Friday, May 24, 2013

Basildon & Pitsea 3rd XI v Upminster 5th XI

Ben and I have been both promoted to the 3rd XI this Saturday. Match report to follow tomorrow if the weather is on our side...

It rained over-night, but come the morning it was fine. A little cold for so late in May, but breezy and sunny. To be honest I'd rather have played in the 4's at Langdon Hills, but the selectors had put Ben and me in the 3rds and the match was against Upminsters 5th XI.

Just after 11 we made our way to Mopsies, paid our subs and checked to see if anyone wanted a lift. No-one did and we shot home and a quick bite to eat and then made our way to the ground. The ground was a school sports field with what is an apparently new wicket, only laid in the last 3 or 4 years. Despite that, quite a pleasant looking ground fringed by trees and bushes and Lombardy Poplars on three sides and the school on the other. With no pavilion or hut on the perimeter, we had to get changed in the school changing rooms and then take all the gear out and leave it at the edge of the pitch.

I think we must have lost the toss, as we were put in to bat.

Chris Debond Member profile
Dave Thompson Member profile
Alastair Hayton Member profile
Ateeb Hasan Member profile - no photo available
Ben Thompson Member profile
Anthony Ayres Member profile
Harrison Morris Member profile
Phil Murdoch Member profile
John Bedford Member profile
Brian Waterman Member profile

The team was as above with the addition of Tony Williams.

At first glance the thing I noticed was that we were a bit short of bowlers, especially fast opening bowlers. The only recognised bowlers were Ben and John Bedford with a Harrison Morris as an all-rounder. Another bloke Tony Williams turned up but at this early stage in the game I didn't know what his specialism was, if any.

The Paddock - rolling

Again spring gets off to a crappy start, last year it was non-stop rain, this year it's bloody cold. The met office or the BBC reported a couple of days ago that it's shaping up to be the coldest May since 1979. The last few days there's been a big low sat in the North Sea dragging wet and cold weather down from the arctic and as I write at 10.00 pm on Friday it's still raining now!

But with the rain and the fact that it has been raining for a couple of days comes the chance to get the roller out on the wicket in the paddock and roll it ready for some use next week.
In between the down-pours, Joe and I managed to get out and have a roll. We have a new tactic these days, Joe stands on top of the roller and adds a lot of extra weight to it and the rolling is a little more efficient. Hopefully if the weather cheers up we may have Dave Bonnett come over for a wrist spin session? Dave's our clubs premier Wrist Spinner and I've emailed him and invited him over. We may even get the nets up and try and bat against him and perhaps vice-versa?

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Reflective Practice spin bowling

Coming away from yesterdays knockabout with the 3rds and 4ths at the Rec, there were a couple of things to take away and reflect on and yep, I'll think I'll do this properly and use the Gibbs method.

1. Description; I had to bowl at people that have established records as being competent batsmen with a great deal of experience. In addition these blokes have faced me in net situations before and got the better of me.

2. Feelings; Mixed feelings, on one hand there was the chance that my bowling figures and the chance of being picked next week could be undermined, but on the other hand, my bowling's going well at the moment and there was a chance that I might do okay and in this immediate scenario I'd just taken wickets.

3. Evaluation; The good thing was that I was getting the ball to spin and it was turning off the wicket and I didn't get hit for any sixes and I got a number of dot balls. My run-up and bound all felt good and when the ball came out of the hand feeling right - it did the things that it should have done. The only really bad aspect was that my wrong-un wasn't coming out right most of the time and that cost me runs. If I'd bowled Leg Breaks, I reckon I'd have done a lot better with regards to the runs I conceded.

4. Analysis: I need to be more confident in my abilities and spend some time correcting the things that are not working. Perhaps also recognise after a couple of variations that go wrong, perhaps go back to the stock ball and vary that in some way.

5. Conclusion; Bowl to my strengths and stop bowling the variations if they go wrong 2-3 times.

6. Action Plan; Get out on the paddock and work on the wrong-un and maybe one other variation. The plan this year is to have the Flipper working as well.

Paddock Today

This afternoon I wasn't intending on practicing with any intensity, but was hoping to mow the paddock with a view to using it some time in the week. Just as I was finishing it off, one of my mates Thomas Slater (One of the original MPA 1st XI players) came by and joined me, looking to have a knock about in the sun. So that was it, all the plans to take it easy were dropped and I got to bowl at him.

