Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Net Practice

Via the blog it’s fairly well known at our club that we’ve got the paddock as a facility to use and as you’re probably aware it features on the blog and on my youtube channel quite a bit, so it’s not like it’s a secret. Over the last couple of years a few people have joined us in there for a knock about and this year I’ve invited people to come over when they’ve mentioned seeing it on the blog.
On Saturday I got a phone call from the Farrington’s saying that they might come over and join us on Sunday evening. Being so late in the season it’s looking a bit worn out and it was in need of a cut, so Joe, Ben and me decided in the afternoon that we’d go across and give it a bit of spruce up.

Joe gets to work painting the crease lines at the bowling end.

Not having had a measure up since March we checked the length of the wicket and had to make some adjustments. As you can see, it was shaping up as a spinners wicket.

Joe got a shot of me sweeping away some of the loose stuff in order that we could get some paint down.

Joe carefully painting the crease lines.

Me and Ben took the mower over and cut the grass. Then Joe and I went over, measured the length of the wicket, marked out where the stumps would go and painted the batting and popping crease lines.

Some nice lines are prodcued by the Ransomes Ajax mower that we use.

The main issue we had though was the timing of their visit. They were due to arrive at about 5.45 which is around about the time that the football types get in there and the gangs of youths, whereas we’re usually in there earlier in the day or later than 7.30. So we decided that we’d get the nets up by way of discouraging anyone from getting ideas about playing football in there. So at about 5pm the nets went up and we got most of the gear ready. We then had to go in and have our dinner, so we left all the gear there and sat in the kitchen keeping an eye on it as we ate, that’s how close it is to our house! After scoffing the dinner down we got back and shortly Mark, Jack and Frank all turned up and the cricket got underway.

We all got to have a bat with the exception of Ben as he’d had a bike accident earlier and grazed his ankle and it was still all wet and weeping and his pads would have worn against it and he was saying it was feeling sore anyway. Initially Joe wasn’t interested in batting and declined the chance to bat, but then changed his mind later as he got into it and realised that he was really enjoying it and fancied his chances. So he went home while Frank was batting and got his gear on. My bowling wasn't too bad, ropey for the first few balls as always, but then as I relaxed and got the arm speed up a bit the balls began to dip and spin a bit and they looked a bit challenging. Franks as ever though was quite adept at putting them away, but I reckon I got one or two past him and he may have hit a few out to Mid Wicket for a catch?

Joe, fired up with enthusiasm at having some proper cricketers in the paddock batted out of his skin, I've never seen Joe bat so well and agressively. Almost every ball I bowled at him he came down the wicket and blocked and maybe once or twice I got the ball past him for a stumping chance. It was good to see and he really enjoyed himself as well which is really good to see as sometimes Joe can lack enthusiasm.

I batted as well towards the end and like Joe I batted reasonably well getting balls on the legs and the legside away, I even got a couple of those deft little paddle flick things that Ian Bells does. The ones where you reach the bat out forwards almost on the ground and length-wise to the ball as it come in and you just angle the bat so the ball comes off it and goes fine down leg. Ben who is totally dismissive of my batting and technique was pretty impressed, but then went on to bowl me out three times. His bowling in comparison to what I faced on Saturday was far superior, faster and as far as I'm concerned impossible to play. It was so fast he's on the verge of getting the stumps out of the ground, on one of them the stumps were all over the shop! With me he gets the ball under the bat and if I'm able to block it more than a few times he has this ball that he bowls a little outside of off that he flicks out of the hand kind of using an offies action with the fingers that he gets to turn in, it is a devastating ball. Mark was very impressed and then he said he couldn't understand why Ben hadn't been picked for the big match next Sunday. This was news to me and later we had to check out to see who was playing and sure enough Ben's been forced out of the team to reserve at No.12. Some of the other lads at the lower end no doubt batting better than Ben has been. It's all gone a bit Ravi Bopara for Ben!

Joe preparing to face some of Franks fizzing Legspin.

Joe helping to get the nets up.

The nets being unravelled.

Joe captures me tying the nets to the goal posts in the paddock.

Fun Day
The up and coming funday at Basildon requires that we get ourselves into teams of 6-8 and either Mark or Jack made the point that this combination could constitute our team? I think I'm quite happy to go with that and maybe have Michelle as the female player which'll take use to 7 players on the team. Whether Frank and Jacks Mum will want to have a go or not I'm not sure, but if she does I'm sure Michelle will be quite happy to hand over the bat/ball on the day!

Post titles
I've recently learned something about this blogging lark with regards to getting hits on your blog and it relates to the titles of each of the posts. The trick is to make the titles very generic in order that when people go looking for information they then stumble upon your blog. For instance by having the title of this post 'Net Practice' it increases the chances of people clicking on it and having a look. Unfortunately though at the minute my counter seems to be out of action.