First game of the season this Saturday at our new home ground at Holy Cross. I'm trying to save time and getting the post ready for Saturday to write up the report. This ground runs north to south. The Graveyard end is the north end.
Usual type 4th XI team with some regulars from last season and one bloke - Tim Edmonds back from injury. 4 Youth players and some old blokes. Slightly bowler - centric and it looks like 'G-Man' AKA Graham Davies will be the wicket keeper replacing our regular Keeper Jamie Britton. At this point we're a bloke down and there's bound to be whole-sale changes before Saturday. The legend that is Tim Brown gets a game, we were wondering whether he'd be playing this year. so it's good to see him in the team.
I can't wait and I'm looking forward to bowling on this wicket. The only issue the night before is some pain from my Plantar Fasciitis, last time I played I took pain killers before the game and that seemed to work okay. Another issue is that Joe has twisted his ankle playing football, so he may have to nurse that tomorrow. He's had it in ice baths a couple of times and he's been sitting with it in the air and he's got a compression bandage on it at the moment and over-night.
Hadleigh & Thundersley game results
I've had a look on the Play cricket website and found their game results from last season. I've realised that tomorrow when the games been played I can start to look at their data using the players names and start to identify who the 'Rabbits' might be. Currently if you look at their 4th XI squad there's about 40 names. I need to identify the regulars. No doubt there'll be some way of doing it, I've just got to figure how?
They won the toss and opted to bat presumably because they only had 8 players and were hoping that more would turn up? Not a good start with the new home ground pavilion...
There was no electricity and the whole place was a little bit of a mess, in the space where we have tea (The upstairs section of the building), the room was full of tables and chairs & the security grills off of the windows. A lot of the chairs will have to be moved and then it should be okay? Changing rooms were fine - 2 per team, so more than enough space, but not secure enough to be able to leave your gear inside, so bags and stuff have to be left at the scoring table. The other upside is this is another pavilion for my typology... http://www.wristspinbowling.com/pavilion-typology.html
Joe woke up and his ankle swelling from the twist had gone down, but as precaution he had compression sock. Joe opened from the Graveyard end. The strip was a couple of strip widths from the artificial wicket in the image. The wicket was nowhere near as good as when Nigel was the curator of the wickets see here
This is the view from the graveyard end. The outfield was rough as well, with loads of loose grass, needing a rake, so hitting fours was going to be tricky.
game Joe got off to a good start with both of the openers erring towards caution and not being able to get him away. Tim Edmonds bowled from the estate end and did pretty much the same job with the run rate being kept at around 2 an over. Lee Dutton gave me the nod at around the 8th over saying I'd be on at the Graveyard end to replace Joe bowling into the wind. Joe and Tim bowled for the remaining 4 overs restricting the run rate to around 2 an over.
My spell was short and rightly so, as the run rate went from Test match to T20. I'll offer the excuses first. At the back of my mind I had the issue of heel pain and then bowling into a fairly brisk wind. Add to that hardly any practice this week and I went into the first over not particularly confident. The first ball, a full toss was hit for four and then it was downhill from there. By the end of the first over, I was so crap that I then out of desperation decided to come off of longer run-up and that seemed to work okay. The 3rd over was just a blur of 4's and 6's as I'd gone back to a shorter approach to the crease.
The main protagonist - J.Newman filled his boots... most of the balls going over the boundary at the deep mid on or almost straight on the on-side. A remember a couple of the fours were hit through square leg on the short boundary. At Virtually 10 an over that was probably my worst bowling performance ever.
Since the game I've looked up the 2 blokes that I bowled against - Davison and Newman at various points over the last 4 or 5 years they've both come in as either the most prolific run scorer in the 3rd or 4th XI. Newman, the bloke that took me to task he's normally seen in the 3rd XI and is their best batsman over the last 4 years or so. See image below.
One of the things I was hoping to do was to try and see if I could ascertain any weaknesses in either of the batsmen, the only thing I can say is that the balls outside of or on off where the best option and anything on the legs or wide of the legs was going for 4! On reflection, the idea that I'm going to see many Rabbits when I'm bowling might be a little flawed as Dutton tends to put me on in these situations where there's a couple of well set players rather than at the end when there's kids batting or bowlers. So I've just got to live with it.