Historically being a left-hander I've always struggled to bowl against him, in addition he's athletic, agile and got very good eye/bat/ball coordination. But today I had no problem and I think this is just a case of I am a better bowler for several reasons and I reckon the main one is the intro of the bound and the incorporation of some of the things that Stuart Macgill has mentioned to me, the key one being the leg coming through. I also had the chance to try bowling some wrong uns and get some practice in with them and playing around bowling to a plan. The good thing was that he adapted and changed his strategies in accordance to what he thought I was doing. The mainstay of his approach was that he moves his feet a lot and was prepared to leave his crease and meet the ball at the point that it pitched. There were a number of different ways I managed to over-come that - Flippers, wrong-uns and Leg Breaks with more spin bowled shorter with loads of dip. The difficult part was recognising from 22 yards away whether he was in his crease or out of it. But overall it was a very useful bowling session in that I was bowling to a LH bat and one that a couple of years ago used to massacre my bowling and this time around the boot was very much on the other foot.

But I still need to work with the wrong un, getting it to come out right first ball up, because when it does come out right it turns very well off the wicket. What I did notice was, it works better with a really relaxed grip, so that's something I need to keep in mind. I also tried bowling the wrong - wrong un, one of Clarrie Grimmetts obscure variations and that was coming out pretty well and I may work with that as it seems to come out better than the conventional flipper which I have been struggling with.


Basildon & Pitsea cc 3rd XI & 4th XI inter-club match.

There were no league games for the 3rd and 4th XI this week, so on Thursday night an email went round saying there was a game on Saturday at our local pitch "Langdon Hills Rec". Initially Ben had declined because he's got matches and training scheduled for Sat, Sun, Mon, Tues, Weds and Thursday and Karate in there as well at some point. But the match on Sunday was called off because of a lack of players and the weather looks as though it would have put a stop to it anyway. Dave the manager suggested that I ask Ben if he wanted to play in the Saturday game. He was reluctant, but Michelle said "Yeah you're going" and he said yeah okay.

Friday, I checked the website and it didn't look that promising, but the weather looked as though it would be on our side. The layout of the teams looked a little one sided and a foregone conclusion for my team, what with all the McLeod family together on the opposition! They're all pretty good all-rounders, with Frank the Dad being a very good batsman and not someone I'd relish bowling to. The older of the two sons Connor, I've seen hit sixes every other ball in his innings and Mitchell who's the same age as Ben generally has a good go at taking the Mick out of my bowling in the nets - skipping down the wicket and looping the ball over the heads of any would be in-fielders.

Saturday and it didn't look too good, on the website it looked as though only 50% of the players had said they'd play and I was half expecting a phone call or text to say that yet again another game would be called off because of a lack of players. The notification didn't come and we eventually set off to The Rec arriving there just after 12.30 for a 1.00pm start. I didn't look good with only 2-3 others already there and no-one with the keys to the hut. It didn't get a lot better over the next 1/2 hour. A few turned up along with Neil who said he'd umpire and we had to make a decision about what to do. At 1pm there was 12 of us or thereabouts, so, Ben rang Kieran Barbero and I went round to Ollie Bybukes as he lives round the corner from the ground as we do. Ollie and his family weren't in, but Kieran came through. His Mum and Dad must have dragged him screaming from BF3 and made him haul himself over to the pitch, he also lives spitting distance from the ground.

The decision was made to pick two teams of 5-ish and those of the batting team that weren't batting were fielders, scorer and getting padded up. It worked okay, but later in the game the rules became more flexible and the opportunity to give the young-uns like Ben and Kieran additional chances to bowl meant that they bowled for the other side, thankfully no-one was batting for the other side though. The teams were made fairer in that the McLeod's were split up and the team I was in had Mitchell, so we still had to bowl to the two older more experienced McLeod's. It worked  out well, everyone had a bowl who wanted to bowl, most of us batted twice, but inevitably Franks team won.

The highlights and low points of the day were...

1. Kieran coming out and playing in an adult game despite the fact that he's recently not bowled that well and has seemed reluctant to play in the more demanding arenas of adult cricket and U16's. Today he bowled really well and seemed to causing problems for some of the more experienced players such as Frank McLeod and Brian Waterman.

2. Ben bowling exceptionally well and taking two wickets, with the team right behind and praising him all the way through, coming away with really solid figures including 4 maidens.

3. My own bowling was pretty good when I stuck to my stock Leg Break. I had a plan based on bowling Leg Breaks and then bowling the Wrong Un, which if it comes out right is better than my Leg-Break. I was thrown the ball when Chris Debond was there with Daniel Vanderputt. Chris is a LH bat and historically I've struggled against Left handers. Both of them were making runs... My first ball over the wicket was terrible - dragged down almost bouncing twice and Chris hit it for 4 somewhere (Cover I think)?  But then the next ball was a lot better doing what it was supposed to be doing - good flight, length and turning off the wicket and five dot balls ensued. As I went back to my mark I could see John Bedford padded up and waiting to come on and next to him McLeod senior - Frank. Both who are pretty good, especially Frank who has smashed me relentlessly in the nets before now! The second over Chris was facing and mid way through the first over I'd noticed that he was a lot weaker if the ball was bowled into him - cramping him up. Balls over the wicket onto his leg-stump he was dealing with, but the change to coming round bowling an Off-stump line, full and with lots of turn off the wicket was causing him problems. It was only when I tried to bowl my wrong un, that it went wrong for me and the length and flight was terrible and he got the ball away for a 2 and 4. I got another dot ball and then screwed up my run-in and bowled a full toss, which he went after and miscued it - flying up into the air allowing Mark Williams to catch it, running in from short fine leg.

