Thursday, June 13, 2013

Best bowling figures for a spin bowler?

Last night I witnessed and recorded on a video, an amazing spell of bowling by the wrist spinner Frank Farrington (Aged 12) bowling in the U15's for Basildon & Pitsea cricket club. I remember reading a few years back, news paper clippings about Peter Philpott, who wrote the seminal book The Art of Wrist Spin Bowling. The figures that stood out for me were 2 for 36 and 3 for 77 in games played in Manly, New South Wales against adult teams. I know already I've seen Frank do better than that last summer against adults and I'm fairly certain he did as well as this in a recent adult league game. But last night in an Under 15's B team game he did something that can only be described as amazing...

So Tuesday night, same story – rush home, get in, get my work gear off, chuck some civvies on and in the car to try and get to Orsett in 10 minutes! Needed a Subaru Impreza and a rally driver to do it though! The weather didn’t look promising, heading towards Basildon the sky looked ominously dark in that area as it had done heading out of Southend.

By the time we arrived at Orsett it didn’t look any better and as we got out of the car it started to spit.
The background story to this game… Having played at two clubs in this area of Essex, Orsett are seen as the team to beat. Rumour has it that they are such a big set up, with so many kids wanting to play for them, the kids have to go through some kind of aptitude test and if they don’t come up to scratch they’re not taken on. A mate of mine who lives right near the ground has a son who’s around about 13 or 14 and he managed to pass this test, but I recall speaking to him a couple of years later and he was saying that despite the fact that he was in the set-up, he’d never played a league game for the club.
The club is very well resourced both in terms of players and facilities and as such tends to be a very successful team. A couple of seasons ago our U13’s met them in the final and we lost by one run, so for us they are the team to beat. Our U15’s A team, who for the most part are made up of that same team that were beaten by one run, played their game at Orsett last week were bowled out for 53, batting first and were home within a matter of 2 hours, six of the lads went for ducks. So, today there was an expectancy of more of the same.
Mark Broadhurst Member profile
Stevie Wyatt Member profile
Harry Hodgson Member profile - no photo available
Michael Dickson Member profile
Luke Sharman Member profile - no photo available
Abdul Baig Member profile - no photo available
Frank Farrington Member profile
Tim Brown Member profile
Joe  Thompson Member profile
Oliver Biebuyck Member profile
Finlay Munro Member profileFinlay Munro

As we arrived it looked as though Joe was going to open the bowling again for the 2nd game running and the umpires were still getting themselves organised, so I quickly set up the camera only to find that I didn’t have a tripod plate. Despite this, I still video'd most of Joes bowling in the rain which now had increased to the point where it might look like the game could be called off. Joes first over was okay with him bowling into a very stiff breeze and pouring rain and he bowled a couple of wide-ish balls one of which was given as a wide, but then got it together and settled. He was bowling slow, so I can only assume that he was trying out his finger spin or he was knackered from doing PE in his last lesson at school following on from school sports the previous day. Remember too, he is still recovering from his RTA and compound fracture of his tibia and wont be fully fit for another 18 months according to the physio’s. Looking at the score sheet though, once he got it more on target and at the stumps instead of outside of the off-stump, they started to get into him. The two scorebooks don't tally up and one has him finishing with 4-1-16-0 and the other 4-0-21-0.

