Not a lot of notes for sections of this match namely the bowling and when I requested the info from Neil at the end of the game he said the oppo had screwed up the bowling figures and that he'd have to sort them out and he'd forward them to me at some point in the future.
"Super Dave" at the start of the match said.
"Why don't you send this into the local papers"? Well, my dealings with the Thurrock Gazette in the past have not been exactly amicable and all my experiences with local newspapers everywhere is that they are the scum of the earth and I'd not give them the steam off my P**s if they were dying of thirst. They breach copyright, they lie, and they steal your pictures and finally after doing all that they use your images and then don't pay you or answer your calls or written requests for your work/pictures back. So has that cleared that up?
I like this pitch (See earlier match for ariel images) Lake Meadows, Billericay. Some of the others said similar things
"This is a proper cricket pitch - no trials bikes riding up and down the field being chased by Rottweillers and Pit Bulls, like back at our home ground".
"No-one hanging out of the flats shouting 'you f******g W******s at us while we're playing". Added Chris Buckers.
Nope - none of that stuff as you can see from the pic's this pitch is lovingly maintained by Basildon Council and is surrounded for most parts by large Oak Trees meaning that when the ball hits the bat it resonates in that special "Warm Bitter and English cricket greens" way that John Major has spoken about in the past.
I was dropped off at about 1pm and got there first, which meant that I could have a bit of a warm up and set a couple of single stumps up and bowled at them. That went okay. But this morning I'd been bowling "Gippers" that were turning massivley and I seemed to have sussed that it is primarily the wrist position that dictates the amount of turn I get and I was getting loads, but as usual in a situation where I've got to do it - it doesn't quite work out. Swiss Tony (Danny Groves) turned up next followed by the rest of the team and some of the Runwell Nutters. A bit of a bowling fest ensued with everyone diving in with a bit of bowling on the outfield as we all waited for the oppo to turn up in full.
When I left the house I threw the last of my favourite white balls in the bag the EBAY pakistan balls. There's 4 of them left. Unlike most of the EBAY balls these white ones are not rock hard and despite being almost 2 years old now have maintained their shape. So once everyone was knocking them around I was a bit paranoid that they might get lost and began to realise they were probably not the balls to have brought along.
Super Dave turns up having read last weeks blog "You spotted the Decoy player then - I noted on the blog"? A reference to "Black shoes" last week. It turns out to be Swiss Tony's younger brother as I suspected and yes he is a decoy player usually coming along about once a season to make up the numbers. Swiss Tony agreed that if he'd been taking the P**S out of my bowling in the game then he deserved some come back in the blog.
I'm assuming that we lost the toss as we were put in first to bat.
The team today consisted of - (In batting order as far as I can recall)
1. Lee Downes
2. Nick Buckley
3. John Buckley
4. Phil Downes
5. Danny Groves
6. Dave Gaylor
7. Reece Downes
8. Chris Buckley
9. Ross Fullbrook
10. Dave Thompson
11. Neil Samwell
After the recent rain we had the prospects of a nice day and as the game commenced we had virtually no wind with cloudy bright conditions with 85% cloud cover. The openers were Lee Downes and Nick Buckley facing "Williams" from the Pavillion end. The first ball was terrible bouncing twice before it passed the stumps and this is off of a seam bowler. Williams settled himself with the next ball and followed up a better ball on the 3rd which Nick clipped and was almost caught at first slips. The other opening bowler coming from the Tree end was "Butler" and he was bowling to Lee. The bowling from Butler was better but Lee had the better of him hitting a ball out to Deep Cover point that was stopped enabling 2 runs. Lee within the first 2 overs was into the 4's putting his first ball down to Long Off from the pavillion end.
Nick in the meantime was persevering with little glances off legside balls that he wasn't getting the bat onto. A few of these that didn't come to anything and then in the 4th over he's clean bowled having scored only 2 runs. John Buckley makes his way out to join Lee.
3 Wides later and Lee hits a ball from the tree end out to square leg, the fielder makes a leap for it but it is just out of reach. At 5 overs we're on 19 for 1. In the fifth over from the pavillion end Lee hits another 4 out to Long On that is almost stopped but passes under the fielder. In the 8th over John now settled hits a four out to Deep cover. Lee continues with some nice strokes but the oppo are up to it preventing him from reaching the boundary.
