Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Batting practice #2

Lovely sunny day today and Joe and I went over to the paddock for a bat and a light bowling practice. The emphasis was batting to see if I could repeat yesterdays successes and the good news is that I could. I'm cautious though about being too over confident that this heralds some kind of major turn around in my batting, but it does look promising. Tomorrow night if the weather holds out, I'm hoping to go over to the Rec and practice with the SDR blokes, that'll be the point where I'll find out if there is some real improvement. Fingers crossed will have to see how it goes.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Batting practice

With so much bowling of late, I've had a rest tonight and had a bat instead. I was hoping that Joe would give the side arm a go as I'd discovered in the day that the bowling machine balls are dead easy to use with the side arm and he'd be able to throw a few down. Instead he hi-jacked the idea and said he's have a go facing it. So we set up and gave it a go. I thought he was looking to practice the cover drive so I kept throwing them down the off-side, but he got the right hump as he kept missing them and it was only once he'd ripped his pads off in disgust that he then said he wanted me to target the stumps! Anyway that aside, it was my turn, but then he couldn't get on with it and soon gave up and reverted to bowling himself...

Now normally that doesn't bode well as he mixes his bowling up loads and never lets me settle into one style and sure enough he was bowling me and getting me to do all sorts of daft stuff, but then I had a moment of clarity and thought... What if I start off with a really high back-lift ready and shift the angle of my body slightly (more side on) and just look to be a lot more positive and get my head in line with the ball moving my head towards the line of the ball once its released. I tried it and it worked! I was hitting the ball clean 90% of the time and timing it a lot better than I normally can, which is a massive improvement. Whether I can repeat the same thing again on another occasion remains to be seen, and then carrying it through to a game with other bowlers - again another matter, but with three ducks to my name so far out of three batting opportunities, I've got to try something different and this more positive approach can either bring results in some form or more ducks!!!

Sunday, May 24, 2015

SDR CC v Rayleigh Fairview CC (Sunday Friendly Cricket) at The Rec 24th May

Last Sunday Joe and I cycled over to the Rec and found a couple of Sunday sides playing and offered our services as players to the SDR club and they said yes we'll take your number and give you a call. They also said that they practice over The Rec on Thursday's. I wasn't able to go to that as I work Thursday nights normally until the end of June. But this morning at 11.00 hrs I got a call and they said 'We need a player' either you or Joe up for it'? Do bears s**t in the woods?

I nicked Ben's whites, got my kit together and at 1pm found myself almost the first bloke over there! The weather was fine, nice and sunny and warm and a bit of a light breeze. The word was the weather was going to get progressively worse as the day went on and that there'd be rain at about 4pm.

I'm not sure who won the toss, but whatever happened we fielded first which is always my preferred option. It also seems that because of the weather they decided it would be a 30 overs game. I fielded mainly at Mid off, which is one of my favourite positions as you're generally in the game. I didn't have a clue as to whether I'd get to bowl or not and it didn't look that promising when the first couple of blokes took 3 wickets no time for next to no runs especially the bloke Monty with 2 wickets for 0 off of 3 overs and then they took the poor bloke off! At that rate it looked to me as though he was going to be on for 15 overs!
Not the case though, the captain James was rotating the bowling, it seemed in order that everyone got a bowl irrespective of however they did during their spell, I guess though that makes sense as that kind of follows my theory in that if you rotate the bowling and bowl in short spells, it means the batsmen can't settle particularly?

16 overs in and they'd taken 5 wickets for 44. The scorebook hasn't recorded the details of the wickets, but there was some exceptionally good fielding from the captain James who had a fantastic game. He took three catches and all of them were a bit special. The first one was a ball hit through cover point and James set off to try and intercept it and it looked to me as though he was too late, but he dived and caught it just before it grounded one-handed pulling off a superb catch. The next one in the covers he had a ball hot straight at him - head height, out the middle of the bat, one of those that most of us would possibly manage to parry, but he made it look easy, albeit with the look of fear in his eyes. The other, again in the covers, a ball was hit over his head - high and loopy and he chased it, got under it and caught one of those where you're potentially running away and over-shooting it. Another good catch.

