The game against Tower Ravens CC had been called off by the time I turned my phone on this morning at about 11.30, just after I'd finished ironing all my kit and stuff. Still, one consolation was that Michelle was happy as she'd had the raging hump that I'd said I'd play. I was still a bit miffed, but then as the day went on the weather changed and later there was some heavier rain that would have meant the match would have either been called off or curtailed severely. What it did mean though was that I was able to go over to my practice wicket and throw 60 or so balls at the stumps.
What with hardly bowling any Flippers this year except for the last couple of weeks in Cornwall I'm thinking about re-instating them amongst my line up as I've been able to bowl them quite well and very accurately. Last year I'd have been bowling them all down the Leg side hoping that as they did in practice they'd in from Leg towards off. Which now retrospectively and with a little more knowledge of the game that was in fact a fatal error. I have noticed that I can bowl them a lot more accurately and bowl them at or just wide of off at will. I can also adjust the length and because of the prolific backspin the shorter balls seem to have a tendency to bounce up high rather than skid in low as the longer balls do. So maybe I need to bring these back in as a variation occasionally - or perhaps try it in a match and see if I can get a result?
So today using 18 balls - 12 reds and 6 whites I bowled the balls randomly as they came out of the bag - the 6 whites as flippers and the 12 reds as Wrong uns and it seemed to work out okay. I've noticed also that if I get the fingers dragging across the ball right up to the last milli-second on the wrong uns that I can get them to really spin massively, which is encouraging. I just need to be able to do the thing with the fingers dragging quickly in the spell, rather than bowl a bunch of duff balls for the first 2 overs before getting the release and flick right for the Wrong uns.
I did the thing where I record my bowling in a book making notes as I bowl as to whether they're wides or not and just making the notes made me realise that I am improving all the time and the difference from a year ago is massive. I think one of the main improvements is that I'm not so phased by getting it wrong or being hit for 4 and this has just come about through playing this year and seeing that everyone has thier bad days and how they also get really frustrated and angry at their ineptitude when it happens. I also feel a lot less like it's a life or death situation when it happens as I was last year. I'm a lot more relaxed and gradually getting more confident in what I do. What I'm really looking forward to is the winter now when I'll stop bowling Wrong Uns, Top spinners, Flippers and Gippers and totally focus on getting the elusive Leg Break fully sussed. I'm pretty certain that by the summer I'll have learned all the variations to the point that when I want to in a game I'll be able to produce them at will. The thing is by summer 2009 I want all the variations to be the back up to a big fat lairy Leg Break ball!
Anyway back to plotting of my progress with the bowling this evening. Last year as I said I was trying to bowl balls like Shane Warnes "Ball of the century" against Gatting, so with all my variations that turned in from Leg to off (Primarily the Flipper) I was bowling very wide down the legside and basically got nowhere with it when it came to proper wickets. I say proper wickets because the weird thing was that on my practice wickets I could get the ball to turn nicely??? Anyway never mind that - that's all in the past and I'm not going back there. Now after a winter (2007-2008) of practicing line and length with the Top spinner I'm a lot more accurate with getting the ball down the offside or on line with the stumps. So whereas last year I was bowling ridiculously wide down both sides and primarily legside, I now call anything legside a wide and anything that's more than a foot and half wide of the off stump that doesn't turn in towards leg a wide. I'm a lot more critical these days and with these newer constraints I found tonight I was bowling 15% wides. They're not technically wides, they're simply balls that do not threaten the wicket and would be easily dispatched for runs! But generally all the other balls were acceptable. The Flippers particularly were interesting for the reasons previously mentioned.
What I'm going to do is make up a series of symbols to use in the notebook and maybe plot my progress over the school holidays when I'll be bowling a lot more than normal as I'll be taking a couple of days off per week to look after Ben and Joe while they're off school.
The other thing I'm going to try is more exercise and see if I can bowl the Wrong Uns a bit faster using arm action and a run in.