John Buckley smashes another 4.
At the end of the 8th over Lee batting from the Pavillion end smacks a ball out towards Gully and the fielder ends up wearing the ball but stops it going for another potentially well executed 4.
Meantime at the scoring table on the boundary line Swiss Tony, Super Dave and Sammers are discussing Swiss Tony's recent change in his approach to his cricket. Swiss Tony (Danny) normally plays his natural game - he's had no formal coaching, just has a good eye for the ball and timing and simply smacks it hard. But invariably he gets dismissed relatively easy and as yet hasn't made his way to a 50 with his highest score being 32 or similar. It seems he either convinced himself or someone advised him to try and take a more considered approach to the game and try and play the ball properly. Needless in the last few weeks he's been giving it a go and it hasn't worked. So sitting at the table waiting for his turn he declared he was going to drop the "Test match" approach and return to his T-20 approach. It was agreed that this might be for the best?
In the meantime Lee and John settled in and the fielding seemed to disintegrate a little bit. By the 19th over we were on 67 with only 1 wicket lost. The 19th over featured a nice little flick down the legside from John that brought him up to 22. The last ball of the over went to John he hit it and shouted for a run, the ball was fielded quickly and it looked as though he wasn't going to make it, but the fielder went for the much longer throw down to Lee's end, but Lee was well and truly home anyway whereas the ball was passing Lees stumps John was still yet to reach his crease!
Prior to the 19th over I'd been throwing balls at Phil and Ross. Once that was all over I then collected all the balls together and bunged them back in my bag only to then discover one of my beloved white Pakistan balls had disappeared! I looked around and asked if anyone had seen it but no-one had and I couldn't find it. Gutted! 20 overs and drinks and we were on 82. It's not looking like I'm going to get a bat today because Lee and John look as though they're there for the duration.
More to follow tomorrow...........
In the 22nd over Lee was approaching his 50 with 43, then out of nowhere the bowler bowled a really slow full toss. Lee seemed to look at it and then initially came forward to defend the shot with the intention of angling it into the ground, but then changed his mind and simply ended up tapping it straight back to the bowlers chest who gratefully and easily caught it. Lee's Dad Phil was next in to join John and was straight in hitting his first 4 in his the first over. In the 23rd over Phil took a fast ball to the knee but then settled down again and my chances of getting a bat were fast disappearing. At one point batting from the Pavillion end Phil hit a ball out towards deep cover point and there was a bloke out there who came in for it and it only just dropped short of him and then went on to roll to the boundary for 4.
By this time the No.2 bowler was back on and "Bowling Donkey Droppers" a comment from Super Dave, he'd just come in from umpiring duties and said that the ball was moving - swinging away from the right handers. At 25 overs we were on 104 and Oakes senior was brought into the attack. The thing is with Oakes Senior he looks the part, a fast bowler with all the right action - a nice smooth run in and the delivery and bowling action looks very professional but he doesn't take wickets. At this point we're on 4.07 an over and looking like we may reach 200.
27 and we're up to 114 and Phil's back into hitting 4's. Then on comes an older bloke to bowl "Smith", I had a walk round so that I could see along the line of his bowling and whether he was getting it to turn and it didn't look to me as though he was. We're now on 124 off 29 overs with 2 wickets. In the 29th over Phils caught behind from a ball off his glove and leaves the pitch having scored 19. Swiss Tony (Danny Glover) makes his way out to the middle to stamp his authority on the game and get us up towards the 200 we're hoping to set. His first ball facing one of their fast bowlers from the Tree end goes for a massive six down to Deep Forward Mid Wicket into the oak trees.
In between Danny's attack Ross mentions that it was him that was umpiring when Phil was dismissed by the ball off the glove and that he didn't have a clue what had happened and wouldn't have given him out and that it was only that Phil walked that he knew he'd been dismissed!
Back to Swiss Tony and John. The next time John is on strike he hits a 4. John ups his game a bit and is looking to run singles, but the bowler is the very efficient looking Oakes Senior and the impression is that neither of them want to face this bloke and lose their wicket. John at every opportunity that looks as though he might get across the gap is screaming "Yes" and Danny in the meantime is oblivious to the call leaving John to run half way up the crease before realising that Danny is eyeing up some bird over near the Swimming pool 200 yards away and having to scramble back to his own crease!
