W'hey I got a game at last, but that's almost as good as it's going to get! This was a league game and being a Sunday B team friendly type player, the format was different to any of the games I've played in before, with points being awarded for different things occuring in the game, for instance we missed out on additional points because we couldn't quite make it to 200 when we batted.
I took my place as the 11th batsman and was surprised to see that the wickets fell fairly quickly and it looked as though I'd actually get to bat, but then as the wickets fell there was one bloke who was doing well, fairly quickly reaching his 50 while all the others at the other end were being dismissed. As the No.8 went in I realised that they were talking about the bloke that was batting well reaching his 100 and that there was a need for the other batsmen to hold up their end and get the good bloke on strike and not go mad. The two blokes in front of me did well - a lot better than me - scoring runs for a start and one of them, Dean hit at least 3 fours before he was dismissed, but they both went down leaving the good batsman just short of his century 92 or 94 leaving me the job of helping to see him across the line. We were on about 188 at this point , so as you can see apart from this one bloke no-one else had any answers to their bowling attack, so it looked as though I would go the same way as the others within a few balls. But, I went in not expecting to be dismissed, but to see how it went and not do anything particularly daft. Everyone had said that the kid that was to be bowling at me was swinging the ball in and this had been causing problems and as I met the batsman halfway he said the same thing 'Watch the ball swinging in, follow my call, don't do anything daft just keep blocking it and try and get me on strike'. So that's what I tried to do. For some reason the bloke had a calming effect on me and perhaps because he'd never seen me bat before he didn't have this look of resignation on his face, he came across as being determined and with some belief that I could do it, so I bought into it.
So, no swinging shots, be aware of the fact that it's going to come into me and keep the bat straight and close in to my legs and not leave that stupid gap that I always seem to do. The kid ran up and down came the ball - initially well outside of off and then whizzed inwards just as they said and really full! I stabbed the bat down and it virtually stopped dead at my feet and trickled away to the off-side. I'd kept that one out and yep it was swinging. Another ball was on the money, but then disappeared down legside. Ends changed and the bloke got a one away and we ran two, a single followed at some point and again I ended up on strike, one was aimed at my head and went for a no-ball, another hit my pads most definitely going down leg, and then one came in from wide very full again and I just clipped it off my legs down the legside for two like a proper cricket player!!! The strike changed again, I don't remember facing the other bowler or hitting him for runs, but I was staying in and the batsman was accumulating runs and where we could we rotated the stike on the last ball of the over when he needed to get back at the strikers end for the next over and then he ran one and a big cheer went up. He'd scored his century, his second ever, the last one being the previous year against the same team. We did the thing in the middle where you punch each others gloves and I congratulated him and he said we'd now look to get the score up to 200 for the extra points.
The game resumed and within a matter of about 3 balls it was all over with 5 more runs or thereabouts short of the 200. A pretty innocious looking ball went down the off-side and the bloke cut the ball straight to a bloke at backwards of point a the best catching level he could and the innings was over and I got yet another not out. In a way it was a shame because the good batsman had never had a not out and he was looking to do the double.
And then they batted (Sort of)
Yeah this was peculiar. At 195 with the possibility of as many as 55 overs (I think) this was now on for a fight to get them all bowled out, the expectation was that they'd go for it. They had 4 adults and the rest were teenagers. Two of the adults were older blokes who looked like they had at least a 100 years of experience between them of batting, so the potential was there for them to tick over runs gradually. There were two more blokes that were between 28-38, so younger and fitter that would get the run rate up potentially and then the rest were teenagers so anything could happen in their case, the only other 100's I've ever seen have been made by the Downes brothers at Grays and Chadwell, Lee and wosshisface - sorry can't remember his name but they were both about 14 when they did it and that was playing against adults.
But it wasn't to be. The two older blokes clung on till about the 20th over with a run rate of about 1 run per over, they just blocked and blocked when the fast bowlers were bowling and then on came the batsman who'd scored the 100. His bowling was a bit slower and varied in its speed and eventually a slower ball got one of the older blokes driving forwards too early and he was dismissed for a bowled and caught. By that time even if the younger kids were up for it they had a lot of work to do, but they weren't, the other old bloke soon went and was replaced by two kids that blocked and blocked and ocassionaly play the odd agressive shot. Then I was brought on......
So in practice I bowl like this on a consistent basis and recently my bowlings yo-yo'd a bit, so isn't up to the same standards that you see in this vid link, but at the same time it's not been bad. But, I've got to admit I do get the Yips a bit when bowling in front of blokes on my own team that I don't know and I think the reverse happened in this bowling situation as to what happened with the batting earlier. I've been trying to think of a similie to describe what my bowling was like and came up with a really naff one that I kind of liked and used elsewhere...... I bowled like a squirrel. How's that? What do you reckon squirrels bowl like? Yep, that's how bad it was. First ball up didn't even land on the strip it was that Pinno-esque, but then it got slightly better. I think one kid in that first over hit a ball down to fine leg that went for 4, but other than that it was okay run-wise. To be honest I'm not sure whether I had 3 or 4 overs as they were all nightmarish in several ways, one key aspect was that I wasn't sure whether I was going for bowling with a bound or whether I was going for the Terry Jenner walk in approach, so that screwed my head up. Added to that there was a wide per over and my line was poor for almost every ball. One bizarre thing that I was made aware of was how important it is to be aware of the weather over there in relation to whether you bat or field. If the weather is fine with little or no cloud cover you have to consider that if you field first, you're then going to be batting facing a sun that is going to be right in your eyes if the oppo has got slow bowlers. B&PCC make no bones about it at all calling for me to pitch it up high 'Bowl him a sun ball Dave loop it up high into the sun'. One of the middle overs went better with a Leg Break bowled over the wicket that landed wide of the leg stump turning into the stumps and hitting the wood-work. Initially I didn't think that's what had happened, I thought it was a stumping, but yep it turned round the back of his legs which I'd seen and into the stumps. Normally here I'd be cock-a-hoop about that happening, but it was a kid, so for some reason I'm not that fussed, I want to bowl a batsman of some years round the back of his legs, not some youth. From then on it was pretty much Squirrel standard again with a couple of 4's being hit through the covers along the ground and needless to say the captain gave me a rest.
The batting pretty much carried on in the same vein, no-one making any attempt to make any runs, just looking to ride the game out through to a draw and it seems as though that's what they must have decided at tea. Towards the end, one of the other adults (the younger bloke who was in his mid 20's) made some effort to hit the ball.
There was a good phase at the death of the game where a younger bloke (Sean Healey) who normally bowls seam up bowled off-spin along with John Bedford who had a groin injury. They tried to finish off the last batsmen and take a win, but the last two stuck to their task and despite the fact that everyone was crowded round the bat all in silly positions survived the last 6 or so overs by just letting the ball go, sometimes missing the stumps by millimeteres or blocking it into the ground. So all in all an okay and kind of eventful game, which I enjoyed thoroughly despite my poor bowling and my knees held out!