Tuesday, May 17, 2011

All blogged out

I'm getting all blogged out at the minute with too much to do and I'm not able to keep up with the posts, especially as now Ben and Joe play in 2 different age groups and at the weekend with my match there's 3 games to report on! So for the moment it's going to have to be a quick report on what happened. I also told a bloke at cricket tonight that I'd upload the score sheets from the U11's as soon as I could, but it doesn't look like I'm going to be able to do that tonight either.

Things to report in brief..........

Sunday - Ben in the U13's match bowled okay, some of the other lads Harrison Morris in particular bowled nothing short of spectacularly clinching the game for them in the last over with a hat trick. This was against Stanford Le Hope.

Meanwhile Joe at home in the Under 11's had the job of being the skipper for his team for the first time and by all accounts did well clinching an easy win against my old team Thurrock. Joe himself took a wicket and when I get my arse in gear I'll put up the figures.

Then on Monday night Ben played in a match at his school year 7's and 8's in an inter-school team and he bowled 3-3-0-0 but was unfortunate not to get a wicket.

I played Sunday as well in a team made up of ringers and decoys all with bad legs and knees and bowled 3-0-23-0 and helped us on our way to a sound thrashing. That was against Hornchurch on the same pitch I went for nearly 11 an over at the start of last season. How bad it was is indicated tonight by Dave Ayres saying that my 5 runs was in the top 5 scores (He said higher, but I can't believe that). But on plus note I hit a four. Jody Reynolds played as a ringer and was roped in as the wicket keeper, keeping to Liam Rouses seam balls, which to be honest I wouldn't have wanted to do, but he did incredibly well stopping most of the balls using his hands and his body much of the time and toughing it out and he's only 11/12 years old! Matt Pinno 'The Spinno' caught a ball in the slips which by all accounts was something to celebrate and Dave Ayres copped a ball square on the knee off the bat going for a low catch. We were beaten by 10 wickets.

Friday, May 13, 2011

The Boy done well.

So last Tuesday at training which was a very well attended session, Ben had got fed up of waiting in a queue of about 10 boys to bowl and joined me in the outfield and ended up bowling very good Wrist Spin turning the ball both ways with Leg Breaks and Wrong Uns. Looks like as well as being a good seam bowler he's one of those people that can naturally bowl wrist spin or he's been listening to me all this time and keeping quiet? Although I have to admit that almost every night when they're on their way to bed, while one of them is getting ready the other one plays the Peter Philpott game with me where we stand opposite each other and try and spin the ball past one another, so he's been doing that for months now, so has possibly a fairly good grasp of the principles of Wrist Spinning.

But on Tuesday night I was pleasently surprised that he was bowling good Leg Breaks and good Wrong uns at a fair speed and a very good line and consitently as well! The only possible issue was length which was a tad short sometimes, other than that I was very impressed. Maybe in a few years in the Sunday B team we'll have 3 Leg Spinners and all called Thompson!!!!

At the end of the session the coach filled them all in on the possibility that they may get called up during the week to play in a match against the South Essex District U12's which is basically all the best kids from all the clubs in the area stretching from Grays, to Hullbridge and Southend http://www.sedcb.org.uk/governance/clubs-in-membership Ben wasn't up for it 'Why would you want to go and play in a match where you're just goung to get smashed all over the pitch'? I suggested otherwise and that you never know you might even win? His response was 'As if'.

Later in the week, I got the email that both Ben & Joe had been selected but Joe had other arrangements already in place and couldn't play which I didn't mind as I think Joe would have been more daunted by the prospect than Ben, so that panned out okay. During the week Ben showed no inclination to be up for this match and I suppose like me, he doesn't know how good he is at bowling if you look at the bigger picture. Okay, so he does well at B&PCC sometimes, but then that ability isn't always acknowledged by his team it seems, so there's this sense of caution in that maybe he's just okay? Statistically, if you look at his bowling including friendly and inter-club matches he's up there with the best of them. So if he did play against this Best of South Essex team, it may indicate Ben's true ability?

Tonight though, we were almost caught dozing, in that I thought the meet time was 6pm, but when I got in I checked and it was a 6pm start, so I had to almost fight to get him off the XBOX (Forza) and into his kit and have his dinner to arrive by 6. We made it by a few minutes. Looking around the team that was going to face this super team, wasn't quite what I was expecting and it did look as though it was going to be tough. The good news though was that B&P were fielding first and Ben had to take to the field almost as soon as we got there, so no time to ponder on what was to come. The good news though there were some familiar faces and Frank Farrington was back.