The only good thing I can think of is that it equals another game years ago with Grays & Chadwell and that too was the 1st game of the season and surely it can only get better from here? The other thing I can find solace in is the fact that Ryan Davies was smacked for a bunch of 4's and 6's in one of his overs and he's a really good seam bowler who usually gets it to swing loads. But to be truthful it was just crap bowling of the 1st order on my part and I need to figure out why? Number one I need to resolve the heel pain.
The other thing is - do I take anything from the fact that the 2nd over went for only 1. This is the over where I ran in off of 5 or 6 steps - something I've not done for months?
The umpire at my end spoke to me a lot during the 3 overs I had - said he was a wrist spinner as well and showed a lot of sympathy for my plight, making suggestions - like bowl a little faster and flatter and observations like - it's spinning and you're getting a fair bit of turn off the wicket. I asked him how long he'd bowling wrist spin and he said 30 years and he was still learning. I was hoping to see him bowl, but they didn't use him and they only bowled 4 blokes.
I'm writing this on Sunday evening and this afternoon I had a practice and guess what - it went well. It's definitely psychological - in practice I bowl faster and much more accurately and physically it feels totally different. I noticed yesterday when Dutton said that I'd be bowling my heart rate went up and I felt anxious. I did try breathing slowly, but that didn't help at all, again these are all of the things that happen when I get the Yips. What I need to do is just put it out of my mind, try and sort my heal out and my head!
A grey and potentially cold day with scattered showers and a brisk wind forecast. Played here at a similar time last year and it was freezing as the ground is very open. Don’t know what happened at the toss, but we bowled first.
Joe opened with Guru at the other end. Chelmsford had a couple of batsmen who got them off to a flying start. Like last week the wicket was at the end of the square meaning one of the boundaries was really short. There was some ropey fielding from our boys throughout, but this is early and it was a friendly, but in defence of out team these were pretty good batsmen. Joe bowled okay given that he hasn’t bowled much at all and this was the first game of the season.
One of their players Abdul Baig was previously one of us a couple of seasons back and he was involved in a contentious umpire decision. As far as we were all concerned (Guru bowling) the batsman edged it through to Jamie Britton who caught it behind – albeit low. Everyone went up, but Abdul said not out. As far as he was concerned it had bounced right behind the batsman and then carried through the Jamie. Jamie was perplexed to say the least.
To add insult to injury at the other end (Pavilion end) Jamie had another ‘Event’ he had a ball off of Joe that was pitched short and was pulled…
“I think he got a thick edge on it, I lost it in the trees as I jumped up, because of the thick edge it didn’t carry and it didn’t seem to arrive and then there it was in the gloves suddenly and it just bobbled out again”. He was so disgusted with the fact that he dropped it, he picked it up and threw it at the ground – unfortunately though at an angle and then the ball flew off towards 3rd man. Luke who was in the covers had his face in his hands - face palming because of the drop and didn’t see the ball going past him and it rolled over the boundary for 4. Joe thankfully hadn’t seen any of this after the drop – he’d turned on his heels and had headed back to his mark. So was oblivious to the comedy show behind the stumps.
The next funny incident...
Luke Daw our premium bowler, was bowling at one of their better players… It may have been the bloke that went on to score a hundred, when the ball was hit straight back at him above his head and managed to Parry the ball up into the air vertically without being aware that it had gone straight up. I was fielding at a close mid-wicket position and shouted “And again” and in the split second he had he managed to catch sight of it and had another go at it, but this time fumbled it and dropped it, but he still hadn’t given up, as while all this was happening he still managed to be aware of the fact the two batsmen had made a right balls-up of running between the stumps and he gathered up the ball and rolled it under – arm (As he had all the time in the world) towards the vacant stumps because the batsman was 2-3 metres short at this time only just miss the base of the stumps.
