Saturday, October 22, 2011

The Rec, Langdon Hills - off season cricket

For us, the off season means that we move our practice and knock abouts from the paddock which is a bit of a mess at the moment, to some deserted tennis courts at the local Recreation Ground 'The Rec'.
Over the years we've developed a form of Back Yard cricket which we play in there and this year we've adapted it further still. It seems to be paying dividends with regards Ben at least, as today he may have at last realised that you can build an innings carefully through running singles and getting the ball into gaps. This year we've modified the game slightly in that the 'V' you see in the image above has now been narrowed to encourage driving the ball straight. Anything that goes through the V past the bowler and hits the fence is automatically 2, anything through the V through the air hitting the fence without bouncing is a 4 and sometimes over the fence through the V a six - but if we've got good batsmen playing and we change the rules on that to out to stop them going over the fence several times an over! The other change is that. alongside the two fielders we now use the orange cones as fielders and if a balls passes these 'Orange Cone' fielders within a distance that is deemed as being close enough to catch we toss a coin to see if it was caught. This means everyone is being encouarged to think about shot selection instead of just smashing the ball as hard as they can through the air as the addition of 4 extra 'Orange fielders' increases the potential to get out.

Session 2. Normally there's just the four of us, one bloke bats and the rest of us field and bowl two overs each, so the bat gets 36 balls plus wides to score as many as possible. Last week Ben strode out and went at the ball like there were no fielders and he had Don Bradmans genes. One of the rules is that if you're dismissed you have three runs deducted. He finished his innings on zero, whereas his mate Kieran ended up with 33 off of 36 and Joe only faced 18 balls and scored 12. Ben wasn't happy.

Session 3. This week Ben was looking to get one over on Kieran and take his record of 33 off of 36 balls and he went about it in a totally non-Ben way, obviously having learned his lesson last week and seeing how I went about my attempts at beating Kiearan. The other upshot of having the 'Orange fielders' is that they're all thinking about where to put the fielders in order to supress shots and increase the potential for wickets (Including me) and it looks to be having a really positive affect on thier bowling as well as their batting. Ben this week only went after the ball in his usual way about 2 or 3 times and I reckon it was those two or three times that prevented him from reaching and passing Kierans 33, only reaching 31. But, that 31 was off of singles for the most part, all hit along the ground into the middle of the wicket or in the gaps - which is a massive learning curve as far as I'm concerned and I'm pretty certain that although it kind of galls him to not be able to smack the ball like Kevin Pieterson on T20 duty, he saw that it worked and it worked well. The learning process was then further reinforced by Kierans innings, normally Kieran is able to hit big with impunity because we only have to fielders, but with the introduction of the 'Orange fielders' he too had to play differently and couldn't and came away with a paltry 22 having been dismissed several times and being caught and dropped by orange fielders (toss of a coin that went in his favour 3 or 4 times), so a very good session today over at the Rec. Joe for some reason is choosing not to bat, but I'm not that worried, he'll come round one day I'm sure.

Bowling. We all bowled really well except for Kieran who had a bit of an off day, or was it that Ben was batting properly that made his bowling look ineffective today despite the fact that he does bowl with lots of in-swing to the RH bat.

This year one of the changes we've made to the game