the layman all that maths is way over the heads of most people and serves no useful purpose to the majority of us. One of the more interesting aspects of the video is the sequence at 2:35 where the kid kicks the ball and it's shown in slow motion. There's virtually no spin on the ball at all and yet the ball appears to initially veer slightly to our left as we view it and then finally very late in its flight sharply to its right! I'll return to this point a little later. But for me that's a very basic contradiction "Spin the ball hard and it'll drift". Er, this ball barely spins and yet it drifts at the end of its flight?

This video looks at Warnes ability to spin the ball and to get it to drift it doesn't get that technical, but there's some good footage of his release in slow motion and Jenner talks about his drift in rudimentary terms.

Going back to the application of basic spin e.g. Top Spin or Back - Spin this science video has an excellent demo on the affects of back-spin and the magnus affect and how it makes the spinning object stay in the air, but still for me has no bearing on diagonal spin and how this makes an object move laterally through the air. *Edit - I've just sussed a visual explanation that satifies me and could be up-loaded as a very basic video explanation!

The saving grace is that at the end he reverts back to the standard advice -

Spin bowlers use the magnus effect, perhaps sometimes unknowingly, to create drift & turn. They do it by imparting revolutions onto the ball; the more revolutions the bowler can make the ball do in flight, will directly affect how much drift (and consequently turn once the revolving ball hits the pitch) is achieved. So it basically boils down to making the ball rotate in the air. The more efficiently the ball rotates, the better. Also, the ball will behave differently depending how the seam is presented; i.e. if the ball is spun across seam, as opposed to down seam, it will cause a difference in the air pressure waves.

I've also written this which will need to be incorporated and edited , but in the short term might be worth a look at.

To put it simply as Menno Gazendum says "The technical term for this is called the “Magnus Effect” but all you need to know is that the harder you spin the ball and the more flight you give the ball the more it will drift".

Bibliography/Links 3:18' The Knuckle Ball (Baseball) slow mo footage of Knuckle ball (Wakefield). - Blitzball (reduced drag caused by textured surface a la' Golf Balls. - Curve Ball using Blitzball instructions using Top-Spin - this is interesting in that there's an explanation as to how to increase 'Drift' in a curve ball through the alignment of the seams on a baseball. The ball can be pitched with a 4 seam alignment or a 2 seam alignment, the 4 seam alignment then starts to take on the attributes of a golf ball or a blitz ball in that it has a rougher surface presented to the air causing reduced drag. This is the bloke at The University of Sydney.

This here is one of the seminal pieces on the subject and is definitely worth a look -

Swap golf ball dimples for rough texture on a cricket ball with this one
This is another good article written by my on-line mate 'Pencil Cricket' who has studied Physics - this is more accessibe to the Layman than most. The interesting thing that I've picked up from Pencils article is that he's pretty much convinced that the ball that is spinning at 90 degrees to the direction of flight is the type that is going to produce the most dramatic amount of drift. Yet I recall in Woolmers 'Art and Science of Cricket' he says it's not that simple and that the ball needs to be tilted backwards or forward through the spinning axis. More on this later.

A comprehensive description of the effects of air passing over a spinning ball. Primarily this relates to seam bowling and getting the bowl to swing, but as far as I can make out this may also apply to the spin bowling and be the explanation for why drift occurs In addition take note of the bowlers comments and about the nature of the inconsistency e.g. this is not something that you can produce at will, some days it happens other days it doesn't.

Note to self - Illustrate the Magnus effect turned on its side like the Benuad Flipper with the ball spinning forwards with Top-Spin, video from above and rotate the ball from the Benaud Flipper through to the 52' angled Leg Break. Note observations regarding the RPM of Baseballs in comparison to cricket balls spinning.

Drift thoughts - posted on 26th April 2012 *I've looked at the following material and discovered some contradications, so it's back to the drawing board. Currently I'm looking at this - but to be honest this is all looking to be a bit beyond me.

The section below is nonsense it seems and I'm looking into more research...

So, looking at more vids and reading more I’ve come up with this. One of the universally agreed and tested theories that applies to a sphere and specifically a cricket ball in flight is the laminar flow theory (Link). The majority of the information relates directly to seam bowling and the phenomenon of ‘Swing’. Looking at the link provided which has research conducted at Leeds University, the agreed theory is that the air that passes over the ball in flight and creates ‘Laminar Flow’. As the video shows, the turbulence in the wake of the balls flight has characteristics which then affect the balls direction making it veer either left or right depending on nature of the surface of the ball. A perfectly round smooth ball we would imagine would have straight flight through the air because the turbulence behind the ball would be equal either side, above and below, but a cricket ball becomes worn and the players look to exploit the laminar effect by making one side of the ball rougher than the other. The air passing over the smoother surface initially and then releasing over the rough side in its wake exploits the laminar effect to make the ball ‘Swing’.

It then struck me that these experiments conducted in a wind machine which primarily look at swing bowling omit the inclusion of the ball spinning, so the laminar effect works without spin being a factor. The conclusion I’ve now drawn is that if a ball was mechanically shot out of a machine with no spin, the surface of the ball combined with laminar effect physics would mean that the ball would swing or not swing. Scuff the  rear surface of the ball (Wake side) or present the seam diagonally to the direction of flight and you’ll optimising the laminar effect as the wind passes over the ball and the ball would probably ‘Swing’ left or right. The main point to take from this going forwards is that the ball isn’t spinning.

Seam bowlers it seems, angle the ball slightly in order to have the smooth side of the ball on the leading (Into the wind) side of the ball to facilitate the laminar effect, the slight angle also then brings into the equation the seam, the wind passing over the seam disrupts the air-flow exacerbating the laminar effect. Now think of the perfectly presented spinning seam as bowled by a Wrist Spinner… The ball is projected down the wicket with the seam presented spinning perfectly round its own axis maintaining a regular plane/axis. This would then mean that the air moving over the ball would optimise the laminar effect beautifully meaning that the ball would in effect ‘Swing’ in exactly the same way as a seam bowlers ball would. Interestingly Clarrie Grimmet in his book ‘Taking Wickets’ doesn’t use the term ‘Drift’ using instead "Swerve" which then leads me to question where did the term drift come from and how long has it been around and why the differentiation if the forces on the ball are the same?

Speed is a factor needless to say, but I’ve observed younger and older seam bowlers produce balls that swing very effectively off of relatively slow bowling 40mph + so it’s not essential that the ball travels at great speed in order to be effected by the laminar effect.  So it follows then if you’re a spin bowler and you’re able to bowl the ball with the seam spinning around an angled axis and not wobbling the nature of its flight through the air would mean that the ball would ‘Swing’ because of the physics of laminar flow. The spinning of the ball would then mean the ball turns off the wicket in the ways that we all understand. To me it seems that the key to getting the ball to drift is as follows…

(1). Have the smoother side of the ball facing the direction of flight.
(2). Spin it hard trying to release the ball spinning so that it doesn’t wobble in the air, the more perfect the spinning of the seam around its axis the more the you’ll optimise the laminar effect over the ball.

Maybe it’s the case that the combination of the ball spinning and ‘Swinging’ has become known as drifting in order that when someone talks about the ball ‘Drifting’ we can then assume that it was a spin bowler and not a seam bowler?


Another observation I’ve made which I’ll mention and may complicate things slightly, is that, all of the illustrations appear to depict that these Physics theories applied to the ball from above and below and not from side to side, or possibly more complex – diagonally. The obvious answer seems to be because another import physics theory is that of gravitational pull which is downwards and applied in a vertical plane up and down and not side to side? But, again is illustrates that the whole are can be looked at in a more complex way yet again!

To be continued..............

