, tThere was a game last week, but that was with the 3rd XI, This week we were back with our proper team, albeit with some new and unfamiliar faces. The bad news though, was that it became apparent that we'd take the field with just 8 players.
It had rained earlier at about 9am with thunder and lighting and for a few minutes I thought the game might be in jeopardy, but having stopped it was obvious the sun would soon dry everything up and there was a stuff breeze to speed the process up. In addition I know someone last week said that the drainage on the wicket was pretty good.
At the start of the game the sun was out and it was warm with a stiff breeze, the direction indicated by the arrow in the image below.
Straight away I wanted to bowl from the estate end with the wind, the only issue I thought that I might have is with the wind behind me and with the potential to tightening up with the tension I might start with a full toss. I've started to read Dave Alred's "The pressure principle" and one of the first things I've picked up is the fact that if you're nervous, your muscles tighten up and you're not relaxed, the result is frequently a full toss, so I had that in mind if I got the opportunity to bowl.
Anyway with only 8 players we were put in the field having lost the toss. I think Dutton would have chosen to bat and looked to get it over and done with. I was happy as it meant that we'd probably be in the field for the full allocation of overs and I might be called on to bowl. Looking around at the team there was only a two batsmen - Dutton and Dave Boshell, so a successful chase was a very unlikely scenario.
Joe was thrown the ball (My younger son) and opted to bowl from the Graveyard end. He had a plan - Dutton had spoken to him pointing out that if he bowled a leg-stump line from the Graveyard end, the wind would carry the ball into the right area. Joe went with it and was rewarded taking a wicket with his first ball - Ryan Thomas the victim.
Supporting Joe at the other end was Tony Keep (A bloke I'd not played with before) but used to play some years ago. He bowled well, he was one of those blokes that would say I don't know what I'm doing I just chuck it up there, Coming off of a short run-up it looked like dibbly dobbly sort of bowling, but it was causing the young lads that were opening all sort of problems and he took 2 wickets for 33, but had so many near misses, several balls going straight through the batman and missing the bails by millimetres. He also took a nice catch off of Joe's bowling - R.Bundock trying to hook a short ball and top edging it through to Tony Keep at 1st slip.
Practice this week was pretty much the usual - slow but accurate, spinning the ball hard, all of the things I need to re-create in the game. After last weeks debacle Billy Whizz one of the blokes who commented on the match suggested that I read "The Pressure Principle" by Dave Alred. This is the bloke that sorted out Johnny Wilkinson when he had the Yips. I've only got 30 or so pages into the book and there were a number of pointers that I'd already picked up on that I might be able to implement into a match situation.
I wasn't fussed on whether I'd bowl or not, but at drinks one of their blokes Robert Bundock who I know of from when I lived in Tilbury in the 1970's and 80's asked "How come you're not batting, your bowling gets wickets'? I replied with the fact that I'd not bowled that well, but while I was drinking I thought, I wonder if that's a view the whole team hold and do they remember me from previous encounters over the years? The more I thought about it, the more I grew in confidence and eventually thought - Dutton's not going to bowl me on the basis of last weeks performance and the perception I've got the Yips, the only way I'm going to get to bowl is if I ask for the ball..
Most of the runs were being made by P. Howlett. Looking at his stats on Playcricket - last year he scored 326 runs over the season (12 innings) including a high score of 104 and two scores of 50 +. The other bloke who came in at number 10, scored a total of 47 last year with a high score of 14 off of 11 innings. Both of them were right-handers.
With Bundock's words ringing in my ears and only a very small percentage of Howlett's runs being scored through the Off-side and the only one that he looked like scoring a 4 off, I stopped for a single with a spectacular dive if I say so myself - kind of thing you'd see in a proper cricket match - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6jcRcggPuMQ In fact as good as any of these Jonti Rhodes catches here! I'd go so far as saying better - as I had to run further! They only run a single, as they set off and then pulled up - 100% certain it was going to the boundary where the old bloke was fielding. I made a massive effort to get there, full pelt and then realised the only way that I was going to stop it was if I pulled off the most spectacular of dives and even then it was only if it was total full commitment. The dive was made and I stopped the ball in its tracks and also got up and recovered the ball smoothly and then let myself down with the crap ball thrown back in, it didn't matter though as they were still restricted to the one run.
One shot that Howlett did have on the off-side, that he used was a late cut, that he played well, but I was happy with that if he wanted to try that with my leg-breaks. Dutton had an over where he bowled a wide and was hit for six, so I asked him for an over from his end and he said yeah go for it, I'm getting knackered anyway. Dave Boshell bowled a good over at his end and I was on replacing Dutton for the last wicket (Potentially).
Howlett was on strike, as I recall he went for a big hit right from the outset and mis-timed it and it was fielded for 1 at square leg. S. Thomas then misses the ball and so does the keeper, he gets off strike. Dot ball against Howlett and then he hits a leg-side ball through mid-wicket for a single. S.Thomas then hits one off the legs down to fine-leg, with the field so spread out because of only 8 players he runs 2. Next ball is a bit outside leg-stump and again he tries to flick down to fine leg again, but the ball turns and the ball goes through the gate to hit leg-stump. Innings over.
Have a look at this part of the website here http://www.wristspinbowling.com/batsmen-of-south-essex-database.html for my analysis of both these batsmen.
Holy Cross wicket looking towards the 'Estate end'.
Holy Cross wicket looking towards the Graveyard end from Deep Mid-wicket (RHB).
With 8 players chasing a total of 163 (with the addition of a lot of extras) Dutton put me and Joe in as the openers. I felt this was a good idea as Joe has the potential to do a lot more with the bat than he's able to do when he bats at 10 or 11. I was hoping that he'd stay there long enough to beat his current top score which is 13 as far as I can recall and it looked like he might get there as he hung in there with me for 11 overs scoring 12 before being dismissed.
Orsett and Thurrocks bowlers soon cleaned us up for 79, 33 of which were extra's, Joe's 12 ended up being the equal highest score amongst the batsmen. We desperately need a batsman or two and I've noted this week we're in luck as we have Adam 'Village' Green playing for us, if he gets in he's potentially a game winner for us, he hits the ball hard and it stay hit. The only down-side this week is because of GCSE commitments and two weeks of constant exams Joe's not going to be bowling.
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.