There was another bloke there who was playing for them for the first time and he got to bowl before me - a young bloke, looked a bit nervous, bowled a few ropey ones, but the team was behind him and cut him some slack. He got to bowl three overs for 15 runs.
Overall the bowling was good and when I was eventually given the ball, the pressure was on to follow suit. I didn't want to go for 8 off my first over like yesterday, otherwise I may have ended up with a very short spell! I was bowling at a kid who looked well organised with his batting and a big brute of a bloke armed with a Warsop. In my books anyone that goes out and buys a Warsop bat knows a thing or two about batting and as I made my way over to the crease I think James said "We've played this bloke before - he can bat a bit"...
It went okay in the end if anything the kid was a lot better than the big bloke. The big bloke looked a bit shaky on the leg-side even though he'd been looking to hit through the legside most of the time and continued to do so while I was bowling. There was a contentious ball hit through Long Leg, that appeared to be fielded virtually on the line. It was George, he clearly scooped the ball before the line, but the umpire said that his body was sliding over the line. There was a bit of an argument about it and the umpire eventually conceded that it was a single. What was certain was that George had flicked it back in front of the line, but what was uncertain was whether he's skidded across the line before releasing. I was happy with the outcome.
I didn't bowl too bad, a few down the leg-side, but the keeper Gloria was up to it and kept them all from being byes. The bloke at slips did a good job with one or two that Gloria didn't quite glove but got something on, he cleaned these up which was very much appreciated. Bowled as usual primarily Leg Breaks , but bowled a Flipper and kept the Wrong Un in the bag for when the big bloke was on strike looking to go big. Pitch didn't assist the spin that much, but it was enough. First over went for 2 with the kid hitting the ball on the full with a nice off drive. Second over I had the big bloke (L.Hayward) and I kept it reasonably tight. He got a single, putting the kid on strike, he batted well, but the SDR boys fielding was very good. The 3rd over the kid was on strike and he hit a single putting Hayward on strike. I'd been told by the captain that this was my last over and having seen how ruthless he'd been applying the rotation tactic, I though this is it, this over I've got to get one of these bloke and I'm running out of balls. Hayward had been set-up fairly well, he new it was turning, I'd had 2 dead cert balls that one or the other of them had completely missed, that in the real world would have 100% gone on to hit the stumps, but the umpire wasn't having it "Pitched outside of leg... Not out". So, he was looking to be a candidate for the Wrong Un and with just 3 balls left I chucked up the wrong on the off-stump - nice and full, he didn't seem to know what to do, it turned in and it hit middle.
I'm on here as 'Dave The Rave'.
We came off shortly after a few more overs having finished them off for 105 for 8 wickets (They only had 9 players). As we came off it started to rain, so tea was extended and for a while it looked dubious as to whether we'd continue which was going to be a real shame as they'd played so well. People with phones and internet access were saying that the rain was only going to last about an hour. A time was decided with that info, that if it was still raining at x time, it'd be called off, but just before that time, the rain stopped and the clouds thinned out.
The SDR boys sent two of their players into the field to help out the Rayleigh boys, I pitched in helping at one point fielding at Mid on. With only 105 on the board and being pretty good with the bat it wasn't that long before they'd won the game.
Word is, next week they're two blokes short. Joe and I are at Twickenham next Saturday watching the rugby so we wont be playing for B&PCC, so it looks like we might play on Sunday with SDR if we're lucky and get the phone call?
Overall it was a very commendable game with a good standard of cricket especially in the field.
 One of the SDR blokes gets forwards.
 Back to the sheds...
 Who's gonna win? I'm hoping when I'm this blokes age I'll be able to run around like he could!
This is the kid that batted well and also bowled really well, he's seen here setting his field which he did with utmost confidence.

 This was the ball that un-did this SDR blokes innings - clean bowled.
The Rayleigh Fairview blokes congratulate the kid.
If I tally up all the games I've had so far, I'm currently on 27-3-70-8. So that's an average of 2.59 and a strike rate of 8.75. 