That brought in John Bedford, another experienced player who's seen me off comfortably in the nets before now, but my Leg Break was coming out well and I had an air of confidence about me, so much so, I still hadn't given up on the idea of bowling another wrong-un or two. Right from the outset though (Johns first match of the season) he didn't look comfortable and I bowled a maiden. I was at 3-1-10-1 at this point. In the fourth over I opened up with a dot ball Leg-Break  and then went for the Wrong Un, John appeared for the Leg Break and it pitched on off , went through the gate hitting Leg stump. John went for 0.

Whilst that was good it meant that it brought Frank to the crease (You now need to click this link and have this playing in the background as you read on). First ball up was a Leg Break and I got a dot ball - relief! The second ball up I got the line wrong and he flicked it away deftly down the Legside somewhere and ran a single. I got the sense that he'd looked at it from one end and now he was checking it out from my end. The remaining balls were bowled at Dan Vanderputt... Dot, wide and dot. Looking at the score card I think it was Dan first with a dot and a two and a single, that brought Frank back on strike and then he started. Four, followed by a single, so for that over I'd gone for 8, with the prospect now of being taken off for crap bowling. There was a slight improvement in the following over - going for 7, but 6 of them were Franks, so the captain brought me off.

But, overall it had been going well and I've come away from it quite pleased as the Leg-Breaks were coming out well with sufficient spin to have the ball turning off the wicket nicely. The majority of the 4's including at least one of Franks was down to trying the Wrong Un and it not coming out right. So, on reflection it wasn't that bad with lots of scope to force improvements that might make a dramatic difference - working on the wrong un for a start.

Bad stuff - I didn't manage to hold on to a ball at backward of Point where I was fielding most of the time. The bowler was Mitchell McLeod and it looked like it was do-able for a split second, but I faltered in some way and the ball also dipped, so I didn't cop hold of it properly and spilled it.

Another weird observation was that Daniel Vanderputt noticed that when I run in and go through the crease and bowl that I close my eyes! I'm not 100% sure whether I don't or not, but I've got a feeling that I might do for a spilt second, not sure why? I have practiced bowling where I close my eyes for the last 2 steps, the bound and the release, so whether it is a left over from doing that or not, because it is something I've done quite a bit before now.

Kieran Took over from my end pretty soon after I'd been taken off and did a very good job of bowling at Frank, far better than me by my estimation.

Bowling figures for Ben, Kieran and me...

Ben 11-4-26-2
Kieran 11-3-37-0
Me 6-1-27-2

Front left to right - Mitchell McLeod, Daniel Vanderputt, Mark Williams, Ben Thompson, Kieran "The Barbarian" Barbero.
Back Left to Right - Sean Healey, Connor McLeod, Frank McLeod, Brian Waterman, Neil Williams, Me (Dave Thompson) and John Bedford.

I've tallied up our totals, so far Ben's played the most games with four under his belt so far, Kieran's played 3 and I've only had two so far and the grand total is...

Ben -          21-4-53-4    Economy is 2.52 and his strike rate is a wicket every 31.5 balls
Kieran       14-3-57-0    Economy is 4.07 no strike rate as yet
Me             7.2-1-35-4   Economy is 4.50 and my strike rate is a wicket every 11 balls

The rain stayed away, the milk that was left in the hut from last week was still okay so we were able to get a cup of tea and the tea was cheap this week, so overall it was a good, fun day. Especially good I thought as Kieran bowled so well in his first experience at bowling at adults.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Basildon & Pitsea 4th XI v Orsett 5th XI

I had a number of expectations of this match, shared by some of the other members. First off, Orsett are a big set up in these parts, very good facilities and a reputation of being consistent winners. They're rumoured to turn players away and new players in some of the teams have to prove their worthiness to be taken on to the clubs books as such, so with these things in mind I thought that this was quite likely to be another massacre. The other expectation, was the weather. All of the websites and reports indicated that this was very likely to be rained off. With regards to my own expectations of my own performance I chose to reserve judgement and decided to see how it went.

