Monday, December 03, 2012

Wrist Spinners Diary

Stuart Macgill

I've not posted on here much of late, there's a few things happening which if you read earlier entries you'll have some idea about what they are. To be honest the main hinderance is the XBOX and Battlefield 3 - pretty compulsive stuff and the fact that at work it just seems to be mental and that's in part down to the political landscape in this country, but I'm not going to get into that on here. But the BF3 thing is something that I need to curtail. I do think though that I suffer from a negative mind set during the winter and I look forward to December 21st and the fact that on the day is the shortest of the year and from them on we're heading towards the summer, so a part of me is pleased that day is approaching. Hopefully I'll buck my ideas up a bit and get blogging again.

But one good thing is that Stuart Macgill has surfaced on the internet ready to discuss wrist spinning and so far has done so with gusto and seemingly is surprised at the calibre of the discussion. At this point the people that he seems to be speaking about are the blokes that are a part of the forums that I'm intregral to and as part of that, Stuart has joined my little forum here. At the moment he's looking at Frank Farrington's bowling and analysing it and hopefully he's going to be coming back to me to give me some ideas about helping Frank with his bowling. He's had a look at one of my videos and he's already given me some feedback which hopefully I'll be able to implement in the nets in January and carry forward to the spring and the new season.


At the moment its poor. I've still got it in mind that this may be my last season  attempting to be a bowler and if that's the case, I don't see that I'd ever get a game on the basis of my batting! So at the moment I'm planning a strategy to get my fitness back on track. Over October Ben and I had a pull-up competition and initially whatever he could do I could always go two better and then one day he got in front of me and I just didn't have the fight or incentive to put in the effort to pursue him and he's now officially better at pull-ups than I am. (No-where near the level I was at in my mid 40's though).  My main concern though is my upper arm muscles (Deltoids) as mentioned before, it was the deltoids that seemed to let me down last season. Looking at some of the vids on Youtube at physios and body builder advice, it seems to be an in-balance. The exercises and drills that I do seem to emphasis the deltoid around the shoulder rather than down the arm, so the arm area remains weak, so I'm looking to build up extra strength there.

Looking at some of the videos of me the year before last though, one of the things that I can see now and that other people have pointed out is that my arm speed is very slow, this is probably because I was looking at other aspects - wrist position and my action through the crease. Thinking all this through and knowing that I did try every now and then to increase my arm speed, it may be that I am too old to bring this aspects back into my bowling? I'll just have to put in the time to work on the arms and see how it pans out, if it works - that connected to the stuff that Stuart Macgill has said about me action I may have a half decent season ahead of me if the rest of my body holds out?


Joe's doing well, he's now starting to do PE at school which was initially almost a disaster. Joe had a new PE teacher come in and within his first few sessions the bloke had spotted Joe and the fact that he wasn't doing PE and probably though that he was a shirker or one of those types that think that their fitness and health is of no consequence at all and that they don't have to look after themselves at all because they'll just go to the NHS and get themselves all fixed up. Those days are coming to an end pretty soon I reckon, there's clamour for denying people free access to the NHS if you ailments are self inflicted (Beer, poor diet and fags) and a little beyond that you can see that you may be omitted if you've failed to keep yourself fit? Anyway that aside, the bloke then said to Joe "Next lesson you come in with your PE kit". Joe then comes home all excited at the prospect that - at last for the first time since April he finally gets a chance to be included in the lesson somehow. We were initially excited thinking it was his main PE teacher, but then reading between the lines I realised that it was a new bloke and that perhaps the scenario as described may be being played out? So as a precaution I wrote a letter for Joe to take to school to give to this bloke. In the morning still concerned and knowing how busy teachers are I also wrote another email to his Head PE teacher saying "You know the score - make sure you forward (Another detailed account with links to the photo's on this blog) this email to the new bloke. I got an email from the head PE bloke the same morning saying that he'd forwarded the email. So it seemed to be sorted. All the communications said that we'd love Joe to be doing something but no contact sport or anything that might impact on his leg.

That evening...
"Joe, how did it go at PE - what did you do"?
"Okay, so what did you have to do"? Kind of wondering what Joe might have done.
"I told him that my leg was broke and he said, no you're be alright - when did you do it? I told him back in April and he said - Yeah you'll be okay now. I said, no Sir, I can't run about, so he said Well - you can be in goal then. So he put me in goal".
"Jesus - didn't he get messages! Were you okay - did you save any or get hit by any of the strikers or other players"?

"I don't know - he didn't seem to have - he put me in goal, and nah, I let a couple in, I didn't want to get hurt". Michelle then chipped in saying that at 4 o'clock, the new bloke had rang saying that only at the end of the day had he read the letter that Joe had handed him and then saw the email and he couldn't do enough to apologise and kept saying "I'm sorry - I'm so sorry". Luckily Joe hadn't been hurt and so it was okay. Since then,because Joe is getting better and is now starting to run a bit albeit with a limp, Joe gets involved in PE by being the linesman and stuff like that and upper body stuff that he feels is within his ability, so there's some good progress being made.
 This is the exit wound and the area where the surgeons accessed the leg to stick it all back in, nip bits of his bone off and try and repair it. (Above).
 This is the big hole and the scars either side of it are where Joes flesh split because his leg bent so much it ripped open the skin/tissue before the bone snapped.
This one above is the impact scar which doesn't get mentioned that much as it never really seemed to be that much of an issue, but you can see there's a big vein here, only just below the skin.
The images here were taken today 2nd Dec and show how the scars are coming along. It's difficult to judge how well it's coming along or get any sense as to whether there's any real hope that they'll improve much more than this? Fingers crossed they will.

