Sunday, September 27, 2015

Field settings - Mustaq Ahmed v The Aussies 1995 at the SCG 3rd test

Leg Spin Bowling - Field Settings
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Just been watching Mushtaq Ahmed bowling against Mark Taylor and David Boon. Taylor is a left-hander and I've been able to suss out his field for him and it's here. The associated video which is his whole spell is below the field setting diagram

If you want to discuss this field join the spin forum here...

From the same game, here’s the field setting for David Boon (Right-hander).

New post at the Legspin blog

I've now got a website check it out at

I've got a couple of other Leg-spin blogs that I've neglected, but I've noticed that they get far more hits and views than this blog, so the stuff that is more specific to bowling is going to be posted there. Here's the first 'Diary Post'.

Click on the Image to go to the post.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Blimey my other blog is doing well!

I've got a load of blogs, most of which have fallen by the wayside and I don't maintain. But today looking through them I checked out one of them and noticed that two of the posts had an unbelievably high number of page hits - thousands more than I ever get on this blog!

Thinking about it the web address for this blog is extremely obscure and difficult to find or recognise as being what it is using the web address on its own. But the other blog lends itself to the content...

Therefore I reckon that's the reason the other blog has so many page hits? As a result I've had to do a bit of work on it and get some content in there and fingers crossed, I'll get my page hits going up across all 10 pages at the same rate that the two good pages were going. If the content is updated I'll post it on here.

Monday, September 21, 2015

The Paddock under threat

Why take away the facilities?

On the way into work I noticed there were a couple of contractors in the paddock across the road from our house (Valence Way-Fern Hill SS16 5UE) where we cut a wicket, they appeared to be doing something with the goal posts that are in there and I assumed they were making them safe. So on the way home I was expecting to see the goal posts set up-right seated in a new concrete base or something?

Instead I found that they'd removed all of the chain link fencing that stops our cricket balls and footballs disappearing into the bush. In addition the goal posts had been removed and an anti vehicle fence put up to stop anyone from parking on there. All in all the whole space now rendered absolutely useless as a space in which to play any sports.

Now I find this kind of contradictory, because as far as I was aware this was the Governments agenda...

Sport can improve people’s health as well as enriching their lives. Investing in facilities and encouraging participation in grassroots sport among adults as well as children will produce wide-ranging benefits.


So by de-commissioning the space and rendering it absolutely useless to anyone - how does that work with the agenda? I emailed one of the organisers for our local estate and her response was that the space would now be a picnic area. Hmmm, I can't see anyone going in there and having picnic especially as now the area is obviously no longer set aside for any form of sport the space will be quickly filled with dog crap.

I can get around it by driving 3 miles to out club and practicing on the artificial wicket there, but that then burns fossil fuels and I'm driving my car around unnecessarily. Or next year we just get resourceful in some way and erect our own fence to enable us to continue using it. The dumb thing is my son is on the verge of breaking into the Essex side as a bowler. The reason for this - he had somewhere to practice and now that has gone.

It's a shame they could have just left the fence.

So here's what they've done...
 This is what's left of the fence.

Ben Thompson looks on in dismay.
 This is the business end - this is the area that was behind the stumps, so this is where the fence is required and no longer is. My son Ben looks on in dismay.
Check out my other blog here - this is all about Leg-spin bowling and nothing else. Double click on the image below.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Development and re-construction of bowling action - repeatable and consistent.

Previous Post can be found here

(1). What Happened? Bowled today against a bunch of sloggers at our fun day using a plastic training ball on an artificial wicket and wasn't able to get the ball to turn. Also got called for foot over the line 'No-Balls'.

(2). Feelings. Okay, not that fussed on what happened, the only person that really got after me was my own son Joe.

(3). What was good and bad? (Evaluation). The ball didn't turn anywhere near enough, but I beat the bat loads with the little turn that there was combined with the increased pace. At one point I was told 'Float it in - don't bowl darts'. Bad... No-Balls, where I stepped over the popping crease in the delivery.

