Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Still no rain

I'm not wanting the summer to come to an end and I'd much rather it was sunny right through till next spring and certainly through October when we can still get a few days where the temperature is in the 20 degrees centrigrade region. But, I need some rain for my wicket, the seeds need to germinate and for the new grass get a foothold before we're plunged into the frosty mornings of November. I've been watering it a bit over the last few days but there's still no sign of any real growth. The appearance is that the grass that was there in clumps is forcing it's way through and that perhaps with the introduction of the new nutrient rich earth it's causing dormant root systems to spread and produce shoots as well? Maybe this alone over the next few weeks if we get some rain will give us a covering of grass.

I also had a bit of a bowl tonight and that went quite well and there's a chance I may be able to get access to a high speed digital camera in the next few weeks or so and if the weather does hold out I might at last be able to record all the different wrist spin variation grips and release in action?

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Plans for the Off-season

So what now? The season has ended and in comparison to last years bowling an exponential improvement. At some point last year whether it was at the end of the season or at the start I set myself the target of beating my mate The Wizard (Alex McLellan) with regards the statistics and depending on how well he bowled today I've probably achieved this. Although he has bowled a 100 more overs than me and I have to acknowledge that if I'd bowled as many the story may have been different?

So what do I work on? Last year it was easy I had the Googly Syndrome so I spent all winter correcting that. This year I can bowl a bag full of variations and have already dropped some of the variations as they seem impractical or there's a simpler version that does the same thing.

At the moment in practice I use the following.........

Leg Break #1 - High in fingers type
Leg Break #2 - Deep in hand type
Leg Break #3 - The unfurled flick type

Flipper - Top-spinner
Wrong Un
Flipper - Back-spinner
Leg Break #3 - The big flick

I bowl the leg break in a load of different ways and can potentially bowl the Biggun with the big flick, but it needs a lot of work and I'm not that sure that if I was to work on it over the winter the benefits would be that massive. The Leg Break No.2 produces a big turning ball and may in the longer term if worked on be a better more accurate way of bowling?

I noted today that the bloke I bowled against was playing cautiously against my Leg Breaks but he was completely undone by the Wrong Un saying 'I nearly broke my wrists trying to get the bat on that ball'. I'm wondering whether if I was to work on the wrong uns accuracy more it might be useful bowled alongside the Leg Breaks? There's loads of conflicting advice out there which also leads to confusion. Recently I've had a bloke say that I should bowl shorter, but today Bootsie and Bruno were bowling fairly full and pinning their batsmen down pretty well and getting maidens or very low scoring overs. Bootsie was telling us all to bowl full - right up on the toes, but that may have been because he felt that the bats lacked the confidence to come down the wicket and were lacking confidence playing spin.

Whatever the truth is I'm still not sure what I should be looking at doing over the winter at this point.

Obvious things additional to the cricket stuff are general fitness and working on core strength, shoulder and arm strength.

Runwell Commoners the final conflict

22 degrees centigrade, wall to wall sunshine, what more could you ask for on Sept 27th for the final game of the season? Again there seemed to be some problems getting 11 blokes together. Right at the last minute Swiss Danny Groves was taken from us to play with the firsts. In short as I've got other things to be getting on with we batted poorly with their bowlers dismissing the whole team for 98 in 30 overs. I went for a duck only surviving 4 deliveries bowled clean.

We made a good fist of bowling and fielding but 98 was just too much. Ibowled okay didn't getting ant wickets but after the first ball being a full toss and being hit to backward of deep square leg for 4 I settled down and bowled fairly well. I nearly had a bloke caught at short mid wicket but the fielder was closer to square leg than Mid wicket and he didn't quite get there only managing to get his hand to it and not being able to hold it. The next ball to the same bloke was a Wrong Un and that turned back in on him and he missed it completely and it went past Leg Stump having pitched outside of the off-stump. It only missed by about 3mm and Fozzy missed it too.

