Monday, May 26, 2014

B&PCC 4th XI v Stanford Le Hope 4th XI at The Rec Langdon Hills (Home)

So, two big losses out of two games and two losses in friendly games as well, I can see a pattern developing. Initially the team looked okay with some decent regulars, but as with all lower XI teams I had my players promoted up into the 3rd XI, it was touch and go whether my older son Ben would play in the 4ths for a few moments as they wanted him to go up to the 3rds, but then I realised my in-laws were down from Derby and were going to come along and see us all play in the same team, so Ben was left with us. The weather was looking a little iffy before Saturday and played its hand in making that decision the right one in the end.

Friday night there was final shift around and the last two players made themselves available on the website and I ended up on Saturday with...

In batting order..

Stuart Munday (Regular)
Dave Thompson
*Liam Harms
Gopal Viswanathan
*Mitchell McLeod
*Kieran Barbero
Lee Dutton
*Tim Brown
Tony Harms
*Ben Thompson
*Joe Thompson (U13)

* Indicates U15 players

None of whom have massive reputations as being batsmen that can save a game single handed with someone doing a good job at the other end. It looked again as though we were going to struggle with 6 under 15 players. During the week I'd been looking at bowling stats and was planning to try something unusual with the bowling, but as the moment of truth approached I began to think I should put that plan on the back boiler. One thing I had considered having seen the team, was that, if this was going to be another easy win for the opposition, would I be facing a situation where some of my better adult players would be looking at the situation and thinking I'm fed up with turning up every week and losing?

Saturday morning at 09.00hrs it was raining and it looked as though as predicted it had been most of the night, meaning the wicket would have been soggy. As the morning went of the rain stopped, but the sun didn't come out and the wind wasn't that brisk, so the wicket was going to definitely be wet. Once at the club talking to those in the know, the general consensus was that we should bat first, so I left with that intention. This time round what with it being a home game and all the ensuing organisation aspects, all that was a lot easier and in addition my wife Michelle had said she'd do the teas.

Once there at the Rec under leaden skies, it soon became apparent that the opposition weren't happy with the wicket, saying that it was too wet to play on. They asked about sawdust and I had to say that there wasn't any and there didn't seem to be any plan to have any available either. Lee Dutton had turned up in the meantime and agreed with the oppositions captain saying that we should leave it for a while and see if it would dry out a bit. At that point there was a distant break in the clouds and the chance that if left till 1pm there might be an improvement? The toss was done and we won and went with the prior advice to bat.

Looking around at our blokes and theirs it was obvious that again this was going to be another up-hill struggle. Only two of their players were marked as being Under 18, so not even under 15? A massively different looking to side to ours.

Talking to Lee he wasn't optimistic either about our prospects and said that we should mix up the kids with the adults, but start with a couple of adults, he didn't want to bat up the order and I offered to go in with Stuart.

Stuart and I saw out 15 overs, with Stuart able to get the ball away for runs a lot better than I ever could, but I kept blocking and made the odd run every two overs or so. Around about the 15th over Stuart suggested that we upped the game a bit and then within a few more balls he was given out LBW. Liam Harms came out to Join me and was gone with a matter of seconds having scored no runs. Gopal was up next and before he got going with me having Stuarts words still in my head about starting to get some runs on the board I tried to turn a leg-side ball around the corner only for it to hit the edge of the bat and ping up for an easy  bowled and caught.

The good news was, as I walked off I saw Gopal walking out to replace me, so, hopefully this would be the start of getting some runs on the board as Gopal is a 3rd XI player as far as I knew. I was still taking my gear off when I heard a cheer go up and looked to see Gopal on his way back having scored just one run. But that wasn't too bad we still had Mitchell and Lee to come and steady the ship?

Unfortunately Mitchell wasn't there very long either and was dismissed for 1 being caught at Mid on. Kieran lasted seconds too playing a defensive shot that went straight under his bat. Tim went out and scored 1 run. Lee went out and hit a four and a couple of singles and all around him batsmen came and went without scoring any runs. My older son Ben blocked for a couple of overs almost, but couldn't get anything away and eventually went the way of many of the others for 0, Joe strolled out and strolled back for 0 too. The whole team bowled out for 49 off of 20 overs.

The batsmen had licence to do what they wanted to and the whole thing was over within 10 overs. Totally out played. One of our players didn't even stay for tea, saying that he wasn't prepared to do this every week and pay £12 to do so and that in the week he'd be looking for another team. Which I guessed might be the situation with some of the experienced players. I spoke to a couple of the others and they seemed to be a lot more positive despite the 5 losses out of 5 games, they just seemed to be happy to be playing cricket, but the bloke with the hump will be a big loss as he's one of my key players.

 Ben surrounded by the SLH players blocking for his life.
 My son and our U13's player Joe going out to meet certain death
 Both sons passing each other
Joe trying to block, the ball went on to hit the stumps - out first ball

Next week though it gets worse as my secondary wicket keeper is away for three weeks and my regular keeper is still not due back for at least another 2 games as far as I recall.

