Sunday, February 23, 2014

Had a bowl - Top-Spinner

What with the rain having stopped now for more than 4 days, and the weather being mild, Joe and I went out and had a bowl and a bat in the street using Readers Wind Balls.
Last year I was hoping to get my Top-Spinner going and struggled with it all season opting to bowl it with a fingery action rather than my basic Leg-Spinner action. The only thing useful about it last season was that quite often it came out as a wrong-un rather than a top-spinner, but my accuracy with it was useless. Towards the end of the season my bowling was pretty good on occasions and in one match I bowled so well I was able to bowl with varying degrees of side spin with less and more amounts of spin and it was probably one of my better bowling spells with loads of opportunities put down and got to bowl 8 or more overs, which is unheard of!

So keeping that in mind, I had a go at bowling a Top-Spinner with the conventional grip and it went quite well – accurate, fast-ish with Joe saying that it did dip sometimes quite well, but mixed in with the stock ball leg-breaks it looks promising and it’s something I’ll work on I reckon. It still had a little bit of “Leg” about it some of the time, but probably 60% of the time it was dead straight on the middle stump, when Joe was looking to play a spinning ball and most of the time he’d have been out stumped (Possibly due to the late dip)?

With the possibility of a small wrong-un being there with a slightly more twisted wrist I did give that a go, but to no avail. I’m not that interested in the wrong-un at the moment and I’m happy to have the option of the Top-Spinner if I can convert the same performance today into bowling with a real cricket ball. Hopefully I’ll go into the season with a variable Leg Break, a top spinner and a Flipper?

One thing I did notice was that my run up was lacking getting side on, so I need to work with that as well running up to the new season.

Paddock 2014

Here in the UK we've had a drop of rain of late. One year we have droughts, then we have record breaking snow and this year it's been rain. Fortunately for us we're up on a big hill so the rain hasn't been an issue. There's been benefits in fact as it's been mild so our heating bills been low!

The Paddock across the road though has suffered a bit, in the wind and rain and some of the big trees have had branches snapped off, but I reckon if anything it's a good thing as there may be more light in there and the grass will grow better? On the subject of grass, at the end of last year, the batting end of the wicket in the Paddock was in a bit of a mess with the grass being worn away completely. So in late September I bought some seed and planted that to try and repair it. The seeds have taken to some extent, but without any food the grass that has grown is looking a little weedy and pathetic, which is what I expected and the plan was to sow more seeds in Spring.

I was uncertain about when to sew the seeds in spring and was aware that if I was to sew then too early the frosts would possibly kill the new shoots off? What with it being mild I've made a start and put some down last weekend and today I've sewn a bit more. I bought some bone meal and fish nutrients and put that down to encourage a good growth of new grass ready for May and what I'll probably do is sew a little more every week or every fortnight looking to get a really good thick lush growth going? I've top-dressed it all as well with a mixture of clay and compost and all I've got to do is wait and see how it all goes. The weather today was really mild with the temp getting up to 11 degrees so good weather to get out there and do some remedial work.

Last year we also got rid of a load of brambles and trees that were growing up against the fence casting a shadow across the wicket. This afternoon I've finished that off and now 95% of the problem that was there last spring has now gone, so the prospects are good for the whole wicket at the moment. The wicket in general looks as though it's got a half decent growth of grass on it and most of the patchy areas look to have recovered to some extent although I will need to have a look and maybe repair other parts of the wicket. Usually the council don't cut it till almost Easter, but if this mild weather continues they may come round earlier. What I will need to do is get a roller on it at some point and make it flat while it's still wet, but at the moment the grass is far to long to do that, so I'm not sure what I'll do, but as I recall we do normally roll it either very early in March or late Feb.
 The view from the bowlers end, with the fence on the left that I've cleared today.
 The view from the batting end with remnants of a blown down branch and the fence on the rights with some shadow still being cast across the grass and the wicket.

The batting end with the area that I'm working on with the seeding and re-establishing some growth.

 The fence from outside looking into the paddock with some of the big branches still evident at the base of the fence.
 The bowling end with a lot of grass, this looks as though a little work will need to be done repairing it, but generally looks okay.
 Another view of the batting end.
Close up of the batting end and the patches I'm trying to repair.