I'll post up the score sheets later, but the game was in the tradition of all the games I've played with the Runwells - very equally matched and despite the fact that we posted a poor batting figure our fielding and bowling was pretty good. Needless to say we lost.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Runwell Commoners tomorrow

I've been waiting for this game for some time now to get my revenge on the left handed batsman. So today I've been bowling the Wrong Un a bit and it was coming out well. My wrong un is far superior in spin potential in comparison with my Leg Break. With the wrong un I can produce the 'Big Flick' but along with the big flick comes some loss in accuracy. So I'll get to the pitch tomorrow and run out the Wrong Un and see how it goes with the accuracy and see how the game pans out. If I end up facing the Lefty I may give it a go?

So far it looks as though we're going to have a beautiful September day with 22 degress sunny with very little wind. The wicket will still be like a dust bowl so there'll not be a lot of bounce I guess?

I've just been looking at the Runwell Commoners website and just found this - it looks as though just in the last few days some scumbag/s have burned down their clubhouse/shed. Let's hope they find the B******s that did it and there's some consequence to their actions. Needless to say there wont be though, they'll probably be given some kind of rehabilitation program where they're sent to Ibiza to contemplate their wrong doings. Let's hope whatever happens the Runwell boys stick it out without their shed and that the council re-build it quickly and use a better design.

The Paddock

I'm still working my way down the paddock wicket gradually turning what was a rough strip of grass into something quite presentable. I'm still waiting on some rain and tonight I've started the process of watering it bit by bit myself. I'll water it at night so that it doesn't get dried out and the seeds will have a chance of germinating. I've watered a strip of it tonight and I'll see how it's dried tomorrow and if it looks as though the fact that the strip is damp slightly and maybe have some give in it whilst binding together I may roll it?

Other than that I had a good bowl today and for the first time in ages felt on form.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Paddock development 19th Sept

Today I've more or less done what I intended to do with regards the wicket in the paddock. I've now levelled, seeded and dressed an area approx 9' x 20' and all that needs to happen now is some rain and to make any repairs if the kids play football in the there. This morning I had the roller out and I rolled a 3rd of it and this afternoon I finished the final 3rd (Seeding and levelling). So all that remains is to let it dry out slightly and then roll the whole area and it's done. The only thing left will be to watch it and repair it if need be and perhaps give it a short cut taking just the tops off it in late October before letting settle over the winter.

This is how it looked last night and then this morning after it had been rolled it looked like this for a few hours - You can see how bad it was - the grass in the near foreground was how the are was when we first started to use it - clumps of grass with spaces in between, so bad that if you run on it you'd run the risk of twisting your ankle. You certainly couldn't bat on it. But as you can see in the image above the wicket area now is flat.So on close inspection the surrounding grass looks like this and this is what the whole area was like and this morning it looked like this - Quite some difference? The last picture shows the final stage for this year which I completed tonight. The final layer of earth was put down to complete the width - Approx 9' and the length is about 20'. So it'll be ideal to spin on to and pitch faster balls on a full length.
The image above shows how it is this evening. The seed sown and top dressed with old compost mixed with earth. We've just got to wait for the rain now and maybe give it a cut in late October and that's it done. I had a look over at the local pitch at The Rec tonight and the groundsman had done virtually the same thing on his wickets and my little wicket here looked no different to his, so it looks like I've got the timing right with regards all this prep for next year. The dew levels over night are increasingly moist and if I get time I may roll the wicket once more while the surface is soft and moist.

Longer term plans

In the longer term I'll work my way down the wicket towards the bowlers end gradually levelling the whole wicket. If I get time and it stays dry I may even work on extending it this year. The bloke who lives next door to me has a massive pile of clay in his back yard and currently it's dry and crumbly so I might ask him and fill two dustbins with seived fine clay ready for further development. With regards the football field where we cut the wicket over the summer we've not been on there at all for more than a month I reckon, because of the fact that the Paddock is within spitting distance of our house. I've been looking at the football field wicket and I'm contemplating cutting the wicket across the field 90 degrees to it's current direction next year if we use it. There's a couple of reasons for this - at the minute in the evening during the summer the sun is directly in your eyes if you're bowling or batting from the East end of the field. The other reason for changing the direction would be that the boundary down the pitch would be much shorter and might encourage Ben and Joe to play straight drives. This also works better for big swinging shots as the ball has to go so much further to get lost and it might mean we'd lose less balls?