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

Friday, May 06, 2011

Bowling well

I was hoping to get in the Paddock this evening after work, have a bowl and video it from the front and from above. But the bloody lazy football kids were there already. These are the kids that are too lazy and unfit to play on a half size pitch just a few yards from the paddock, because it means they have to run all the time, you can see why as a nation we're so s**t at football!

So, instead I went over to The Rec and bowled on the outfield using a strip that appears to be a neglected part of the square, right on the end. 40 balls in a bucket x 5 200 balls in an hour and half and it went amazingly well. Bowled very few wides, 6-8 maybe and very few balls didn't turn. The Flippers were coming out well and the Leg Breaks had a bit of drfit and were fizzing again. Wrong Uns weren't bad either and it looks like my bowling's shaping up nicely. The only downside is that the scheduled game for Sunday has been cancelled. So, Wayne at Grays/Thurrock if you're still following the blog and you're short of players for the games on Sunday it might be worth giving me a call?

Video News
apparently, according to the technicians at work, these pro VD tape video cameras shoot in very fast frame rates, the technician was saying that in good light well in excess of 1000FPS. The recordings are made on to DV tape which then can be played back through professional editing software final cut pro and recorded in slow-motion into a digital file format for use on the internet.So that's a definite avenue I'll be looking to explore with the help of the said technician.

Thursday, May 05, 2011

Another year on............

Last weekend while at the U13's and U11's game the blokes at the club asked me to shoot a group picture of the kids for the club website and I did so and then suggested that while they were all there, I could do all the individual shots for their profiles page.

So tonight I've sent them over and the bloke Neil, has been up-loading them to the website, but I just caught last years images just as he removed them and posted up the new ones. I was struck by how much a difference makes in a kids life, especially my older son Ben. Have a look at the pictures. In one he's just a young boy still at primary school, with a cheeky look about him, can't take anything serious and in this new image, you can see the brooding teenager in him waiting to emerge, the sense of self awareness and the fact that he's a mean nasty fast bowler that breaks peoples bones and testicles! Such a massive difference in a year, I can't believe it.

The same contrast doesn't seem to be so evident with Joe, but there is a difference. Joe though in a few years looks as though physically he's going to catch up with Ben. We monitor their height and at the same age stages, Joe is increasingly bigger than Ben. So when Ben was Joe's age he was a good 2cm smaller and we thought that Ben was tall for his age. So watch out Ben your little brother is closing in on that height gap!

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Shane Warne v Jaggi & Chipli IPL 2011

Shane Warne v Jaggi & Chipli
IPL 2011 MATCH02 - DC vs RR, 2011-04-09

Warme in this situation bowling Leg Breaks at the tail end of his career.

Rankin CC game this Sunday

Looks like the first Sunday game of the season is against this club based over at Rochford as far as I can make out. Looks like a nice venue, bit of a trek though on the way out towards Bradwell Power station and that area via Rochford Airport. G-Man's put out the request for players, but as yet it's not looking that positive with only a handful of people responding so far. I just hope we get the full 11 as I played a handful of games last year with only 10 blokes and we didn't have a dogs hope in any of them which is demoralising.

Monday, May 02, 2011

The Paddock - The background story.

Summer 2006 on the night we were to travel to Cornwall for our annual surf trip, my wife said 'Take the kids over the Rec on their bikes to wear em out a bit before the 8 hour drive to Cornwall". So we went over the Rec where there's a big hill and Joe who had just turned 5 wanted to ride down the big grassy hill with Ben on their bikes. On the 3rd go Joe got wheel wobble doing about 20mph and went diving over his handle bars with the bike following him as it had flipped over the front wheel and both boy and bike landed on Joe's elbow smashing his left elbow and dislocating the forearm bone. Two operations and 3 days later Joe was in a cast and the holiday in Cornwall was no more. With his left arm in plaster the question was - what are we going to do all summer and the answer was cricket, a game I hadn't played properly ever and only had done as a kid in the street once or twice back in the late 60's or early 70's.

But having started it another Dad joined in and one thing led to another and within 6 months I'd formed the MPA 1st XI at work. I encouraged the kids to continue playing and bit by bit one of the things that we soon realised was that in order to bowl or bat we needed somewhere flat to bowl on. During the late summer that year in September I used take a pair of shears and cut the grass in the immediate area where we batted and bowled in order to try and improve the experience for Ben and Joe. At this point my obsession with Wrist Spinning was only just emerging.