The other good news is that Joe has at last started to do ‘Exercise classes’ as part of his physio. These classes are far more dynamic in comparison with his physio drills that have been set at home. Unfortunately I don’t go along and see what’s happening so I get the story later. But, there’s a lot more stress being put on his leg these days and the last class included bouncing on a trampoline and jumping up and down. I noticed too last weekend when he was playing football outside the house with some small boys, that when he does things like this he limps less and looks a lot more agile, so it looks as though things are coming along slowly and steadily. Sometimes it feels like this has been going on for year, but it is only just over ½ a year now in a year-long process and that’s the best case scenario! So with a bit of luck and some work and the removal of the pins not setting him back somehow in January in 5 months-time in early April we’ll have the old Joe back – the one that plays football, cricket, rides bikes and runs around the streets!

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Injury Updates

Joe first

Joe's doing well. As yet we've still not had any NHS exercise physio sessions, where he's supposed to be doing specific exercises aimed at strengthening his leg. We go along to the usual physio visits where the girl/bloke has a look at his progress, asks loads of questions about how he's getting on and what have you and then sets him a new series of slightly more challenging drills to do.

With regards the inuries and how they look here's an update

This is the whole area with the exit wound at the top and 'The hole' at the bottom (Right). It looks different in different light, in this image with the light coming in from the side you can see that it's not all filled in as yet, but it's getting there.
 In these images I've used a penny to give some sense of perspective and possibly over time show how the wound either does or doesn't shrink. The image here above is the Exit wound, which is coming along quite nicely. Joe does the massage of the scars himself, I offer to do it but he says that I massage it too hard and it's sore. Over the months watching him do it, it has been obvious that he has gradually increased the pressure he puts into the massaging, so hopefully what he is doing is beneficial. The issue with this scar is that it's directly over the area that was snapped, so it is still healing and it is tender and there's very little skin over the top of the bone in this region.
 This is the what was 'The hole' have a look at the May entries in the blog if you want to see why it was called 'The hole'. Again this was very tender and sore when Joe started with the massage, but bit by bit he's been working at it from around the edges working into the middle. I helped a couple of days ago and noticed that the scar tissue either side of the hole where the Reebok stitches were was quite lumpy beneath the skin and Joe allowed me to do the massage and within a matter of seconds it went from being a hard lump to almost not noticeable. Joe noticed the difference and he's started on this area as well. It would be nice if in the longer term the tissue did grow back and this hole was able to fill in properly or at least with level with the surrounding skin. At the minute he's not fussed about the scars, so we have to keep him working on them because I think in the longer term he'll probably prefer it if they were minimised as much as they could be.


The physio that he's doing at the moment is primarily about getting his thigh muscles working and getting strength in his ankle so that he can walk properly and we can see that he is getting there bit by bit. One of the drills we've been doing is to simply balance on the bad leg. Initially he couldn't do it at all in August some time, but he's been able to do it now for 174 seconds in one go. With that record being set I've adapted the exercise and introduced a bit of a cricket element to it. What we do now is that, I face him as he stands on the bad leg and I throw a ball to him and he has to catch it and throw it back whilst balancing on the bad leg. The idea is to do this as many times as possible without setting the good leg down and the record after 2 days of this is 15 throws and catches. This new version seems to be getting him to use the inside of his foot more as at the moment he primarily balances using the outside of his foot.

The paddock

Unfortunately there seems to be a couple of people that use the paddock to exercise their poxy dogs and it always seems to be Staffordhsire Bull Terrier owners. Despite the fact that I've pointed out to them that I try and maintain a wicket in there and that it's quite important to us that it's not torn up by dogs. One Woman even acknowledged that she should not have her dog in there anyway as it was a sport/play area and not designated for dogs to crap in and ruin. But despite this - she still goes in there and stands on the wicket area and throws sticks along the length of the wicket (Nowhere else) so that dog runs up and down it tearing the grass up! Despite this and probably helped by the fact that we've not been in there a lot this summer it's recovered a bit despite very little intervention on my part.

The two images above were taken a couple of weeks ago.

The images here were taken at the weekend just gone.
At the batting end I've put down some organic matter and hopefully this'll help to level it up a bit and promote some growth of the grass. In these images above you can see that on the right hand side where the fence posts are there's some brambles and trees growing on what's left of the fence and it casts a shadow across the grass where we bowl. Again with the light being limited there because of the bush growth the grass doesn't grow so well, so I've had to trim back the brambles and I'll probably cut back the bushes to get some light in there.

The pictures below are more recent and we've suffered a set back. A large group of youths all about 16-18 years old turned up in the paddock at the weekend and spent a couple of hours playing football in there. They know we have a wicket there in the summer and it does feel like they're being vindictive because like the dog owners they seem to focus on stomping all over the wicket area and in this incidence it's all over the area where I'd put seed down and its on Ben's bowling length. I suspect that by the time May comes I may be able to get it back into shape, but if they are to return again over the coming 6 months it may end up being too much?

This is how it should look if it wasn't for the dogs and the football. I've thought about setting up somewhere else, just outside the paddock on the road verge there's a decent bit of flat grass which is ideal for dogs and I could mow and maintain a wicket there, but it would be so much harder to put then nets up there. Or I could contact the council and ask if I can set a wicket up over at the Rec across the way from the cricket pitch, I'm sure based on what they said before and the help that they've offered me before they probably would say okay, but again it's the nets situation that is the problem.