Interestingly the football club has completely cleared the field of bushes, brambles and rough grass making the field so much more visible from the road. Might that be to discourage me from mowing it or allow people to keep an eye on it when they drive past it? We'll have to see how it goes but my main focus is to concentrate on the Paddock and get that ready for next summer.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

The Paddock Mid Sept

At last we've had some rain and it's been good in that it's happened mid week, so by the time the weekend comes it looks like there'll be a game to be had on a dry wicket again. Knowing that the rain was imminent I put down some more topsoil and seeded it and sure enough the same night and the whole of Tuesday (I think) it rained fairly heavy giving everywhere a good saturation and then that's been followed today by a whole day of sunshine. I noticed that where the grass normally grows in clumps and has been worn away by us playing on it and the fact that the clumps have been tamed by the levelling of the whole area, the existing grass and root system seems to have been activated by the introduction of the new earth that's mixed with compost. So before the new seeds even get a hold the new wicket is coming together anyway as the grass is growing from the existing root system. I'm hoping that the kids, foxes, dogs and people that cut through the paddock don't walk across the new grass as it fights to establish itself. I had a look at it tonight and it's looking to be a massive improvement on how it was when I first started to use it for bowling, so it's looking promising at the moment with regards to next summer. Incidentally Joe, Ben and I went over to the Rec this evening and had a bit of a practice and I could see that the groundsman at the Rec has top dressed the wickets at both batting ends already (Probably as a result of that rain) so that kind of suggests that my timing is right with regards getting the seed sown this week.

With regards the practice Ben batted exceptionally well tonight against my spin producing proper defensive strokes against the straight balls and only choosing to bat the balls that were wide of his stumps. I was very impressed and asked him where the sudden improvement had come from and he put it down to the fact that he didn'y have 'Cricket fatigue'. So maybe he'll come up with half decent performances once the indoor league matches start with the B&PCC lads?

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Capricorn cc v Grays & Chadwell cc

Dull, grey and cold and very different from yesterdays hot and sunny weather. The field still having had no rain for in excess of a month was like concrete with barely any grass on it with only the sqaure showing any indication of ever been watered in the last month or so. Again a mix of young blokes and Roy, Bootsie and me. The opposition was probably a more evenly balanced team with a lot more blokes in their 20's and 30's with only 2 kids and their old blokes not as old as our ours. We didn't have any 'Batsmen' that I recognised as being such and certainly no 'Known' openers. We were put into bat and had to open with Roy and Wizard.

Initially because of a real lack lustre response it seemed from the players e.g. when the game was due to start there was only a handful of us there whereas the opposition was there and waiting. The captain today was Bootsie who's real name as far as I'm aware is Mike, he's not that agile in the field but being the olderst player on the pitch he's got a wealth of cricket experience under his belt and potentially a good captain? The game looked to be another write off from the outset. The clubhouse and surrounding area lacked the general buzz you get earlier in the season and it felt like everyone was there under duress. The team wasn't your usual Sunday 2nd team crowd with the exception of Chirpy, Rees and Alex all of the rest of the faces were new or colts that you see in the team on the odd occasion.

In the end I think we had to use two decoys in place of players that didn't turn up. We had 3 old blokes Bootsie, Roy and Me all over 40 and the remainder of the players were mostly under 16's along with Alex McLellan (Wizard) and one of the decoys who looked as though he was in his 30's. The opposition were made up of blokes in the region of 20-35 with one older bloke and the 2 youths of about 13 or 14. These blokes were all of Asian descent so again probably brought up with cricket from the day they were born which I reckon is a fairly safe generalisation. All in all it looked like we'd probably be finished by about 2.30 - one of those kind of games.