Check out my other blog here - this is all about Leg-spin bowling and nothing else. Double click on the image below.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Lignum Vitae heavy bails

Checking through my kit at the end of the season, I noticed that my set of heavy bails which are made of a wood called Lignum Vitae had a bail missing. Having not found the bail, I decided that I'd get another set and my initial search wasn't successful. I had another look tonight and eventually found that Readers were one of the companies that sold them and after some searching I found an obscure umpires website where they still seem to have a few in stock, so I've placed an order for another set. But, during my search I discovered that the Lignum Vitae which is found in the regions around the Carribean is an endangered and protected tree and is being phased out as an option for cricket bails. There's a new option available for heavy bails, but what it is made of I don't know.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Amol Rajan - The Twirlymen - Flippers

I've had Rajan's book The Twirlymen quite some time now and only read a little of it, but I've currently got a bit of time on my hands and I've been reading it and gradually getting through it. The book has got some really good stuff on The Flipper and its history which is all new to me, and makes complete sense, but the stuff where he explains what a Flipper is and how different people bowl the flipper and who bowled what variations when - hmmm I'm not so sure. I'm making notes on the bits that I think he's got wrong and I'll be cross referencing with Grimmetts info and stuff that Grimmett has discusssed with Ashley Mallett. One bit I had to smile at was his claim that the Off-Spinning Flipper had never been realised even by Grimmett. On page 185 he makes the point that Grimmett didn't invent the Flipper and that a number of other commentators falsely have accredited the delivery to Grimmett. He goes on to make a very reasonable point that the Flipper precedes Grimmet by many decades, but seemingly misses the point or at least fails to emphasise what it is that Grimmett did for the Flipper. The Flipper was introduced to Grimmett by Geroge Simpson Hayward, who I may have said previously elsewhere played for Essex, but I think the story is that Grimmett met him Essex, although I'm not 100% sure about that either. But GSH was one of the last under-arm bowlers and in 'Lob Bowling' spin had been imparted on the ball using the now familiar Flipper Click for decades. Through the discussion with GSH Grimmett saw that there was potential to take the Under-arm Flipper - over arm. Grimmett was an exponent of practicing all of the conventional wrist spin variations under-arm in order to explore the nuances of wrist position and its affect on the ball (Philpotts round the loop). So, seeing the George Simpson Hayward Flipper being bowled in different wrist positions to produce leg, off, stop and back-spin he saw that there was resonance with the conventional wrist spin variations and how they are produced with differing wrist angles.

So, yes Rajan is correct in that Grimmett never invented the click motion with the fingers, but Grimmett was the bloke that took it over-arm and turned it into the variations we see today. What is interesting in Rajans account on page 185 is the tract of text where he seems to be quoting Grimmett. In the text Grimmett seems to be explaining that he never unleashed any of his Flippers until he had them fully under -control and that the one that he went with, was the Off-Spinning Flipper, primarily it seems in order to negate having to bowl The Wrong Un, which according to Rajan Grimmett felt was physically demanding and likely to cause injury. Additionally Grimmett preferred this Flipper because it came out of the front of the hand like the Leg Break and reduced the potential for the Googly Syndrome.

My understanding from reading 'Getting Wickets' 1930 was that Grimmetts preferred option was in fact the Top-Spinning variation which was noted by Bradman later, but in 1930 at the time of publication all of the Flippers with the exception of the Flying Saucer variation (Benaud) were in development still and it would be a long time before Grimmett used one in first class cricket.

So the question for me is three-fold.........

1. Was the Off-spinning Flipper Grimmetts preferred variation?
2. Was The Top-Spinning variation ever used and is this the one that Bradman recognised and commented on as his Mystery Ball?
3. Who first described the Flying Saucer Flipper?

Note to self - Read Grimmetts 'Tricking the Batsman'.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Hashim Amla

I need a pic of Hashim Amla its origins are as above.

Rhythm + Batting

Again another lovely warm and sunny day! 16 Degrees today, sunshine and blue skies and as Joe was off on a birthday do with one of his mates Ben and I went over the Rec and had a knock about.

Instead of using the deserted courts side to side which limits your run (Bens especially) we set up the stumps along the length so that Ben could run in and bowl and it went okay. I reckon my batting may have slightly improved over the last 12 months against faster bowlers and this maybe down to batting against Ben as his bowling as he gets older gets faster. I don't thiink I'll be any better against Offies, but saying that, the last game I had I managed to survive against an Offie, albeit only 4 or 5 balls.

Against faster bowlers I'm only looking to block them when the ball is on the stumps, but if the ball doesn't look threatening I can't seem to capitalise on it because my timing is very poor, how that comes together in the longer term I don't know, but I keep trying with Ben but as yet I have no solutions for getting the ball away for runs.


As well as bowling at Ben in the earlier part of the day I went back later and had a bowl on my own because my run in has changed and I seemed to have lost my rythmn a little. Someone noted on Youtube that my run in had lost its dynamic bound and they were right because the bound was a little heavy and it kind of changed over the summer to become a little more balletic and springy. So I had a look at that this afternoon, looking at whether I could change between the light springy approach and a faster more dynamic apporoach and in the end it kind of proved to be a bit inconclusive as to which was better or worse still which felt better. So that may prove to be a hinderence in the nets in January?

When I turned up at the nets there was a bloke there with his son stumps and everything and he was keeping to him and it turned out that this bloke was a Chinaman bowler. I had a chat with them and it turns out that the Dad was originally from Sri-Lanka and that he has connections with the coaches of the national team and the lad who was 14 but about 5'11" had been practicing with the under 19 national squad. They were also members of Horndon on the Hill CC which is just down the road. I told them about our set up in the tennis courts and suggested they come down for a knock about next Saturday or Sunday, so perhaps we'll have a couple of extra players next week if the weather holds out.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

The Paddock

The mild weather continues with it being between 14 and 16 degrees today and over-night it's only going to dip to 10 degress meaning that the grass is still growing in the paddock. The good news is that we've had some rain in the last few weeks ending the very long run of dry weather and the process of re-growth is beginning to happen of its own accord. Because of the potential Gyspy invation post Dale Farm I didn't do any pre-winter remedial work in the paddock at all other than rake some dirt back into the area where the batsmen stand, which I did mid October when it was still really dry. Since then I've not been over there and the only people you see in there are the fair weather footballers.......The ones that can't be bothered to run about on a field because it means being fit and leaving their phones more than a metre away from where they are. Or the people that let their Staffordshire Bull Terriers in their so that they can shit everywhere and our kids get it all over their clothes. But, today I went over and had a quick look and was quite surprised at how well it was recovering without any intervention. I'll have to keep and eye on it and see how it goes and maybe in the spring get some seed down early?

The other idea I've been toying with and it's one that I'm surprised that B&PCC don't adopt for their nets where the bowlers create a big hole when pivotting, is this Heavy Duty Playground matting.

It comes in 1.5 x 1 metre sections and as you can see you can seed it and the grass grows up through it and eventually a thin layer of earth covers it meaning that the root system for the grass stays intact in amongst and under the mat, so pivoting on the mat only damages the very tips of the grass that are growing through. For the paddock it would be ideal as it would be flush with the surface and allow a good surface to bowl on that wouldn't wear away. I reckon I could get away with getting it fitted over the winter and just simply cover it with earth as it bedded in. I'm just not sure whether once I got the seed I'd need to expose the mat in order for the seed to germinate and grow through the holes, I think at that point the footballers or the dog owners might spot it and have it away despite how many fixings I put in it to secure it. Something I'll have to think about I reckon.

Side Arm

The other interesting thing that I've seen recently was this here, a bloke on big cricket asked how you might be able to make your own bowling machine and one of the coaches on-line suggested this.......

It's a 'Side Arm' and allows with a little bit of practice for the user to bowl the ball with a lot of accuracy and massively enhanced speed. It also enables the thrower to bowl balls that 'Swing' and spin - Leg Breaks and Off-Breaks, so it would be exceptionally useful for me and the kids next season in the paddock. Something we'll look into as a Christmas present I reckon.