Reflecting on this longer term, I can't see that there's going to be anyway in the short term that this is going to change a great deal and I'm kind of resigned to the fact that as far as batting is concerned we're always going to struggle. In which case it seems to me...certainly for the next few games or so ,we should play to our strengths and ensure that as a team of kids and blokes whose strength at the moment is in their bowling, we should look to always bowl first? The rationale being that, we're all going to be bowling at potentially much stronger teams and therefore this is an opportunity to bowl against a range of different players and think about our bowling, both collectively and as individuals. Already, just in these few games I'm already in a situation where I've started to think in terms of bowling to the batsmen in different ways dependent on how they approach their batting, or whether they're right or left handed. If, all the kids can approach their cricket in a different way e.g. look to bowl well, look to learn how to bowl to different batsmen, there may be far more value in playing than there is at the moment where we're thinking in terms of winning the games through the contributions of the blokes that bat which seems unfair, because generally there's so few of them? I'm not suggesting that we forget batting altogether, but maybe dependent on who we have got batting we approach the batting more defensively if we're low on attacking batsmen. I mean this week as you've just read, I survived 15 overs, if everyone else who struggles with the bat can do the same maybe we'll sneak a win or two or maybe force a draw if we've bowled well? At least we'll have had our money's worth?


Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Fitness drill - cricket specific

I've noted that my bowling this year has started off really well and I can only put it down to the fact that since Christmas I've been working on my fitness, stamina, upper body strength, core strength and flexibility. I've been doing a combination of this workout here (Cardio) and this one here (upper body). I've also been either power walking or running for 20 minutes most other nights. None of it religiously, but enough to make a difference. Now the weather is with us and we can get out on the paddock I've adapted what I do and made it even more cricket specific.

Been working on my fitness with Joe over the last week or so. The drill incorporates the kind of approach seen in SAQ cricket. It'll be interesting to hear from the experts that look in on my blog every now and then and comment on regards the worthiness of it?

Equipment & space

Training ball or cricket ball, stumps and optional keepers gloves or catching mit   + open space.


Set the stumps at 22 yards or more. One player acts as the coach whilst resting stands at end (A). The active player starts at end (B). The coach rolls the ball out towards end (B) and the active player runs in and attacks the ball scooping it up (Or long barrier) and throws it back to the coach over the stumps aiming to do so with accuracy.

The active player runs round the coach at (A) heading back to his/her starting end (B) as the active player sets off back to (B) the coach throws a high ball back towards the players end (B) so he has to catch the ball over his/her shoulder. On catching the ball he/she throws it back at the coaches end stumps (A) trying to hit them and then sprints back to (B). Then, runs round the stumps at (B).

Then finally runs back as fast as possible to (A) and the coach throws the ball to the incoming player underarm to catch whilst on the move and the throws down the stumps whilst running towards them.

Both players swap roles and repeat ad infinitum for either 20 minutes or until they can't run any more!

The theory is that the rest period whilst being the coach reflects the period when the body rests momentarily before having to set off again running at full pelt as in a batting situation. The 20 minutes gives you an aerobic work-out, the turning, stopping, accelerating all reflect movement in cricket. The catching and moving pick-ups reflect fielding skills. All in all I reckon that's a lot better than running or walking for 20 minutes which is boring as far as I'm concerned.

Gibbs Reflective Practice used in cricket - bowling

Bowling update

Using the Gibbs Reflective Practice model
Description - what happened?

We're 4 games into the season, 2 friendlies and 2 league matches and my current figures are...
18-2-71-5 a strike rate of 21.6.
All my recent practice sessions have gone really well. I've changed the way I bowl completely - relying on how I feel and whether it feels right.

Feelings - What are you thinking and feeling?

At the moment - I'm really confident and pleased with my bowling and feel as though if I keep up the fitness routines thing might even get better or least be sustained?

Evaluation What has been good and bad?

Good has been my general bowling performances, bad is that I seem to have not found a way to get into the classic side-on delivery stride and I'm now looking at scrapping that in the short to middle term.

Analysis What sense can you make of the situation?

I've had a radical over-haul of how I approach the start of the season and the way I bowl. I'd recognised that over the last two seasons that my bowling didn't really get going till July/August time. This seems to have been off the back of going on holiday and surfing for two weeks and walking up and down a bloody great hill sometimes 2 or three times a day when there.

So this year, since Christmas, I've been doing a lot more fitness work and it looks as though this might be having a really positive affect. Additionally I've scrapped trying to get side on out of my bound because it just seems to create massive inaccuracy. So, I've changed my bowling action to one that feels right and provides the accuracy I've been looking for, but isn't at all detrimental to the amount of turn I get with my stock ball. Along with the accuracy I'm able to bowl a Leg Break, Top-Spinner and a ball that goes straight on and stays low which I can only imagine lands on the shiny part of the ball yet spins like big turning leg break? What you might call a slider although I'm loathed to call it that, but the bowling action I reckon must look like I'm bowling a leg break.