So we were put in to bat and with some of our blokes not turning up we started off with Roy and Wizard, yes Wizard the bloke who's usually at No.9 or 10 with me. At this point I thought that the game was definitely a lost cause and more or less gave up on it and just watched half heartedly as Roy put down the initial runs dong quite well. Alex to his credit who is usually a slogger managed to stay in for quite some time making no runs at. The over rate across the first 6 - 9 overs was around 3 so all my expectations were being met. Eventually the wickets began to fall starting with Wizard. But they were then stalled with Rees coming in and batting his way to 50 making that his first 50 ever. Bootsie supported him in that having poor 'Old Bloke' Roy as his choice of runner, so Roy having got us started with a score of 33 running alongside Rees then had to stay out there running alongside him for another hour. Bootsie and Roy did well seeing Rees home to make his first 50. Bootsie was eventually dismissed for 23 and a series of youths joined Rees as he made his way steadily through the overs getting ever closer and closer to his 100. In the end it came down to the last 6 ball and Rees was on 96. It looked like the Capricorn bloke (despite being older enough to realise this was just a friendly and not a must win Test match) was prepared to do anything to deny Rees his 100. From what I heard he was bowling wide, but after some contentios decisions which had the bowler ranting and raving at the umpire (Wizard) and squatting with both fingers pointing at Wizard screaming 'HOWWWWZZZZATTTT'! And then running around with his head in his hands, stamping his feet it came to the last ball. Again the bloke flung it down the wicket as fast as he possibly could, the ball went through Rees seemingly not touching the bat and the wicket keeper missed it completely and yet the hand didn't go up for a bye so Rees must have got a bat on it, he ran down the wicket as the off-strike batsman was screaming Yes! Yes! and Roy was screaming 'Run em up' from the boundary and Rees and the other bloke ran the 2 runs just getting to the crease as the ball came back to the wicket keeper. Meanwhile the bowler was shouting and screaming at his captain arms flailing around all over the place claiming no doubt that it was a bye. He was wrong the umpire saw it clip an edge or a glove and that's why the keeper didn't get to it.
So from what looked like a dead cert losing position I felt that 199 wasn't too bad and that we might give them a run for their money and the game had taken on a far more positive status. Chirpy was opening from the pavillion end and bowled a pile of crap from what I recall, the memory being that he was cursing himself with his head dipped and at times with his head in his hands. My recollection was that he went for a load of wides but the score sheet suggests otherwise. As you can see he took a wicket in the end before Bootsie move him on. Another Youth J Warren was bowling some off-spin and he also took a wicket hitting the stumps and that
removed the youngsters (Pavan and Usman) from the Capricorn side having made no runs off the bat. But the replacements for the youngsters were the two blokes that looked like they meant business, one was the captain and the other bloke was a grey haired geezer who looked like he knew what he was about and sure enough they did and within a couple of overs they were on in excess of 6 runs an over and the game gradually started to slide from our grips.
One by one Bootsie went through his bowling options none of whom was that experienced, the only pace bowlers were Rees and Connor who posted the best figures till Bootsie himself had a go. It's when old blokes like Bootsie step up to the plate you can see how much experience counts in cricket especially with slow bowling. He only bowled 3 overs and went for 3-2-4-2. The four that were scored off his bowling were from a 4 in his first over and then he followed that with 2 wicket maidens! With the introduction of Bootsie and one of the decoys who turned out to be able to bowl half decent medium pace the 2 good players were well and truly stopped in their path to destruction and both lost their wickets to Bootsie.
Having taken no wickets myself and going for 4 - 0 - 30 - 0 I wasn't best pleased with my bowling and ended my spell wondering what it is that I'm doing so wrong. The only consolation was that at one point during one of my overs the bat that scored the 92 (who also bowled spin and had exceptionally good figures of 5-3-2-4) who's name was Ritesh Patel said to the off-strike bat "It's turning - it's like Shane Warne - good drift but slower". At the end of the game disillusioned by my poor performance I stayed outside while everyone else was in the bar and thre some balls trying to establish what was so fundamentally wrong with my bowling that had stopped me getting wickets in the same way that Bootsie and Ritesh had. While I was there the Ritesh bloke came out and had a chat, he'd already said as they'd left the pitch 'Good bowling mate' and again he commended me on my bowling saying that 5 out of 6 of my balls had worried him and that he could see that I had a few varitations. He went on to say that he'd played cricket for over 16 years and that he bowled spin and loved batting against spin saying that it was far more exciting and challenging than facing pace attack. He said that my strength was the accuracy that I had with regards my line and length but then pointed out that I was putting the ball in on the wrong length and that I should bowl slightly shorter with my accuracy. He said Bootsies bowling although it doesn't turn is on a length where the bat either has to come out of his crease and risk mis-timing it or simply block it. 'If you were to bowl that length with the turn you were getting you'll eventually find the edge of the bat, you'd be bowling exceptionally well if you had more overs, you'd have got a wicket in the end because I could sense that you were growing in confidence and you nearly had me three times in one over'. Which was true, he'd hit a ball straight back at me at a Gazillion miles an hour and I got my hand to it but it nearly took my thumb off and I dropped it. A ball later I got the edge of the bat and it went straight to slips where Bootsie had been but he'd moved round to Short Mid Wicket and the next ball - a Top Spinner came off the top edge of the bat and the wicket keeper didn't see it till too late and only managed to get his fingers to it and parried it.
He went on to show me the length to bowl - about another yard more than I normally do which is just a bit out of reach of the bat if he stretches out his bat with his back foot still in the crease. So that was seemingly quite helpful.