My own bowling didn’t result in any wickets although there was a delivery towards the end, that I bowled on the off-stump with a lot of flight and the bloke played around it. I was just happy to have got it where I wanted it and that with the additional bit of flight I’d beaten the bat. Inside I was doing a little psychological fist pump – saying to myself “Yes”! Then I paused and thought, hold on - that hit his leg in front of the stumps, by which time Jamie was throwing the ball back to me. I caught it and turned to the umpire and said “I should have gone up for that shouldn’t I”. He replied… “Yeah, you should have done”. *Note to self; watch out for LBW’s and ask the question!
Our bowling looked like this...
They’d batted really well and finished on 278 for three off of 40 overs, which I thought was a high score and walking off to tea I said “With a bit of luck they might all be batsmen”. Someone then said - "The opener - a young kid with curly blonde hair was a bit ‘handy’". I then mentioned that wasn’t entirely true because he had a massive issue with front foot no-balls, they countered that with some mention that he was a part of the Essex set up. “Just watch the front foot no-balls when he bowls”. Sure enough… as you can see below he’d not resolved the issue at all since I last saw him do the same thing a year or so ago! That aside he did bowl fairly well, but once he started getting it wrong he fell apart slightly and his effort balls started ending up down the leg-side and he started to add wides to his no balls. In this part of the game he was by far our biggest run maker and he got us off to a good start. If the kid gets the No-Balls sorted he'll be handy bowler as he was swinging it quite a bit.
Our batsmen got off to a slow start and one of our openers Brian Waterman was dismissed early having only scored two runs. This brought Anthony Ayers to the crease to Join Luke Daw and they got off to a good start once the opening bowlers had bowled relatively short spells. As the innings progressed Anthony got into his stride and hit some spectacular sixes and a whole load of fours, frequently targeting the short boundary. When the next wicket fell another 170 runs had been put on in 25 overs which was only a little behind the run rate required. But one wicket brought two and then a collapse going from 172 for 1 at one point to all out for 221.
Joe batted in front of me as the No.10 batsman and he did okay getting a 5 not out, he can bat far better than he gives the impression, but lacks the confidence and chooses not to bat further up the order, so hopefully this might give him a little more of a taste for it and perhaps look to bat at No.9 in some of the games and look to push on with his batting?
Joe leaves the field looking pleased with his 5 not out.
Overall though I have mixed feelings about my 5 overs. No wickets, not even a sniff of a wicket. Disappointed and alarmed at the margin of error factor with the ball being a little leg-side. Last season, my leg-side bowling was so wide it often got called as wides, and it was unintentional e.g. I was trying to bowl an off-stump line! In the old scenario, the discrepancy was nearly 3’ In this game I was much tighter with the discrepancy factor being about 6-12”. Even if the ball was on the leg-stump, two of the batsman appeared to be specialists in hitting the ball cleanly down to Fine-Leg, for the most part evading Guru who was in that position, but to be fair Guru wasn’t on his A-Game today, so early in the season. So, either the batsmen were of a far better standard than I face normally (Which I’m hoping to be the case) or I was offering no threat what so ever. In addition I felt inclined to bowl a leg-stump line because of the boundary on the off-side being ridiculously short. The ariel view of the pitch here showing the proximity of the boundary in relation to the strip. The light green section (A) being the area I leaked runs with the deliveries on the leg-stump.
Again, on reflection, I don’t understand why I’ve been unable to convert the bowling performances in the nets and the Paddock recently to a real wicket. For some reason there's nothing about my body and action that feels right. I guess I need to factor in the Plantar Fasciitis and the fact that I may not be able to bowl full-on?
I suppose I also need to look at the bowling performances of both teams and take on board the fact that with the exception of one of our finger spinners (Rob) none of us did that well. The other thing that was said was that it was a good batting track and I guess that was then shown to be true because of Anthony Ayres and Luke’s knock on top of the oppositions batting performance. That said, I'm looking forward to playing against players of my own level... 4th XI at our new home ground - Holy Cross, Basildon.
