I'd counted myself out of this game as I'm still being cautious with regards to my Achilles injury. But over the week because Ben and Joe were still playing, I'd been looking to see where the game was set to be played and so was everyone else it seems. No matter where I looked it wasn't clear where the match would be, so this morning once I'd picked up Tim Brown, we headed for the club to see if anyone could clarify the location of the match. We were told Shoebury Park which is near the Garrison ground we played at a couple of weeks ago, but before we left there was a last minute swap around of the team... Harry Davie was promoted up to the 3rds after I was asked to play in the 3rds and I said... no, but if that now leaves the 4's short I'll play in the 4's if I'm put somewhere where I don't have to run around. Lee took the offer. There was still a vacancy in the 4's and Stuart Munday said he'd try and get his son to play and off we all went.
There must have still been some uncertainty with regards the location, because as we all made our way in different cars Lee got a call and the venue was confirmed as being at another venue... The Victory sports ground near Southchurch, on the edge of Southend, so as soon as we all got out of the cars all pretty much arriving at the same time, we were all back in again and heading back the way we came to the Victory Sports Ground...
It turns out that they've not used the Shoebury pitch for two seasons now, so if you want to know where Old Southendians 4th XI pitch is, it's the Victory Sports Ground. Incidentally the 3rd XI were playing there as well on the adjacent pitch. They really need to make this clear on their website, because none of us had a clue where we were going.
We all had a butchers at the pitch and it looked a little kinked over the 22 yards, but the surface looked fine. The adjacent pitch which was also prepared looked very ropey, but ours looked fine. Lee won the toss and said we'd have a bowl.
We got off to a good start for the first three overs as the batsmen got a look at the bowling and how pitch was playing. The they went for it. The opener was Anthony Joseph and Ben was at the other end - his first bowl since September other than in the nets some weeks ago. As the batsmen settled the over rate went from 1 an over for the first three up to 6 or 7 an over as they smacked us all around the park. I had a feeling the bloke that got to 50 first was going to be good - he was an older bloke... no helmet and wielding a Warsop. The pitch turned out to be hard and true with the ball bouncing loads. This meant Anthony tried some short stuff and each time he did so he was smacked over the legside boundary for 4. The boundaries behind both sets of stumps were really short and fuller balls were bouncing really high. This combined with the dry and short grass meant that there were a load of byes going for 4's.
Last nigh Joe and I had a knock about on the paddock and at work I'd been walking around all day feeling pretty much okay. Once in from the paddock where I had tried to run a little I had my foot in an ice bath for 30 minutes, so today when I got up, everything was feeling okay. So I was contemplating having a bowl if Lee asked. Partly spurred on by the desire to maintain a position at the top of this list here (Never seen this before)!
Having run around a little fielding at Gully, I felt okay to bowl, so when asked I gave it a go, coming off of a 2 or 3 step approach to the crease. It soon became apparent that the wicket as rock hard and as dry as it was didn't offer a lot of turn. I tried a couple of variations, but with the leg and the fact that these blokes were well set I didn't do that well. One bloke, the older of the two top edged a ball, that went wide of Fine Leg high and loopy and my son Ben went after it. He caught up to it and had to catch it coming over his shoulder - always a bit tricky and unfortunately he spilled it. Lee took me off after conceding some fours which I was appreciative of.
The good thing though is that sitting here tonight, despite the fact that I fielded a full game almost, bowled 3 overs and ran about a little, my Achilles feels okay, so maybe I'm on the road to recovery? Also I chose to wear my old cricket shoes which have a much lower heel section - from what I've been reading the bit that comes up the back of the Achilles on the shoes can be a problem as well as shoes which don't fit that well? My old shoes felt a whole lot better.