Despite the fact that the Capricorn bloke had given me such good feedback and what sounds like some good advice to look into I still felt pretty disillusioned with my bowling although looking everyone elses figures it didn't look that drastic. Anyway once home I got the stumps out and had a go at bowling shorter as suggested and straight off, the line and length was pretty good and obviously not an issue so with a bit of practice I could easily bowl that length. The obvious improvement looks to be that whereas yesterday the bloke would have been stretching forwards with an angled bat and taking everything out of the delivery, this shorter length would be far more likely to find the edge of the bat or perhaps get the batsman out of his ground?
But the final pick me up for all Wrist Spinners hasw got to be this -

It's rained today a bit, not a lot but the promise is for more so this evening after a practice I put down some more topsoil and sewed the seeds. I just hope now that we get some rain in the week and have nice warm weekends. As I said Monday night I was out in the paddock having a bowl and that went quite well, biggest problem seemed to be some of the balls were going Legside and I'm wondering if this was due to drift which I apparently do get but just don't notice because I'm so focused on where the ball is going to land. Good wrong Uns tonight with ridicuous dip as well as massive turn off the wicket and exceptionally accurate. So I'll be after that lefty who plays for Runwell Commoners in the last game of the season.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Rain soon?

Another incredibly nice sunny and warm day today. Didn't bowl thought I'd rest myself ahead of the game tomorrow. I'm just wondering if I'll be able to go straight into my overs using the new grip and get similar results as yesterday and the day before? The other thing I'll be looking at is my running around the field. I've been on a forum asking questions about what I can do to get some of the problems I suffered in the last game ironed out and it sounds like it's a lack of preparation. The key problem seems to be tight calf muscles, in part this is down to not being that fit and not doing any general/specific training during the week. Then on the day not doing adequate warm ups and then the right kind of stretches during the game. The tight calf muscles then affect the way you run and the impact on your heels - hence the need to almost hobble and increased stiffness in the lower legs, ankles and feet. So right from the outset tomorrow I'll be trying to address some of this and see if I can affect an improvement?

Other then that it looks like the weather may change in the next couple of days - so it looks like Monday and Tuesday I'll have to get some more of the levelling done in the paddock and sow the seeds ahead of the rain. I'll have to keep and eye on how the weather develops.

Counters gone wrong

Gutted, my blog counter has gone wrong. All my specialist blogs all jumped up from a handful of hits to 11,800 hits and this one jumped backwards from 18,000 hits to the current number. That suggests that maybe my computer has a virus or something?

Had a bowl last night for an hour or so that went well, good leg breaks using the loose grip approach which I'm going to try and knock up a video to explain today. This grip gives good bounce and turns big on our rough wicket it's a good sub variation on my faster flatter lesser turning leg break.

With regards the paddock we're still waiting on some rain, it hasn't rained since we were on holiday when it rained 60% of the time we were away. The whole place is look dry, yellow and arid and it'll be interesting to see what the wicket will be like over at Grays tomorrow. It looked like Australia a couple of weeks ago and there's been no rain since then.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Grip variation Leg Breaks

I've had a good couple of days just of late. I bowled at lunch yesterday at Chalkwell Park nets in that lovely late summer sun which was good and I bowled particularly well and bowled the geezer Dan Bailey with a beautiful wrong un which he thought was going to go away from the bat as all the previous balls had done. Then tonight I had a practice and got the grip right along with all the other elements and it was turning exceptionally well. It seems the subtleties of my grip make such a vast difference to the bowling. The version I was using tonight was one that I'd been using prior to my finger dislocation. I'll try and shoot a video of it as I reckon others may benefit from realising that they should change their grip and not stick to orthodox versions 100%. The orthodox versions are fine as starting points, but you need to adapt your grip to give your leg break different nuances.