In addition to the Leg Break and Top-spinner I've got three flippers that are coming out well, one out of the front of the hand that breaks like off-spinning ball, the conventional back-spinner which is unpredictable and seams all over the place and another back spinning ball with the seam angled towards slips, that stalls massively. All these flippers though are still being worked on and not quite ready for a game scenario yet.

The new bowling action I'm aware doesn't look like a conventional bowling action, but is faster, accurate and I get good and controllable variations with a decent amount of turn and over-spin.

But the key thing does seem to be fitness and agility and I've now come up with a series of drills and exercises that seem to be making a significant difference.

Conclusion - what else could you have done?
I'm beginning to think the only way I could ever develop a side on action is if I did nothing all summer or preferably all winter. If I did it in the summer, I'd probably bowl 3 overs a spell and get hit for 12 an over and take myself off! The only other thing would be to pay for one to one coaching with someone who new what they were talking about who could assess me and point me in the right direction and produce some definite measurable outcome.        

Action Plan -   

Going forwards the best plan of action is to stay with what I've got at the moment and keep working on my overall fitness and agility. I might spend 10 minutes every now and then just trying to see if anything positive comes out of trying to get side on, but I'm not going to get hung up on it.


Sunday, May 18, 2014

B&PCC 4th XI v Loughton CC 5th XI May 17th

B&PCC 4th XI v Loughton CC 5th XI May 17th

So, Loughton again, a couple of weeks ago we played a friendly match and were massacred by their 3rd XI. This time we were up against the 5ths and we had some good batsmen in the team and plenty of bowling in a variety of forms. Leading up to the match I lost my Chinaman bowler to the dreaded GCSE's; this kid is taking his GCSE's very seriously which is commendable I have to say and he was replaced by John Bedford who I thought had stopped playing, but a good addition to the team. On Friday night it looked as though I had another full team and there were no problems.

Saturday morning I woke up to a muggy warm day with the sun coming through thin cloud it looked as though we'd be on for a bit of a scorcher. All the stuff leading up to getting in the car and heading to the ground came together okay and I picked up Yash Patel one of our younger batsmen. The team this week looked like this...

Player Profiles per batting order

1. Lee Dutton - 4th XI regular right arm off-spinning all rounder.
2. John Bedford - Regular 3rd XI player not played for a year though
3.Tony Harms - 3rd game after years of being away from the game - bowler?

4.Yash Patel - 17 year old 2nd XI batsman scored 200 + last year in 4th XI game
5.Frank McLeod - Very experienced batsman 3rd XI regular
6.Mitchell McLeod - Under 15s player, plays in both 4th & 3rd XI
7. Gary Savage - 2nd game after several years of in retirement. Experienced player.
8.  Stuart Munday - 3rd game - coming out of long term retirement (All rounder)? With experience.

9.Liam Harms U15's bowler, 2nd ever adult league game 3rd game of cricket ever in any format!!!
10.Dave Thompson - 4th XI regular (Wrist Spinner).

11. Ben Thompson - 15's bowler & 4th XI player (2nd season).

A lot of these players have years of experience and are good batmen. The other thing is - every player here bowls, so my approach was to give the younger bowlers a chance first up and then the middle order blokes who can bat as well a chance later in the game. The blokes I had in mind to bat up the order, I had them bowling later in the game if at all. I asked some of them at the start of the game whether they wanted a bowl and some of them declined or seemed indifferent, so they were excluded at that point unless something bad occurred. They were there if needed.

We did the toss and I won, on advice from my tactical advisors we had a bowl which is the option I'd have gone for. I always like the idea of knowing what you're going to have to do with the bat.

Ben, my older son opened the bowling and got off to a good start taking his first wicket off the last ball of the over, can't remember what happened exactly, but Yash Patel took a catch. Ben was also called for a no ball that went for 4, it was for stepping over the popping crease line. He was called several times over his 10 overs, but I was fielding quite near the umpire and it looked to me as though he was okay most of the time? His 2nd wicket came in his second spell after being moaned at by Frank, who at this point had put on the gloves and was wicket keeping. Ben had sent a few balls down the legside and Frank wasn't happy telling Ben he needed to bowl full, down the off-side. Ben hates that, his view is...
"Why the hell do they say that, you're embarrassed as it is for doing it and more often than not, it's cost you runs, why do they say 'Line and length - Ben line and length' it's not like I don't know is it'?
But despite that he then did take it on board and didn't allow it to wind him up, instead he said I remembered what Jack Farrington had said at one of the under 15's training sessions to look at a point on the crease and aim at it and lo and behold he hit the off-stump bail and broke it! He came away with 10-0-22-2, bringing his total to 22-2-86-3 so far this season from the records that I've got so far.