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

The Drift project

The drift project has begun! I was looking to start writing up a definitive guide to drift, but with the little research that I'd done so far it became apparent that it wasn't going to be that easy as explaining it requires a degree of understanding of Physics well beyond my very rudimentary knowledge. So I've requested the help of my knowledgable friends on I've instigated a thread where over the next few months or so we're going to try and put together some answers regarding what drift is and how we get it and improve it in our bowling. The forum and discussion is here
and as the info is collated I'll try and form it into a blog. If you know about drift and can add to the discussion - sign up to big cricket and get involved.

Some conclusion have been drawn on this subject and you'll find the results here -

Monday, November 07, 2011

Clock face with minutes for explaining Drift and Spin

This is to be used in conjunction with illustrating descriptions of seam presentation when explaining Spin Bowling. The assumption/premise is that the pitch runs top to bottom so the ball is bowled from the 30' minute end up to the 60' end. The clockface and the inclusion and use of the minutes enables discussion whereby we explain that the seam and direction of the spinning ball is angled towards 52' as in the case of a 'Classic' Leg Break delivery.

Update - have a look at this post here - and the previous one as there's a load of new illustrations that are helpful with regards to explaining how spin bowling works and it's characteristics.

Sunday, November 06, 2011

Weather still holding out

The weather is still holding out, the last week has seen the temperature drop and a fair bit of rain, but today and yesterday we managed to get a couple of hours in over at the Rec. The temp on both day was around about 14 degrees, so not exactly cold yet. The result of all this practice is that I've got loads of video footage that I would normally edit and put together as videos showing some of the good bowling and bad batting, but what with having a new computer with windows 7 on it, the new version of Windows Movie maker is about as good as a one legged man in a bum kicking competition, so i'm just accumulating footage.

The overall impact of the practices using the cones as fielders is that the batting does seem to have become a lot more patient and considered. So that's good and it also means we're getting out there and not being lethargic and picking up baisc skills and the boys are seeing the importance of some of the basics - where to put fielders, the affects of bowling leg-side when you've got an off-side set field, the importance of backing up. So it's all good fun.


Back in August I started to write a piece of Spin, Dip and Drift and it was okay, but never got finished. Despite that, the article has been used in conjunction with Guardian Newspapers 'Spin' section in their sports pages and they provoded a link in one of the writers articles where they needed to elaborate on the Drift aspect of bowling. So that was encoraging. Off the back of that I've been researching further and at the moment I'm trying to put together what I'm hoping to be the most comprehensive article on Drift on the internet! I'm currently working on the illustrations, normally I'd do them using photography and Adobe Photoshop, but again because of the new computer I haven't got Photoshop yet.

Monday, October 31, 2011

New Format for Cricket

Have a look at this - and read the article. This came up a couple of days ago in and I went into one of my usual rants about it, taking the opportunity to make a point about the state of society like old blokes like me tend to do - you know the score.....

"Bloody mobile phones, bloody XBOX, Bloody SKY TV- blah blah blah" usual stuff I come out with and will be proven right in time when our sendentry lives start to catch up with us (You rather) and completely bog down the economy with illnesses and ........... Whoa! Here I go again!!!

Anyway, I did slag the idea off, but conceded that there was an inevitability about it and no matter how big or noisy the 'Old guard' are, the chances are this will have to happen because of the 'I want it and want it now' generation will demand a faster variation of the game in order that they come and watch. But having read the root article (Above) it sounds as though it's on its way, this is going to happen............

Landmark post - No.1000! Review of the year

Tomorrow's the first day of November and last night the clocks adjusted for British winter time, so at some point pretty soon weve got to be plunged into the depths of winter surely? October has been pretty amazing in that there's been virtually no rain and it's been warm. Today it's been about 16 degrees and Sunday it was 19.5 degrees! But surely the cricket will have to stop at some point because of the cold?

This time last year I decided to work on my run up and action through the crease as I'd had a pretty poor year, aided by the fact that I was smacked out of the park at the start of the season for almost 11 an over by some first team bloke that went on to do the same almost with the other spinner Wayne (8.5 an over for him). The bloke went on to score in excess of 200, but psychologically I was damaged and that damage was then further exacerbated by the fact that I was seemingly dropped from the Sunday team at Grays despite the fact that I was one of the earliest payers of yearly subs and always paid my match fees! Over the following year I think I got 4 games. Around August when people start to wear a bit I got a couple of games, but by then I'd been getting a game about once a fortnight at my sons club B&PCC and they were suggesting I joined them the next season, so that's what I did.

Through October 2010 I worked with the run up, trying to get rid of the 'Tich Freeman skip' eventually through work with the Standstart drill I got it so that I was walking in kind of like Terry Jenner in his BBC videos, but there was still no dynamic aspect to it and I was still concerned that I'd be easy to play and there were still loads of issues. Winter came early last year - early December saw heavy snow and the winter turned out to be one of the worst on record with a long period through Dec/Jan? where there was snow on the ground for extended periods.

Over the winter indoors, my younger son Joe taught me how to bowl with the bound and as soon as the weather broke despite a fairly poorly knee (Twisted ligaments back in May 2010 playing cricket) I began to work with the bound, with pretty good results straight away within half an hour of trialling it for the first time over in the old tennis courts at The Rec Langdon Hills. I couldn't convert it that well to bowling in the nets for some reason, primarily with the slippery floor in the sports hall where we trained, so pre-season nets didn't really help out that much at all.

The knee injury for some reason flared up a bit and put paid to the bound for a while at the start of the season and scuppered my plans to bowl with the bound. I had a couple of matches where I was bowling with complete indecision as to whether I'd bowl with the bound or not and I seemed to have a dip in general core fitness which seems to be a re-occuring theme tied in with the bad weather that puts paid to practicing through Dec, Jan and Feb, so this year I'm making a mental note about core fitness training along with shoulders. The season has started off with a couple of matches for B&PCC where I didn't make that much of an impression and each week looking at the selections I was usually the 15th to 20th man, so never got a look in. I wasn't that bothered though as I was enjoying watching Ben and Joe playing in thier matches and having a knock about in the Paddock where gradually my fitness returned and my knee got better.

Having kind of reached match fitness again by August which seems to coincide with most peoples 'Burnt out' phase in their season and many of the players are away on holiday I assume I got a couple of matches. The bound still wasn't quite there and feeling the pressure of playing in League cricket which was new to me I reverted to the safer option of bowling off of a Terry Jenner walk-in. At the same time Liz Ward
on who is a bio-mechanist and physio introduced me to where I was able to upload my videos of my bowling and have them analysed by several qualified coaches giving me hints and suggestions as to what to tweek to get my bowling action improved. Again this kind of forced improvements over September once all the games had finished, so I'm probably bowling fairly well here and now in November!!!

Through September and early October the Liz Ward tweeks, which on the surface seem like only small things associated with parts of your body that you wouldn't readily expect to have a massive impact on your bowling, came together. That combined with some discussions on on 'Arm Speed' saw a dramatic change in the way the ball was released from my fingers in an organic development, rather than a forced and logic based development through the application of theory. Suddenly I was bowling with a lot more speed and spin and noticed that I was getting dip and drift and weirdly far better accuracy. With these developments the Tich Freeman Skip was consigned to the bin forever more.

So that's kind of it. Match -wise it was pretty indifferent, I took a few wickets, a couple of which were round the back of the legs coming over the wicket which were quite satisfying as this is something I've never done before and this is before the massive changes that have occured over Sept and October. It may be that I'm deluded and once in the nets in January I'll get a reality check and have to reflect on what might be going wrong, but sitting here on October 31st in pretty good post summer condition things look promising for next season.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Possibly the last session in the Tennis courts

The ridiculously warm and mild weather continues with it reaching 19.5 centigrade today. It wasn't sunny it was muggy and damp, but warm still as the wind is coming in across the channel and central Europe mixed in with damp westerly Atlantic wind.