This grip I first place the 3rd finger along the seam and make sure the majority of the finger is in contact with the seam and then wrap the rest of the hand around the ball almost gently. Admittedly it needs pictures so I'll work on getting them shot and uploaded to the Flipper blog listed below. The other keep aspect to this ball is the release. I probably still have a tendency to naturally bowl out of the back of my hand and I'm convinced that when I release the ball my thumb is coming so far round anti-clockwise that I'm beginning to bowl Top-Spin - moving towards Off-spin. In order to correct this I have to concentrate and make a concious effort to turn the wrist so that the sensation is that the hand comes over and into the release position with an emphasis on it feeling as though my hand is erring towards an Karate Chop feel. If I do this I feel the ball come off the 3rd finger with definite emphasis and contact and it spins like the big leg break. I was pitching these well outside of leg and they were turning into the stumps. It'll be a long time before I try that in a match but it looks promising.

Recent videos that I've uploaded in conjunction with a bunch of new blogs that I'm working on include this series which explain the variations of the Flipper. Most of these variations are extremely rare and have been lost to the 1930's but if you do your research and read through the books by Clarrie Grimmett and have an equally obsessed friend (possibly more so) who's in NSW Australia and has access to the libraries there you can re-discover them.

These are all in conjunction with this new blog which deals with the Flipper.

Monday, September 07, 2009

1st Week of September

No game this week with Grays as the game was called off due to a lack of players. I was hoping that I might get a game with B&PCC but that didn't happen either. As it turns out it was probably a good job too as I was up at 5.30 am and at a boot sale from between 6.30 and 12.00 and if I'd have gotten the call to play I would have done.

Instead I practiced over in the paddock as it was lovely and warm - a cloudy bright kind of day. Ben and Joe joined me at different stages of the day and both had a bit of a bat and a bowl. Both of them bowled okay, but neither of them bat very well and they don't take any notice of me when I try and tell them what to do. While we were over there I tested out the net situation to see if it was going to be feasible and it was to some extent. The thing that I over-looked and wouldn't have ever considered was the affects of using a net with a really fine mesh. You can see from the picture below the down-side of using the fine nets - the wind catches it and fails to pass through it meaning that it billows out like a sheet on a washing line.

What we'll have to do is peg/pin the bottom of the net at regular stages and also have a couple of longer poles to take up the slack in the net in the middle. The nets not that heavy, but getting the rope taught between the goal posts is difficult and even once you've got it taught it's obvious that it would benefit from having the net supported at least twice along it's length.

You can see that the surface in front of the stumps is now pretty bereft of grass and slowly bit by bit the introduction of additional earth means that it's far more level than it was when we first started to use The Paddock. You can see in the image above just to the left edge of the frame in the centre of the image how the grass was. It was made up of clumps with big gaps in between the clumps. With it now well into september and wanting to establish a fair bit of growth before November when the temperature dips frequently below 4 degree centigrade and halts the growth of the grass, I really need to be getting the grass seed down so that it can establish itself. But we're currently experiencing a very long and dry summer and there's no sign of any rain. In fact tomorrow it's going to be one of the hottest days of the year with temps of 27 degrees centigrade. Despite that I've started to lay the new earth down ready for the seeding so on Sunday I put down the first layer when we finished playing and rolled it.