My own fitness

I had a bowl yesterdy and today, over at the Rec in the old tennis courts and the issues that I've highlighted previously with regards to bowling with my arm and wrist twisted emerged again. It's obvious that will need to address this and do something different, so the plan to bowl Top-Spinners and Flippers looks like the way to go, because these cause no problems at all. Other things that are causing niggles are... The pads of my feet - the soft tissue area to left of the ball of my foot on the right foot seems to bruise easily at the minute. That might just need a change of footwear, but I'll have to keep an eye on that. My hip also still twinges - sciatica piriformis, so again as I ease back into training hopefully some of these things will be okay? But, I am aware that maybe this is the beginning of the end, I'll just have to wait and see.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Shane Warne set to bowl again and talks spin

Shane Warne had a bowl in the MCG nets on Tuesday. At 43, he is slim and fit, but he has plenty of rust to shed over the next couple of months, before his first match as captain of the Melbourne Stars. Even the greatest legspinner the game has seen was unable to land his first ball, a full toss. As Warne has been saying ever since his retirement, spin bowling is damn hard. Spinners need to be treated with patience.

Read the full article via the link above.

Sunday, October 07, 2012

That's another season gone...

Well, that wasn't that good. The season on April 5th looked pretty good all round, on April 5th I was feeling pretty fit and doing all the exercises and training to be ready for the start of the season. Ben, Joe, Kieran and Oliver Bybuke were all up for training sessions pre-season and we were all doing really well and then April 6th came along and Joe was run down by that car.

Straight away that threw a spanner in the works and all the normal things that we'd have done were scuppered. Joe obviously needed a lot of care and our lives this year changed. I tried to train a little and do as much as I could to keep fit, but there just wasn't any time. Ben carried on playing and had a really good season with his bowling and moved his way up the batting order and founding himself batting as high as number 6 on odd occasions.

I missed Joe massively, Joe would have generally been up for having a knock around and in those instances where Joe would have been with us, Ben would have joined in too, but without Joe there, Ben was never that inclined to join in and he only ever joined me over at the paddock on the odd occasion. The same applied with practicing over at the Rec, once the accident had happened that all stopped and prior to the accident that was going well, with Frank Farrington and Oliver Bybuke joining in with us.

All these things meant that in comparison to previous years I was physically not that well prepared which was gutting because I'd got to a point where my run-up was coming together. Despite that, I still played in a handful of games and bowled okay in a couple of them, but for the most part it was pretty poor verging on disasterous. The other factor was the weather, with many people saying that it was the worst start to a cricket season/summer ever with many pitches saturated with water or under water for most weekends right through till July. It seemed that throughout the earlier part of the summer 3 days didn't go by with out it raining and those three days tended to be cool and cloudy. That then compounded the fitness situation and lack of activity meant that by mid June I was bowling and by the end of the first over I was stressing my upper arm muscles. Despite this situation I kept at it for the rest of the season and by the end of the season it was obviously an issue.

Once the season finished I eased up a bit and tried to figure out whether it was my rotator cuff or my Deltoid as it did seem to be isolated to the Deltoid. But, there were symptoms that suggested that it was the Rotator Cuff as I was suffering from the same kind of symptoms as I'd done 3 or 4 years earlier when I was learning the Wrong Un. Having a good look at what was going on,I deduced that the stress was being caused by bowling the Leg Break and having to bowl with the arm twisted in order to get the ball spinning. I then eased up on bowling Leg Breaks which hadn't gone at all well this season and focused on getting the Top-Spinner working,as I'd tried it in one or two of the last games I'd played in and took wickets with it. The other observation was that I could still bowl the bog-standard back-spinning Flipper and do so with some speed without causing the Deltoid issues. So, at the moment it looks like I'm going to go into nets this Winter focusing on bowling Top-Spinners and Flippers and see how that pans out. The other interesting aspect to going back to bowling the Top-Spinner is that the method by which I impart the spin is slightly different to that of my leg break. My Leg Break is bowled using the 2 up 2 down finger configuration as desrcibed by Warne and Jenner with a loose grip. Whereas, my Top-Spinner is bowled with a far more 'Fingery' technique where the ball sits in the hand a lot more higher and less in the palm, meaning the spin is put on the ball using a more finger tip approach rather than the callous inducing 3rd finger approach. But, what I have found is that I can get far more accuracy using this method and by just twisting my wrist a little either way, I can produce a decent Leg Break or Wrong Un with ease and not suffer the Deltoid issue. But, what I need to do is over the winter develop a nice flick with this technique using both the fingers and the wrist to get the revs on the ball and see how it pans out.

Positives from the season include marginally more confidence with my batting and possibly a slight improvement? The other things is that my fielding is still okay with the ability to still dive around and stop the ball with full on committment - sometimes maybe a little over the top and therefore earning the nickname "Superman" given to me by Liam Rouse who captained me a few times this year.


This winter and summer have seen the least amount of bowling ever and whereas at this time of the year I would normally still be bowling, I've done virtually nothing. I'm going to continue with this approach over November and just work on core strength and upper body strength, with some attention given to my legs as well as weak thighs cause knee issues and lower limb issues too. For the upper body stuff I'm competing with my older son Ben to do the most pull ups on a door bar and we're both at 11, but increasingly it looks as though he is going to go ahead of me at some point. He's now 14 and taller than me and triumphs that he's had so far have been...

1. He bowls better than me (Winner of the Under 15's bowler of the year).
2. He runs faster than me.
3. His batting high score is better than mine.

He's still not beat my best performance in a game though 4-27 off of 7 overs

I'm sure it wont be that long before he beats my records that were set back in 2009. I'm beginning to feel that I'll never get to bowl in the same way again, but then again, these bowling figures were set using Flippers, Top-Spinners and Wrong Uns (No Leg Breaks).

The other part of the winter plan to ensure I'm fitter will be loads of stretching and Yoga style routines for flexibility and core strength. Hopefully Joe will be ready for cricket come April when the season starts and maybe we'll all have a decent year where we produce some PB's?