I wasn't even sure whether I'd bowl or not, there were still 2 good bowlers who hadn't bowled, John Bedford and Lee Dutton. Lee hadn't bowled too well last week and John when asked seemed completely indifferent and knowing that they were going to be up the batting order I wasn't sure what to do. Thankfully Lee approached me and said that I should have a go...

We took Mitchell off and I then bowled from the pavilion end and right from the outset it went really well. I didn't feel confident enough to bowl the flipper and bowled my leg breaks and Top-Spinners. Again the two key things I did in this spell was to employ the stupidly loose grip and to try and stay relaxed and sure enough it worked fine. My length was good - full-ish and the batsmen found it difficult to get me away. One of the bats was well set (Tony Greywal) and was hitting sixes and fours at will and was heading towards his hundred, I joined the fray with him in the 80's, so he needed to be sorted. I set my field as below here...
Initially, despite one of the players making a comment regarding something about Cow corner and the frequency of balls going that way I had my No.9 and no.3 up just behind me to see how things would go bowling at the other batsman. If Greywal was still going to be going big they'd move back. I think they new intuitively that when I was bowling at the other bloke H.Ikram they'd come up and drop back to the boundary for Greywal. As it happened, realising that I was a 'Leg-Spinner' H.Ikram thought he'd have a pop at me and someone must have told Liam to drop back a bit because he went big smacking it back over my head looking to clear the boundary and with the over-spin and possible extra bounce he didn't middle it and it went more up than along and I watched as Liam settled himself and caught it perfectly! That so rarely happens I was well chuffed. Ikram was replaced by captain Peter Bridges and for the next 3 overs he struggled to get me away. Greywal hit me for a couple of 4's, but for the most part I was able to tie down whoever was there at the crease. Eventually Greywal came after me, doing exactly the same as H.Ikram smashing it over my head and again for whatever reason it was more up than along and Liam again had all the time in the world to settle himself and caught the ball beautifully.

I bowled okay, pretty well by most accounts with loads of encouragement from most quarters. A few balls strayed down the legside, but I'm not that fussed about them, sometimes they hit a bit of rough and come back in on the stumps, other times the batsman mis-hits them and the bloke round the corner takes a catch. As Frank says 'Don't worry about the last ball, think about the next one'. The main thing I have to keep in mind is the loose grip and not to get tense, when that's all under control I tend to bowl okay, so today I came away with 4-1-10-2 bringing my running total as far as I can make out to 18-2-71-5 a strike rate of 21.6.

The best bowling came from Yash Patel, he normally plays in the 2nd XI as a batsman and doesn't bowl that much, but in this game he was the only other pace bowler as such with the exception of Mitchell, but he was keeping. Yash came away with figures of 10.2-1-38-4, so a very impressive couple of bowling spells and again 3 of the four wickets as a result of catches being taken. Liam, Tony and Lee Dutton to finish the game off.

Gary Savage bowled a tight 6 overs with a wicket maiden, coming away with 6-2-15-1, so he's an asset in the games. In the 2 games so far his figures are 9-2-31-3 so a very good strike rate of 18
Running totals of the bowlers

Dave Thompson - 18-2-71-5 a strike rate of 21.6.
Ben Thompson - 22-2-86-3 a strike rate of 44
Lee Dutton - 7-0-69-1 a strike rate of 49
Gary Savage - 9-2-31-3 a strike rate of 18

They only had 10 players and we managed to bowl them all out for 166. I think the general consensus was that we'd done okay and all we needed to do now was chase that figure. Looking around at all the batting experience within the team and from what Dave Ayres had said it looked like my first win might be on it's way. But someone had said in the previous days... "Even though this is a 5th XI, this is a big team with a lot of players, they're not going to be a pushover".

I picked the team with a little bit of input, but because Lee, John Bedford and Tony Harms hadn't bowled I put them all at the top. I had the impression Frank likes to bat around no.5 and I put Mitchell in at six. It looked promising - batting all the way down to No.8 because both Stuart and Gary bat well too. But no-one took into account the bowling of Mo Ali Layoria and Peter Nicholls, within a matter of a few minutes people were scrambling to get their pads on because wickets were falling rapidly!

See below... Once Frank McLeod had gone for 9, I knew it was a lost cause. But the two openers were exceptionally good and Mo Ali Layoria is a 15 year old lad and not massive or tall, but obviously bowls exceptionally well!

The bloke who bowled me must have had a laugh - set me up good and prope.. several straight balls, varying the pace, some loopy trying to tempt me to have a go and then he offered one up wide and loopy and my eyes lit up and I popped it into the hands of the bloke at cover.

The weather was nice, our bowling looked good and did the job, so all in all it was okay. So that's two losses now, fingers crossed at home next Saturday it'll be a little better? The scoring was okay, I got lost a little during Mo Ali's 3rd over when he bowled all sorts, but when it all tallied up it was only a few out. I need to try harder.

