Michelle and the Kids are away at the moment so I had to make my way to Grays by public transport, so a 20 minute journey turned into hour and half journey through darkest Tilbury and down-town Grays. My God how Grays has changed and for the worse, but I'm not going to go on about it. But if you're a documentary photographer used to shooting in Gaza or Sarajevo have a look at Grays as a slighty less lairy photography project!
So the nets. Loads of people there tonight 19 - 20 which is good for the club I'd imagine if they're all coughing up 5 quid to have a go. All the nets were in use and I was sharing a net with Danny (Batting) and The Wizard bowling his big turning Leg Breaks. Now last week and the week before Danny was dealing with my bowling fairly well but this week I was bowling slightly differently using my new small Legbreak quite a bit which is a usefull ball that seemed to get the better of him lots of times. It's a ball that tended to bounce more than my other deliveries and is also much faster than the others too, I've got a feeling that it dips more than the rest as well - it does turn, but I think that the turn is being sacrificed at the expense of top-spin and it's the top spin that is causing the dip?
Terry the coach came over to the Wizard and me and said that he'd been on a Terry Jenner coaching session and had some tips for us. He showed us the stand start drill, saying that the foot should be pointing in the direction of the delivery and the leading hand doing the same, the leading hand should be high and come down acting like a rudder steering the direction of the flight. The following through leg (hips) combined with the rotation of the shoulders gives the ball the drive. He emphasised the cocking of the wrist at the start having it in a position close in to the chest. I find if I do this (Cocking) it increases the chance of producing a wrong un. One point that he did make that correlates with my own experience is the widening of the distance between the 2 up fingers and the 2 fingers especially the 3rd finger on the seam. It's the 3rd finger that creates the spin. We both gave it a go but the Wizard gave up by his third attempt. I kept at it a little longer, but it's something I've already had in mind for when the weather gets better and I've got a bucket with 40 + balls in it to practice with and I can really focus on what I'm doing.
Any way back to 'Swiss' Danny Groves. Yeah I had him bowled at least 8 times maybe as many as 10 times? I may have hit the stumps once but most of it was edged balls that a wicket keeper may have taken, top edge balls that went straight up in the air to the bloke at short extra cover or Mid wicket and at least two that went up in the air that I'd have caught. I should ask him what it was that was causing the problem, but the fact that the majority of the balls seemed to be top edge errors suggests that it was the top-spinning small Leg Breaks.
Later on discussing this with Neil my captain he was saying that he doesn't actually produce much spin at all and yet he's the leading wicket taker at the club (Holds the record I think as of this year) and all he relies on is variation in speed, length and flight and needless to say accuracy. I was explaining the situation with this small leg break and how affective it seemed to be and how frequently I was getting it to go past the bat just missing the top of the off-stump. (If they had bails on I reckon I was looking at having bowled Dan about 12 - 13 times). I then had an epiphnal moment where I realised that I should work with this small leg break over the next 2 or 3 sessions in the nets only using this delivery but doing as Neil does - vary, the length, flight and speed whilst also trying to figure what it is that I need to do to get it to spin a little more. If I do this - this all fits in with the plans to develop this leg break as my main form of attack and looking at how accurate and affective it was tonight it looks as though my plan is coming together.
The Wizard tonight had very mixed fortunes, when he wasn't throwing the ball into the nets he (as always) was getting masses of turn on the ball. But it looks as though Danny knew what to expect and I got the impression that when the ball didn't turn that caused more problems? Saying that I had 15 minutes at the end facing Danny Bowling and The Wizard. The Wizard had me out with 80% of his balls as I was trying to figure out how I could approach his bowling in an attacking manner. On a few ocassions I went bounding down the wicket to the pitch of the ball and hit it which he commended me on, but it's not that easy and as I said most of the time I came unstuck and would have been stranded miles from my crease and out. The other approach step back on to the back foot and track the ball as Danny does and hit it was just as problematic as a lot of the time I simply missed it and swinging at it always runs the risk of edging it which happened a few times as well. So maybe a more defensive approach is required which then causes the bowler to possibly bowl in a different way, but then if I'm in at No.9 or 10 I'm in a position (as I have been) where if I can score a few runs at the end of the game I might win the game? So should my priority be to learn how to score runs off spinners using an aggressive approach or a more cautious approach?
I did better off Danny's bowling as he bowls straight and I was trying to produce a front foot drive or a defensive drive and I think I kept him at bay throughout my time at the crease. All of his balls that were on target were all successfully defended or hit fairly well. It's the wide easy looking ones that cause the bigger problem as they're the ones that I have a got at and they produce the edge that goes up into the sky and are easily caught.
So all in all a very commendable night all topped off with a lift home from Matt. He was saying that G&CCC under 11's are scheduled to play B&PCC fairly soon at the start of the season and that as soon as he knows he'll let me know as he's interested to see how Ben and Joe are getting on. It pans out that the boys cricket matches are played on Sunday mornings early, so it sounds as though I'll be able to go and watch their matches and then go on to play my own. I just hope that Ben and Joe get in the team - especially the Grays match if they do something like rotate who plays in the matches? But I think it's a league so you'd expect that they'd pick the strongest team? Matt was saying that the current U11's isn't that strong this year. So that'll be interesting and good to watch, I can't wait!