I've drawn all over this one that shows the first instalment of fresh earth in an attempt to completely level the wicket. C is where the stumps are situated normally. B is the middle stump mark for when you take your guard at the batsman and A is a marker where I put a target sometimes when I'm practicing. So on Sunday evening when this was shot I'd put down an area about 5' x 12'. Tonight I did some more after me and Joe had a knock about and I've extended the bit that's in this shot another 6 or 8 foot further towards the other end. I've got 2 bags of soil in the garage and the work so far hasn't used all of one bag, so it looks as though we're going to be able to level off an area 8'x20' so about 1/3rd of the entire wicket which is good. I need to do something with the bowlers end as well as it's really uneven and that may have been instrumental in my fall when bowling where I dislocated my finger. So all in all it's going fairly well, one additional thing I may do is buy some new seed with a mixture of different grasses as I think the grass I've got is Rye Grass and I need some fescues.

Also I've got another new blog this one is all about the different Flipper Variations from the 1930's (Clarrie Grimmett) in the blog there's several video clips that have been uploaded to Youtube.

Friday, September 04, 2009

Welstead Gardens

I heard some bad news about Welstead Gardens the other day (See map)

Welstead Gardens is the first real cricket pitch that the original MPA 1st XI played on. We played 2 matches there and were slaughtered both times, but it then led to me breaking away and joining a proper cricket club. The wicket at Welstead it seems is to be de-commissioned and the extra space that's then created will enable the establishment of three soccer pitches instead of the current two that run either side of the wicket. The rumor is that this is econimics at play and that the 3 football pitches will create far more revenue than having a cricket pitch there. That probably also means that the groundsmans job or contract changes as anyone can look after a football pitch. I wonder what'll happen to the field in the summer now?

It's a real shame as it's lovely venue and one that's been used by Westcliff CC for years. How long the pitch has been there I don't know, but the surrounding trees and the location kind of suggest that perhaps since the 1920's or 30's but that is only speculation.

Gutted match called off

Gutted, the match on Sunday has been called off seems they couldn't get enough blokes together to make a 2nd XI up. Last night they might have played a T20 match but it had a 4.30pm start on Thursday so I couldn't get along to it, but maybe most of the blokes that would have played Saturday and Sunday are all too knackered to play 3 matches almost back to back and it's the Sunday match that has been affected? So I'm without a match. There's a small chance that I might get a game with the B&PCC Sunday team (Ben and Joe's team), but I'm still waiting to hear from them. Other than that I might just drive over to The Rec and see who's playing there or some other nearby grounds - perhaps Herongate?

I had a look at my stats last night after my catastrophic game recently and despite leaking runs like a siv they still look okay I reckon 50.9 - 12 - 237 - 21 which converts to an average of 11.29, RPO of 4.66 and a Strike Rate of 14.54. But I have to acknowledge that I have only bowled 50 overs and the rest of the spinners I compare my figures against have bowled 150 + overs and it seems the more you bowl the worse your figures get. But I have improved dramatically over last year and that's the main thing.

It looks like Joe and Ben maybe playing indoor league cricket over the winter, so we're just waiting for a letter from G-Man their team coach to confirm the situation with that, so that's good and that'll be on Friday nights.

Other than that I had a bowl in the paddock for hour and half and noticed that since I've been looking to see if I get drift when I bowl - I've now realised I get loads of drift - virtually every Leg Break ball I bowl! Still waiting for the rain in the paddock so I get do the levelling and seeding.

Thursday, September 03, 2009


Been working on one of my other blogs today. The one I've been working on is the one relating to The Flipper. It strikes me that at the best of times it's difficult to get good sound advice and knowledge about most of the Wrist Spin variations despite the fact that it has a very rich history. But I'm getting the impression bit by bit that although it has a very rich history very few of the people that play cricket and bowl Wrist Spin know of it's history and the expansive range of variations especially the Flipper. You've only got to have watched the recent impromptu 'Shane Warne Master Class' during the final day of the Ashes at the Oval to get some sense of how ignorant professional Wrist Spinners are about their speciality. The two lads that were brought out into the middle to bowl alongside Warne seemed to be very vague about some of the variations. It may be the case that from the word go they've been trained and coached and told perhaps to focus on 3 deliveries - Leg Break, Wrong Un and the Top Spinner. Or could it be that their coaches and trainers buy into the notion that The Flipper is virtually impossible to bowl?