Joe scars and update

This is how Joe's scars are coming along. It's a slow process, like the bones themselves, but he's slowly getting there. He's using Bio Oil and rubbing in and around the scar areas, but because the skin in this area is relatively thin over the bone it's really quite sensitive and to be honest Joe's a bit of a wuss, when it comes to these things. But all things considered I think he's doing okay. There's a marked difference in the areas where he feels he can massage the scar tissue hard and the areas where it's still tender. But as the soreness/tenderness fades he moves in and rubs/massages with more vigour. Fingers crossed with the massage he'll be able to improve the look of the scars and help to fill them in because they are still big dents in his flesh as such.

More thoughts on Drift

Here's some thoughts on Drift over at a forum I started

I don't know what it is Gundalf: perhaps something to do with the 2-piece balls Sean uses for practice. The seam is quite prominant. Maybe the ball surface has other characteristics that make it behave that way.

Dave, you'll probably get your head around it more if you consider that the Magnus effect is at its maximum when the ball is moving through the air perpendicularly to the axis of rotation.
I've recently been writing about drift and it'll be here with images and diagrams hopefully illustrating what's going on with

30th Dec 2015

Taken at one extreme (top spin) the axis of rotation is horizontal and across the pitch, so the ball is being forced down throughout its flight.

At the other extreme of pure side spin, the axis of rotation is along the pitch and the Magnus effect is not active while the ball is moving essentially parallel to that axis of rotation (ie the first "flat" portion of flight). It is only when the downward component of the flight starts to increase that the magnus effect comes into play in this case. As the vertical speed of the ball increases in the later part of the flight, the ball will start to move towards the leg side (for a RH leggie) because the ball is now moving perpendicularly to the axis of rotation more quickly.

For a 45 degree angle on the seam, there is a component of the Magnus effect working throughout the flight of the ball, but it's higher on the downward path of the delivery than the initial upward and flat path.

Because the downward path of the flight is so vital for drift on a side spinning and 45 degree spinning ball, it's imperitive that a good loopy flight is offered. Without that initial upward and subsequent flatter component to the delivery, there will be no late drift in the flight (there may be constant drift, but it won't be significant nor particularly tricky to handle).

It all comes down to the flow of air ACROSS the axis of rotation.

To get drift from a ball that will also turn off the pitch, there must be a loopy flight so that downward speed has a chance to increase during the delivery. It's the change in vertical speed that alters the drift in the air for a side-spinning delivery.


Read more:

I'm still struggling to get my head round drift, but this explanation is quite interesting. The interesting thing I picked up on was the dynamics of the drop from the trajectory and the fact that the 'Drop' aspect adds a different dimention. I've not got time at the minute to try and digest the info and make sense of it, but I may come back to it at some point later.

Check out my other blog here - this is all about Leg-spin bowling and nothing else. Double click on the image below.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Joe Update

Strewth it's been mental at work, non-stop, so I'm knackered and just haven't had time to update the blog. In addition Joe and Ben  have discovered Mine Craft and the PC is being used to play that almost every waking hour that they have. Not my idea see the Missus...

So the recent story. Back in the summer - (these visits are becoming less and less frequent) we were told that Joe's leg would be looked at in late Aug, early Sept time to consider having the pins out. There was a visit a few weeks back where the main orthopeadic surgeon wasn't around and his less senior mate was not inclined to say 'Yeah go for it' erring on the side of caution. The main reason being that where Joes bones all came out of his skin and scratched across the road, there was a strong possibility that there might be bone infection which is really serious. So to reduce the chances of that happening, they cleaned the bones up before wrapping them up again inside his leg, but also the worst affected bit they nibbled the dirty ends off the bone to guarantee it was clean. Remember this is six months now... The whole process is far slower than your average sports break because of how detached his bones became from the flesh around them. In a sports break, the tissue that's attached to the bone remains pretty much intact, so one it's all stuck back together and re-aligned, what with still being inside the leg, all the necessary hormones and calcium is soon supplied to the bone to fix it and bingo some people are up and around in weeks. Not so with Joe, in his case all the flesh, sinew, veins and tissue has to re-configure itself and re-attach to the bone first in order that the bone growing and fixing starts in earnest.

So three weeks ago when we didn't get to see the latest Xray we only heard about the fact that there was a gap that still has to be bridged and filled with new bone in order for the pins to be removed. But last Thursday we got to see a new Xray which is here below...

 You can clearly see the gap in the edge of the bone, and because of this and the fact that the main gap in the bone where it snapped is still pretty much visible, so on this visit the other bloke (2nd in command) said he's spoken to his boss and they'd both looked at the situation and concluded that the pins have to remain in until at least late Dec.

So that's it now for a few months and then we return again just before Christmas and it's checked again to see how it's progressing. They've said that if it's looking good an appointment may be made then and after Christmas in Januray some time they'll possibly remove the pins. I'm not holding my breath, the main bloke 'Dr Wakeman' said right at the start that this was going to be a long haul - at least a year. But it's 6.5 months and Joe's doing pretty well, so I'd imagine that the year landmark which heralds the start of the cricket season - we should hopefully see him doning his whites again and playing cricket properly?

Incidentally, I mentioned that Joe had been having a knock about every now and then and that one of these little knock abouts where Joe twisted - putting a lot of pressure on the break - resulted in him ending up in pain for a short period. He was okay the next day and has been okay since, but the 2nd in command bloke did say that - bounding down the wicket was taking things a bit too fast!

So, the stage Joe's at now is...