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Basildon & Pitsea cc v Harlow Town cc away 23rd May

Set off to Harlow in the rain and as we drove up the M25 it looked worse, but the weather report indicated that (1). There wasn't any run and (2). There was cloud, but it would be gone by 1 pm when we were due to start, so we took a chance as there was not indication on the website that the match was called off. Picked up Tim on the way and despite the fact that there was a lot of traffic on the M25 and big queues we'd left earlier enough to get there in good time. It rained all the way until we reached the A414 into Harlow and the rain disappeared, Harlow was dry and by the time we reached the ground the cloud cover looked as though it was going to break up and be fine.

The whole team turned up eventually, most of them getting held up on the M25. Most of the team were regulars, plus a new bloke Jithin.
I think we won the toss and Lee decided that we'd bat first saying "We'll get it over and done with and get home early". I was gutted... £18.00 and driving across Essex to be knocked over for next to nothing and then possibly not get a bowl! I looked around the room for batsmen... Mike, Charlie, Dutton, Jamie and the new bloke Jithin? Maybe we'd get some runs?
I was designated scorer by Mike Blerkom - he commented that I'd been practicing so was up to it and once out there I found the opposition had a scorer too, so that would be a lot easier and we could agree as we went along.
There was a light breeze, low cloud, but partly broken and quite warm 20 degrees centigrade, it looked like a good cricket day.
Their opening bowler a bloke called T Rees looked like a right handful from the outset, he looked fast and accurate and bowling fairly short and every now and then a ball would bounce high and Dutton looked to be struggling against it a bit with the unexpected bounce?
Anyway, to the bowling which is the main feature of this blog and at this rate it's going to be neglected. Joe (Younger son 13 years old) was brought on just before me. He bowls either seam up or off-spin and he'd opted in this game to bowl seam up. Normally he bowls with a bit of in-swing to the right handed batsmen, but he reported that he was getting the ball to swing away from the bat and then break towards off - like a leg break when the ball hit the seam. Which initially caused him problems as he was called for a couple of no-balls and a wide in his first over because he was so unsettled by the swing and seaming. But then he settled and in his second over he took the wicket of L. Richardson. All of these batsmen were older blokes and they looked as though they knew what they were doing and this was the 2nd wicket. Tony Harm similarly with a ropey start settled and took a wicket in his 4th over. Tony went for 8-1-18-1.

Anthony Ayres bowled in two spells, his initial spell was superb albeit with no wickets, but almost every ball was threatening with good pace and bounce. In his second spell though, the wheels came off and ruined his figures. My spell was the other way round. My first 2 balls as often is the case were ropey, the first one was a full toss, which the bloke smacked to the boundary for 4 and the other was a short ball which got the same treatment, but the 3rd ball came good and I got into a rhythm. It ended up being possibly one of my best spells of recent years, didn't get wickets in the same way that I have been, but these blokes were good batsmen people were telling me and they weren't likely to give away their wickets in the usual 4th XI way. Lee had said that he thought the ball would turn like it did at Langdon Hills (Home Ground), but it didn't, there was something there, but not like in the last couple of weeks. After about the 3rd over, I was so confident that I was starting bowl variations and sub-variations of my leg break... More turn, less turn, flippers and Top-Spinners. I Kept the Googly back a bit and only used it twice in the 8 overs. One came in and went through the gate and over the middle stump. I then used it again in the first over following a Leg break, pitched it well outside of off and it turned a mile and hit middle and leg - best Googly I've bowled in years! Partly because  I haven't bowled them for years!

Friday, May 22, 2015

Basildon & Pitsea U15's v Wickford U15's - Wickford Memorial Park

To be continued...

Another match for Joe tonight, so three games for him this week and a school game cancelled. With the school game out of 360 boys from the 3rd, 2nd and 1st year at his school they couldn't find 11 boys that would have a game, they got 5 and that was it. I blame it on Sky and this countries obsession with football, it's not like we're that good at it and somehow they're paid £900,000 a week I've been reading today in the newspapers.