(4). Analysis. The weight of the ball was significantly different, but I adapted to it quite quickly. For some reason the ball didn't turn a great deal, but I beat the bat loads with the pace. My accuracy was pretty good and I got the edge a couple of times with the wicket keeper taking the catch on 2 occasions.

It does appear that when confronted with a batsman that I don't know, I run in faster and as a result I was called no-ball a few times, so one of the things I need to do in my practice is extend the run-in to 13' and work with that.

The ball wasn't turning, but I'm not that fussed about that either, I think that may have been the nature of the ball and the fact that we were bowling on an artificial surface. One of the things I may have to look at and adapt to when bowling is ascertain whether my bowing is going to turn off the wicket and if not bowl with a lot more over-spin which I can easily do with an adjustment of the wrist, but looking ahead I will need to improve my Top-Spin release so that it is spun harder and gets more dip.

(5). Conclusion. Keep going as I am, put any negative thought behind me and work with the arm as previously discussed.

(6). Action Plan.
(a). Adjust the length of the run-up to 13'.
(b). Explore reaching out with the leading arm and see if it leads to any significant improvement.
(c). Start to explore getting up on to the toes in the pivot. It's already been noticed in the last video that the bowling is better when I do this.

B&PCC 4th XI v Belhus cc 5th Sept 2015

B&PCC 4th XI v Belhus cc 5th Sept 2015

This was always going to be a good game, we like Belhus, they're great bunch of blokes who play the game in the right spirit. This was the last game of the season, they were mid table of the league and safe in their position and we were at the bottom heading for a league below. To be honest this league for the last two years was always a league too far and we only just scraped into it this year through some weird process that I don't actually recall, but we should have gone down last year. So this year we've had a season of games where we were mullered most of the time. We won one game - don't know how and again as with last year it was while we were on holiday?

Leading up to the game with weather as usual was bad - NW winds, heavy rain mid-week, temperature in the 18 degree centigrade region. Friday it stayed dry and it was a bit breezy, so a chance for the wicket to dry out. Saturday morning which was forecast to be sunny with blue sky, ended up being grey with drizzle every now and then.

The good news was that both sons were playing - so Ben played his 2nd game this season.
Dutton had a plan if he won the toss - we'd bowl first - the wicket was wet and grassy and they had a plan too if they won the toss - they'd bat, so they didn't even bother to toss. Dutton had a plan - we were all going to bowl in 4 over spells irrespective of what happened.
Harry Davie and Joe Thompson both bowled from this end (Estate End).

So, on a very damp wicket under leaden skies younger son Joe was set the task of getting their batsmen back in the sheds. He's our opener (14 years old). His older brother Ben (17) who's not played cricket now for a while because he's got himself a "Silvirkrin" played for only the 2nd time this season and so had to bowl 2nd change.
Joe and Liam Harms got off to a good start, Liam especially...

Liam Harms left hand medium fast - Joe Thompson right hand medium fast.

With two wickets for 2 runs off of his first spell of 4 overs 4-2-2-2 one of the maidens being a wicket maiden. Joe was struggling at the other end with new cricket shoes, but still kept it tight going for 4-2-5-0 at the end of the 8th over only seven runs had been conceded which we needed desperately to be the case as we once again had no batting of any real significance other than John Bedford with potential in the form of Lee Dutton and Tony Harms.

1st change brought on older son Ben and Harry Davie. Harry was first up from the Estate End and bowled a superb four overs for only 3 runs including 2 maidens... 4-2-3-0 keeping us very much in the game. Ben coming in not having played any cricket for months went for more... 4-0-13-0, but that still left us in a very good position with the Belhus run rate kept at a ridiculously low rate with only 24 runs made after 16 overs.