  • At home he doesn't use his crutches and he's trying to walk as normal as possible.
  • If we go anywhere, the crutches come, but stay in the car and we encourage him to walk as much as possible.
  • At school he takes his crutches - this seems to be just as a precaution as there's so many kids around and I think he uses them as a warning sign to kids - so that they know he's injured, Michelle says that they also act as a 'Babe magnet' because he does seem to be surrounded by older girls all the time - looking after him and Ben says they're all the 'Fit ones'.
  • Physio is difficult, in the summer it wasn't that bad and we got it done and towards the end there was so much of it, getting it done took 20-25 minutes. But now they're back at school and Joe gets piled with shed loads of homework and life just happens, the physio seems to have taken a back seat and is done in a haphazard irregular manner. But having said that he is walking around pretty normally and doing the weight - bearing thing that promotes the calcium growth.
  • Formal Physio; We're waiting for a date as far as I know for the first exercise class at the hospital, again that seems to be very few and far between?
  • Scars - these are doing well it seems, especially 'The hole', which back in April/May looked like hell and it was just inconceivable that it would ever fill-in, but it is. Joe's quite good with this aspect. It does seem that where the scar is covering areas of thin skin over the bone, the bone beneath is still tender, so he doesn't massage that very vigorously, but the other more fleshy areas, he's increasingly doing it heavier and with more vigour. He uses Bio oil and rubs this in 2 or 3 times a day and on a week by week basis you can see it filling in and feeling the difference between hard lumpy scar tissue and places where it's a lot softer because of the massage. So that aspects is going well.
  • Mental aspects - He's doing well, he's been bright and cheerful throughout the whole recovery process and has remained positive from the very start. It was only in the first weeks when he was on morphine and suffering pain that there was any glimmer of any other emotion.
This weekend we went down the beach at Leigh - on -sea and had a walk around and you can see that Joe commandered Ben's scooter and had a go on it. We were there for a couple of hours walking around on the beach and in the mud and he was fine.

My only concern is that he's putting on a bit of weight and I'm worried that he's going to have trouble losing it.  Here's a couple of links to Youtube videos, showing how his walking is coming along...

His main area of weakness seems to be his thigh muscles, I'm hoping they'll just get stronger bit by bit and he'll be okay in the end. Overall he's doing well.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Joe update

Physio today at the hospital; It's been a while since the last visit as one of them was cancelled. In short the physio lady was pleased with Joe's progress and has set some new targets and exercises and has made appointments (Subject to date confirmation) for an exercise class.

* Joe needs to put more force into massaging the scars to break down the scar tissue.
* Joe needs to start using his heel and the ball of his foot more and has been given some drills to get this going and he needs to do it when he walks - even if initially it's done in an exaggerated manner that looks and feels odd.
* Needs to put more emphasis into using the bad leg when doing weight bearing drills.
*Will start school with a crutch and the boot.
*Still needs to rest it as much as possible elevated higher than his heart when possible.

Next Thursday we're at the fracture clinic as well and we'll get to see how the bones are doing. When that happens I'll shoot some pic's of how the bones and the scars are doing and report on how the Dr feels he's going.

The Paddock boys come good!

The Paddock boys come good.
Lads that I've introduced to cricket including my own son Ben have won awards this year in three of the 'Best' catergories at the annual awards event at our club. I had a feeling last week as you may have read -  that it was going to be a close call between Ben (In white) and his best mate Kieran (In green) with regards to 'Under 13's bowler of the year'. The other lad Harry 'Bat' Hodgson is more Joe's mate and he's in the under 11's. Because Joe's out of action this year I've not had any idea as to how Harry's been getting on, but he's got the potential to be a really good all round cricketer and what I like about him and so too the coaches - is that he is an exceptionally good and enthusiastic fielder, chases the ball down and is an all-round, energetic and agile.  

What a brilliant day! Basildon and Pitsea CC Funday looked doomed to a typically British rained off bank holiday weekend, but the cricket Gods must have looked down and thought "We'll keep that bit in the corner dry". The rest of the country had rain and showers and we had fine weather with the sun making a frequent appearance. It was predicted a washout for most of the week leading up to Monday and then as the data firmed up on Saturday there looked to be an element of certainty. I was hopeful though - the weather pattern was one of those that looked as though it might just skim us and that's exactly what happened, leaving us with a warm, cloudy bright day with longish periods of sunshine.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Good year for the Dave Thompson bowling academy!

I've just been looking at the stats for our club and it looks like there's a chance that either Ben or Kieran will take the prize for the U13's bowler of the year. I was the one that introduced Kieran to cricket and taught him to bowl in the Paddock and over at The Rec.

Kieran on paper looks to be the best statistically, but Ben has won it before and did so without having the best stats. When he was awarded the prize it was mentioned that he'd won it on the basis of his attitude and his approach to bowling e.g. a kind of poker faced approach where - whatever happened he gave the impression that it didn't matter and wasn't affected if the ball was hit for 4 or 6. Again this year he's gone through the year with no histrionics, his head doesn't go down and he bowls with full commitment and enthusiasm and bowls both in the U13's and U15's and has done really well in the U15's.

The stats...


Best bowling 2 for 11
Average - 16.75 (Runs conceded per wicket)
Economy 3.11 (Runs per over)
Strike rate 23.25 (Balls per wicket)


16.2 - 4 - 63 - 10
Best bowling 3 for 14
Avearge 6.30 (Runs conceded per wicket)
Economy 3.86 (Runs per over)
Strike rate 9.72 (Balls per wicket)

It looks like a clear cut win for Kieran, but I reckon it'll be close as they're likely to look at things such as attitude, committment, technique and the likes. Kieran's done really well, primarily I reckon because of his ability to produce in-swing, he's not fast, but he's accurate with regards to his line and length and coupled with that he gets the ball to swing.

Ben on the hand, doesn't swing the ball at all as far as I'm aware and he gets his wickets by varying the pace - sometimes enormously and bowling a fairly good line and length. Anecdotally, I think Ben has been pretty good this year with regards to wides and no-balls, one daft thing that he has done, which I've seen him do in each match is bowl bouncers to good batsmen. He gets away with it usually the once, but up till the point where I had a word with him, he'd bowl a second one and the bats were always ready for it and generally put it away for 4's and 6's.