Weather tonight was a lot better than last Monday, warm during the day and going into the evening the warmth stayed. Nice venue, Wickford memorial park an attractive ground with plenty of trees around the pitch. Joe and I what with work arrived just as the game was about to start and our boys I reckon must have lost the toss as they fielded first meaning the batting would have to be in the failing light again.


6th ball of Joe's first over, went to hand and Sam Jones didn't managed to hold on to it.
In the Sam Goods over his 4th ball was hit to Mid on - looping to Andrew Tokley, who in previous weeks has pouched them, but on this occasion he couldn't hang on to it. Shortly though Andrew put that right by taking a catch off of Sam Goods bowling in exactly the same place getting rid of G.Bailey for 2 runs. That brought Palmer to the crease and Sam Good sent him back to the sheds for 0 facing his first ball. 'Magic Mo Baig' who's been devastating with his Leg Breaks in the last two games almost got off to a brilliant start with a fast pick up in the field from my son Joe Thompson, who got it back to Mo over the stumps but Mo spilled it missing out on an easy run-out.

During Tom Pauls spell, when Nathan Lambert was trying to get off the mark another really fast pick up by Mo Baig, was sent back to the keeper, but this time Charlie wasn't able to hang on to it, so another wicket was missed out on.

There were a couple of contentious decisions according to some of the players. E.Thomas was run out brilliantly by Tom Paul fielding the ball from square leg, he was given out not having grounded the bat. Charlie thought he had a stumping late in the game and was obviously unhappy about the decision.

Magic Mo, had a very different game today bowling a high no-ball that was smacked for 4, ruining what may have been a really good spell.

Here's some pictures...

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Practice tonight

It's rained a bit since the weekend and tonight was the first chance to get out and have a practice. Went on my own with a 6 balls and a stump and a car mat looking to spin the ball hard and change my wrist position around just to see how it worked. The other thing I was looking at was my run-up and the questions around longer, normal or Terry Jenner style approach the crease.

My preferred method is the Terry Jenner method, just a couple of steps and then the action through the crease. I tried all 3 ways and all of them were okay, the Jenner method is the one where I have more control over the ball -whether it spins more or less and accuracy. I'm playing this weekend so if I get a chance I'll try my usual approach and see how I get on, but at the moment I can see another match coming up and I'll still be unsure of my approach to the crease.

Monday, May 18, 2015

B&PCC v Belhus CC U15's at Holy Cross cricket ground 18th May.

Somehow I've got to come up with a way of writing up these reports in a more concise form. I guess I'm just going to have to write them up from a bowlers perspective unless something worthwhile and of note happens with the bat?

It rained earlier in the day as expected, but then cleared up by about 2pm with a blustery wind and bright sunshine, so the match looked on. I managed to get out of work early and then walking home from the station I realised the wind was in the north somewhere and I'd have to probably take more clothes than normal if I was going to be sitting scoring.
I didn't realise that the wind was coming directly from the North Pole and I was almost fooled by the warm spring sunshine, but getting ready I thought I'd better chuck a coat, a hat and some track suit bottoms in my bag just in case? My God was that a good move...

The venue was a neutral ground Holy Cross cricket ground along Whitmore Way in Basildon...

Got over to the ground to find that we were likely to be a man short. Frank did the toss and the opposition won choosing to bat first, which he was surprised by, but thinking about how quickly the light was going to fail, seemed like a good call to me? Mark the Under 15's manager asked me to score and I said yes, but then Mike Blerkom offered his services, so I said I'd prefer if he did it officially and I'd score alongside him for practice.