Then Dutton got himself and me into the action with me bowling from the Estate End. Dutton speculated that they were giving the younger players a go up front and as the batting went on we'd see the better ones come through with 3 down care of Liam me and Lee were confronted by the first of the better batsmen it seemed. Not that good a situation when this was the first instance where I'd be rolling out my new approach to the crease .

Apart from a couple of wides I did okay coming away with 4-1-4-0 off my first spell. Dutton at the other end with his Finger spin went for more runs but came away with wickets... 4-1-13-2, so despite the fact that we'd gone to slow bowlers the run rate was still low giving us a glimmer of hope, but we knew they had a lot more in the locker including their bloke who we call 'Sidebottom'.

The Sidebottom bloke didn't get to bat that much in the end, but Ruck, Sullivan and Wilson all made valuable contributions that got their score moving towards one whereby we'd struggle to chase it down. Ben Took a wicket hitting Rucks off stump and he was well chuffed as this was the only game this season that he's bowled in. Liam took the wicket of Long (Sidebottom) which was a result because he can hit the ball over the boundary here at Langdon hills for sixes.

But Joe and Liam came back on at the end and both bowled tightly and managed to keep the score respectable.
We then had a lovely tea and came back on to the field to chase 144. With John Bedford, Lee Dutton, Tony Harms and Nick Brown in the team, assisted by Steve Bonnett, there was a chance that this might be do-able. All we had to do was somehow negotiate R.Long (AKA Ryan Sidebottom).

It didn't happen...

I batted at 11 as usual, but went out with positive intent and hit three fours and a single and was looking to go on to beat my all time highest score of 16. But Squires had other ideas and got Ben's wicket caught again by that bloke Long who'd already taken 6 wickets with his bowling and now finished us off with a catch curtailing any chance of me setting a new PB.

Steve Bonnett batted well scoring the highest score with 31 and I came in 2nd with 13 runs.
Despite losing and being cleaned up by R.Long it had been a very good game which it always is with the Belhus boys. Ben enjoyed it despite the loss and hopefully next year he'll play more frequently?  This game being another loss meant that all season we'd won only one game so we'll be moving out of this league back down to a level we might win a few games in! I for one will be looking forward to that, especially as the wickets are often a little ropey and spin friendly.
Check out my other blog here - this is all about Leg-spin bowling and nothing else. Double click on the image below.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Development of bowling action - Wrist Spinning - repeatable and consistent action

More content now at my website - have a look

Again using the Gibbs Reflective Practice method

(1). What Happened - This morning having watched the Beau Casson video here several times and taking on board the advice about getting your left hand up around your right ear in the gather so that you look down your forearm towards the batsman I went over the paddock to video the action without a ball...

Click here

Having quickly looked at the video it looked as though this held some real promise so Joe and I went over to Mopsies Park and used the artificial surface again and I tried the new action.

(2). Feelings - I felt that this might herald further development as there was an obvious improvement in the dynamism of the bowling action. I did feel though I've tried similar things before having noticed that without the ball the bowling action looks better for some reason. So there was reason for optimism tinged with the suspicion that I may be able to add the 'Explosion' aspect to the action, but my accuracy and spin would almost certainly be lost as has been my previous experience.

(3). Evaluation (Good & Bad) - In this instance there was negligible aspects that were bad. Almost everything that happened today was good along with some very surprising outcomes that I was not expecting. The whole session from virtually the first ball was good, the idea of this gradual re-construction of my bowling action seems to be working perfectly.

(4). Analysis - Looking at the video above and comparing with advice that I've had previously and then having that re-confirmed, one of the things I noticed in the ball-less delivery action was that my shoulders and my hips appear to be far more synchronised, whereas in the old flailing around arms version, there appears to be a separation component in that the spine/torso twists as the shoulders and hips are not in unison. I'm lead to believe and it rings true that this in the longer term is bad for your back. So that in itself was good to see.

Another observation was that despite the more dynamic action, I wasn't fading off to the left as seen from the front. But there is that sudden abrupt stop which might be an issue?