I recent posts I think I’ve mentioned having a re-occurrence of the condition Plantar Fasciitis. It seems to flare up when I bowl, but started some weeks ago as a result of suddenly using the stairs at work rather than the lift thinking this might be useful to get fit for the season having been incredibly lethargic over the winter. In the last few weeks I’ve been doing all of the things I would normally do to alleviate it – Ice baths, massage, mobilisation and then running up to the Woodham Mortimer game… resting. After the Woodham Mortimer game I started to look around at causes and cures for Plantar Fasciitis. I looked at a lot of videos and read a lot of articles. I started the massages and flexes and read more and then remembered the blokes at Cricket Strength had a look at my posture and mentioned that I had a collapsed arch. Foot lead to knee, knee lead to hips, hips lead to core strength and then I realised I could no longer do the thing where I could hold my body only supported by my head and heels between 2 chairs, usually seen in magic shows Derren Brown for one, meaning I’d obviously lost a lot of my core strength. In addition, I’d already read somewhere that if you don’t exercise the muscles around your knees, you lose the strength and support in this area in a matter of days, so sitting around all day and hardly walking, let alone doing any exercise is obviously a recipe for disaster. Everything seemed to be pointing to the lack of activity this winter.
Basildon & Pitsea v Woodham Mortimer 22nd April 2017 (Friendly).
Woke up to gloomy grey skies and rain. It hasn’t rained here in Essex since some time in March so I was gutted to look outside and see puddles and drizzly rain. I checked the forecast during breakfast and the prediction was for it to gradually improve. The weather forecast for the country as a whole was northerly winds with the potential for it to be cold, so remembering last April at Chelmsford when it was freezing I decided I’d take a lot of layers.
I picked up our wicket keeper Jamie Britton and we made our way to the ground. As we drove the weather improved and by the time we got there were some glimmers of blue sky. The captain Luke Daw won the toss and chose to bat. The wicket was a little damp, but the outfield was sopping wet. Everyone said that the ball wouldn’t turn that much for spinners.
The image below is their pavilion, so this'll get added eventually to my Pavilion Typology http://www.wristspinbowling.com/pavilion-typology.html
The captain said it was a nice looking ground and sure enough the setting was pretty good. The weather despite the warnings of northerly winds was fair and for the most part sunny for the match and as they day drew on the wicket dried out.
I bowled from the far end in this image below and the shortest boundary was to the right of this image.
This is approximately the field setting the captain Luke Daw set for me which worked out quite well. I generally bowled a good line keeping it off the legs. The main criticism was that given how slow the wicket was and how slow I was bowling, I was about a yard too short (1 Metre). The majority of the singles were scored in zone A, The single 4 went through zone B with a slightly wider ball and with the boundary so short it didn't leave the fielders much to work with. If I can continue with my accuracy as the season continues I may adopt this as my starting field and see what happens and then adapt it dependent on what I can get the ball to do.
We won the toss and batted first, they bowled and fielded well as you can see and we were saved by Paul Singleton's 87. I had a single not out. Unusually almost the whole team was out caught.
Our bowling figures are here below and as you can see the Captain Luke Daw (Finger Spinner) bowled really well 5 runs off 5 overs with a wicket. He should have stayed on or come back on later, but I'm guessing with it being a friendly he wanted every one to have a bowl? No rabbits in this team for me and generally they were good with the bat, one bloke right at the end came out with aggressive intention, walking down the wicket at everything and smashing it for 4's - a bloke called J.Marshall.
On reflection I got thrown the ball for the 20th over, I was fore-warned an over or so beforehand, so didn’t have that much time to worry about it, but I did. I could feel my heart racing and I was trying to think what I should be doing. The weird thing was before I even got there, I had this sense that I was going to struggle getting the ball up there and that probably exacerbated the sense that it wasn’t going to go that well. The plan was to bowl straight at the stumps and spin it as much as possible using my over-spun leg-break. The whole thing felt utterly different to the recent net sessions, and the dampness of the wicket meant that the ball wasn’t going to bounce in the way that it has been in the nets and over at the paddock. I suppose given how crap I felt about the whole thing and the fact that there were a bunch of missed chances according to Yash, it didn't go that bad, no wides, or no-balls and I was only hit to the boundary the once. The biggest concern which was at the back of my mind because of the pain I was suffering was the Plantar Fasciitis, so I was unable to move as fluently as I might and it was a negative aspect before I even got to the crease to bowl the first ball.