I was hoping to shoot more pictures, but it's obvious being the captain isn't conducive with doing so.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Umpiring and scoring questions - run outs

This question relates to how these are recorded in the score book. As far as I'm aware if the batsman is run-out the bowler isn't credited, so how are run-outs recorded in the bowling analysis? Are they just recorded as a runs and dot balls?

Answers in the short term at

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

B&PCC 4th XI team sheet

Blimey, look what they've given me this week a 'Dream team'!!

Okay so at this point only a few hours in a few of them haven't confirmed they want to play yet and no doubt as the week goes on, things will change, but at the moment this is a strong 4th XI with a good mix of skills and abilities.

Lee Dutton Member profile
Lee Dutton
Gary Savage Member profile - no photo available
Gary Savage

Frank McLeod  Member profile
Frank McLeod

Yash Patel Member profile
Yash Patel
Stuart Munday Member profile - no photo available
Stuart Munday

Tony Harms Member profile - no photo available
Tony Harms
Liam Harms Member profile - no photo available
Liam Harms
Mitchell McLeod Member profile
Mitchell McLeod

Ben Thompson Member profile
Ben Thompson
Thomas Hardy Member profile
Thomas Hardy

Dave Thompson Member profile
Dave Thompson                                     
It'll be interesting to see how this comes together over the coming days.

I'm going to update this post as the week goes on instead of creating new posts. Wednesday night and adult nets and the word is most of the players on the list are playing. Only my Chinaman bowler Tom Hardy has officially declined. Gary has confirmed and the McLeods have said they'll play. Only waiting Stuart Monday now and I'll have to see who will be able to replace Tom Hardy. Kieran 'The Barbarian" Barbero is the obvious choice, but I saw tonight at nets there's a few more new blokes and one of the Woodland boys was also there, so there's a few new players that I could have in the team.

The weather looks good on XC Weather (Pilots weather website).

The BBC differ in their opinion in that the weather front in the NW will have moved across the country and may be affecting the south east by that time giving us showers.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Spinners drill - competitive off-spin v Leg spin

My younger son Joe bowls finger spin so is a right arm off-spinner and I bowl Leg spin. We quite often practice in the paddock together trying to see who can hit the stumps the most times and things like that and I've done similar things at the club before. Tonight I came up with a good little drill you can easily do which encourages accuracy with line and length with the necessity to spin the ball.

Using a set of Kwik Cricket or training stumps, remove the middle stump. Make a decision that you're both going to bowl one side or another and both bowl that side. We both bowled over the stumps in this illustration. Then mark out a zone into which you're going to bowl, we use a mat. The zone/mat needs to be wider than the stumps and placed on a good length to bowl. As both bowlers look down the wicket from the bowling end they've both got a fair equal area onto which to bowl, one side shouldn't favour the other.

So the off-spinner bowls as per this illustration below - landing the ball on any part of the mat but aiming to hit the furthest stump, so with the offie he has to hit the leg-stump so encouraging him/her to turn the ball as much as possible. We play it - giving a point for landing it on the mat (A) and 3 points for landing it on the mat and hitting the designated stump (B). If the bowler hits the easier stump no points are given. Needless to say you could easily modify the rules and give points for the nearer stump too.
For the leg-spinner (Me) I have to pitch the ball on the mat (C) and turn the ball into the off-stump (D) to get maximum points. The way we play it is if the ball hits the stumps having gone straight on we still get 3 points.
Needless to say this only really works if you've got a good few balls. But it's good in that it's competitive and encourages bowling on a good length spinning the ball hard enough to hit the furthest stump. Looking at it, you could if you had some white tape mark the mat out as below and award even more points for landing it in the outside zone and hitting the opposite stump? The variations and possibilities are quite varied.
Check out my other blog here - this is all about Leg-spin bowling and nothing else. Double click on the image below.

B&PCC 4th XI v Billericay 4th XI - Langdon Hills Rec

B&PCC 4th XI v Billericay 4th XI - Langdon Hills Rec (My first game as Captain).

So the quick news is we lost, I had 11 players, the weather wasn't a total wash-out and nothing really bad happened.

09.15hrs and I'm still laying in bed thinking I should get up soon (Well it is the weekend)! Then the unfamiliar sound of my phone ringing caught my attention in another room, I dived out of bed thinking it would be Neil Samwell and when I picked it up it was an unfamiliar voice who announced that he was the captain of the opposition. Hmmm... people are giving my phone number out to random people, I guess this must be normal practice? Anyway he was worried about the weather saying that he was having to come in from Surrey to play. I quickly glimpsed outside and it looked as though it had rained recently, but wasn't at the moment and the sky looked gloomy, but not as if it might rain. He asked about the drainage, I said it'd be fine and that was enough it was game on.

I sent a text to my mate from Grays - Neil, using a number from a few years ago and then got on with getting ready. Read through Dave Ayres new captains instructions and made another list of things to ask once I went down the club.