As mentioned above, the plan was to take this all to Mopsies and try it with the new run-up with a ball and see how it would pan out. The expectation was that I would be spraying the ball everywhere because it's not what I do?

I turns out that this wasn't the case at all. Firstly from the very start my 'Line' accuracy immediately improved and the feeling was that it was faster and more dynamic. Then I noticed in addition without even thinking about it I wasn't veering off to the left as viewed from the batsman as I have been.

(5). Conclusion - The leading arm now seems more organised and it's as though I now know what to do with it and because it's now compact and it has become another aspect that is far more consistent and repeatable  - it seems as though this follows through into the bowling outcome. I bowled very few down the legside in the way that I would normally expect to do in 24 balls. So overall this feels like another massive development in my bowling.

The only thing I may look at is, to take this a stage further by extending the arm out and forwards, but I'm not entirely convinced it's necessary. But I will try it and see.

See the video here...

(6). Action Plan - Continue with the action as it stands here in the video, but explore as mentioned extending and straightening the arm to see if it has any positive impact. There is an expectation that it may mess up my balance and I might end up returning to a flailing arm approach?

What all this means is that I'm now of the opinion that when you're talking about learning wrist spinning this aspect of the whole process seems to be more important than the details relating to wrist position which if you look back is something I've discussed before. You need to have a good understanding of basic bowling actions and be aware of the need to be approaching the crease in a manner that is repeatable and consistent from which you can then execute your deliveries. It's a case of having a sound foundation from which to build on.

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

Gibbs Reflective Practice - Consistent and repeatable action

1. What Happened?

The weather is holding out here in the UK and I've been able to bowl at the weekend and in the evenings and work with this new action. The aspects that I've been working on have been the approach to the crease - the length of my run up. I seem to have established that and it's progressively getting smoother and the bowling is pretty good too.

2. How do I feel about the situation?

I've uploaded some video footage on-line shot at different angles and at different focal lengths and the earliest ones were a little disappointing. How I think I bowl and  how I actually do bowl are quite different and I was a little deflated on seeing the first video shot with a compressed perspective with a long lens..

But, with further practice and a more orthodox camera angle over the last week or two it has come together and I'm feeling a little more positive about the whole thing.
Additionally I do encourage feedback from the blokes on the Spin Bowling Thread on Big Cricket and that sometimes is hard to take, because it is honest and somewhat brutal at times. But overall it feels like things are coming together.
3. What was good and what was bad (Evaluation).
It's been pointed out that that I fall away to the right when viewed from the batsman's perspective which means the energy isn't going towards the batsman as it should. People have also said that my leading arm is flailing about all over the place and looks as though if anything it is detrimental to the outcome. Good so far is the actual run-up. This I feel as though for the first time since I started bowling wrist spin is now set... This is how I now run-up and bowl my leg breaks, no questions, no doubts this is it until my legs or hips give up forcing me to bowl differently. Incidentally someone pointed out on Big Cricket that it looks like Mushtaq Ahmed a bit. I took that as an indication that it is moving towards being half decent and a definite improvement on how I've bowled previously.
4. Analysis.
At the moment I'm doing only two things when I bowl so as not to confuse the issue. Also the idea is that I'm building the action stage by stage addressing certain aspects of it as I go.
1. I'm bowling off of the exact same run-up every time. I measure it by using my feet, it is 11 foot exactly from the bowling crease. I now always lead with the left foot and have developed this throwing of both hands forwards which seems to increase the momentum. This is something that Mushtaq Ahmed does, but it's not something I copied, it just seemed to be the right thing to do to help with balance and getting the momentum going.

 There's a couple of things that are interesting in these images. 1. Is that the action is almost identical, the left foot going forwards is in synch with the arms being raised in this initial movement. 2. Look at the wear marks on the floor, that's never happened as far as I can recall and this reinforces the fact that I am building a repeatable and consistent bowling action!
 The next stage which I'm still working on is the leading arm - how do I use it, where does it go and how do I start the gather? Already I've been visualising what's needed to be done and I've got a plan for the weekend in place to work with. Then this evening I've looked around internet and found that I've previously discussed this in the blog back in 2013.