Oliver Biebuyck bowled from the southern end a little faster than Joe and overall it looked fairly tidy with his first over a maiden. The fielding was good and despite two strong batsmen they kept at it. The two openers and the number 3 & 4 all had decent innings and the opener retired on 35
You can see that they readily took to our bowlers, scoring freely, all hitting fours. Behind us where "The Orsett", all waiting to go in and plunder the bowling, I could hear kids saying “Oh I can’t wait to get out there, they’ve got spin bowlers, I’m just going to smack them out of the park”. Well, actually none of them are spin-bowlers as such, these are just lads trying to find their way and haven't quite settled as yet with regards to what they do, with the exception of one lad - Frank Farrington.
The runs kept coming at over 6 an over and we couldn’t dislodge the batsmen and then there was a break through. Frank brought on Luke Sharman, a left-arm orthodox apprentice. He had a very shaky start with his length, bowling far too full - full tosses and the first ball a beamer that nearly went over Harry "Jeff Boycott" Hodgsons head (Keeper). The following ball to C.Boreham he tried to smack out of the park through the mid-wicket region, but again it was another full toss and he didn't get any bat on it. The follow-up ball was similar and the kid Boreham smacked it as promised by his pals sitting behind me. The ball went sailing over the boundary for 6 through mid-wicket and the score at this point was looking beyond being salvaged. Frank discreetly made a field change and pushed Tim Brown deeper towards the boundary at Mid-wicket. Luke tossed another one up and this time (I think) it bounced and the kid swung at it with the same intention, but this time it went right up in the air straight towards where Frank had set Tim. We went inside and had a cup of tea and came out and the ball by now was coming down and Tim was settling himself beneath it to take the catch. This being our B-team the odds were against us by my reckoning... The hands went up and met the ball - thwack! Straight into Tim's hands and then out again, we all held our breath. In a split second Tim swivelled his head, got sight of the ball again and grabbed it... This time safely! Everyone went up and all the lads ran in to congratulate Tim...

Everyone had bowled and the score was in excess of 103 and 14 overs had gone, with only a few overs in hand, so Frank brought himself on. For me, he’d come on too late and later in the game I asked him about this and he came back with an interesting reply. He bowled his first over and it was uneventful coming away with 1-0-6-1. From where I was, I couldn’t see whether it was turning or not off the pitch, but his bowling action looked good and he was bowling with lots of air. Their no.3 batsman was doing well and was on 25 and survived Franks opening over.
His second over was better. The first two balls were singles, but the batsmen didn’t look as though they had any idea as to what to do – this is the same kids that were going to smash the spinners out of the park. The 3rd ball was tossed up leg-side and turned sharply hitting middle and off and Frank had bowled him round the legs! Things had suddenly got better, but remember... we had the "smash em out of the park brigade" on their way in with their Warsop bats. The fourth ball looked a little ropey as though he'd dragged it down a bit and it pitched short, the kid dropped to his knee ready for the big heave-ho instead of a defensive straight bat block, missed it and was given LBW. Frank was now on a hat-trick. The next kid came in and you'd have thought he'd have been thinking I'll block this, play safe and then smack him out of the park in the way that he deserves to be. Nope, the cock-sure wanna be batsman, clears his legs out of the way of his stumps, drops to his knee like some Kevin Pietersen, takes a massive swing it and gives Frank his hat-trick! Our boys go mad!
The new kid A.Cammack has a go and luck is with him and he scores 4. But Frank isn't finished with them yet. He starts his 3rd over with scores of 2-0-12-3. The first ball is a dot ball and the four hitter Cammack is on strike. Again the kid clears his stumps to free his arms, this time standing up - massive swing, cops hold of the ball with the bat and straight up into the air and Abdul Baig trots in for an easy catch. 2:2-0-12-4. The next kid comes in and they're still deluded that they can play spinners and that it's easy. What was it that the greatest batsman in the world said -
"No ball bowled is as difficult as one which leaves the bat and goes towards the slips. The really good leg-break beats them all.” - Sir Donald Bradman
I'll carry this on tomorrow, but in the meantime here's the BBC version of the video. I've emailed the BBC to see if they want to use the story and I've contacted the local papers, at this stage I'm waiting to here from them.
There will be another video which is longer including some of the play in between and that'll have some comical captions. A lot of people have commented on the bloke in this still image above, saying that his reaction is hilarious. So watch out for that in the next few days.
It was noted that these lads were not actual B-team players as such, because as many as 5 of them were in the U15's A team last week. This is kind of backed up by looking at their website and you'll see that there is no B-team as such for the U15's, which kind of contradicts my earlier supposition about how well resourced player-wise they are.

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