11.30hrs and I meet Dave and Lee Dutton (Thank God he turned up)! I ask a few more questions, pick up some more stuff - juice for drinks and the first aid kit. Abdul Baig, one of our U15's turned up to replace Robert Wakefield and we then made our way to the ground via my house to pick up Joe and Ben. All the time I was still hoping that I'd get a call or text from Neil saying he was on his way.

12.20 and I arrive and there's already most of both teams there all waiting. There's a whole load of things I need to do and remember... Get the money, find all the stuff, put the flags out, find an 11th player, find the captain of the opposition, fill in some card or other, I've got another bloke asking me about the kids in our side, telling me he's x amounts of kids in his side. I've got one eye on the weather and someone telling me that local lad Tim Brown (B&PCC U15's) has already cycled down to see if we need another player?

Somewhere amongst the mayhem, the toss happens and I win and consult Lee. We bowl first. I think that's what I'd have done if it had been down to me. All around me, the other blokes and lads without being asked are doing all the right stuff - the flags, the table, chairs, stumps are all being carried out on the field. There's no bails, I've got bails including lignum vitae ones, they're taken from my bag... "Make sure I get them back" I tell Ben or whoever it was that takes them. Neil turns up to see how I'm doing and lend a hand with the admin side of the process - again thanks for that Neil.

12.55 in a howling force 5 south westerly e.g. blowing from right to left  as you look at the pitch from the clubhouse at Langdon Hills Ben (My older son) opened the bowling from the western end with the wind behind him. At the other end - into the wind was Tony Harms. This is Tony's 2nd game, having not played any cricket for 7 years or so.

Player Profiles per batting order

1. Gary Savage - First game for years, coming out of long term retirement (All rounder) with experience.
2. Lee Dutton - 4th XI regular right arm off-spinning all rounder.
3. Jamie Britton - 4th XI regular Wicket keeper batsman
4. Stuart Munday - 2nd game - coming out of long term retirement (All rounder)? With experience.
5. Joe Thompson - Under 13's bowler - first ever league game with adults.
6. Tim Brown - U15's 4th XI player.
7. Ben Thompson - 15's bowler & 4th XI player (2nd season)
8.Abdul Baig U15's all rounder, first ever adult league game
9.Liam Harms U15's bowler, first ever adult league game 2nd game of cricket ever in any format!!!
10.Tony Harms - 2nd game after years of being away from the game - bowler?
11.Dave Thompson - 4th XI regular (Wrist Spinner).

The opposition on the other hand only had a few under-age players and they were all listed as being U15's. They looked as though they were generally fitter and younger with only two older gents to add to the youngsters, so six of the players looked like players who could be in their prime.

They got off to a reasonable start.
Ben Thompson B&PCC U15's (My older son).
Ben bowled really well - a good line and length with variable pace and the odd bouncer here and there seemingly targeting the weaker of the two batsmen. Tony who was bowling into the wind struggled a little and couldn't find any form. Ben had several LBW shouts but the umpire turned all of them down - ball pitched outside of the line, going down leg etc. But generally Ben's bowling performance was sound with appreciation being shown by the new players who've never seen him bowled before. That really buoyed Ben, he really feeds off of positive feedback in those situations, especially when it's coming from older, experienced players in the team. At the end of the match, despite the fact that we lost comprehensively he said that he'd really enjoyed the game! Ben came away with figures of 9-2-30-1. The wicket he took was that of S.Levi who was set to reach a 100 and had been smacking the rest of us around. Ben put an end to his innings on 92.

Next up was Stuart Munday and Liam Harms, Liam bowling into the wind the same as his Dad. Liam proved to be the better bowler, taking our first wicket and going for less runs than his Dad, in fact bowling quite well, something that had been noted in training by John Bonnett. Liam came away with 5-0-24-1 taking the opening batsmans wicket with a LBW having score 19. Hopefully he'll be enthused by that and will continue to take wickets for us?

Stuart bowled really well having not bowled in years, I wasn't in a position to see what he was bowling, but it looked like the bowling of an off-spinner or a medium pacer... massive variation in flight and pace and very miserly going for only two runs an over and only just missed out on a spectacular bowled and caught opportunity. Spectacular, in that Stuarts probably a little older than I am (I'm 53) and has a persona at the moment that seems under-stated, so from Ben's perspective, he's just one of the older wiser, experienced players, not known for acrobatics and feats of agility. But, when a ball came off the bat - mistimed, looping up in the air just to Stuarts right, he instantly turned into a panther with an incredible arcing dive almost catching the ball! Ben said... "Me and Tony Harms were incredulous, Stuart pulled this dive off- out of nowhere and he was horizontal in the air for what seemed like ages! We were laughing so hard - it was just totally unexpected"!!!