With a little work with the coaches speaking to him and getting him to produce a good seam presentation in order to create swing - I reckon he'll do really well in the U15's next season.

Just thought Ryan as well could be a contender...

Ryan (not in the Dave Thompson Bowling academy)

20 - 0 - 106 - 6
Best Bowling 2 for 21
Avearge 17.67 (Runs conceded per wicket)
Economy 5.30 (Runs per over)
Strike rate 20.00 (Balls per wicket)

Friday, August 24, 2012

I started a Forum!

For years now I've been discussing bowling on forums, initially Harrowdrive and then Simply Cricket and when that was taken over and right up till today Big Cricket. But BigCricket is under seige from spammers and may become unusable, so I've looked into creating my own forum and have started it tonight. So if you are a regular on the Bigcricket forum and want to join a forum have a look at mine and perhaps get involved?

Check out my other blog here - this is all about Leg-spin bowling and nothing else. Double click on the image below.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Cricket update


Nothing doing at the moment as I've got this issue with my arm which feels as though it'sa  rotator cuff. issue. Although having said that the symptoms are different to the previous RC episode in that the area that is affected this time round is my Deltoid muscle. When bowling with any real effort, this twinges and becomes sore and later on - usually in the mornings, there's the sensation that the area is weak making it feel as though initially it's difficult to raise my arm at a 90 degree angle. Reading about it, the advice is that you rest it and don't repeat the actions (Bowling) that lead to the discomfort, so that's what I've been doing, so I've been turning down games in the last couple of weeks which I'm quite happy to be doing because my bowling with this injury has been awful.

With the bad bowling I've also decided that when I've recovered and my arm is back in action I'm going to look at the Top-Spinner and it's potential to be my stock ball. Three or so years ago I played four games in succession where I took loads of wickets 3 of the games there were 4 fers. In these games I bowled an off-stump line with straight balls (Flippers) and small leg breaks, but the key component was the fact that I bowled accurately. It seems that since I've been focusing on bowling with more spin I've lost out on the accuracy which is the way with Wrist-Spinning and bowling bigger versions of the Leg Break.

In the last match I played a girl bowled 11 or more overs, bowling very slow and she ended up with exceptionally good figures and a wicket. Talking to her trainer who was scoring with me, she said that the girl didn't spin the ball at all and all that she was doing was bowling line and length. The bowling was seemingly causing the bats real problems and yet it looked so innocious. I bowled later - turning the ball and came out with the opposite outcome. On reflection comparing the two approaches and having seen very similar approaches to the girl executed by older blokes and kids (Callum at Grays & Chadwell) over the last few years, the sensible thing seems to be to go back to a style of bowing similar to mine a few years ago. So as mentioned above the Top-Spinner seems to offer a solution. Because of the way that the ball is spun, there's increased potential to bowl more accurately and with  bowling directly at the stumps and the ball not turning, the batsmans approach then has to consider the 'You miss, I hit' potential? Variation then will come in speed, flight, increased spin (Dip) and natural variance e.g. turning very slightly. There's also the  fact that by only adjusting the wrist position a small bit you can increase the turn either way considerably and  it may be harder to pick the variation if you're bowling Top-Spinners consistently. In theory it all sounds like a plan that may work, so it's very frustrating to not be able to bowl at all at the moment and try this out. Saying that, I've bowled it a bit to various people leading up to my self imposed period of rest and it produced quite good results.

Ben + B&PCC v Horndon CC (U13's)

He's been bowling quite well, playing in the U13's and the U15's. The coaches say that as a potential all-rounder, there is some promise and he's been batting further up the order 6 and 7. He had one good partnership with Stevie Wyatt which he really enjoyed and vice versa, (Belhus U13's game) but he still is pretty negative about the idea that he could ever be half decent at it, but like the coaches, if the desire was there, I reckon he'd be okay at it with some coaching.

On the subject of other players in the team, there was a good match recently at The Rec Langdon Hills, just round the corner from us. Unfortunately my G9 was in for repairs at Ilesley camera repairs so I haven't captured any of the action on Video, which is a real shame. Stevie Wyatt was given his last chance to bowl during the aforementioned game against Belhus and he took 2 wickets consecutively and had his hat-trick ball dropped by Tim off of a dolly, so when it came to this game Stevie hadn't bowled for weeks and weeks. So out of nowhere the captain (Anthony Ayres)  threw the ball the Stevie denying one of the more regular bowlers the chance who was protesting in the field for being over-looked. But I think Stevie bowled one ropey ball first up and then the wickets began to tumble... Four in all - plus a run-out that he executed off his own bowling - so five wickets in total!

Stevie Wyatt checking the rules and his figures looking for a 5 fer. Turns out that the rules mean because he took a stumping this doesn't add to his 4 fer. But, nonetheless very good cricket all round by Stevie and a good case made across these two matches to give him a go at bowling in the future?

 This sequence above is Stevie Wyatt taking a catch off of his own bowling. Plenty of his balls were in the air creating opportunities, he could have come away with 6 wickets with a little more luck.
 Again another one in the air just over Connors head at Cover.
The B&PCC U13's leaving the pitch after a good win.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Joe Update

Joe's doing well at the moment, a couple of days ago with the prospects of me going back to work on Monday coming, and the start of the new term which means a new school and the full works, I was thinking I can't see him going without crutches still. But, one or two days makes a massive difference. A little while back Joe got back on his bike and yesterday and today we went for a short ride around the estate which got his heart pumping and having to use his leg in new ways. Today we went even further and I'll do the same again tomorrow pushing him further still, but today was a bit of a landmark day.