Looking at the stuff that already exists on the internet it is an integral part of what we do and it's connected to the 'Dynamism' through the crease, accuracy, speed and spin.

I've just looked at some video footage and seen how messy my approach and movement through the crease is if viewed frame by frame. I still think I've made some massive steps forwards and this represents the potential for a better season next year, but still needs some work.

Looking back at this, I can see that the gather aspect with getting the hand up around the ears isn't there (See link above). Without actually trying to bowl and thinking going through the process it seems to be a fairly easy thing to incorporate, but that does remain to be seem.

5. Conclusion

The whole thing is going well, and I'm very optimistic as to the final outcome, some of the stuff I already do with the wrist and hand may need to be adjusted and worked with and I'm expecting that the adjustment with the leading arm may be problematic, but that remains to be seen.

6. Action Plan

Over the weekend try and get out and bowl and maybe look at the action without the use of a ball and record it. Continue with all of the other aspects and add the arm/gather over the coming few days or weeks and see how it goes. This here is the latest video...
Check out my other blog here - this is all about Leg-spin bowling and nothing else. Double click on the image below.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Consistent and repeatable action - Wrist Spin Bowling Part 2

Added 12th September 2105
Gibbs Reflective Practice in Cricket
What Happened? - See here for previous post . Since the practice at Nutbrook I've played two games and used the new technique in both. In the first game - a league game on Saturday I went for 8-1-32-0 which was on par with everyone else and this is despite the fact that I was bowling with a wholly new approach. It wasn't perfect, but the main thing is with regards my run-up it was coherent and consistent. The Sunday game the next day for some reason was chaos (see previous post here). Since the Sunday debacle I've practiced as much as possible doing at least 3/4 of an hour - hour and half every night working with this new action.

Today, I've bowled 200 + balls and videoed the development over the last couple of days seeking guidance and observations from fellow wrist spinners on the big cricket spin forums.

How do I feel? - Good, there seems to be progress being made each day and the new run-up feels right for the job... Fit for purpose. I now stand at the top of my mark and I know what I'm going to do and how it's going to happen. I know I stand 11' from the bowling crease and I lead with my left foot. Never before have I had that as a set process, so this feels good.

What was good/bad? - Everything seems good, there were a few balls that were too full and a few legside wides, but this is a new action and that has to be expected surely?

Analysis - It now strikes me that I've been struggling for the last 8 years with this because I've been ignorant of the fact that you need a sound foundation on which to build the rest of your action. Someone once said you can't fire a canon ball off of a canoe. It now seems the basis of my bowling has always been a bit canoe-esque. Or to use a construction analogy I've been trying to build amazing houses on a sandy foundation.

I now feel like I've discovered a sound foundation on which to build my bowling and over the coming weeks if it continues to stay dry here in the UK I'll continue to groove this action. Then one by one I'll start to add the rest of the components and today I started to do that. having looked at a video of the bowling from yesterday...
I noticed that my leading arm wasn't doing a lot - others commented on the forums agreeing with me so today I worked with that. So today I was trying to reach forwards and upwards towards the stumps. Initially I was trying something different and it wasn't working at all, but once |I tried forwards and upwards it came together a bit better and seemed to be working.
Conclusion - there may some minor difference in the leading arm, it looks slightly stronger, but I think more work is required. 
Action Plan - Spend the next few sessions continuing to groove the 3 step and bound approach to the crease and continue working with the leading arm. Look again at the Beau Casson video where he talks about this. See here in the video he talks about the leading arm being long and strong. Having just watched the video I think I need to video my action from the side and look at that arm a lot closer. So the two key points at the moment are...

