, 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.