At 34 overs we're on 150 for 3. The opener "Williams" comes back on and it works as he takes John clean bowled John leaves the pitch having scored 53 runs. Super Dave takes his place joining Swiss. Right from the outset it's obvious that Swiss doesn't want to face Oakes senior and with him batting his T 20 style "Super" goes out there to try and ensure that it's him that ends up with Oakes and Danny gets the younger Williams when he's on strike. Super gets a quick 4 early and Danny is still looking to go big with 6's and again within a matter of a few balls hits a massive looping 6 that ends up going through the canopy of a nearby 150' Oak Tree. A series of Leg Byes adds to our total in the 36th over and we're on 169 for 3. Danny ends up facing Oakes Senior and hits a nice ball out towards the skatepark that as far as he's concerned ends up in the rough and is given for 4, Danny questions the decision (Footballer)! Neil's shouting instructions now to Super to get Danny back on strike as the 200 is looking do-able if Danny keeps hitting fours and 6's as he is. Neils getting a bit excited at the prospect that Danny might also be on to reach his first 50 or at least beat his current high score of 32? But as soon as that suggestion is made Danny is bowled clean. Reece Downes makes his way out to face the few last balls with Super Dave.
It's only Wednesday and the Sunday game with Runwell commonners is fast becoming a disappearing part of my past as I write and try and catch up. We've now had the game against the Tilbury boys and there's a chance that the information my blur into one big cricket match. Unfortunately because we were fielding second no notes have been made for Sunday as straight after the match we went home.
The star of the day was Reece Downes who's about 12 or 13 years old and stands about 5' tall but he's a fast bowler and a good one at that as he took 3 wickets at least two that were caught possibly both of them by Ross down at Mid Off and the 3rd that I recall he clean bowled the batsman. Ross also bowled well and may have taken a wicket if he didn't I know he at least edged one out to slips where Neil had either been standing or was considering standing on the next ball and it was there for the taking if he'd been there. As it was it went wide of him. Nick had a similar chance off of Ross's bowling and didn't see it till it was too late as it went looping just over his head and he stood there craning his neck 180 degrees in slow motion almost as it dropped just behind again only just out of reach.
My bowling went okay, I haven't got any of the figures (Neil said he'd send them to me, but I'll see what's on the club website). If your reading Neil don't worry I'm not that bothered with the figures. But my bowling was pretty good for me not conceding too many runs and where I did get whacked people were fielding well and restricting wannabe 4's to 1's and 2's. Some of my balls were turning nicely and only just missing the bails and stumps with Neil saying at the end of the game that the wicket I did get was a good one. I think I bowled it down the off side to a left handed bowler it turned away from him and he edged it and it went out to Phil who was at Mid Wicket to take an easy catch.
The ball of the day though had to go to John Buckely who's not one of the usual bowlers. He was throwing them up the wicket at a fairly standard speed and looping trajectory for the most part but then threw one up that was ridiculously slow and loopy. The bat was a young bloke that I think thought he'd just got the measure of Johns bowling and this time was going to go after him with a big six as the blokes on the perimeter were shouting for 6's as they needed to get a move on if they were to stand any chance of winning.
I've got to bung this in quick before I forget it....
Neil is often to be heard saying that he doesn't spin the ball and to be honest it's rare that I get to field in position where I'm able to see how much turn he gets or doesn't get. But today on his last over he put me at Mid on and I stood slightly finer and was able to get a good view of the ball as it pitched. All his earlier overs were fairly quiet affairs with no real gasps or demonstrations of exasperation - but this over was different all the balls pitch wide of the stumps and 3 or 4 of them turned a country mile only just missing the bails or the stumps by millimeters and I just couldn't contain myself with loud intakes of breath and "Oh!" all the way through the over as every ball just missed by fractions of inches or millimeters but still coming to nothing - a good over.
More to come.........
It's now Friday and the Sunday game with Runwell commonners is fast becoming a disappearing part of my past as I write and try and catch up. We've now had the game against the Tilbury boys and there's a chance that the information my blur into one big cricket match. Unfortunately because we were fielding second no notes have been made for Sunday as straight after the match we went home. So this may have to be it!