A couple of days ago during his twice daily physio drills I pointed out that the amount of weight he was putting on his bad leg and the duration the weight is on the bad leg makes it obvious that he could walk with a relatively normal action. At the moment he does this thing where he prevents the weight going onto his leg by limping - a sort of jerking action with his upper body and shoulder. He didn't think that a normal walking action or at least a reduction of the shoulder action in the limp would be possible. But, today the kids in our street were having a water fight, including Joe, meaning that he was moving around without giving any thought to how he was doing it and lo and behold he was walking around with a massively reduced limp!

Here's a clip of Joe walking around with no support and walking with relative ease as mentioned above... Click here.

Joe's Physio includes a range of different things and he's supposed to be doing them 2 or 3 times a day and generally we get two completed along with some general exercise... Bike riding, cricket or walking around. In the shot below Joe's using a Terra Band and has to pull one said hard so that it twists his foot and he rotates his ankle against the resistance of the band. He does this in both directions. There's also a variation where pulls the toes/foot back towards himself and he pushes his toes forwards and the opposite where another person using the bands pulls his foot towards them and he has to pull against the resistance.
Another issue that was mentioned earlier is his scars which are pretty damn big not surprising when you consider the damage to his leg in the early days. His leg as you can see is pretty dented as you can see here...

This is the outside of the leg with the impact wound, this isn't particularly dented and isn't that bad, I reckon in the longer term this'll clear up nicely and will leave minimal evidence of ever being damaged.

This is the inside of his leg. The upper scar is the exit wound where the bone came through the leg and the lower would is 'The hole' where the skin split due to the leg bending so much before snapping. In different light these look far worse - in this diffuse 'Wrap around' it doesn't look that bad. Joe uses Bio Oil to massage into his leg and he's doing this twice a day at the moment, he wont let us do it as he says it feels horrible and we have no idea of how much the scar can be massaged without feeling 'Horrible', he seems to be doing it quite well and he's on board with the need to do it and gets on with it himself and when you prompt him to do so. I'm getting him to get his leg up high still when he's resting and we've also started to re-introduce the physio drill that looked as though was causing the leg to bend at the break.

Here he is applying the oil to his leg and massaging the scars.

Frinton; There's been a few other things that show how well he's getting on. We've been to Frinton a couple of times which is a good Cricket beach... dense sand and nice widths between the Groynes to create boundaries and because of the shallow slope of the beach, the tide stays out for a good few hours to get a game in.

Similarly, as the beach is so shallow the water is shallow and it's ideal for kids to play in, so this was a perfect place for Joe to get back in the water and have a swim. He needed a bit of encouragement, but once in he loved it.

At this stage and this was only a couple of weeks ago, Joe was still using the crutches on longer walks e.g. down to the waters edge.

Joe and me in the sea, which was surprisingly warm!

Ben and Joe on the beach at Frinton.

This week along with the cycling and the water pistols Joe's even been trying to get in on the Pig in the middle/basket ball games and we've been to Basildon swimming pool and done lane swimming. On that front, this was the first time I'd been to the new pool and it's got nothing on the old pool. There's nothing there and it's dull. The depth of the water is almost the same across both the shallow and deep pool. Deep- that's a joke, the old pool was fun, we used to dive down to the bottom of the 12'6" pool and retrieve stuff from the bottom all of which makes you a far better and confident swimmer and is FUN. The old pool in that same deep section - you were allowed to dive - again more fun and of course the old pool had a flume albeit old, but at least it had one and again that was fun. The Basildon Sporting village pool is dull, dull, dull. Jesus! think back to the 70's when I was a kid and the fun we used to have at Blackshots pool in Grays, they had massive diving boards, rigid ones and spring boards - 4 different boards, maybe if these were still in place, some kid may have got the Gold and Silver alongside that Tom Daley bloke? The skills we learned in the Blackshots pool set us up for all the fun we had tombstoning off the top of the bridges down at the Ferry Landing stage at Tilbury and later on diving off of Eagles Beak at Aire Point in Cornwall into the little pool below when the surf was flat.

Here's another landmark - me taking the British Red Cross wheelchair back. I wont be missing this thing, I reckon as many people injure their backs getting the things in and out of their cars! Having said that we'd have been stuffed without it in the early days, so thanks to the British Red Cross and the free loan of the chair. We've had it for the best part of 4 months and we made a donation of £40 for the use of it, which I've been told since was a BIG donation for such a thing.

Whereas I was sceptical about the prospect of Joe walking un-aided by the time he went back to school on the 4th Sept, having seen the leaps and bounds that he makes in short 48 hour periods I'm a lot more optimistic. The only potential lapse is the coming week when he's going to be at his Gran and Granddads. Hopefully they'll ensure he does the physio and they'll make sure he remains active. If they do he should be okay. One thing that did happen yesterday which was a bit mean was, when he was playing with the water pistols initially he didn't have any and all the kids rounded on him because they realised that he couldn't chase them and despite his protestations, they kept drenching him. Over the months, Joe's coped with this all really well and has kept a really outwardly optimistic persona, but deep down he's probably frustrated by the fact that when Ben says "Right, we're doing this", and he and all his mates who are also Joe's mates just disappear and he can't go. But, he never complains or whinges and just within himself deals with it, but this event upset him and brought him to tears and rage. Eventually after he calmed down he said that he finds it really frustrating, that he can't chase the other kids or defend himself. Thinking about it I remembered that when Ben started at his new school, he went through a phase where other less socialised kids, felt compelled to establish their positions in a perceived pecking order, as if they were wild dogs and Ben who's generally unassuming and would be beneath most people's radar having to stand up to these kids and put them in their place. He went on in the end to stick up for other small kids that were being picked on and victimised and since then he's had no trouble. I'm now worried slightly that in that 'Pack mentality' situations, Joe's not going to fare so well, despite the fact that he'll probably be one of the bigger and potentially more confident of the kids. I suppose we'll just have to keep our fingers crossed and hope that kind of stuff doesn't happen and that he'll be able to ride this vulnerable phase through to next spring without any incidents of that nature.