Spring 2007; I was hooked and had carried on bowling through that winter and was now looking to bowl on grass, but had no-where to do so. Ben and Joe wanted to be involved too and the only solution I could see was to start cutting a wicket in the corner of little used local football pitch and so I set to it with a pair of shears whilst looking to get hold of a little manual mower.

So bit by bit using a pair of shears we cut the grass shorter enabling us to bat and bowl - See below Ben aged 7.

Initially we just cut a rectangle, but bit by bit it grew in length and this sufficed for a couple of years and over the winter I score a roller and I would roll this little rectangle in the corner of the field.

Then other kids started getting involved and we all started to get a bit better at batting and started to lose balls in the adjacent woods. This field is only about 100 yards from my house and is right next to the paddock almost, just the other side of the trees. We never considered the paddock as it was dead rough and often over-grown. This early wicket was in the corner of the local football pitch see below at A.

By the end of that summer I'd obtained the Ransomes Ajax lawnmower, a design classic, one of the best mowers ever, featuring a design that originated from the 1930's and mine was the MK4. This mower enabled us to get a ridiculously close cut on the wicket down to 6mm, improving the quality of the pitch massively.

Prior to establishing the wicket on the local field, I'd already been mowing a playing field about 3/4 mile away for the MPA 1st XI boys to play on and we used this over the summer of 2007. Being a playing field and council property, there was a potential issue with the council getting the hump about me mowing the grass on the field (Great Berry Open Space), but that Easter the counicl caught up with me and commended me on my grass roots approach to cricket and cutting the wicket and said that I could continue doing so. See below - Great Berry Open Space.

Spring 2008; More kids had got involved the summer before and Ben and Joe were showing promise as bowlers and the need for a local wicket grew, so early in the spring we got the shears going, cutting the long grass in the middle of the football field which still wasn't being used much at all by the people that owned the field. As with the corner wicket, this initially had to be cut by hand using shears (below). But once we'd got the grass short enough to deploy the Ransomes that came into use and we establised a half decent wicket to play on and practice on and the people who owned the field turned a blind eye to use using it.

We used this field for another year and then in 2009 I noted that the field was used a lot more and towards the end of the 3rd summer of use this wicket 'Valence Way Wicket' came to an end with the owners of the field clearing the field and cutting bushes and giving us the impression that it was going to be utilised more frequently. They suddenly started mowing it more and did a load of drainage repairs and filled holes and I decided that we'd stop using it. This wicket is B on the map. You can see how close all these strips are in relation to my house D.

Scratching around for somewhere to go next and looking for somewhere to bowl myself I ventured into the paddock a couple of times and bowled across the paddock from top to bottom up hill as you look at the ariel map. It wasn't that good and I didn't really consider it as being viable. I even looked at the potential for establishing a wicket over at Glouscester park and mowed a couple there looking to get the attention of a load of Asian lads, but it didn't work out. Then in July 2009 I wrote............

At the end of my road 1/2 way to our private wicket there's an enclosed compound more or less square in shape 34 yards x 35 yards with two full size goal posts in it. Around it there's a chain link fence in state of disrepair but 85% intact. It's not flat and runs of to one side at an angle and because it's used primarily by kids to play football the grass is exceptionally uneven and in a right mess and has probably never been levelled ever? I've practiced in there before bowling up the hill but today I went in there and had a bowl from side to side and realised that with a bit of work it could be made usable as a practice wicket and would be better because it's enclosed by fencing. Then thinking about it as I bowled I realised the potential for putting our nets up. Because of the position of the goal posts and the distance between them it's almost an ideal place to put nets up temporarily with very little effort using the goal posts as the main supports for the nets.

Repairs were made, filling in the holes between rough tufts of grass and I started to practice in the paddock and by the end of the summer realised that with some work it had real potential. So since July 2009 the paddock has gone from the images here below to the space you now see.

Again, the same as Great Berry Open Space it is council property, but I've wrote to the bloke at the council telling him I'm utilising it in the way that I am and that I'm cutting and maintaining it and he's okay with it. What they're more concerned with is that these spaces are utilised by the public and therefore do need to be maintained. If the public don't use them, then they can't justify their up-keep and the employment of staff. I've even asked for the fence to be repaired and replaced with one of those heavy duty steel fences and for the height to be raised. The council didn't say no and said that work on the fence was ear-marked for the future when the budget was there.

The idea of space utilisation is something that I find interesting, what are these spaces for and how can they be utilised and what constitutes good and bad usage. It seems that I've just been a bit more up-front than most people and I'm thick skinned, so that when people do walk past when I'm mowing it and look at me as though I'm a complete ****, I'm not bothered. What it means is that with a little bit of my time and a little money and asking around I've created a situation where we have this across the road from our house............