I need to work out why I'm suffering so bad and this is despite a week of not practicing with the idea it might get better. Fingers crossed I might get a game next week and I'll try and figure out how to get rid of the PF.
There's a bloke on Youtube Mr Awesome who watches my videos and comments on them. He's got his own Youtube channel and tonight he directed me to one of his videos where he demonstrates one of his variations. Either on here somewhere or over at one of my other blogs I've discussed and explained how my Top-Spinner is very different to my normal deliveries. I bowl it with a far more fingery action - not sitting deep in the hand but away from the palm. Watching Mr Awesomes video (link below) I realised that his leg-break is bowled in a very similar way to my top-spinner, But, he then points out a very nice little detail that I'd never considered, which once it's pointed out seems really obvious. Using Mr Awesome method and my Top-Spinner method, more purchase can be had on the ball by arranging the seam so that your finger rests on it in the way that he describes.
I'm definitely re-visiting my Top-Spinner and I'll be turning that seam around in the way he suggests and giving it a go.
First game of 2017 tomorrow
Basildon & Pitsea v Woodham Mortimer 22nd April 2017 (Friendly).
I’ve had two weeks off and the weather’s not been that bad weather-wise, so I’ve been able to go over to the paddock and have a bowl. Towards the end of the 2 weeks I identified the fact that my first few balls were a bit ropey and that I needed to address that as an issue.
The last few days there’s been light in the evenings as the summer gets ever closer and I’ve been using that time to work on first few balls of the spell. So I’ve simulated the bowling to Mid-on/Mid off scenario – just a couple of balls and then looked to bowl good balls right from the outset, eliminating the ‘Loosener’. Through trial and error I’ve established that if I bowl my delivery with more over-spin for the first few balls the accuracy is far better. By about the 4th ball I’m able to change to the one with far more side-spin and so far this has worked really well. Having read SLA's comments from the previous post I might look to bowl a safe over of the 'Over-spun' and more accurate leg break through the first over.
I’ve got a game tomorrow at Woodham Mortimer with players from the 2nd and 3rd XI, (the blokes I’ve been bowling at in the nets) which I’m massively up for and I’ll be able to see if all this practice and apparent improvement pans out to be real. My fitness is a bit of a concern, but all the work I’ve been doing hopefully will put me in good stead and I’ll come through the day.
No Joe though he declined to play.(Younger son).
Full report tomorrow.
One of the things that is bothering me at the moment and keeping me awake at night is the first few balls of a spell. A couple of days ago I went over the paddock and had a practice – bowled 120 + balls and it went pretty well. The ball is spinning hard and turns off all surfaces including indoor batting mats and as well as that I’m getting dip and the occasional bit of drift. But my last session took at least six balls to get my line right. Which I can’t really afford to let happen in a match situation, Leg-side balls are probably going to be hit to the boundary, the batsman’s confidence is going to be boosted and it does nothing by way of convincing the captain to give me more overs.
Over the coming practice sessions, I’m going to look at ways of addressing this looking to see if there’s a reason for it. Thinking about it, it may be a number of things…
(1). Not relaxed – gripping the ball too hard.
(2). Simply trying too hard.
(3). Trying to do something different with the first ball as opposed to bowling the most basic of stock balls.
On the subject of No.3, I bowl two deliveries which are both leg-breaks, that have slightly different attributes, one of them I feel is probably more accurate at the start of the spell, so I reckon I’ll just have a look at bowling that delivery and getting that right from the outset. In a game scenario, I know I have the opportunity to bowl the ball at either mid-on or mid-off a couple of times as the field is set prior to bowling the first ball. I’ll allow two balls at the start, allocating them as balls bowled at team mates and then look to bowl accurately from then on. What I’ll try is slow, loopy and accurate adding speed with each ball.
With a little less than 4 weeks to the first match of the season and the potential for a friendly game before that I’m slightly concerned about my lower body strength and flexibility. Both my sons are of that age where they don’t do a great deal, I ask them if they want to do x and y and they turn me down, so in previous years we’d have been playing cricket and football in the road out the front of the house, at the paddock or somewhere else. That generally ensured that as the season started I’d hit the ground running.
