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.