Anyway, still looking for ways to make Joe, Ben and Kieran think about their cricket rather than just whacking the ball, we've modified the game further still and made it more like real cricket in that if you're out you are out. I think normally this wouldn't have worked, but I seem to have instilled the idea over the week or so that an innings can be crafted slowly with better shot selection, with an eye on the need to keep your wicket. So, it was good to see an improved approach to the way they batted and run between the stumps. We also video'd it so that once home I could calculate their stats in this format and see if there's any glaring problems or issues. Plus if the weather continues to be mild track their progress and see if there is any improvement.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Drift - A laymans explanation

Each of us has a different way of learning and these are known in Pedagogy as learning styles. My own preference is called Kinaesthetic and works best when I actually try things out and do them - usually again and again and it works best if it's something I have to do all the time. Whereas some people can simply read stuff and make sense of it, that's something I'm not so good at 'Abstract Conceptualisation'. So in the past when I've been reading up on Drift trying to get my head round it and making sense of it in practical terms, I've generally been linked to articles and videos on and about the Magnus effect. Despite reading and watching all these, the penny has never quite dropped, I've never quite got all the explanations and illustrations. But today I've come across an article and an explanation that made it as clear as daylight in a couple of short paragraphs and all because of one really simple explanation that I was able to relate to and understand and it was a written piece. So, here it is in my own words and later the link to the website that finally calrified what Drift is caused by and why............

If you're spin bowler, you'll understand the basic principles simply by empirical observation of your own bowling and probably from tennis and table tennis. Top Spin causes the ball to dip. The usual analogy is that a tennis player slices the ball with the racket across the top of the ball imparting top spin and the ball dips violently over the net. Same with your Top-Spinner in cricket you impart over-spin (Top-Spin) and the ball falls short of the batsman despite being bowled at a speed that would normally mean the ball would end up at his feet or around about his knees. Back Spin on the other hand does the opposite, the ball floats through the air maintaining a relatively straight trajectory - not dipping anywhere as expected. Footballers apparently do this particularly well slicing the ball under-neath so that it stays straight through the air - even rising in some instances till it reaches a point where its speed means it eventually starts to dip.

So....How do they do that? The explanation goes like this. A spinning ball as it spins creates a layer of air immediately around it that spins in the same direction that the ball is spinning. If the ball is also moving forwards e.g. with Top-Spin, the direction of the spinning ball will mean that its layer of air will be moving around the ball with the same direction, so at the top of the ball, the spinning air will be colliding with the air that its moving through, whereas the spinning air at the bottom of the ball will be helped along with air that it's meeting as they're moving in the same direction thus making the ball dip. The backspinning ball does the opposite, the air at the bottom of the ball is rotating against the air its meeting and so lifts the ball and prevents it from dipping.

For me that was it, that explanation worded slightly different here suddenly made me realise what was going on and now I know how and what I need to do to get the ball to drift!

Even more backyard cricket at the Rec

Four Player Format.

Yep, even more and it is working. Today hardly a ball was hit through the air and despite this some good scores were had by Joe and me, with Joe hitting 27 off of 36 balls and me 30 off of 36.. What we've got to do now is extend the idea further so that as well as playing proper shots and trying to guide the ball through gaps and hitting it back past the bowler, we've got to also not get bowled and watch out for run outs, as I was run out once in my innings going for a single, I knew it was risky but played the odds thinking it was 50/50 as to whether Kieran would gather the ball neatly and be able to throw down the stumps and needless to say he did with me about a yard short of the crease. Joe's not good at this either, he always backs himself to make it and is frequently run out in games as well as practice scenarios. He did well today with his batting and hopefully he's seeing the value of looking to guide the ball into gaps rather than always trying to smack it. Kieran on the other hand - who still isn't seeing the weaknesses in his own game (Hitting the ball too early and therefore sky-ing it) still thinks that the solution is to smack the ball as hard as possible, Joe got a Fiver-fer off of Kierans innings bowling him 5 times in two overs by simply varying the pace and the length slightly, so Joe was pleased with himself. I bowled straight after Joe and Kieran then hit me for a couple of fours if not 3 fours trying to replicate what Joe does!

My older son Ben didn't do so well today, not as bad as Kieran, but for some of the time still looking to smack the ball albeit straight back past the bowler and coming unstuck there. He doesn't seem to be able to keep a cool head and accept that on one day you might do well and on another day it'll all fall to pieces. He sets himself the target of 36 off of 36 balls and then as soon as the figure starts to go away from him, instead of thinking 'I'll be happy just to score 18 and not get bowled out, he starts to trying make up the runs by swinging the bat around and it all falls apart. Tricky stuff getting the kids to see the sense of these tactics and accepting that if they're batting at No.10 or 11 they may be far better off trying to hit the ball deftly and defending their end to allow another bloke to score the runs. Although saying that, Ben did exactly that yesterday with Harry Bat, despite the fact that Harry Bat is a little kids and three years his junior, so maybe the messages are filtering through.

New Format Backyard Cricket

A good game on Friday, we managed to get an extra player (Harry Bat) enabling us to have batting pairs, so the objective then became to form the highest scoring partnership. We also narrowned the 'V' and changed the emphasis on attaining fours. The rule now is if you can hit the ball straight along the ground within the V and get the ball past the bowler hitting the fence you score four. A ball in the air through the same V gets you a 2, over the fence anywhere now is out.

Needless to say straight drives back past the bowler take a degree of skill and no-one was able to do so in this session. Harry Bat (Harry Hodgson) was probably the best of us with the bat hitting balls through cover and Mid Wicket mainly along the ground for 2's, the rest of us got most of our runs off singles poking balls into gaps supported by good backing up, so lots of useful learning outcomes being addressed. The partnership of the session was between Ben and Harry Bat, who scored 34 between them not out, so when we're over there next, if Harry comes along he and Ben will resume on 34 looking to score 50.

Other than that not a lot happening.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

The Rec Langdons Hills - Back Yard Cricket

More back yard cricket at the Rec, we still can't get more players involved which is a shame as it would make it far more fun and intense. Saying that though with the more senisble approach to his batting Ben had upped the game and Kieran who is ultra competitive pulled out the stops to try and win back the position of top scoring batsman. With the fantastic weather continuing bright and sunny at 17 degrees centigrade we had a good match on, with good fielding intensity trying to prevent each other from taking the lead, agin, the perception was that they were all thinking about their fielding positions with regards to how they were bowling and where the bats were trying to hit the ball. Kieran using the current format went for a slog fest hitting the ball over the fence through the V 2 or 3 times gaining sixes for that shot. Eventually the ball was lost over a garden off a big six and at £5.00 a ball we've had to re-think the sixes rule and look again at the rule regarding getting out, because if the way that Kieran bats was converted to a game situation he'd have a series of very short innings over a season.


No.1 - Kieran always hits the ball early and it generally ends up between Mid off and Cow Corner taking an ariel route and probably 75% of the time he'd be caught.

No.2 - In the current format where we lose three runs for getting out, Kieran backs himself to regain any losses by going big.

So in essence I don't think we're doing him any favours as a batsman and we need to take advantage of the fact that he has got very good eye ball coordination with the softer balls. So we're changing the rules so that anything over the fence is now out to discourage big hitting of the ball. I may narrow the size of the V and offer 4's for any ball that goes through the V along the ground between Mid off and Mid on.

