As usual, right at the last moment blokes were moved around and the team ended up being very different to the one originally selected earlier in the week. This one very heavy on U15's and U13's players.
The ground that we were heading for is one of my favourites in this area - The Garrison ground in Shoebury, Essex. The ground appears to have been there since the 1870's as that's the date the pavilion buildings were constructed. It's big cricket pitch surrounded by some beautiful houses that used to be officers houses along three sides and one side there's a row of modern new buildings. See images below.
Joe and I picked up Tim Brown and Sam Jones on the way and made our way there via the A13 and the A127 with Stuart Munday and Harry Davie following us. We got there in plenty of time and as we arrived the Blerkoms had arrived just ahead of us. By the time Lee turned up we had 10 players including Under 15's player Andrew Tokley. As our openers made their way on to the pitch we were only 1 bloke down, but they were in the same situation us. I recognised a bloke in the opposition who in the last game I played against him bowled the whole game from one end and took 6-7 wickets, he was there.
The batting didn't go to plan and the 'Good bloke' (R.Long) opened the bowling from the left hand end as seen from the Pavilion. But it wasn't him that took the majority of the wickets. The other bloke with the beard (P.Hall) who was the more wayward took a few, whilst the big wicket taker from the previous game was seen to be more predictable. Despite this wickets fell quickly and cheaply. The ball when struck well along the ground, especially on the further side of the pitch visually slowed down as if rolling across a sticky substance, with balls that you'd expect to go for four being quickly retrieved and restricted to ones on most occasions. All of our key batsmen were one by one marched back to the sheds. The captain Lee Dutton was dropped about 6 times. Charlie Blerkom was caught at Mid off. As he came in he asked 'How the hell did he catch that'?' With his hands for a start was one reply...'But he came forwards and then back again and he still caught it'. Yeah that may have been because the ball was in the air for about 4 minutes, he could have come over the pavilion and said to us all 'Watch this' and still got back to mid off to take it. Charlie unfortunately was out for 0. His Dad Mike, mishit the ball trying to get over the in-field and his ball went more up than along and he was caught in the covers, the bloke having time to run deeper and take the catch.
It was down to Stuart Munday and new bloke Anthony Joseph to dig us out of the potential hole. For Stuart though, this was the first time he'd picked up a bat since September and he had some concerns about his knees and ankle. Stuart did well, really well, he stayed the rest of the game with little support from the bowlers, but helped them get us into treble figures. Harry Davie made 6 before being bowled by Mirzah, he wasn't happy with that. Joe was out next to face the bowlers. Joe had a good innings, he's normally dismissed within a matter of a few balls and it knocks his confidence making it so that he doesn't want to bat and reinforces the fear of faster bowlers. As he went out he was aware that he'd be facing a fast kid and a slow bowler so he was a little more optimistic. Stuart coaxed him through several overs and although he struck the ball well on a number of occasions, but he didn't get value for his strike of the ball. The grass on the Southern side of the wicket with modern houses was stiff and wiry grass, unlike most grasses and the ball just slowed down and virtually never got to the boundary. This was despite the fact that the boundary had been brought in by several yards around the entire pitch! Joe made 3 runs in the end, but blocked well and hit the ball a number of times and enjoyed it.
I went out and Stuart said let's get to treble figures and go from there. Once we reached 100 he said that we should just try and hit the ball and rotate the strike rather than be too cautious as I normally am. I wasn't able to be as positive as I'd hoped to be after batting with Joe, but I did bat with far more intent than I usually do and as a result I made a few runs. I was hoping to stand slightly out of the crease and as I had with Joe, but the keeper noticed and he stood up to the stumps and in doing so scuppered my plans. He did the same thing with Stuart and Stuart, looking to play with slightly more aggression moved out of his ground missed the ball and was stumped, so I ended up with a 5 not out.
Basildon Batting with Lee Dutton at the crease.The pitch inspection party - our 'Youth' contingent. Left to right... Andrew Tokely (U15), Charlie Blerkon (U13), Sam Jones (U15), Tim Brown (U16), Joe Thompson (U15) and Harry Davie (U16).
The wicket looking towards the Officers accomodation.
The wicket looking South East.
My son Joe.
The Pavilion at The Garrison Cricket Ground Shoebury, Essex.
Basildons batting scores.
Southend on Sea and EMT batting scores.
Joe and me scoring and waiting for our chance to bat.
The new bloke Anthony Joseph (Adult) opened the bowling and bowled a ball just outside the 'Channel of uncertainty' that obviously looked as though it was going down the off-side as the batsman shouldered arms only for the ball to come in and take the top of his off-stump, a classic well executed off-cutter. It was the exact start we needed trying to defend 104 runs!
Thereafter though he was put off his rhythm by the umpire calling 'No-ball' for stepping too wide on the crease in his run up. A number of '4 wides' occurred too and what with the limited runs we were trying to protect the combination of no further wickets and leaking runs Lee took him off and I got a bowl. In the meantime Harry Davie after a shaky start tightened his bowling up and bowled superbly for little reward, coming away with the figures below...