Over-night it rained and with no covers it meant that the wicket would be fairly soggy and then around 10.00hrs it rained again for another 20 minutes or so and it was looking a little sketchy as to whether there would be a game. I checked the website and there were no updates so it looked as though it was still all systems go. The rain was followed by some sunshine and the continued blustery wind, so it wasn't long before it the ground was dry again, but it wasn't warm by any stretch of the imagination - around 12 degrees centigrade. As we left, I suggested to Ben that he wore a good few layers and took a coat with him. He didn't take a lot of notice, I took my coat and a woolly hat.

12.15hrs and we arrived. Pat Ayres was there and a couple of blokes I didn't recognise. The Orsett blokes were there already and first impressions was that they looked pretty formidable, but on close inspection the team looked pretty well balanced and very similar to the make up of our team. The sunshine that had followed the rain earlier had given way to dark clouds racing across the sky from the south west, diaganolly across the wicket, so anyone bowling from the Eastern end would be doing so into a brisk and blustery wind of about force 5 on the Beaufort Scale . It looked as though there was a level of certainty that at some it would rain. The captain conducted the toss and we ended up batting.

Reagan Mead and one of the other adults Chris Debond opened as discussions about who was going to score and who was going to umpire ensued as we all looked at each other muttering about the fact that none of us were particularly confident in any of these departments. The captain Sean Healy who was batting further down the order started the scoring and Anthony Ayres and Jimmy Breeze went out as umpires and the game got underway. The wicket was very damp and it soon became apparent that there was a degree of unpredictability in the wicket as Reagan played through a ball that literally got stuck in the wicket and didn't come on to the bat, crashing into his stumps. With his head bowed in disgust he made his way back to the sheds knowing that he was going to have to endure another 5 or 6 hours contemplating his sorry start to the season. Such are the travails of an opening batsman.

Yash Patel then made his way out to the middle and hit his first ball over the top of Mid-off almost to the boundary. His follow up ball was a 4 through the on-side between mid on and mid-wicket and then somewhere in his first over he hit at least one ball straight into the air to the fielder, who thankfully spilled it. The wind may have been a factor, because Yash didn't change tactics and continued in this manner for much of his innings, being put down again and again off of balls that were hit way up into the air falling short of the boundary and going pretty much to the fielders. Despite the efforts of the fielders with the ball swirling around in the air they couldn't hold onto one and this happened probably 7 times if not more! As Yash smashed the ball to all areas of the ground, he was joined by a number of batsmen that made valuable contributions to the run tally. After just a few overs we were in an impressive position of going at 10 or 11 an over with Chris hitting boundaries along with Yash. The bowling at this stage was all pace bowling with very interesting attributes, at one end the bounce seemed to be very unpredictable in that the ball seemed to leave the pitch with an increased angle in comparison with its entry trajectory. The other end where Reagan was bowled the ball hardly bounced at all initially.

Chris fell for 29 eventually to a lad called Stock who bowled him clean. At this point there was an umpire change and no-one had put their hand up and I had to go out there as the main umpire standing behind the stumps whilst Frank Farrington did the Square Leg umpiring. Not an ideal situation as it's not an area I'm that confident with and something I need to work on. Initially Frank and I were over-seeing Paul Card, who'd joined Yash, added another 7 before being caught by Shaheed off of Stocks bowling, whilst Yash carried on his onslaught. Jamie Britton (WK) joined Yash for a brief appearance and went shortly for 0 being caught by Shaheed off of Thomas's bowling. Around about the same time Frank Farrington who was umpiring at Square Leg was hit square on the knee by a shot from Yash and he went down and had to retire from the game and was later collected by his Dad. News off of Facebook reports that his Dad says he's sore, but he's in good spirits and should be okay. If you're having a look in Frank/Mark - hope you have a speedy recovery!

With Frank gone, that meant that we were down on a key batsman and bowler and a fielding situation where we might struggle. In the meantime Yash was going great guns and Ben (My son) who has never umpired in his life or taken a blind bit of notice of cricket on the television was recruited to take over from Frank at square leg. A quick set of instructions and a some reassurance from him that he had some vague idea of what he should be doing and the game commenced. Our stint lasted around 10 overs standing in the freezing cold wind - I had a woolly hat on and an over-coat underneath my umpires coat, plus a cricket jumper and wasn't too bad. Ben in the mode of a youngster was nowhere near as prepared and froze his nuts off! Nothing happened that was contentious and we got away with our masquerading as umpires!

But as soon as I'd escaped that duty I was put on scoring duty as the captain Sean Healey got ready for his batting stint. In the meantime Jimmy Breeze, one of the U16's made his way out to the middle and started to make his contribution. He made 24 before being caught and bowled by Stock. I think Stock was out there when I was umpiring and he looked pretty useful as a bowler, he had an off-cutter which came back in nicely and would easily be my un-doing if I was facing him. Meanwhile, I was struggling with the scoring because the weather had taken a turn for the worse with the cloud thickening and the light diminishing, with my eyesight poor in such light I was struggling to see what I was doing and like my umpiring it's not something I'm confident with and it transpired later that I'd made a bit of a hash of it.