1. Continue with the 3 step and bound.
2. Work with the leading arm, get it long and strong and video it.

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

Saturday, September 05, 2015

Leg-spin bowling a consistent and repeatable bowling action.

As soon as I got home from the Jamie Britton maiden hundred match I went over the paddock...

I went out on the paddock having remembered seeing a Glen McGrath 'Masterclass' on SKY where he'd discussed how he established his run-up and this had resonated with me and I thought I need to go over the paddock and explore that approach and see if it works for me? So, the basic premise is that you find an open space - not necessarily a wicket and you start to run in and as soon as you feel you've got the necessary rhythm, you then go into your bowling stride. Do this 10 times and get someone to watch you or record it somehow, where you start and where you finish and look for the length of run-in that you produce most consistently. Then mark it or take it to a wicket and do it again this time looking to establish that this is a repeatable action. Earlier this month on the Big Cricket forums I posted this...

8 Years into my wrist spin journey and only now have I realised the importance of this. My run up over the years has changed so many times. Initially focusing on the 8 step Shane Warne approach, I did that, but the bowled off the wrong foot with a skip like Titch Freeman. The skip took all of the zip out of any prospect of having any "Explosive energy" through the crease and in the end I realised I needed to confront this as an issue if I was going to bowl more than 4 overs before being told "Have a blow Dave".

I turned to my younger son Joe to help me and within hours I had the basics in place and then over several sessions I converted. Having converted, I was still utterly lost as to whether to bowl off of 8 steps, run-in fast like MacGill and a 100 other options. On here loads of people were facing the same problems in different ways, loads have tried bowling like Warne - me included, then someone pointed out that Warne being the freak that he is, combined with his physique was probably not the best template for your bowling.

In the meantime I had different levels of success, with the implementation of different approaches. It seemed these worked for a while and then for some reason or other something changed or I wanted more of something - speed, turn, dip, flight etc and so the experimentation went on.

At the end of last year, I decided that I was just going to ignore all the advice and just run in the way that felt right and bowl. It worked to some extent, but my two sons said "Dad your bowling action is crap, you look a mess when you bowl". I videoed it and they were right it was rubbish and inconsistent. At the start of this season I came in with two methods... (1). A slower Jenner-esque approach and (2). A slightly more energetic approach with a bit of a bound. A very experienced player for the first time in almost 7 years gave me some advice - basically "Mate, don't step in and bowl, use your short run up as you get more zip off the wicket" He was right, over the next 4 or 5 matches I played in I bowled some of the best spells ever against good batsmen in some instances and took a load of wickets. Then I damaged my Achilles (Strain).

This injury forced me to re-think my action through the crease and the approach to the crease. In the short term the solution was to bowl "Jenner-esque" off of a step or two, but trying to put a lot more revs on the ball. It worked to some extent, but I wasn't taking wickets and my line and length was inconsistent, something was wrong. I videoed myself again and the footage was bad - all sorts of problems, but the main thing was I was bowling too 'Front on' not getting side-on through the crease.

So step one was to get back to getting side on. I got round this by ensuring that I was looking down the wicket -over my shoulder - looking around my leading arm. Straight away, immediate results, 2 wickets in a game, going for only 3 an over and being used for 13 overs. But during the game I was still wholly unsure about whether to come off of 4 steps, 6 steps or to include a bound and it just felt crap.

On SKY here in the UK, there's been a documentary about McGrath & in the documentary he explains how he worked out his run-up and discusses how it was conceived. The basics are – you run until you feel rhythmic and are able to enter your bowling stride and action feeling comfortable. He says do this on an open field (outfield) marking your start and get someone to mark your landing point out of the bound. Do it 10 or more times to check the length and consistency and take the average length and that’s your run-up. Check it out here from 14 minutes onwards and then genius bit is discussed at 16min and 40 seconds.

If you asked me what my run up consists of – or how long it is, until today I couldn’t have given you an answer. In matches, I stutter, stop, try different lengths and look like a complete pillock and then bowl off 2 steps of late, but without a bound and with collapsed pivot leg. It had to stop!