In the nets this year (2017) I’ve bowled exceptionally well (so far) and there’s been far fewer people at nets this year (Brexit affect)? So, I’ve had to bowl at 2nd XI batsmen more and I’ve bowled really well (According to them). I was asked on the blog what have I done differently and you’ll find the full answer below in the post called “Another good net session”. But, I think one of the most likely reasons for bowling better is that I changed the emphasis of what I was doing when practicing.
Previously in practice I’ve set up some stumps and I bowl at the stumps. In this scenario – success is measured by hitting the stumps. Thinking about this and taking on board some things my captain said last season I realised that this “Bowling at the stumps” approach was flawed for a number of reasons, but the main one being …
Having changed my practice regime in the last year and currently seeing what appears to be huge benefits, I’m now advocating that when practicing, 95% of the time, you do so without any stumps. What’s more important is where you land the ball and your ability to land the ball in a relatively small area.
So, the change that I made, was to get rid of the stumps and introduce a target placed on the floor. My captain suggested to me last year that I should bowl a leg-stump line… threatening the leg stump if the ball didn’t turn and if it did turn still having the potential to hit the middle and off stump. More importantly with the ball targeting the leg-stump, this forces the batsman to play the ball. If the ball is spinning and the batsman hits it, there’s the potential for the ball to be caught. What my captain didn’t want was the ball outside of off or on off turning and missing off, leaving the batsman to simply watch the ball and choose not to play it. He’d then play the ball once I’d bowled a bad ball. If you target the stumps, the batsman is immediately forced into a position where he’s potentially going to have to play the ball.
Having seen Majid Haq (The worlds slowest international bowler) I realised that I could bowl as slow as I do, but, I needed to get a number of things right…
I’ve seen many bowlers take loads of wickets just simply bowling slow on a good line and length – the adage “You miss, I win” coming into play. So, if you’re getting the ball up there on a good line and length all those other attributes dip, drift and turn off the wicket make it that much harder to deal with.
So, get rid of your stumps find yourself a piece of hardboard about 10” wide (26cm) and 30” long (75cm). Place the target area with end nearest to you on a good length and have the farthest end on a fuller length and practice landing the ball on your target.
See this main page post here - http://www.wristspinbowling.com/accuracy-drills-spin-bowling.html
The weather’s improving and it was light enough this evening to go out after work and have a bowl and younger son Joe joined me and we did some line and length target practice.
After tea we went along to nets at 8.30 and again it was a pretty low turn-out, two lanes were open and then went down to one for the last 45 minutes. Last year and in previous years there’s been 3 nets open and all full up e.g. 5 or 6 blokes bowling and 3 batsmen. I wonder why so few people? Brexit maybe? People know they’re screwed or going to be screwed over the coming years and are tightening their belts?
The blokes that were there tonight were the same lot as last week, thankfully I only had to face 4th and 3rd XI bowlers when batting, but I was the last batsman in that net and so the rest of the evening I was bowling against 1st and 2nd XI batsmen and one 3rd XI bloke. I bowled against one of these blokes last week and he was getting the better of me most of the time, but I did get him at least once and he wasn’t finding it easy. Tonight, though was a different story I got him numerous times, which was satisfying. Then Yash Patel padded up, he’s young about 20-21 and he’s strong, add to that a massive fat bat and the fact that he’s one of the players at our club that has scored a double century and you’re starting to get the picture. Normally when I bowl at him, I bowl and then run out of the way, he hits the ball hard and usually back in the bowler’s direction. Last week I avoided him although I was bowling okay, but tonight I fancied it as I’ve been bowling pretty well.
As he went in I said something along the lines of “Oh no here we go”, and he replied, “What you on about, you’re the best bowler here tonight” and sure enough despite him hitting me for 1 or two 4’s and 6’s I got him 3 or 4 times, interestingly one of the balls was an off-spinning flipper that he played around having bounded down the wicket. A previous one he dug out with the tip of his bat, that one almost got under the bat.
The difference from last year at this current point is the accuracy, length, dip and the fact that it’s turning miles. All of which sometimes comes with drift. It’s all shaping up nicely.