The other rule will be that if you're out, your score is reduced to 0 and you start again and we'll look for best run rates off of overs and see how that pans out. Discussing it there seemed to be general consensus that it was a good idea and Joe's thrown down the gauntlet in that he's already set a 12 off of 2 overs for no wicket.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Back yard cricket at the Rec

Another glorious autumn day and a hour or so spent over at the Rec bowling and batting. Ben followed up his last performance with the bat with an even more considered innings setting a new record for this year with regards averages. Kieran his mate made 33 off of 36 balls, but because we had less time this time around we all faced 24 balls and I set Ben the target of 24 off of 24 to take the record for the batting average and sure enough he cruised home poking singles here and there and hitting loose balls along the ground through the covers. So, as I said last time, it does seem as though he has made a breakthrough potentially, all he needs now is to have the opportunity to bat with someone, who will back up well, when he runs for singles off of tight balls. I was hoping that there'd be more of us this holiday getting over the Rec but it's panning out that it's the usual four, so while we've only got four of us we can't really get two batsmen running between the stumps and create a realistic game situation. Ben bowled really well too taking several wickets in a range of different ways, his poor mate Ozan, who only has a knock about every now and then , came away from facing four overs with nought, we have a rule where if you lose your wicket you lose three runs. I think Ben bowled him 3 or 4 times in 12 balls.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Half term Holiday

Anyone out there that lives local and either knows us or is connected to the club, if you want to get rid of your kids for a couple of hours, send them down to the Rec for a knockabout playing backyard cricket in the old tennis courts. We're using wind balls, so no need for all the kit and we've got all the gear plastic bats etc and by all means come along and join in as well.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

The Rec, Langdon Hills - off season cricket

For us, the off season means that we move our practice and knock abouts from the paddock which is a bit of a mess at the moment, to some deserted tennis courts at the local Recreation Ground 'The Rec'.
Over the years we've developed a form of Back Yard cricket which we play in there and this year we've adapted it further still. It seems to be paying dividends with regards Ben at least, as today he may have at last realised that you can build an innings carefully through running singles and getting the ball into gaps. This year we've modified the game slightly in that the 'V' you see in the image above has now been narrowed to encourage driving the ball straight. Anything that goes through the V past the bowler and hits the fence is automatically 2, anything through the V through the air hitting the fence without bouncing is a 4 and sometimes over the fence through the V a six - but if we've got good batsmen playing and we change the rules on that to out to stop them going over the fence several times an over! The other change is that. alongside the two fielders we now use the orange cones as fielders and if a balls passes these 'Orange Cone' fielders within a distance that is deemed as being close enough to catch we toss a coin to see if it was caught. This means everyone is being encouarged to think about shot selection instead of just smashing the ball as hard as they can through the air as the addition of 4 extra 'Orange fielders' increases the potential to get out.

Session 2. Normally there's just the four of us, one bloke bats and the rest of us field and bowl two overs each, so the bat gets 36 balls plus wides to score as many as possible. Last week Ben strode out and went at the ball like there were no fielders and he had Don Bradmans genes. One of the rules is that if you're dismissed you have three runs deducted. He finished his innings on zero, whereas his mate Kieran ended up with 33 off of 36 and Joe only faced 18 balls and scored 12. Ben wasn't happy.

Session 3. This week Ben was looking to get one over on Kieran and take his record of 33 off of 36 balls and he went about it in a totally non-Ben way, obviously having learned his lesson last week and seeing how I went about my attempts at beating Kiearan. The other upshot of having the 'Orange fielders' is that they're all thinking about where to put the fielders in order to supress shots and increase the potential for wickets (Including me) and it looks to be having a really positive affect on thier bowling as well as their batting. Ben this week only went after the ball in his usual way about 2 or 3 times and I reckon it was those two or three times that prevented him from reaching and passing Kierans 33, only reaching 31. But, that 31 was off of singles for the most part, all hit along the ground into the middle of the wicket or in the gaps - which is a massive learning curve as far as I'm concerned and I'm pretty certain that although it kind of galls him to not be able to smack the ball like Kevin Pieterson on T20 duty, he saw that it worked and it worked well. The learning process was then further reinforced by Kierans innings, normally Kieran is able to hit big with impunity because we only have to fielders, but with the introduction of the 'Orange fielders' he too had to play differently and couldn't and came away with a paltry 22 having been dismissed several times and being caught and dropped by orange fielders (toss of a coin that went in his favour 3 or 4 times), so a very good session today over at the Rec. Joe for some reason is choosing not to bat, but I'm not that worried, he'll come round one day I'm sure.

Bowling. We all bowled really well except for Kieran who had a bit of an off day, or was it that Ben was batting properly that made his bowling look ineffective today despite the fact that he does bowl with lots of in-swing to the RH bat.

This year one of the changes we've made to the game

Fox enters house

One of my occasional random posts relating to a fox entering our house and having a look around. (The Daily Mail would probably have the story that it was looking for a baby to drag away and eat). So the layout of my house is unusual in that the bedrooms are on the ground floor with access to our yard and the main living area is upstairs and what with it being nice and sunny and warm the back door was wide open and we were all upstairs.

The fox which frequents the garden all the time jumped up onto the 5' wall and into our garden and then obviously noted the door ajar and came in. It went through the bedroom possibly going over the bed rather than round it as the bedding was suddenly dirty - looked like paw marks and then into a another room (Dining room), through there and to the bottom of the stairs adjacent to the kitchen. Upstairs I was on the computer with Ben and Joe was in the living room watching the tele, so there was obvious noise and human activity, but despite that, the fox came upstairs and apparently went past my door which was slightly shut without me seeing it and then sat in the living room entrance looking at Joe, Joe didn't see it at first and then out of the corner of his eye saw it move and then noticed it sitting there "Fox"! Joe shouted, "In the living room"! at which point the fox ran down and out the house for me to then spot him going back over the wall making his exit.

Update on this the next day.................

Talking to one of our neighbours it turns out that she went to bed early one evening in the summer (this summer) with their front door open and similarly their bedrooms are on the ground floor too. Lying there trying to sleep she heard a patter patter noise and she mulled it over in her head thinking is that a spider walking across the wall paper? Realising it kind of sounded more heavy than that, but thinking was it her imagination? So laid there dead still listening - then she felt the edge of the bed depress - A cat? We haven't got a cat! She thought for a second and then felt the bed move again and the noise - patter, patter, as whatever it was that had leaned up on the bed and moved away. Sensing the thing had moved away, she dared to look and there just a few yards away in their dining area was the fox. Seeing that she was looking, the fox then scarpered out the front door.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Hello number 10

Hello to follower number 10, I couldn't figure who it was that joined last, but cheers for your interest in the blog. If you ever want to get involved in any discussion direct, I'm a big fan and a massive contributor to the website mainly posting on the spinning thread here so have a look and check it out.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Paddock under threat

The paddock by my reckoning is under threat this year. A couple of months back I reported the mysterious removal of the fencing. The fence was taken down carefully and removed leaving no trace, not obviously vandalised and for no reason as the metal in a wire fence is minimal. Later I thought about it and realised that the fence may have been taken to allow easier access onto the site in a vehicle and the wire taken away perhaps useful to make barracades?

Then on Sunday a big brand new pick up truck had pulled up onto the verge opposite the paddock and a big burly bloke was there on the phone talking. He saw me watching him and he then left. I reckon that some of the displaced Gypsies from the Dale Farm eviction will now pitch up on the Paddock and I'm half expecting them to be there tonight when I return home. In which case the era of the Paddock will come to an end. Longer term, if they ever move on, the fence might be repaired!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

My Field modifications by Chaz Adams

Again another field. This time, this is the one that has been set by the captain and me when I've played this year, but slightly modified as per the recommendations of Chaz Adams on the forum. His suggestion was that the field here be modified...........

Touching on this very briefly as I have a busy day today. I'd move the point to backward point, this is also a wicket taking position in many competitions if batters are hitting against the turn. And move the deep backward point to a sweeping cover. The Deep square leg should be in front of square. I would also suggest that the fine leg be moved into the circle and placed on the 45 degrees to save one, also again a catcher from sweep shots.

