One of the issues at the minute is that there are some good younger players doing exams for school/college etc and they're totally committed to that aspect of their lives, which you have to commend rather than condemn, so good luck with that if you're one of those players in that situation. As an FE educator I'd like just like to say - pay a lot of attention on English & Maths, they're the most important ones to get right and get you into college or onto A-Levels.
All that aside, the selection committee and Dave Ayres did a sterling job and once again I went to the match with 11 again. I had to ring up Harry 'Bat' Hodgson and see if he'd have a game at the last minute and he said yes and was well up for it as Joe was playing. This meant another team loaded with youth including 2 x U13's! One of whom was my son Joe, who's helped us out a few times now and mid week had said he didn't want to play, he's stood in the field for hours each game and lasted a few seconds each time he's batted and not had a bowl, so I could understand why he didn't want to play and initially said okay to the idea. As Saturday arrived around 10, my wicket keeper rang in and said he couldn't make it and for a short while we were short. The night before Michelle (My wife) had said to Joe 'What you going to do all day if you don't play'? Youtube was either the answer or the activity that he would do if left to his own devices, so he was told you're playing. To be honest he was okay about it in the end.
On the way to the venue I have to stop off to get my scorebook and offer people lifts and do a last minute check to see if everyone's got a lift and I've got all my players. Once there I became more aware of the seriousness of the wicket keeper situation. Fortunately our 2nd XI were playing at the same venue and within their team was a potential keeper, all that was required was that once we were there we'd just swap someone over. It seemed like a plan, but I couldn't think of anyone obvious who'd go for the swap...
On arrival I had...
- John Bedford*
- Gary Savage*
- Frank Farrington - (14)
- Frank McLeod*
- Stuart Munday*
- Jack Farrington - (18)
- Ben Thompson - (15)
- Kieran Barbero - (15)
- Dave Thompson
- Joe Thompson - (12)
- Harry Hodgson - (13)
The journey was fine despite prior warnings of there being potential hold ups on the M25. Once there I met Tom the captain who was a nice bloke, did the toss and won again and decided to bowl which was always going to be the way after the recent games. He said they'd have batted if he'd won, I guess this is seeing the fact that our team is full of youngster, for the sake of the game they go with that option and it gives their batsmen the chance to run up some runs?
The issue of the wicket keeper then had to be resolved. All of the older, experienced blokes in the team are good mates and I think they all want to play in the 4's and they're also the batsmen, so they couldn't go. The Farrington's are brothers -ones a seam up opener and the other is the wrist spinner Frank, so I didn't want either of them to go and the rest of the team are much younger kids who were playing to do me a favour, so it would have been a bad show to move one of those across. That left me, so I said I'd go. My son Ben said he'd keep - but he's never done it and that made no sense at all, so I'd been in a bit of a dilemma as I walked out onto the centre for the toss. But as I got back one of the senior players said that Frank McLeod would do it. So that was brilliant, as that resolved that situation, so a big thanks to Frank, although I don't think he was that happy about it.
So far, so good... The next plan I wanted to implement now that we'd won the toss was to give everyone a bowl. Everyone on the team apart from Harry and Frank would put their hands up and say I'll bowl. For all I know Frank would bowl too? I knew that I wanted to give John Bedford a bowl as he missed out last week and he's a good bowler. I also wanted to give Joe a bowl as he's helped me out now in most of the games, but I didn't know how nervous he'd be or how that might go down with the rest of the team, but was pretty sure I'd get him in there for at least a couple of overs.
Over the last week I've been number crunching, looking at old score book bowling figures and the evidence that I've collated suggests the following...
Only looking at the data for the first 4 overs of the bowling spells and so far I've looked at data for 71 bowling performances mainly from 4th XI games. The data so far...
In the bowlers 1st over (Sample of 71 first overs) 18 wickets are taken and 300 runs are made = Strike rate of 23.00
In 2nd over 21 wickets are taken and 311 runs are made = Strike rate of 20.20
In the 3rd over 20 wickets are taken for 276 runs = strike rate of 21.30
The 4th over 11 wickets are taken for 282 run = strike rate of 38.7
The evidence at this stage on the little data that I've been able to collect would suggest that it makes sense to bowl everyone for three overs as a standard procedure? Having discussed this with other cricket players on line, they then said, if the said bowler was to take a wicket in within the 3 overs you'd probably bowl him for the next and set him the target of if you take another you buy yourself another over. I suppose that could be adapted to include a Maiden and have the same reward as such? What I like about this approach is that everyone would get to bowl even if there were 11 bowlers. With this in mind I spoke to one of my mentors in the game (Senior player Gary Savage) about it and he said "That's pretty much what most captains do, but for 4 overs and if a bowler is doing well - you keep him on". With that in mind I went with a basic plan based around his advice...
Following posting the idea on www.bigcricket.com I have an interesting email from someone who’s played cricket a lot longer than me and seemed to agree in principle but added another aspect to the idea which makes sense. If the bowler is taking wickets then why take him off?
So with that in mind I’ve developed the idea further and come up with a cunning plan…
Again – everyone who bowls or who wants to bowl does so for a guaranteed 3 overs based on the stats that I’ve collected. It’s in this phase most of the wickets are taken.
If the bowler takes a wicket or wickets within their allocated three, they get to bowl another over. If they then bowl a maiden or get another wicket they stay on for another and so on. As soon as runs are scored and the wicket taking stops he comes off and the new bowler comes on and goes through the same process.
I kind of stuck to this idea after speaking to Gary as initially very few runs were being made with Jack and Ben bowling as a pair, as I recall (Check book) they kept the score below 3 an over, but no wickets were being taken and they batted cautiously – maybe with the team we had - with all the youngsters, they saw this as an opportunity to occupy the crease and get as many runs for themselves? Both bowled well, Jack had two seemingly easy chances put down, one of which was me at point that hit hard hands and bounced straight out again and I wasn’t able to recover it and the other may have been little Joe at Mid on – a ball that was in the air for some time and he ended up doing the same as me – having the ball bounce out of his hands. Whilst Jack wasn’t happy I didn't recall that I over-heard someone at the club saying about the club generally, having seen a number of balls being put down at the BB game
Kieran and John Bedford came on next; Kieran is a right-arm in-swinging bowler (Sometimes) but is erratic in his line and length, but off of a short run up and not having the same height as Ben and Jack the openers, when he does get it right it’s good and rapid, with a very low bounce. John on the other hand who’s played cricket all his life and is a little younger than me bowls is right arm finger spinner who bowls off-breaks and arm balls very accurately, changing the pace, flight and speed. He’s very economical.
Next up was Frank Farrington who bowls wrist spin and turns it loads and gets drift. He has days when he’s amazing and other days when it all goes wrong, but generally he takes wickets.