At this point the people that were looking over my shoulder were adding up Yash's score and assuring me that he was reaching his hundred. Yash did,  it making his maiden 100 and went on to score 115 not out. Anthony Ayres joined the fun and scored a couple of singles in increasingly heavier rain, but eventually the captain beckoned Yash in and the game was stopped for the expected rain. This was at a point where they had been discussing declaring and once back in the shed we adjourned for tea with some expectation that this current rain was looking to be the death knell of the game. We'd have tea and see what happens in the interim.

Tea for Ben was one of the highlights having come up from the U15's where they only get a cup of orange squash and a couple of biscuits. So Ben filled and re-filled his plate a couple of times filling himself with all the goodies that were on offer. In the meantime, the rain had stopped and the clouds had broken and the sun almost came out. People on texts and FB were saying that all around us it was pouring down with rain and that they couldn't believe that we were still playing. The declaration has been made over tea and it was our turn to field with a man down. The opposition having to chase 212.

Our bowling/fielding...

Our opener was Sean Healey, the captain bowling from the west end with the wind behind him. I don't recall seeing him bowl before, but he was a very tidy bowler with a clever slow ball from what I could see. I was fielding at square leg, so couldn't really see what line he was bowling but generally it looked spot on and the fielders behind the stumps - Jamie (WKT), Chris Debond - slips and Yash 2nd slips at different stages with different batsmen all in obvious and vocal appreciation of whatever was happening. From my vantage point I could see that the bounce was being maintained in the same manner as the first innings in that it was exceptionally different from one ball to another, some low and some very steep! Sean came away with 13-2-18-2 of which one of the maidens was a wicket maiden.

Ben Thompson (My son) was the 2nd bowler, bowling from the east end bowling into the wind. He bowled 6 overs, five of them at the start of the game and then he was restricted by the fact that he's only fourteen from bowling anymore until another 10 overs had been bowled. Looking at the score-sheet below, they also struggled with their scores and they seem to have scrubbed one of Ben's overs out marking him as having not taken any wickets whereas he did take one wicket. How the confusion happened I don't know, but he was hit for 4 in his 5th over, because I myself was thinking yeah it looks as though this 5 over rule is a good idea, as it looks like he's now struggling a little and needs a rest.  So I reckon that scrubbed out over is a pretty true reflection of what he bowled, there's a no-ball in there as well and I'm pretty sure he bowled a couple of no-balls. So looking at the score book I reckon he came away with 6-0-13-1, which for his first adult game is pretty good. Ben took Wigley's wicket with Yash Patel catching the ball at slip. Ben made the additional contribution in taking a catch at Mid-off, from Sean Bowling.

The wicket-keeper Jamie Britton I felt was very good and sharp, I don't recall that a ball went past him, certainly if any did they didn't go anywhere near the boundary and would have gone for two runs at the very most and if it did happen it must have been once at the most.

Jimmy Breeze took over from Ben and bowled excellently coming away with 8-4-13-2. I think he almost had three where Ben nearly took a jumping catch over his head at Mid-off, stopping it going for 4, but he wasn't able to hang on to it.

To be honest without Frank we were lacking in bowling to some extent, with only me as far as I'm aware as a spin option and probably unknown to the captain Sean. So he turned to Yash Patel once Jimmy was done to bowl from the east end into the wind and he gave Anthony Ayres the west end with the wind behind him. Anthony, only started to bowl at the end of last year when he was made redundant as  the youth wicket keeper. He did really well with his bowling in his first forages into bowling and now here he was bowling up the order in front of me! The cheek of it! Anthony's bowling for some reason isn't recorded, I'd swear that again Sean let him bowl his full compliment of 5 overs before I came on after him. On the score sheet Orsett seem to have him down as 'Ed' and have only recorded two overs. I recall he took at least one wicket caught by Sean at Mid-on as I remember how jubilant he was at getting the wicket. I've got a sneaky suspicion that he may have taken 2 wickets, but I'm not 100%?

In the meantime Yash Patel was having fun bowling in a manner that can only be described as unorthodox. Many of the balls bowled at pace with a cross seam were banged in very short coming round the wicket. Again on the bowling analysis (See below) two wickets are recorded, but not in the tally and I do recall that Yash did take a couple. The second one was outrageous - a ball banged in about 9 yards from the bowler that had all the sting taken out of it and therefore floated up towards the batsman, who was an older gentleman, who you'd have thought would have seen a lot of bowling in his life and would have just ducked or moved to one side and smiled. But instead he was tempted and waved his bat at it, flicking it up gentle looping above Jamie for an easy catch behind the stumps having stepped backwards a few steps with all the time in the world. Ben said no - that's wrong, that bloke should be told to come back out of decency and the fact that the bowling was so bad... I'd have had to apologise to him, I'd have been embarrassed to call that a wicket.