I read today that there have only ever been 6 bowlers in first class cricket that preceded Warne who could bowl The Flipper. In fact many commentators that have had the job of describing and analysing Warnes performances live on TV seem to chuck in 'Ooh that's The Flipper' any time the ball goes straight, when in fact it may well have been a Slider. Warne himself is complicit as was Clarrie Grimmett in the mystery around this variation and it's very difficult to unravel the secrets of this delivery and it's history.

The research I've been doing alongside a Aussie bloke on one of the forums has unearthed some interesting material relating to the Flipper. The key issue arising from our research is that the originator of the Flipper - Clarrie Grimmett bowled it as a Top-Spinner as opposed to the Back-Spinning version as exemplified by Warne and Jenner. The little information that is available about Richie Benauds Flipper despite the fact that he's still alive suggests that his Flipper was the conventional Back-Spinning Flipper, but today I've discovered some written material suggesting that Benaud's Flipper was the Top-Spinning version. Unfortunately as with all internet material you can't trust the informations integrity as it's not edited or checked, so for the moment I'm in the process of researching Richie Benauds contribution to Wrist Spin in order to check to see if he did or didn't bowl the Top Spinning Flipper. It seems ever Peter Philpott get his descriptions confused... see the quote below from his book 'A Spinner Yarn'. But if you read Philpotts book 'The Art of Wrist Spin Bowling' you'll note that he glosses over the Flipper very quickly not paying it much attention and then writing it off as an inferior back-spinning delivery to the Slider. No mention at all of the Top-Spinning Flipper and the other 2 basic variations.

Anyway once I've established a few more facts I'll update the new blog with possibly the most comprehensive account of The Flipper on the internet. I'll put a counter on the web page and we'll see how it goes?

Paddock News

Not a lot really, there's not been a great deal of rain and I'm acutely aware of the fact that I'm now into seed sewing time and I want to get this done in order to establish good growth for next April. Instead I bowled on it tonight and that went fairly well - bowled some Flippers, Leg Breaks and Sliders.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Grays & Chadwell cc v Woodford

I haven't been blogging that much recently I've been dwelling on my last set of bowling figures and wondering what I should have done in that situation. I finally came to the conclusion that the batsman came at me like that because of a number of reasons.....

1. He'd reached his 100.
2. There was only 3 overs to come.
3. They had a commanding lead.
4. A fair few of our lot had visibly thrown the towel in.

So basically the bloke had nothing to lose hence the reason he suddenly started bounding down the wicket and smashing me all over the park. Well - that's my excuse and I'm sticking with along with the fact that Wayne and some others had said that they were in a different league to us and that it would have probably been better if they'd played the 1st XI.

Anyway a much better prospect on the cards for this Sunday with a match against the Woodford blokes. The last match we played against them was very enjoyable if not slightly odd in that we fielded first and they seemingly didn't make any real attempt at getting any runs on the board and played in a very cautious manner. The end result being that we were chasing only a small total and the match was won fairly easily. Hopefully they'll have the same blokes and perhaps come at the game in a different manner this time? Whatever happens I'm sure it'll be fairly enjoyable and a close match hopefully.

So with that in mind I had a bit of a bowl this evening and it went okay. The dislocated finger seems to be 95% better and of no consequence anymore although it looks swollen still a bit. I couldn't bowl that well because it was drizzling a bit and the grass was slippery. Also the earth in the paddock at the bowlers end is loose and uneven and is pretty dangerous if you really put some oomph into your bowling as there's no real guaranteed stability underfoot which isn't good.

The Paddock

So in the next few weeks as well as treating and maintaining the batting end of the paddock I'll have to have a look at repairing the bowlers end and levelling that out as well.

With regards the batting end - it's gradually coming together. Initially the grass was growing in distinct tufts with ruts in between the tufts, so over the last couple of months I've been filling in the ruts and levelling the area in front of the stumps 15' x 8' so that we can bowl onto a relatively level area. It's rained a few times today but the rain has had little affect on the earth and it's far from saturated, so I'm still waiting for a day of significant rain. Once there is some significant rain I'll be out there with the 2 bags of topsoil getting it down levelling it off, seeding and rolling it. I just need the rain.

We've got the nets and the rope to suspend the nets ready for next summer so it should be a good little set up.

As I write it sounds like there's a bit of rain out there now, so I might go and have a look and see if there's any value in getting the roller on it tonight?