Not being able to attend last weeks inter-club match we didn't get the nod to say that there wouldn't be any cricket this Sunday at Mopsies, but ever the optimist (when it comes to cricket) I expected that there would be something going on despite not having any emails to say otherwise and others did the same! So we turned up and there was no-one there and the kids including Kieran (Ben's mate and fellow team member) were gagging for cricket and Joe suggested we get in the paddock and have a knock about in there.
Once home after a cup of tea, we set up the paddock. In the paddock much of the batting tends to be a bit agricultural, so I'm always looking for ways to encourage driving the ball and looking through my vids a few days ago I found some footage of a variation of 'Paddock cricket' that addressed this in some ways. Batting in pairs Kieran and Ben, Joe and I we played a game where each pair faced six overs of bowling with a series of rules that forces the bat to hit straight or gently dab the ball into the middle to run a single or deftly edge the ball wide of the keeper.
* A ball hit straight back past the bowler hitting the back fence = 2 runs
* A ball hit short into the middle or either side fence enables a single.
* A ball fielded and thrown at the stumps at the bowlers end and not fielded goes for an over-throw and therefore a single and the bats would have also run one.
* A ball bowled and not stopped by the keeper goes for either a leg-bye or bye single.
* A ball hit deftly off the bat not stopped by the keeper hitting the back fence goes for 1
* A cover drive that goes through the 'Cover drive hole in the fence' is automatically 1 run.
* Any balls that other-wise go over the nets are no balls and no runs given.
* Conventional no-balls (Height and stepping over the line) are singles + an extra ball to the bowler.
* Wides are covered by the 'Back fence rule'.
* Your wicket constitutes minus 3 runs.
* Contentious balls, like those that go vertical or right up in the air to land near a fence impeding the fielder are decided on the toss of a coin and the same with LBW decisions.
The consequence of which is the batsmen have to communicate really well and be a bit fast between the stumps and back up the striker. They have to consider their batting and the most effective way to get runs is to probably hit the ball along the ground back past the bowler for two or nice cover drives through the hole in the fence. The bowling has been interesting because of the pressure that is put on the batsmen. In both the games we played this morning Joe and I batted first and off both innings we only scored 10 and 11 runs respectively. With the first innings I thought we'd lost it easily because Ben and Kieran get the ball on the bat far more readily than Joe and I, and our 10 was score primarily through defensively poking the ball into the middle of the wickets and quick singles, which was fun because of the desperate scrambles to get the ball retrieved and back at the stumps for a stumping. Initially we did really well, but then Ben and Kieran started to talk tactics and pulled our fairly high score back to ten through at least 2 stumpings caused by indecision by me primarily.
Slow bowling won the day, after yesterday's bowling abomination where I bowled like a squirrel. (Yeah - squirrel, have you ever seen a squirrel bowl - exactly, that's how bad it was)! Today I was back to normal service drawing both Ben and Joe out of their crease for Joe to take several good stumpings and Joe did the same thing with his bowling and he hit the wood-work once and forced Kieran to edge the ball into my gloves on one ocassion smartly. The second match was close, Kieran and Ben were beating us with three balls to go and on the 4th ball of the last over Joe got the one that was edged into my gloves and then he bowled 2 dots balls for us to take the win for the 2nd time. All in all it was a very good game and hopefully for Ben at least a good learning curve.