Then it was my turn. As my spell approached I was aware that I had a full bladder and new that if I bowled like that it would put me off, so I asked the captain and missed an over of fielding. This ties in with Peter Philpotts theory that your head has to be in the right place and if there's any extraneous factors that can take your mind off the task at hand, these have to be dealt with. So I was given the ball and I had tail-enders to contend with, but one of these kids was already spanking the ball about with some ease and apparent skill and looked to have taken a liking to Anthony's bowling. But with all the stuff I'd been doing in the nets of late - especially the experience in the nets in West Hallam and return to using the wrong-un I had a plan. A very simple one... Bowl a series of leg breaks and see how it goes, so going over the stumps looking to bowl an off-stump line I started to set the trap. The kid on strike for most of the over was the more confident four hitter (Edwards). He hit me for four first ball over the top of Mid-off (Ben) who was up tempting him to do just that. With the leg break the ball wasn't turning that much hence he was able to strike the ball cleanly. Sean changed the field, pushing Ben back a bit further and who-ever was at mid on right back to the boundary but relatively straight. The next ball I tossed up a bit fuller and Edwards hit the ball along the ground straight to Paul Card at mid wicket which I was happy about for a single. The other kid that was now on strike Shahidy who was also hitting clean fours off of Anthony's bowling, so I pitched the ball up and he too hit the ball through to Paul at Mid-wicket rotating the strike again. The next ball went for 2 over the top of my head, someone shouted catch it... maybe if I was another 20 years younger I might have stood a chance!, But Edwards was playing with a straight bat and obviously accounting for the slight break off the wicket to leg and unbeknown to me doing so from just out of his crease. Irrespective of this my next ball was going to be my wrong-un which generally when it comes out right turns far more than my leg break. Thankfully it went 75% right - the flight was right, the length was right and where it pitched was right... landing just wide of off-stump it broke sharply going straight through the gate and missing everything going way wide of the leg-stump, but then... I saw Jamie effortlessly glide to the leg-side and break the bails. I looked up and the finger went up - Wicket - stumped! Off a wrong-un and to a plan! I was well chuffed.

The new bloke came in and I bowled a slightly different line - leg stump with a little more pace, as far as I was aware the kid missed it and he was plumb LBW and for once in my life I went up for an appeal along with some of the others with some enthusiasm! (I'm lame at appealing). Umpire said it was bat first. First over 1 for 8. Then Ben came on at the other end, so it was a father and son bowling attack -pace at one end and wrist-spin at the other. There was one wicket left to take - who was going to do it me or Ben? Ben bowled well again after his break, bowling 4 dot balls and then got hit for 2 by Shahidi, followed by another dot ball. He hadn't done it and Mitchell, the No.11 was on strike with no runs to his name. The money must have now been on me to finish the game off? The first ball was a dot ball and then the second ball was hit back over my head gently towards mid-off where Ben was and I turned to see Ben take the catch and finish the game off! I finished with 1:2-0-8-2. Plus a catch off of Seans Bowling at Square Leg to take Wigleys wicket.

All in all a very good start to the season and a brilliant match to start Ben's adult cricket season off with. I often wonder how interested and committed Ben is to the sport? I've mentioned here today that he never watches it on tele and he hates the idea of sitting down and watching a 4-5 day test even against the Aussies! I even get the sense that sometimes he's worried about getting hit by the ball when batting, to the point where I think that sometimes he'd rather not play. But then again he's a bit like me with a lot of the things that I like doing, in that he can't be that bothered at the outset and the whole thing feels like aggro, but once you get there and get on with it you love it. But, Ben came away from this buzzing, he loved every aspect of it, no doubt helped by the fact that it was such an emphatic win which as you can see he was integral to. He said... One of the best things was the batting and the fact that the batsmen weren't swinging at it like it was a T20 game, they batted properly. Which I thought was an interesting comment to make from someone that never watches cricket.

I was well impressed with Seans captaincy. At some point in the game when Ben was bowling and I think he did the same with Jimmy he had a three man slip cordon which I've never seen in club cricket before unless it's been a tail ender and I think Ben's wicket occurred in that scenario? I took a catch off his bowling at position slightly back of square leg. Initially I'd stood forward of square leg and he moved me just a few yards and within a matter of a few balls the ball came straight at me!

So for our first game together as a combo we did quite well. Ben taking his wicket for  6-0-13-1, and the addition of two catches one off of Sean's bowling at Mid-on and one off my bowling at Mid-on again. I got 1:2-0-8-2 and took one catch for Sean at Square Leg.