This morning, I videoed how I bowled yesterday – 40 balls, I then videoed an attempt at bowling ‘naturally’. I then compared the two and came up with a plan. I knew I wanted 3 outcomes…

(1). More speed, so I had to do more than walk-in.

(2). More energy and dynamism – I needed to bound.

(3). Get side-on.

Stage 1. On a flat paved area I marked a starting point and very quickly discovered it was important to start off with either my left or right leg leading. I went for the left leg leading, so came off the right foot from my mark.

Stage 2. In the short term, three steps seemed sufficient before I performed the bound into the side-on ‘Landing’ position, set up for stride into the rotation stage.

At this point all those things that happen at that stage were un-important, what mattered was…

Steady your self at your mark, lead with the correct foot consistently – initially this was hard, it’s not something I’ve ever done and initially I found myself doing the stuttering thing, or going with the wrong foot. I just had to just keep repeating the same lead with the left foot.

Having got that right – the three steps felt fairly natural leading into the bound. The whole action being utterly new then felt different through the crease and initially the results didn’t look that promising, but by the 3rd or 4th ball there was a significant improvement. I then, over an afternoon in three sessions bowled 400 + plus balls. By which time I’d measured the distance from my mark to the stumps as being 8’6” and this worked pretty well.

For the moment, there are other issues – I don’t seem to be able to spin the ball as hard at will, but I noticed when I was more relaxed, everything came together including drift so bounce and massive turn. The more obvious short term effect was massively improved accuracy with regards line and length and more speed in comparison with yesterdays ‘Jenner-esque’ step in and bowl.

But in the short term I seem to have developed a consistent method which now gives me the basis on which to address other issues one by one methodically. So over the coming 2 weeks (No game next week for me) I’m going to work with this and hone it, so that it is my approach to the crease not Jenner’s, 
Since then, I've had a weekend at Nutbrook Cricket Club, Derbyshire where with the permission of the clubs coach I was able to access a good quality net and have been able to work on this new action. That combined with a couple of sessions in the paddock  I reckon I've at last developed an approach/run-up to the crease now that I'll stick with for ever-more. I've struggled with this aspect of my bowing since starting, so it's a bit of a pivotal moment these last two weeks.

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

Jamie Britton Maiden Hundred B&PCC v Old Southendians

I've now got myself a proper website, check it out at there's a blog on there that is frequently updated.

22nd  Aug 2015 - Langdon Hills Rec
Basildon & Pitsea CC v Old Southendians - Jamie Brittons maiden 100.

Lovely sunny day was on the cards albeit probably not as warm as it should be given the date, but since early July here in the UK what with it being an El Nino we've had consistent Northerly winds blowing down from the Arctic. Places like Norway and Denmark have had far better weather than we have!

The toss was conducted and as I recall Dutton was looking to bat first for some reason and we lost the toss and the opposition decided to bat first. The wicket looked good and I'd been over the night before and had bowled on the adjacent wickets in trainers and the ball as usual was turning nicely.
I shot some images of the wicket this week to show a point I've made previously on other posts about the position of the wicket in relation to the sun.

This is looking down the wicket at midday from the 'Estate End' my preferred end and you can see the angle of the shadow running left to right, so as the sun moves during the afternoon it eventually ends up over your shoulder from this end. So for me as a batsman and everyone else at batting at the end of the match your looking up the wicket from the other end in this image straight into the sun!
The sun ends up just above the houses in this shot from the other end, so it's an advantage to bat first in some respects.

My younger son Joe Thompson bowled first (14 years old) and bowled really well after an average performance with the SECDB U15's just before our holiday. Liam bowled from the 'Park End' and bowled really well having had a torrid time for most of the season, but in the game he came good taking 4 wickets for 44.