Next up was Lee Dutton bowling into the wind replacing Liam and he bowled in tandem with Stuart initially. Lee was up against S.Levi for much of the time and had a bit of a torrid time with chances not being taken in the field. S.Levi who could obviously bat a bit simply changed his strokes and just targeted the kids hitting the ball their way hard and for much of the time they just backed off. Ben almost go one that was skied out to deep square leg but ended up parrying it for four. A couple came my way hard and fast at mid-wicket. One I slowed down and another slightly easier one, was above my head perceived out of reach. Lee ended up with figures of 7-0-69-1 taking M.Levi LBW.

I took over at Stuarts end with the wind behind me. Somehow - out of nowhere I bowled really well, although in the paddock in recent days I've been bowling okay. I was bowling a very good line with some nice turn off the wicket and I found the edge twice with Jamie putting the ball down on both occasions which is a shame and another ball was hit looping up into the air for what looked like a rudimentary catch by Liam at cover. Unfortunately it bounced out of his hands and he wasn't able to hold onto it.

In my 2nd from last over I took a wicket, I'd already given Gary the nod that he could take over at my end once I'd bowled 6,, the ball turning, coming off the face of the bat and hitting the bail of the off-stump - pinging it into Jamie's glasses Mark Boucher style, breaking his glasses and piercing the skin below his eye. If it wasn't for his glasses it may have been far worse? Jamie a little dazed it seemed, said he was okay and that he'd carry on playing without his glasses.

On reflection the question that arises out of the fact that I bowled really well is why did that happen? What did I do that was different? Well, for a start as captain I knew I was going to bowl, if I'd have bowled poorly I'd have probably followed the same kind approach that I've seen other captains take e.g. take me off after 4 overs or sooner if it was catastrophic. But I didn't have that... 'Am I going to bowl or not and when are they going to bring me on' aspect to my mind set. As I said earlier I've bowled okay while practicing and in the last game my bowling was okay too. Recently, in practice I've struggled with establishing a preferred approach to the crease that I perceive as being the correct way - e.g. get side on out of the bound. More recently, because I struggle with this and it's getting me nowhere, I've gone back to bowling in a way that I feel is right. The only thing is, I don't feel like I get that side on and I feel like I'm bowling very front on or I may even have the dreaded mixed action. But for the moment it works and I can get varying degrees of spin and change the seam angle by making adjustments to my wrist angle and getting up on my toes in the rotation. This aspect makes the ball turn considerably more. One of the other players 'Diving' Stuart commented on the suppleness of my wrist when I bowling, so he was obviously watching the fact that I was bowling variations. The only batsman that was getting me away easily was the other Levi brother that was batting quite well, I finished him off for 39.

Hopefully, this current run of form will continue and I'll bowl just as well the rest of the year. The main improvement was the accuracy and the length, let's hope it continues?

Gary Savage took over from my end and in the same way as Stuart, showed a level of expertise and finesse in his bowling that comes with experience and age and I need to probably get these blokes up the order a bit maybe? I'll have to talk to someone and see what they say or maybe just try it out - perhaps mix them in with Ben, so that there's two approaches to the bowling? Gary only bowled 3 overs, but took 2 wickets 3-0-16-2 and then they declared. But similar to Stuart - massive variation in flight and pace off of a short run up, so I suspect either a medium pace bowler or a finger spinner.

The only other thing with the bowling was the other young uns, Joe bowls and he was up for it. Abdul bowls and is apparently a really good finger spinner that bowls off-breaks, but was slightly apprehensive because his confidence was knocked in a recent U16's game. In fact Abdul was nervous generally at the prospect of playing in an adult game and at the end when I spoke to him, these fears had been allayed to some extent and he's now a lot more confident about the prospect of playing in the 4th XI and said he'd play next weekend if asked. Tim was up for a bowl, but their chances of a bowl were thwarted as the Billericay boys declared. The way I was thinking about it was - if we were to get through the middle order, maybe in the last 10 overs give them all 3 overs or so each, or perhaps 4 for the better lads and 2 for the weaker bowlers? The other thing is do you do this as an inclusion aspect of the game, knowing that it might impact on the outcome or do you keep in mind the need to win to gain points and keep the more committed players interested in playing in the 4ths? All a bit of a dilemma and one that I'll seek advice on I reckon?


This'll have to come later as I need the figures, so I'll try and update on Wednesday. But chasing 216 it didn't bode well. Off the top of my head highlight were Jamies innings - he scored 40 and stuck around for quite some time. I've never seen him bat like that before and I think he said that was his highest batting score. The kids that hadn't bowled who'd stood in the field all day fending off balls coming at them at 100mph I moved up the order.
Joe Thompson (My Younger son) B&PCC U13's
Joe did his usual thing - he had a swing and did exactly as he did last week - hit one that flew over the top of the slip cordon's heads for 4 in his first over. But of the kid the star was Abdul, who as I've said earlier was not sure about the prospect of playing against adults, but he played a very sensible innings, blocking when needing to and then taking his chances as and when the came and he scored 10 eventually falling to a young off-spinner that turned a really full ball miles outside of off, that must have turned about 45 degrees. I was in at that point looking to occupy the crease with Abdul and got myself a not-out.
Abdul Baig B&PCC U15's

Pictures; There's hardly any images this week, I was too wrapped up in getting the captaincy aspect right and scoring when we were batting. I forgot to photograph our batting figures which I'll try and do on Wednesday when I'm at the club next week. I got one of the U15's to walk about and take a few pictures, but he only took a handful, I might get some on here, I'll have to have a look first.