Basildon & Pitsea 212 including 123* not out for Yash Patel.
Orsett 5th XI - 87 all out
Basildon & Pitsea 4th XI
Back left to right. Sean Healey Captain, Jimmy Breeze, Yash Patel, Chris Debond, Jamie Britton (WKT), Paul Card & Anthony Ayres.
Front left to right - Reagan Mead, Ben Thompson and Dave Thompson (AKA Someblokecalleddave)

Note to both teams involved and self. Learn how to score properly* and don't forget your glasses!
Check out my other blog here - this is all about Leg-spin bowling and nothing else. Double click on the image below.

Friday, May 10, 2013

An ambition to be realised tomorrow

One of my ambitions is to play in a proper cricket game with my older son Ben and that's going to be realised tomorrow if the weather holds. We've both been selected to play in the 4th XI against Orsett's 5th XI. The game is right on our doorstep within walking distance at Langdon Hills Rec which makes it even better.
This will be Ben's first ever adult game and looking at the team selected it'll be a game he'll fit into and feel a part of as there are so many of his team mates. I'm quite surprised at how few adults there are in the game, so a it's a chance for the younger players to shine. There's no notification of who the captain is, so we'll just have to see how it goes tomorrow. At the moment out main enemy is the weather, on XC weather there's an indication that around the start of the game we may have some rain, but fingers crossed maybe it'll miss us. It is going to be cold though with a stiff breeze.
Game results and pictures tomorrow...
Frank Farrington Member profile
Regan Mead Member profile
Jimmy Breeze Member profile - no photo available
Ben Thompson Member profile
Yash Patel Member profile
Paul Card Member profile - no photo available
Chris Debond Member profile
Jamie  Britton Member profile - no photo available
Dave Thompson Member profile
Anthony Ayres Member profile
Sean Healey Member profile - no photo available

B&PCC v Rankins U15’s (Ben)
Ben, Kieran and the other lads had another game last night and being Thursday and my late night at work I wasn’t able to get along. But from the reports about how cold it was it sounded as though maybe I was better off at work?... No maybe not. I’d much rather have been there!

 The weather which last weeks was warm and summery 20-24 degrees was far colder 10-12 degrees and very windy – 60mph gusts along the south coast.  The reports from the game are some-what sketchy as I’m having to rely on Michelle and Ben’s account of the game, but in short; Ben bowled well, taking a wicket, Bradley turning bowled well, taking a wicket. Kieran didn’t bowl so well going for a 6 off his first ball and then being hit over the boundary for a couple of fours as well, he only got to bowl 1 over. Ben bowled his full allocation of overs, bowling 4 and apparently quite tight, not going for very many runs.  Some of the batsmen put right the wrongs of the Upminster game and came away with reasonable scores and in the end we won. Our lads batted 2nd chasing a score in the 90’s and got there with three overs remaining, so a result overall.

 If I can get the figures off of the manager or the write up I’ll copy it over or link it sometime in the next few days.

 Here’s the stuff off the website –

 Rankins v BASILDON & PITSEA CRICKET CLUB Under 15 A XI on Thu 09 May 2013 at 18:00

Match report . And so, the 2013 U15 season starts with the customary Peters Cup first round match against a team in Rankins, who have done well over the past few years, and who saw our U13 team off in last years Bradford Cup. Skipper Sonny Downes lost the toss, and so we set out to field in cold and blustery conditions; however as is accustomed now to BPCC sides, the bowling was tight and unforgiving, and the fielding was dogged and even with the Rankins opener retiring on 50, the determined display of the fielding side crucially kept the score below the golden 100 mark, with the hosts having to settle for 96/3 from their allotted overs.

BPCC set out to bat sensibly, however be mindful that we needed to jog along at just under 5 an over. Regan Mead and Harrison Birch opened the batting, and started to enjoy some of the gaps afforded to us by the generous boundaries at Broomfields, picking up some quick singles and keeping the rate ticking along nicely. However an over exuberant call in the middle lead to the run out of Birch, just when things were settling nicely, and skipper Downes came out to continue. Again, quick singles were the order of the day, however a straight one saw Brad Staff come to the crease in replace of the skipper. Staff and Mead worked on keeping the rate achievable; quick runs again interspersed with some excellent shots down the hill for welcome boundaries kept the target in sight. Mead was then unlucky to be fractionally out of his ground, and fall to some quick work by the home teams wk to get stumped on 21. Mitchell McLeod came to the middle, bouyed by 2 good catches in the first innings and played a sensible innings, blocking when needed and knocking some quick runs. Staff was then caught on 35, meaning Tom Hardy came out and played a nice little cameo, prodding the ball around to keep the strike rotated and the scoreboard ticking over. However, the rate was now creeping away, and by the time Hardy was bowled for 7, Harrison Morris walked out knowing it was time that both he and McLeod would need to open their shoulders.