All I was hoping for was to land the ball in reasonable areas and to be able to get some spin on the ball and to have some idea of an approach to the crease that would help all that some together. All season I've been faffing about with my run-up, partly hindered by my Achilles injury which is still there lurking. I'd played so little cricket whilst on holiday whereas normally we play loads of cricket and I end the season with a bit of a flourish, so I came into this game with a plan to just come off of one or two steps and just put loads of spin on the ball. It worked okay as I got to bowl 13 overs and produced 3 maidens and took two wickets, both were edges caught in the slips by Tony Harms, one of them as I recall was pretty spectacular. As usual there were 3 or 4 chances that went awry for some reason or another, but writing this a few weeks later, I can't remember them now.

Although reasonably happy with that I went home thinking that the 2 step Terry Jenner approach wasn't how I wanted to bowl - yeah ,maybe in another 5 years or hopefully longer, but not now while I'm only 55.

The opposition declared on 49 overs leaving us a target of 184 to win. On previous form and given our players a pretty difficult task, but if Tony Harms in particular made a good start and word was that recently he'd had a couple of good knocks, there was an outside chance. Tony and Liam Harms made their way out to the crease as openers (Father and son).
Unfortunately the start we hoped for didn't happen and Tony was back having scored a duck. Liam soon followed only having hit two runs. Jamie Britton had replaced Tony and was now out there with Tim Brown. Tim was bowled for a duck by Amir. Lee Dutton (Captain), Steve Bonnett and Dave 'Quick 50' Ayres were our only hope. They all went cheaply and Dave Ayres who on previous form this month looked like a fair chance of hitting a quick 50, went for naught. But, Jamie when on strike was hitting the ball cleanly and the blokes at the other end were getting him on strike as soon as they could to enable him to continue.

The afternoon plodded on and Jamie continued to swing the bat and get the ball over the boundary and he edged close and close towards his first century. Batsman all around him fell by the wayside supporting him as well as they could.

They tried the slow bowlers bowling out of the sun tactic - you can see here in these images the angle of the sun by observing the shadows. It didn't work.
Slowly with Jamie hitting the ball so consistently and cleanly we edged our way towards their score and Jamie his maiden century. He looked absolutely knackered especially when running between the wickets.

Tim's (Seen here at the scoring table closest the camera) Dad Nick played a brilliant first knock for us having not picked up a bat in the last 30 years. (He said today 2 weeks later that he was still recovering from this game)! He held up his end and scored a useful 16 runs during which time Jamie hit the runs taking him to his maiden century. The crowd clapped in appreciation of this fantastic 100 and Jamie took the plaudits raising his bat to his fans and team on the boundary.
As happens so many times in these situations, Jamie didn't last that much longer and was bowled by Goodwin having scored 103.

My son Joe makes his way out as No.9 congratulating Jamie on his 103.
Jamie looking well chuffed makes his way back to the boundary and the applause of the crowd and team mates.
 Dave Ayres congratulates an exhausted Jamie Britton.

The combination of my son Joe and Nick gradually saw us draw closer to a positive outcome. Joe took us all by surprise and posted his all time PB score of 14 in any format of the game and given a little longer would have gone past my all time PB of 16. Unfortunately Nick was bowled on 16 LBW leaving me as the last man at no.10 which was always going to be a big ask. With 170 on the scoreboard and still three overs left to reach 184, with Joe hitting the ball as well as he was there was the chance of Joe being the 3rd hero of the day after Liam with his 4 fer and Jamie's 103, but it wasn't to be as I was bowled having only faced 4 balls for 0. Joe was pretty disappointed, but as I said to him - Joe you could have batted up the order instead of saying "I don't like batting - I'll bat at no.10.

There were a couple of win scenarios here if things had panned out differently...
1. If Joe had batted further up the order and not been stranded with me, he may have gone on to score a fair few more runs, he looked more than comfortable out there, but had sold himself short as usual when being asked where do you want to bat? He'd said at 10 and I said no you go 9.
2. If we'd have had that 11th man - the outcome may have been different?

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