And here we are today having a knock about in the paddock - such good times!

Sunday, May 01, 2011

The Boys done well

Ben and Joe, had their first game of the season this morning at home at Mopsies. It was another inter-club affair with a combination of the U13's and the U11's playing each other in a 20 overs game. The rules being that when you're out you're out and if you score 25 you have to retire, which if you read on has its problems.

So this season see's Ben move up to the U13's with a couple of his contempories and Joe despite only being 9, but physically bigger than most of the U11's being kind of one of the senior players in his age group due to his time at the club now, his bowling prowess and the size thing as mentioned. There is talk of Joe playing in the odd match with the U13's because he does spin the ball and the U13's haven't got a spin option. The plan being that maybe when they play on grass wickets and they're short on players Joe may get the call up?

So arriving at Mopsies on a bright and very dry morning with a stiff breeze, it was good to see the turn out with more than enough lads to get a game going. Dave Ayres, Neil and Mike Blerkom got the teams sorted and allocated captains. It was quite unusual I thought that no-one in Ben's team wanted to be the captain and that included Ben. When Ben has been told by his Grandad that if he gets the captaincy of his School team he'll get £20, so I thought this may have been a chance for Ben to give it a go? In the end Harrison got the job and allocated the fielding positions and threw the ball to Ben to bowl the opening over. Ben with all the practice he puts in is possibly the fastest and most accurate of the bowlers in the U11's and U13's and if the wicket keeper doesn't manage to stop the ball it will end up over the boundary for 4 byes, so I was quite surprised when Harrison put two of the smaller lads from the U11's behind the wicket keeper to gather the ball if he didn't manage it and this cost 4 byes during one of Ben's overs at least. But, it's not an easy task being the captain at this age and it's certainly not something I'd have been up for at their age, so I'm not going to grumble that much and being the captain from the other side of the boundary is far easier than doing it on the field in front of your peers. Ben's opening over included a potentially easy bowled and caught that came straight back to him and caught him unawares and it went to hand and he fumbled it.

Harrison despite the pressures of captaincy bowled very well averaging 2.6 runs an over off 3 overs and taking 2 wickets. Ben took no wickets bowled a couple of wides and averaged 3.6.

Harrison 3-1-8-2
Ben 3-1-11-0

Joe was on the opposing team batting at No12, whether that's a fair reflection of Joe's batting I'm not sure, but he's happy to live with that if he gets his 3 overs, which is one more than the rest of the boys that possibly don't bowl so efficiently. But generally I think Joe's batting has improved. In the middle of first teams batting one or two of the boys seemed to settle into Test Cricket mode leaving and blocking the ball, playing very cautiously through several overs and the runs dried up completely. Moreover this meant that the rest of the boys queueing up to bat, didn't get to bat including Joe obviously stuck at No12.

Joe as you can see bowled very economically with a ball dropped off his bowling which was a shame. Joe came out equal top on average with Harry Davy with a run an over, although Harry only bowled 2 overs. But Harry by a mile was the best bowler of the day with three wickets off of only 2 overs.

Joe; 3-1-3-0
Harry Davy; 2-1-2-3

It was interesting to see right at the start Mike and Dave asked for all the batsmen to stand to one side and out of 23 boys only 4 stood aside to be counted as batsmen. Whereas when the 'Bowlers' were asked to stand aside almost without exception all of them did so. But looking at the Bowling stats, the bowling does look promising, but then that's off-set by the admittance of virtaully all the boys that they are not batsmen. By all accounts this was the situation last year with the U13's and they were beaten in every single match. But we were missing Frank today and hopefully Frank will be back soon and I think Frank can bat.

A similar story with Ben's batting, he was at No.10 and didn't get to because a couple of boys settled in the middle order and dried up the runs with 3 runs being made off of 7 or 8 overs, so it ended up Joe's team won. I'd have put a picture up of the team here, but because of the child protection issues which I personally think are over the top I can't. But you can see most of them at the club website!!!

Later that day we had a family do over at Epping Forest and late in the day Ben faced 3 spinners of differing styles, speeds and flight and Ben smacked all 3 of us for 4's straight along the ground between mid off and on past the bowlers again and again coming down the wicket. 2 of us were adults and the other was Joe. Whether what happened at Epping with a plastic training ball can be converted to a real ball is another matter and maybe tomorrow we need to get in the paddock and see if he can repeat it?