Right from the outset Belhus looked as though they were in trouble, getting off to an unsteady start oblivious to the fact that we have a secret weapon... Mohammed Baig the Leg-Spinner and then if that doesn't work, certain death in the form of Frank Farrington.
Abdul Baig, Mo's older brother started off with a shaky start from the 'Pond End' and my son Joe Thompson (13) bowled from the Pavilion end. Joe bowled tightly for his initial three overs and Abdul who was unable to find any rhythm was taken off after two overs.
This brought on Sam Good one of the U13's to join the attack and he got off to a blinder of a start. Bowling seam up his first over went for just one run. Five overs in with all of the byes and wides making a bigger contribution than the batting we were on 20 and needing a wicket. One of their batsman his a ball down to 3rd man and the bloke at the other end shouted yes, but he didn't account for Mohammed Baigs lightning reaction, quick across the pitch, a clean pick up and throw down of the stumps a la' Ricky Ponting. The kid was gone and heading back to the sheds for 6 and he looked like the most promising of the 2 at the crease. That then loose Sam Good... He's not called Sam good because he's rubbish. Gunning was stumped by Charlie Blerkom, Sam Good drawing him out of the crease for 3. Z. Wilson was clean bowled for 5 and then F Todd for 0 and all this in the 7th over at which point Sam was on 3 for 3 off of 2!
Joe's spell was curtailed after 3 on 0 for 7 and Frank brought on Tom Paul. Sam then having done some damage suffered some damage himself as he was hit for consecutive 4's off of a series of full tosses. At the same time Tom bowled away with good tight over that included a maiden and then he joined in with the wicket of their best batsman A. Williams who was stopped on 20.
Then came the 'Sucker Punch,' Frank brought on Mohammed Baig ... Mo's first ball bowled T Sorelli (name might be wrong)? who was on 2, he followed that with a dot  ball, his 3rd ball bowled 'Morris' for 0. He then had another dot ball and followed that with his 3rd wicket of the over - B.Garwood for 0 too.
  In the 19th over Frank Brought Joe Thompson back on (My son) who then finished the game off with his first ball. As he ran in Travis Singelton was heard to make a ball hitting the stumps noise before it even happened... G-dink! Sure enough his prediction was spot on. They'd been bowled out for 73 in 19.1 overs. Frank didn't even need to bowl himself.
Batting - With 74 needed in failing light it looked as though it was going to be a similar story. By now with the long evening shadows stretching across the wicket and that very brisk North Westerly wind, it was getting very cold and I had all of the clothes that I'd brought with me on. It was FREEZING! Over the following hour or so it got colder and colder. If you ever go to a early season cricket match, never assume it is going to be warm, dress or at least take clothes more suited for December! If it is warm you wont have to wear them, but if it's cold - man are they a Godsend! Next week a woolly hat and thicker socks!
The batting didn't get off to a good start - new lad Andrew Tokeley was out first ball hooking a ball that bounced up into the air to be easily caught by the bowler. Travis Singleton was another early victim gone for 0. Thankfully Frank and Charlie Blerkom took their time and got off to steady starts and made 25 and 21 respectively. Like last week the middle order struggled and the runs dried up as the last few overs approached and it looked like another nail biting end. Sure enough the runs dried up and it looked increasingly like we wasn't going to get across the line, then their spin bowler at a critical point with little more than an over to get the runs bowled a over the head no-ball, which Sam Good lifted his bat above his head to, to smack through the Gully and Point area and it snuck through and he then ran 3 getting Basildon across the line
Some pictures...
Holy Cross cricket ground Basildon off Whitmore Way.
 Left to Right - Charlie Blerkon, Anthony Ayres (Umpire), Andrew Tokley, Frank Farrington (Wrist Spinner). Joe Thompson (At back). Random Belhus bloke in foreground nearest the camera?
Charlie Blerkon Batsman/Wicket Keeper B&PCC
 Words of encouragement from Mark Farrington (U15's manager) for Charlie Blerkom.
 Victorious B&PCC U15's leave the pitch Left to right - Joe Thompson, Abdul Baig, Travis Singleton (Green Jumper), Sam Good (Helmet) and Frank Farrington (right).
Left to Right - Travis Singleton, Sam Good, Charlie Blerkom (part obscured) Tom Paul (In football kit), Anthony Ayres, Andrew Tokley, Joe Thompson, Frank Farrington, Abdul Baig and Mo Baig (Wrist Spinner).