Scoring; That went okay and one of the young'uns Liam looked interested in what was going on and he's apparently watched someone doing it last week. I did most of it and Jamie took over when I had to get ready to bat. When I handed it over to him it was all tallying up, there was still a couple of section on the page that I didn't know what to do with, but the basics were all good and at the end of each over it all tallied up. But I do want to get some of the kids doing it.

Today it was doubly tricky because the wind was so strong every thing around me was getting blown all over the place and every 45 minutes or so it poured down with rain for 5 minutes or so. Our scoring table is set up on the edge of the field, no-where near the shed, so if it rains and play continues, the best thing you can do is hold the book on your lap beneath the table - preventing it from getting wet. The Billericay lads dragged the table back into the shed and set it up just inside the door, which I suppose is an option?

Umpiring; Yeah that went well, Tony Harms seems to be well up for it as does Lee and this is in spite of the fact that it was blowing a force 5 with intermittent rain. So at no point did we have any really inexperienced umpires out there forgetting to signal and making ropey decisions.

Rain & Weather; It wasn't pleasant at all, on the pitch fielding it wasn't that bad, I had three layers on and when we fielded through one of the down-pours it didn't quite get through to the 3rd layer. With the wind and intermittent sun, we soon dried out and their batsmen had us running around quite a bit. But once we were batting sitting and scoring or just sitting around got really cold, so I wasn't surprised that there were no 'Fans' there to support us. I always say to people to bring far more clothes than you would ever imagine needed and take them off if you get too warm, cos the chance are you're going to freeze rather than be too hot watching cricket. In the panic to get everything right I forgot my coat and fleece, so sitting their scoring I was beginning to get hypothermia! Thankfully my wife Michelle came over and did eventually go home and get them for me so for the last half hour of the game I was warmer.

Note to self for next week

1. Don't make these posts so long!!!
2. Take a shed load of coats.
3. Don't put all my gear and Joe and Ben's all in one bag, I need to be more organised.
4. Take loads of coats.
5. Write all the names on the ECB team sheet asap to give to the oppo.
6. Read up more on the bowling restrictions.
7. Try and take more pictures.
8. Try and get the kids to learn how to score.

Overall impression of captaincy? Yeah, it's okay, I'm grateful for all the help that people gave me, that includes the players on the day that helped on the field with the strategy aspects - Lee especially. The others that did simple things that made a massive difference, like anyone that picked up the equipment first thing and got it out onto the field - flags, stumps, tables etc. Dave Ayres for getting me a team out and anyone else that was party to that part of the process. Dave Ayres for doing my teas, I'm just gutted that I didn't get a picture of it as it was noted to be an exceptionally good tea and my wife Michelle is now considering doing it the next time we're at home, so if you can knock up a list of what was involved for her that'd be great. All the players for their contributions in the game, not only with the bat and the ball, but with the encouragement to the younger players, as it's obvious that this make a big difference to their approach to the game and makes them want to play again especially when it comes from the older players. Finally all the young players that turned up and played against a primarily adult team - well done lads!

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

Friday, May 09, 2014

Whoa - look at this... A full team! How good is that! More later when it all sinks in and I've been to the Under 13's practice tonight with Joe. The only thing missing is some more re-assurance that I will have a tea bloke or lady!

Lee Dutton Member profile
Lee Dutton

Jamie  Britton Member profile
Jamie Britton

Gary Savage Member profile - no photo available
Gary Savage

Neil Samwell Member profile - no photo available
Neil Samwell

Stuart Munday Member profile - no photo available
Stuart Munday

Tony Harms Member profile - no photo available
Tony Harms

Liam Harms Member profile - no photo available
Liam Harms

Robert  Wakefield Member profile - no photo available
Robert Wakefield

Ben Thompson Member profile
Ben Thompson

Dave Thompson Member profile
Dave Thompson

Joe  Thompson Member profile
Joe Thompson

All change! Now an hour later, I've had another look and noticed that I'm a man down again, Robert Wakefield has been moved up to the 3rds which is a shame because the word was that he was a top notch all-rounder. Hmm what to do now? It's only 4.39pm at the moment so things may change and I'm due to go along to the U13's practice at 6pm, so I'll have an update later. Weather's looking okay though, so that's one good thing that looks like it's going to fall into place okay.

Other than that I've been over the paddock and had a bit of a bowl and it went okay once I'd bowled a few balls. Not that it has any bearing on what'll happen tomorrow.