This then gives us a slightly different field which makes sense. The only thing is, as more experienced players will know, the field in part is set keeping in mind who you've got available to you - so it's not at all clear cut. One of the points that Chaz has made is that the bloke at Fine Leg should be brought up closer? I've thought this through a bit and initially I was sceptical - thinking that I don't ever intend on bowling legside and if I make a mistake and the ball does go legside, it's likely to go over the top of the bloke if he's in closer and that I'd rather the bloke run in off the boundary having more time to have a look at it and ensure that it only ever goes for two. Add to this that I don't play first or second team cricket, so it's unlikely there's going to be anyone that is super athletic in that position so having him on the boundary seemed to make sense? But then thinking it through, balls that do end up there are often inside edges or mis-hits where the batsman is trying to get the ball there and they rarely go all the way, so a bloke there half way or closer may be a better idea and is more threatening too?

I would also mention, that once I'm settled and if I've managed to gain ascendancy over the batsman I then bring up the mid on and mid off to at least half way. This was something I picked up off of G-Man.

Another point is that in the last couple of games I did lose runs to balls out to the deep cover point area and the bloke that was originally at 3rd man had to cover a lot of ground to get to the ball, so bringing him round to either deep cover or deep cover point seems like a good idea too.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Field Setting from Forum

The original comments and response were as follows - (See )

Hey Guys,
I am generally confused on where to place my fielders. I'm an okay legspinner. I can bowl the odd crap ball and I'm not the most accurate of bowlers. I'm playing in a league with 12, 13 and 14 year olds who aren't that confident at catching but throw well. The wicket keeper is reasonably inconsistent. What would you guys suggest as a good field placement?

If you require more info please ask?
Seeing as your fielders aren't much kop at catching, you need to try and get wickets by hitting the stumps. So pitch the ball right up there on middle and leg and tempt the batsmen into playing across the line and beat them with your turn. You should see the ball thumping into middle and off with reasonable regularity.

As you are attacking with your legspin, you can defend with the field. Kids tend to hit across the line so put three men back on the leg side boundary - deep backward square leg, deep midwicket, and long on. have everyone else on the single - 4 in a ring on the offside, and a couple of men on the one in the leg side.

Here's a field setting we've been discussing over at on the thread that set up in response to the fact that there's very little out there by way of field settings. At the minute the discussion has picked up a bit and it's pretty productive, so if you've got any thoughts yourself on the matter join up and join in?

Batlow Cricket Pitch - New South Wales

Is this Batlow Cricket Pitch in New South Wales, Australia?

Sunday, September 04, 2011

District League Final B&PCC v Orsett CC U13's

This is going to be a biggun, it'll take a few nights to get this typed up and the pictures loaded.

The night before all the weather reports, even those with some kind of commercial sponsorship agenda were indicating pretty much the same thing 07.00 - fine, 09.00 cloudy, 10.00 rain and 1pm Heavy rain. I'd gone to bed thinking that there wasn't much hope of a full game and wondered what the outcome would be if we awoke to rain at 08.00hrs? As it happened when we awoke it was dry and there were even a few blue patches and the cloud that there was didn't look too threatening - it looked promising.

We arrived just after 09.00 with the game scheduled to start at 09.30. The field our game was on was the one in the distance, the other side of the field adjacent to the club-house. You could tell it was ours as there were more people there already than you get at some county games. As the 12th man and knowing that everyone once again had indicated that they'd be playing, Ben didn't feel compelled to get his whites on and he left his gear in the car. We walked over and joined the B&P contingent and looked to see if there was any Orsett fans. There were a couple of people.

There was excitement and anticipation, the boys looked nervous and the coaches looked pretty much the same, the mantra was 'Go out there and enjoy yourselves, this is your day. Don't play silly shots, see yourself in and do the best you can, that's all we ask of you'.

The Orsett were on the far side of the pitch doing drills, our lads had got there early and possibly done there's already? The umpires made there way over from the clubhouse - independent umpires for the first time as it was the final. That was good to see, as there was the sense that there would be total impartiality. The captains Mitchell McLeod B&PCC and the Orsett lad were beckoned to the middle and the toss was done. McLeod won the toss and chose to field as far as I could make out and the final preparations and psyching up was done as the start of the game
drew near.

The back room staff wished all the boys good luck, Ben went round all his team mates wishing them good luck and encouraging them as they got ready to go out on to the pitch.

Let's just set the scene here a little. The opposition Orsett CC as far as I can make out are one of the most successful clubs at this age and level in the district if not the most successful and have been so over several years. Their club is so well resourced and patronised that the rumor is that they turn prospective kids away if they fail some kind of aptitude test. Even if kids get in the chances of them ever playing in the U13 League 1st XI is slim, as the team is so phenomenally strong. The strength of the side is such that in the semi - final last week the bowled out Leigh On Sea for 23 runs winning by 10 wickets. When our team faced them back in June we lost by 6 wickets.....

Match report(By Dave Ayres).......A bright and sunny Sunday morning was the backdrop to Basildon & Pitsea's latest away trip; this time to an Orsett team boasting 6 district/county level players, and who have scored runs aplenty for little or no wickets this year. Yes the gathered support knew this was a tough game; however our little warriors done the club proud with a battling display against such adversity.

The toss was lost, and the opposition skipper put B&P into bat. At the end of the first over we had amassed 6 runs, however Sonny Downes was back in the pavillion after being run out. Then the run rate fell into oblivion; between overs 2 and 8 only 12 runs were put on the score, with the loss of 2 more wickets; Mitchell McLeod being caught for 0 and Jack Green trapped LBW for 1, and the score just 19 for 3 from 8.

Anthony Ayres came to the crease, and between him and Regan Mead, plundered some runs off the next over; 14 to be precise as Mead decided singles were boring, fours being the preferred score. At the half way mark B&P were 34 for 3, and a short drink break gave some respite from the tight and measly bowling. After the break, some fortune with misfields, and some shot making from Mead and Ayres lead to Mead taking his now obligatory walk from the pitch after his latest retirement; at least 2 of the coaching staff now looking over their shoulders as he comes hunting the retirement record. Nathan Hubble joined Ayres in the middle, and some very opportunistic running of quick singles and 2's from 1's meant that by the time the stumps rattled to end Ayres innings, the score was a healthier at 64 in the 14th over.

Small cameo performances from Harrison Birch (6), Tom Hardy (2) and a little not out from Harry Davie (4) combined with Hubble's 18 not out to amount to B&P's score of 87 for 6 from 20 overs.

Tea in the marvellous clubhouse completed, it was time for B&P to field, and to try to stop the juggernaut that is Orsett's batting machines. The openers for Orsett started plundering runs left, right and centre, and after 4 overs were 28 for 0. However in the 5th over, Ryan Davies caught the number 2 out from Ben Thompson's bowling, and we had a wicket. More runs came however, and we had to wait 3 more over for the next wicket, the other opener for Orsett; who from the looks eats all his vegetables and stands in compost of an evening faced the walk back, a good catch from McLeod; although straight at him I think there wasn't an adult present that fancied getting in the way of it, from Harry Davie's bowling and we had rattled the machine.

The following over, a wicket maiden from Ryan Davies, as Thompson repaid the earlier catch to send the no 5 back to the clubhouse; him being clearly rattled as he thought there was a no ball. The wicket stood however and the run rate slowed a little. Next over the no 4, who had previously ducked from a ball that was starting to pop up off the pitch a little, waved at another one that popped up and edged it to keeper Hubble, McLeod bagging the wicket.

However, Orsett hadenough in reserve; the no 3 walking off with a not out 28, and no 6 & 7 seeing the game through with 12.5 overs bowled.