Morris was a mere spectator, as McLeod did just that; needing 11 off the last over he decided that he would plunder those in 3 balls, with 3 sumptious shots taking BPCC over the line.

A second round match now beckons against either Rayleigh or Eastwood.

 I love the way that Dave looks and writes this from a Batsmans perspective! Makes a change from the bowling bias I always err towards!

Friday, May 03, 2013

Bowling progress


Since the 24th I’ve gradually reduced the amount of balls I get through in the paddock sessions and I’m currently bowling 30 balls. On the forum I’ve been talking to Martin and he was saying last night that like me he gets aspects of his bowling right and then realises that he’s not doing something else because he’s been focusing on getting the first thing right in that session. I’ve had a number of problems; most recently I’ve been bowling a lot fuller, which I’m not that fussed about, but when I tried to address it, I struggled to do so. But I’ve found that when I bowl with a batsman in place, I correct the length automatically. At the club in the nets, I’ve bowled pretty well, but earlier in the week I’ve not been that happy with the bowling in the paddock, but come Wednesday night I’ve done okay, in spite of the fact that the nets are not high enough and the point at which you pivot is loose dirt with  big dip.
It does seem, in the nets I bowl in accordance with the conditions, a shorter run-up, get side on and get up on my toes. The results are generally quite good and with a batsman it does seem that I’m able to set them up to some extent bowling a sequence of Leg Breaks and then bringing in the wrong – un. The side on and pivot seems to also bring a lot more bounce, so that in itself seems to work as a variation?

It does seem as though there's a big difference between what I do in one session and then what I do in the next and there's an aspect of inconsistency. It also feels increasingly as though I can't deal with trying to address several aspects of my bowling at the same time, but if I only look to address one thing there's the sense that I'm neglecting other aspects, which might - if focussed on too, would make a difference. The question then comes down to what should you focus on primarily that underpins everything else in an fundamental way?

Listening and reading about this, the over-riding advice is the spinning of the ball... The 'Spin it hard' mantra, but it's far more complex than spinning it hard - that is easily  interpreted as something you do with the hand - fingers, wrist and flick, but that is only a fraction of the 'Spin it hard' equation. Once you get into this in more detail and start exploring the bio-mechanics it dawns on you how difficult it is to get all the elements together to perform well.

From Wikipedia...

Biomechanics in sports, can be stated as the muscular, joint and skeletal actions of the body during the execution of a given task, skill and/or technique. Proper understanding of biomechanics relating to sports skill has the greatest implications on: sport's performance, rehabilitation and injury prevention, along with sport mastery. As noted by Doctor Michael Yessis, one could say that best athlete is the one that executes his or her skill the best.

This is where the role of a proper qualified coach comes into play and it's obvious from experiences I've heard about recently, that with someone there with you giving your immediate feedback, the potential to iron out issues is massively improved. So, working in isolation, maybe, as I do -  loading video footage up onto Youtube etc can only go so far and sometimes have a wholly negative impact sometimes?
Joe -
Joe's doing well, he's training at the club and at school and this week marginally missed out on being selected as the captain for the school team. The kid that got the job, got it by virtue of having more mates in the team. I've said that he should ensure that when he plays he should still be very vocal, encouraging the rest of the team and be the first to run in and lead the celebrations when a wickets taken and be the first to congratulate the other team when they win and to get the rest of the team to do so. Hopefully the manager of the team, will see that Joe's understanding of the game is far greater than this other kids and he'll get the role later in the season?
Joe and some of the kids in the school team went to Chelmsford and had some training at the grounds facilities from some of the Essex coaches. See below from the schools website.

Essex County Cricket Club visit

On Monday 26th April 20 selected students from Year 7 and 8 were given the unique oppurtunity, to attend a coach and view session at Essex County Cricket Club. Under the supervision of ECB trained coaches, the boys spent two hours working on developing both batting and bowling skills. Each and every student looked like a much improved cricketer by the end of this experience, as well as having a tired and worn out body! This was followed by an exciting afternoon watching Essex 1st XI play Hampshire in a County Championship game. The behaviour of the boys during the day was exemplary, and a credit to the school, and has hopefully provided a springboard for the more seasoned cricketers to develop their skills, and those who had played little Cricket before, to wet their appetite for more as the new season begins.

He missed out on training at the club this week because he was watching Ben playing cricket for the school. We've only got one car, it means that when Ben's got a game Michelle has to drive over to the school and take Ben and Joe to the game. Meaning that Joe's trapped there till Ben's game finishes and this week the oppo were late arriving and it meant that on Joe's training night he didn't get in till gone seven.
Ben's games look like they may be on Thursday nights which is a disaster, because right up until June 20th I'll be teaching an evening class, so I can't get to those games, so it'll be down to Michelle to get him to the games and stay there. I'm wondering if she'll continue to video his games as I do?