I was then brought on at the South Eastern end. I don't know if I was already in state of being injured, but I reckon I was or if I wasn't, it became apparent in the first over or certainly before the end of it. It just felt as though my shoe was digging into the back of my heel (Achilles tendon)... not painful as such, just uncomfortable and nagging to the point where I was aware of it. My first over went for 8 which is on par with last week, but to be honest the fielding was pretty poor, the ball for the most part went through the fielders or past the fielders in such a way that if an old bloke like me, Stuart or Lee were there we'd have dived and made a concerted effort to stop the ball. One of them hit through square leg went through the fielders hands above his head, but he'd left a gaping great hole in his hands as he tried to catch using the Aussie technique. To be honest with the heel it just wasn't happening for me, I wasn't accurate, consistent or spinning the ball anywhere near as well as I was capable of, the whole thing felt like a disaster, but I battled on and took three. The first one was an LBW and it was the batsman that looked well set and with the potential to get them over the line in quick time (M.Robinson). It pitched on leg and came in a smidge and he didn't hit it, no-one else went up for it and to me it was obvious and for a split second I nearly didn't appeal, but then did vocally and the Umpire totally agreed with me and sent the bloke back to the Pavilion...
|The Pavilion at The Garrison Cricket Ground Shoebury, Essex. Potential here for a new photography project... cricket pavilions a la' the Bechers|
He wasn't impressed, standing his ground momentarily looking back at the umpire in utter disbelief 'I hit it'! He said, neither I or the umpire heard it or so it and to us it looked as out as out could be. Following that one I then had what looked to me at least two more on the same bloke that the umpire didn't give and this bloke went to hit several fours through the legside (See above re ropey fielding). His mate at the other end was a kid armed with a Warsop... Joe, Ben and I (all bowlers) all say 'Oh look out, now we're in trouble the bloke/kids got a Warsop' as it usually indicates that the batsman takes his batting so seriously that he's invested in an expensive bat and he's now going to give the bowlers a jolly good thrashing! He was gone - out stumped by Mike Blerkom for 2 runs. The following over was horrific as you can see with 8 runs off it with a number of wides and I then said to Lee - 'Give someone else a go'. By this point my son Joe was bowling his off-spin at the other end and had already taken the wicket of the other bloke J.Mohan who'd been scoring runs.
Lee kept me on, I then got hit for yet another 4 that should have been stopped and the game was lost. The big older bloke who was ruining my figures was still on strike (S.Laflin), but I managed to get him off strike so that the new batsman was facing me (S.Trivett), he'd been watching and listening and despite the fact that it was a wholly lost cause, there was still an outside chance that between Joe and I with our spin bowling the remaining wickets might fall even though they were now drawn. I bowled a Leg Break as best I could given the situation and it came out okay - spinning well straight into Mikes hands outside the off-stump. It was my last ball and I only had two wickets, the bloke looked as though he fancied his chances against the spin, if it was on the stumps it was going to turn, all he had to do was clear his leg and smack the ball through the covers... That's what I wanted him to do, that's what he intended to do. Chances were I wouldn't be able to follow the last ball up with anything as good, I just wasn't bowling that consistently. It needed the Top-Spinner with a bit of a wrong-un in there with it, could I do it... my last ball? Yeah - give it a go...
This bloke hadn't faced one of these yet, so the chance was he'd play for the turn. The ball went down it was high and loopy up above his eye-level, his eyes lit up, he stepped back and across exposing his stumps waiting for the turn and he was going to smack it through the off-side with a cross bat shot, exactly as I planned... It didn't break to the off at all, with the top spin it bounced and apparently came in a smidge and hit the bails in the middle. My last ball - taking me to 3 wickets! A lovely final ball for me to finish on.
That then brought Joe on to take the rest of the wickets in his over. He needed either a Maiden or a preferably a wicket maiden. He bowled really well and bowled 3 dots and all the fielders played their part for those balls, not letting the ball get through, but eventually with several wickets still in hand and trying to hit the ball hard with a field that was right up, they hit the runs they needed and the game was lost.
Joe's bowling was good, this isn't Ben, this is my younger son Joe who's still only 13, he took a lovely wicket with his off-spin that he was well chuffed about and in the usual Joe style he was really economic too...
As I walked off, my mind then turned to why was I bowling so badly? Was it the soreness along my Achilles? Once inside and then being able to take my spikes off I realised that it was nothing to do with my spikes and that in fact it was my Achilles tendon. I then realised that this might be a re-occurrence of a tear I suffered in my Achilles in 2002, which saw me out of action and wearing a plastic boot for the best part of a year including as I recall having to wear it for months in bed to ensure it repaired in the right position! It then dawned on me that last ball might be the last ball I bowl for another year!
Once home I ice bathed it and then decided it would probably be a good idea to get it checked at the hospital.
Ice bath no.4
Crutches on Sunday.
Writing the blog whilst literally chillin'
Simmonds test pose. Monday 8.45pm
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