So, it was not to be for B&P, who now play Belhus next in the League.

Add to that the physique of the Orsett boys and the pool of players from which they can draw their team is such that they are bigger and no doubt on the cusp of being taken up to the next age group as many of our boys are. So, as you can possibly sense this was a big ask off the back of their annihilation of the Leigh On Sea team. Oh...... one last thing, in this whole process this season, they haven't lost a or drawn a single match.

To be continued.........

Saturday, September 03, 2011

Another 'Not out'.

Played today in the 3rd XI's. I'm going to try and keep this short as I've mashed my finger fielding (Stabbed it into the ground) and it's making typing difficult. The game was away at Buckhurst Hill on the borders of Essex where it meets London. We didn't have to win or do anything special as we've secured a place in the same league next year, whereas the Buckhurst Hill blokes needed to win in order to move up to a higher league and by the end of the game they proved themselves to be more than worthy of it.


I batted at No.10 again with Neil Williams batting at 11. Initially I was batting with Dan Vanderputt, who had been hanging around for quite some time and was probably the best of our bats, but with him looking to strike the ball and make runs off of good balls he was eventually bowled. At the point that Neil joined the party they'd brought on an Off-spinner while I was on strike and miraculously I was able to see off about three balls and forced a couple of byes as well. I then faced the quick bowler and blocked him out for an over scoring no runs leaving Neil to face the Off-Spinner, Neil got him away for a boundary flicking it over Gully, but then perished either the next or third ball looking to strike it and get some runs.

So, that was another 'Not out' this time a 2 - not out

Friday, September 02, 2011

An exciting weekend ahead

We've had a pretty dull August here in the UK, as you may have noticed in the recent blogs about the games, most of which at some point or other have been delayed for periods because of the rain. But, this weekend is shaping up nicely with the exception I've just realised of the Big game with Orsett at the neutral ground of Benfleet.

Looking at the Surf charts on Magic Seaweed (pretty comprehensive weather data)
chart=1&res=750&type=pressure&starttime= you'll see that a low is coming in off the Atlantic over-night on Saturday and it moves in and across the country on Sunday morning. The nature of the frontal system means that the weather might dissipate as the rain falls across the west country, so we may be lucky and either miss it or catch showers. It needs to be checked as it's pretty inconclusive at this point. This is the predicted outcome for 10.00hrs on Sunday.

Hopefully after the Rayleigh mess we're now all clear on how the game will be decided in the event that the rain does stop play!!

Tomorrow though is a different story. Today the weather has been lovely with the temp when I got home from work at 26 degree centigrade, so I threw a few balls around and my bowling for the moment is coming along nicely and it's looking as though I'm maintaining the momentum that I've been blogging about over the last few weeks. A little note on how much my action has changed, my run in has completely changed now and has developed into a very short and possibly best described as balletic run in, so much so that Liam Rouse last night (wicket - keeping to me) as 'Twinkle toes'! So hopefully in the game tomorrow away at Buckhurst Hill I'll be able to continue the good form and get a wicket or two?

Thursday, September 01, 2011

Taking Wickets

Had a text today from G-Man at the club saying that there would be a practice tonight over at Mopsies Park for the U13 squad in preparation for the league final against Orsett this coming Sunday. So we all went over Joe, Ben and me. Ben's the Twelth man again and it doesn't look like anyones going to be forfeiting their place, so he'll be watching and supporting again, but he trained with them in the event that he does get the call up at the last minute.

With autumn now just round the corner, there was only a short window of opportunity, but they got at least four pairs in to have a bat including Ben and Ben also got to bowl and over or two. Some tactics and weaknesses were discussed for instance, there is a need for the bowlers to be more aware of the fact that if the ball gets past the inner circle, the bowler needs to get back behind the stumps to back up if the fielder gets the ball into the bowlers end for a run out.

Generally they're looking like a good unit, on many ocassions when the ball came in there were at least 2 fielders backing up in order to eliminate extra runs in that scenario. So there isn't any reason why we can't win. Orsett are an arrogant bunch, full of themselves, mouthy in the field, aggressive and quick to capitalise on any weaknesses. They're more than willing to intimidate - the wicket keeper and the close in fielders very verbal, looking to under-mine the batsmen and make them feel isolated. The bowlers when they get the ball back quickly direct off the bat will then throw down the stumps when the batsman is still in his crease or at least make the action as if they are going to. They're generally physically big and tall lads as well for U13's, with only a handful of smaller boys. In addition the team is so popular and successful in part due to their location and the fact that they are a very well resourced team - lovely new and big pavillion, state of the art nets facilities and 3 or 4 of them to boot, that it means they're in a psoition where they turn lads away. The word is that any lads that want to play for the team have to do a test and prover that they are good enough to play for them and even then it could be years or months before they are deemed good enough to play in the first XI of each age group, so they are a pretty formidable bunch. But - the bigger they are, the harder they fall and they can be under-mined. In our match with them during the run up to these final where they beat us by about 6 wickets, there was a phase in the middle of the game where one or two of their players put down a couple of balls and B&P suddenly got the ascendancy with the bat for a few overs and they suddenly shut up and were very quiet and only resumed their confidence once a key wicket fell, but for a short period it looked like they'd run out of ideas.

In that game we lost several early key wickets, unusual wickets too the first 4 bats went for about 20 runs or so, putting us on the back foot, if those same blokes (and its very possible) could keep their wickets and survive the opening bowling attack, that would put our blokes in a very strong position and test the Orsett boys. The chances are our support is going to be far superior to theirs and if we're behind our boys and we're vocal it might get under their skin and they could easily falter. It's a mouth watering prospect, but the Orsett are on a high as they knocked their semi final opponents out easily bowling the whole team out for less than 33 runs!

Oh yeah on the theme of my own bowling I was asked to bowl an over by G-man and Liam Rouse and I took one of our lads wicket twice in the one over and he's normally one of our players that hoiks me quite easily, but he was un-done by all my new attriutes and he was bowled clean through the gate twice by balls pitched outside of leg.

Getting Wickets

I'm always wary about doing this - blowing my own trumpet or claiming that I've made some kind of magical break-through, but...... The last couple of practices and the last match I played in have looked promising, the slight adjustments and the suggestions that have been made over at seem to have produced very positive outcomes. I was going to say that the key outcome is that I'm getting the ball on target again after months of being very wayward, but its more than that. As well as the accuracy in the last couple of weeks I've cracked the whole speed, dip, spin and turn off the wicket combination and now I'm getting line and length chucked in for good measure, so at the moment I'm in a good place. All I need now is access to a couple of high speed video cameras and I'll update my youtube vids, but what with it now Sept 1st it's looking increasingly unlikely that I'm going to get this together yet again which is a shame.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

What the hell?

On my way to work this morning I looked up and someone has nicked the bloody fence from the paddock over night on a Bank Holiday Monday. They've nicked the side which protects cover drives and balls bewteen there and backward of point from going in the road or onto the cars. WTF is that about, it had holes all over it as well, so you wouldn't be nicking it to put in your back yard? It doesn't make sense either from the point of view of your usual suspects nicking it either, they usually nick stuff to claim the scrap value, but this was a flimsy wire fence!

The paranoid part of me thinks this is stage 1 of a more malicious process. Will have to wait and see. It's bizarre, because they've done a really neat job of it and taken it away and left all the rest of the fence on all the other sides which in some ways might have been easier to nick and it's of a better qaulity. There's been a group of teenagers who've been in there playing football of late who are not from our estate, but why they'd do anythng is beyond me unless stage 2 is due to happen soon?

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Controversy at the U13 semi final

So, today was the semi-final in the U13's league. The contenders for the title are us - (Basildon & Pitsea) our opponents for a place in the final - Rayleigh and the other match was between the favourites Orsett and their oppo's Leigh On Sea. As mentioned earlier this week my son Ben wasn't selected and was the 12th man, so we were up this morning with all the gear ready to support the team and Ben to take anyones place if they didn't show up or got a ball in the teeth during the game.