The next fracture clinic (Xray) appointment has been cancelled and put back further and is now during the new school term on the 6th Sept. The Physio date we had to cancel and has been re-scheduled for a date later in August because he'll be in Derby with his Grandparents.

Overall though everything is going well.

Check out my other blog here - this is all about Leg-spin bowling and nothing else. Double click on the image below.

Thursday, August 02, 2012

B&PCC v Wickford U13's

This is yet to happen (6pm today)

Anthony Ayres, Frank Farrington Wrist Spinner, Stevie Wyatt, Mitchell McLeod, Kieran Barbero, Charlie Blerkhom (U11's), Harry Davie, Ben Thompson, Alfie Davie (U11's), Mark Broadhurst and Sam Good (U11's).

With 3 under 11's in the team this was a depleted side and we lost, here's the official details -

The batting didn't set us up too well for the bowling, with one of the lower order batsmen going in early and probably going on to score his PB for the team, but being lower a lower order bloke the run rate was thwarted, singles weren't taken and the progress was slow. Once the bowling got going the main bowlers came up with the following...

Ben 2-1-1-0
Harry 4-0-28-0
Kieran 3-1-10-2
Frank 3-0-15-1
Mitchell 3-0-12-0

Our inning saw 57 runs helped along with 30 extras, with only 87 to chase it would have needed some very impressive bowling to get the win. Kieran Barbaro bowled very well again as did Ben - but without any wickets. But the end result was inevitable.

Joe progress - Physio

So, we're now well into the Physio stage of Joes recovery. In addition he's getting out and about more and getting back to being active, outside loving sporty Joe.

Yesterday we had our 2nd Physio visit with Jill at Basildon & Thurrock hsopital and she was very pleased with the progress that Joe had made in the intervening week. She seemed surprised and pleased that we'd done the exercises that we'd been given three times a day with only 2 of the days only having 2 physio workouts.

The exercises so far have been about mobility improvement of the knee and the ankle and general strengthening of the thigh muscles from what I can make out

Monday, July 30, 2012

B&PCC U15's v SLHCC - Langdon Hills Rec

Again I'm going to try and get this done quickly otherwise it'll never get finished. The figures and more details will be added later.

The team was made up of mostly U15's and a few U13's because many of them were away on Holiday.

U13's - Ben Thompson, Mitchell McLeod, Frank Farrington, Finley Munroe and Anthony Ayres.
U15's - Harrison Morris, Nathan Hubble (WK), Connor "Killer" Barnes, Sonny Downes and few other blokes whose names I don't know.

Weather looked okay, a little cloudy 20 degree, got cloudier with the threat of rain and much colder once the sun set. We batted first and did really well with Sonny, Frank and Harrison Morris making big contributions to the final score. This team (SLH) was made up of several of the U13's that played in the narky match on Thursday over at Stanford, but today they were somewhat subdued in comparison. Using the same tactics as they used last week we batted first, meaning they'd have to bat in rapidly failing light. There were some good contributions from the batsmen - Sonny Downes 29, Hubble 19, Harrison Morris 28 and Frank Farrington (Wrist Spinner) 19, and this was with a damp outfield and the ball visibly slowing down. Frank was particularly good exploiting a gap at fine leg with some deft batting. The innings finished with the B&P boys setting a total of 125 off of the 20 overs. Their fielders had a total of 16 extras, so a decent score with which to give our bowlers a chance.

The bowlers got off to a good start against a couple of confident looking batsmen, the opening bowlers were Harrison Morris and a new bloke Alfie Cobden, both bowled really well, especially the new lad Cobden, who came away with 4-1-6-3 he had a stuttering run up, but when he got to the crease an incredibly fast arm action which resulted in very fast bowling. The others....

Harrison Morris -                4-0-13-1
Ben Thompson (My son) - 4-0-13-2
Mitchell McLeod -             2-0-7-1
Frank Farrington -               2-0-7-1

The official data is here - Scores and I'll try and photograph the scorebook and upload that later today.

Bens bowling

After the match I got a text from Neil (Umpire and coach) saying that Ben's bowling in the match was superb and that it was the best he'd seen him bowl, which Ben was pleased to hear. He said of his bowling "I went in without any intentions, whereas normally I go in thinking I'm going to bowl really fast, I didn't put myself under any pressure I just ran in really relaxed and bowled with no thoughts of losing or winning the match because of my bowling and it just came out really well". Maybe this has something to do with the fact that it's the U15's and it's not his team? Who knows, but I agree with Neil he bowled superbly and looked as though he was bowling really well from the edge of the pitch - really relaxed and fluid and as a result it was also quite fast - but effortless fast.

Anthony Ayres catch

In these matches there's never enough committment in the field from my personal point of view, only one catch went down in this match as I recall, but it's the levels of fitness and intensity that always dismays me and the lack of enthusiasm for fielding overall. It's not the trainers fault, I've seen G-Man trying to enthuse these lads and most of them watch cricket and know how pro players field and how quickly the get the ball, gather it and get it back to the keeper. But saying that there was the ocassional glimpses of promise Anthony Ayres was exceptionally good and getting the ball in accurately over the stumps once he'd got to the ball and he took an brilliant catch over his shoulder at the end of the game which was very impressive. The new lad had a longish run in to take Franks wicket, but overall with regards the fielding the SLH lads were leagues ahead.

The final score for the SLH lads was 92 with 23 extras helping them along the way. A good win though, with some very good cricket on both sides.