Saturday, April 30, 2011

First Match of the Season

First match of the season was at Langdon Hills Recreation Ground, which is just around the corner from where we live, see below. The match was an inter-club match with a mixture of the 3rd and 4th IX's. I turned up late, misunderstanding the info on the website somehow, and initially was down at the 12th man on batting side who just been put in to bat. It turned out that one of the kids that was batting pulled what appeared to be his hamstring in about the 5th of 6th over and had to retire hurt. I think initially he was hoping to go back in again, but after his brother stretched it more for him as some kind of remedial actio?!!!! He was completely screwed and hobbled off hardly able to walk back to the car and they took him home. So I was back in the game.

I almost didn't get to bat with only one over to go, but 9th batsman was dismissed on 2nd form last ball of the penultimate over. So I face one ball and survived as it was wide enough to leave. The first ball of the last over and the No.10 was bowled clean, so I was a 'Not Out'. But their captain said 'Bowl the over as last man standing'. It turned out that I was facing G-Man and his first ball was a bit leg-side and I managed one of those little deft touches that took it through the position where the bloke at 45 would be and it almost ran for 4. Another through the off-side I ran it low again, with a faint little touch that got it through the keeper and slips and again that nearly ran for 4. Shame really as the runs didn't count and I played 2 good balls! I'd had a bit of a warm up earlier with Keith West who'd come over to see me bowl, so maybe that had made some difference or maybe my Stac bat? I suppose we'll see next time, as long as I don't have to face an Off-Spinner.

In the first innings as far as I was aware there hadn't been any spin, and if there had been it had been innocuous, as no-one had come back talking about it, so it didn't bode well for me or anyone else that was going to be spinning the ball.

After tea, we went into the field and I got put at Mid off and Mid on and was initially worried about the amount of running I might have had to do, what with my bad knee. In the end I needed to do very little running at all, so that worked out okay. As it was a 35 over match, drinks came out at 18 overs and I bowled after drinks. Although it was sunny it was very blustery and the wicket is set up so that it runs East to West, so I had the advantage of bowling into the wind and with the sun relatively low in the sky directly behind me!

I'd gone into this game with no idea of how well or poorly I was going to bowl, whether because of my knee I was going to walk in off of a couple of steps or bowl with the bound. The bound as yet is still a pretty un-natural bowling action for me and one that I'm not fully at ease with, so initially I set out with the 2 or 3 step walk in. The first ball up was slow and really took the batsman by surprise almost bouncing twice, but he got the bat on it and guided it down the towards 3rd man and got a run. As I recall the field was set primarily by 'JB' the captain, but asking me what I wanted to do with the bloke at No.8 (Mid Wicket) who I positioned slightly closer to Square Leg than I would normally do, leaving a gap between Mid Wicket and Mid On trying to get the batsmen to swing across the line and against the spin. I was hoping if they played cross bat shots there may have been some scope for mistakes to be made? Well, that's my story anyway, but to be honest both of the batsmen were new at the crease and I hadn't been able to get a look at them to see what they were about.

All the balls were delivered over the wicket pitching on or around the stumps, none of them went down the Leg-Side which is always a good thing, even though JB did have a bloke at 45 and in hind-sight he could have come up to a position - backward of square leg, mid-way and the bloke at square leg could have pushed back to deep square leg, and the mid-wicket fielder could have gone deep mid wicket where by the end of my three overs I'd lost a lot of runs to fours through there. The little diagram above illustrates my bowling line and I kept to that all through the 3 overs. The bloke at the other end L. Dutton (Lee maybe)? Was bowling well, not sure what kind of bowling and he even shrugged his shoulders to indicate that he didn't know what kind of bowling it was, so maybe it was just Dibbly Dobbly slow? But he took 3 wickets off four overs and only went for 12 runs, so we had the most succesful bowling partnership between us, which was good - combined strike rate of 6.4 - nearly a wicket an over.

My two wickets were pleasing, because as I said I didn't have any expectations what with my knee and the fact that I haven't quite found a groove yet despite all the practice I've been putting in My length was poor a lot of the time with several full tosses one of which was mistakenly called as a No-Ball at the start, they were dispatched for 4 almost without exception, but the balls that I did manage to get to bounce which was most of them did, turned exceptionally well. My first wicket was edged to slips and I think the keeper got his glove to it and sent it wider and the captain at slips still managed to get it, which was very commendable. The other was a nice wicket with the ball pitching around middle and leg and it turned and beat the bat hitting the off-stump.

Ball by ball recollection as best I can......The single and the no-ball I've already mentioned. The 4 in the first over was a full toss. The wicket was the one by the captain JB off the edge. The wide was one that was totally wrong - about 8 foot wide I released it wrong due to messing up my run in. The second over was my best taking Jack Farringtons wicket, which then brought on G-Man and he played cautiously playing forwards blocking the ball, negating the spin, the wide in this over I don't remember but it was down the off-side. Then in the last over 2 full tosses which were put away through mid-wicket or over his head and four good balls, some of which turned exceptionally well. I wish all the wickets I played on turned as much as the Rec did today, because it was as though I was even ripping the ball that much.

Oh yeah - we won. The exact figures I'm not 100% sure but we put up a total of around 170 all out off of 34 overs and the other team were all out for around 135 with several overs still in hand. Some of the younger blokes were joking 'Can we burn the stumps or something, that's the first win I've ever been involved in'! So a nice start and an invite to play Saturday next week for the 4ths I'm assuming?

Knee news: Thankfully the knees didn't get that much of a pounding and my fielding was backed up most of the time by a much younger bloke, further out and slightly wider than me, hardly anyone drove the ball straight through either mid-on/off and I was spared. I didn't bowl with the bound much, although I think the 2nd wicket was with the bound. For most part I couldn't get a rhythm going with my run in and reverted to the 2-3 step version. Again that helped with the knee. So by the time I got home just after six there was a little discomfort, so I got ice on it for 10 - 15 minutes and it feels fine now at 10.22 in the evening.

Note: I reproduced a facsimilie of the score sheet as it was in a bit of a mess, straight after the game my last over had been marked as L.Duttons over giving me 4 wickets.