The weather looked iffy, bright and breezy, what photographers would call cloudy bright and what weather men would describe as having the potential for a heavy shower. Initially because of me we ended up at the wrong pitch, but a phone call to Neil soon sorted that out and we arrived at about 6 overs in and 1 wicket down and the score at about 30, so they were doing okay at this point.

We settled down to watch the game, as usual there was a big turn out of supporters for B&P despite the fact that we were the away team.

I reckon again like the Southend match earlier in the year we outnumbered the home support by three to one easily. The bowling was on the money generally and the fielding supported the bowlers efforts, Anthony Ayres and Ryan stopping a few balls between them that would have gone for at least two and possibly four. The Rayleigh batting looked okay and their scoring was steady with communication between the batsmen ensuring for the most part that risky runs weren’t made. Nothing un-toward happened throughout the game except for one contentious run out shout that everyone went up for – team and supporters and the Square Leg umpire didn’t give it. Some of our supporters were shouting from the boundary at the umpire and had to be reminded by Mike Blerkom that the umpires decision had to be respected, football fans I guess getting a little carried away? I’d shot a picture of the stumping and had a look at it on the camera screen and you can clearly see that the bails have been removed but on closer inspection see below, it's inconclusive, the shutter speed was so fast that it's frozen the ball in flight not leaving any blur-trail to indicate where the ball's come from. Added to that the Nathan isn't near the stumps either so the picture ends up offering no clarification at all.

Ryan Davies bowled well with three wickets off his spell which was 3 or 4 overs, and he didn’t concede that many runs either. Trying to take pictures it’s not that easy to keep track of what’s going on, but I got the sense that no-one else bowled out of their skin particularly, there were one or two mediocre performances, but generally the team bowled quite well as a unit and the job was done pretty well in that the oppo scored 101 off their 20 overs for 7 wickets.

During teas, the trainers and G-man had an inspirational chat with the lads ‘Don’t go made trying to smack the ball everywhere'. That kind of thing. They all sat there looking quite anxious and I don't think any of them went out and got any biscuits or drinks!!!

The game resumed under rain leaden clouds but huge expanses of blue sky either side of us. B&P batted well. Sonny Downes hitting a series of 4's in amongst some singles. Reagan Mead in support struck a couple of balls that they ran 2 on before being bowled by a small fair haired lad in the 2nd over, Reagan playing too early and hitting the ball straight to extra cover for an easy catch, you could see he wasn't happy with the way he was dismissed. Harrison Morris then took up the task of getting us on track for a win and he followed in the same vein as Sonny hitting a couple of boundaries. Sonny was next to fall to a catch made very low on the ground bowled by a bigger fair haired lad in the fifth over, but by this point our run rate in comparison to theirs at the same point in the game was better. Sonny fell with the score at 26 for 2.

Mitchell McLeod wasn't at the crease for long having replaced Sonny, he only faced one or two balls before swinging the bat and being bowled clean by the 1st bowler. By the 8th over we were half way almost, at 48 runs for 3. Around about this stage they brought on their Wrist Spinner, some of us had seen him last year and he was pretty tidy and took 2 or 3 wickets in just a couple of overs. John Bonnet passed me saying 'Watch this kid - he's pretty good', He finished his spell on 3-1-7-0 our lads had survived. Jack Green made his exit after being run out after getting 14 runs. Harrison Morris scored a steady 20 before being caught.

The score at this stage had us still in front and with Harrison Morris and Jack Green gone we were nearing the tail. Anthony Ayres made a quick exit via another run out which had always looked risky and it was his call to go for it, he only gained us another 1 run and all this under an ever darkening sky. The last of the recognised batsmen Harrison Birch and Nathan Hubble (Wicket Keeper) went in with a mission to maintain the lead and keep inching up the run rate difference to put the game safely in our hands. It was looking do-able we were in the leading and ball by ball extending that lead. There were 3 overs to go and Hubble and Birch looked to have it in the bag with just 12 runs needed, my heart was in my mouth 4 an over, yeah it could happen, but the next ball could be a wicket and then we're into the tail-enders and anything could happen, it looked like a bit of a nail biter ending and then it rained. The rain didn't stop either a big black strip of cloud coming in from the west ran west to east right over us. Everyone legged it to the pavillion. The score stood at 89 off of 16 overs.

Crammed under the canopy of the pavillion everyone peered out as the rain looked to be here for quite some time and it wasn't letting up. Even from more than 80 yards we could see that the already wet wicket wasn't looking to good. All around us people wondered what was going to happen with the game, had we won because of the rain? People were saying that their lads couldn't play next week, others were saying that there'd have to be a re-match, but the re-match would then be played with a different team?

Neil and some of the coaches were now getting agitated because a game that we had in the bag was now being potentially called off for a re-match with only 3 overs to go and us in a position where we'd have won all for the sake of another 10 - 15 minutes of play. Others were saying that we'd see what would happen if the rain would stop. Some people were grumbling about the fact that their lads were supposed to be at football, the atmosphere was one of simmering anger. G-Man was thumbing through the rule books looking to see what the ruling on rained off games was.

A crowd gathered peering over his shoulder looking for a solution that would see the correct outcome. The rain in the meantime had faltered slightly and was now only light. In the west a blue sky was moving in as the rain cloud petered out and the rain finally stopped. Both teams made their way out on to the pitch, people were getting annoyed. Clusters of people discussed what was happening, but no-one seemed to know, the feeling seemed to be that now the rain had stopped, we would all wait to see how the wicket would drain, but the wicket had standing water on it and it was already water-logged when the game had started.
Their annoyance was stepped up by the arrival of a bag of sawdust. At the start of the game because the wicket had been wet when B&P were bowling we'd requested sawdust for H&S reasons, but were told that there wasn't any and now with the prospect of their lads bowling on a wet wicket a large bag of sawdust suddenly appeared, it all seemed a bit fishy.

The sawdust was put down and we all waited for another 20 or 30 minutes, it looked as though the oppo was happy to play the last three overs, but then of course they would be, they had sawdust down, the ball wasn't going to bounce, all they really needed to do was bowl straight, but we were caught between a rock and a hard place, if we didn't bat, the other ideas were to have a bowl off which had been suggested by the district league manager or call it off and play again next week. All outcomes worked against us, the game was in the bag as far as we were concerned and all the alternative options levelled the playing field when it was in our favour half an hour earlier. Despite all the heated meetings in the back rooms of the pavillions it looked as though we were going to be stitched up and the best option looked to be to try and bat the three overs and get the 12 runs.

The bats were ready and the Rayleigh boys had taken the field and then the rain resumed again. It was the last straw, some of our officials were saying 'If they're that desperate to win and they want it so much that they'd go through by cheating - let them'. Shortly with nothing resolved and with the rain now completely rendering the pitch unsuable we all drifted home with a decision seemingly being placed back in the hands of the league manager.

One of the daftest rumors was that at a pre-match meeting the issue of a rained off match had been raised, but the Rayleigh contingent simply said 'It wont rain' and despite several attempts to get an answer on the rain issue, they'd simply come back with the same answer..... It wont rain.

later that day we all got a text saying in the end the situation was resolved by the use of the Duckworth Lewis method and that we'd won by 7 runs and justice was finally done. We were through to the final against the mighty Orsett. Meanwhile spies at the Orsett game were texting saying that Orsett had turned over their opposition (leigh on sea)for 23 runs winning by 10 wickets.

The next day was fun day and the lads were given their moment of celebration somewhat belatedly and subdued during the day, but the crowd cheered and celebrated their historic win.

See also Dave Ayres official response to the match