Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Paddock News & Bowling

At last a sunny day and the first sense that Spring may be on it's way. There's Daffodils coming through and I've seen snowdrops flowering in peoples gardens and I saw the first butterfly of the year. So what with the sunshine I decided that I'd give the Paddock it's first rolling as it looks such a mess what with it being so dog damaged.

I went over and had a look and as it had been raining all day yesterday the ground was absoultely saturated with standing water in the dips. Before I even started rolling I knew that what I was about to do was going to dramatically change the way it looks and there's a good chance that the rolling in the longer term may actually cause the grass to be stressed and not grow particularly well. Whether that turns out to be a bad thing or not I'm not sure, we might just end up with a particularly smooth and virtually grassless wicket that works fine. But the thing to remember this patch of ground was ridiculously uneven with thick tufts of grass growing in patchy lumps with all manner of earth moguls in between.
In the image here (above) you can see where at the end of the summer we re-seeded the wicket and did a lot of work on getting it level, the grass cover is a lot more dense and even whereas further up the wicket where the grass was a far more sparse with the rolling it just looks like a mud bath. The images here below show the wicket in the Paddock at the end of the summer prior to re-seeding and once the seeds had been sown and the initial growth had taken place. The greener of the 2 images is kind of how I'm hoping the paddock is going to look around about mid April?

What I'll do now is just keep and eye on it and just see how much more damage is done by the dogs and whoever is walking all over it. The weather forecast is for a hard frost tonight and the possibilty of snow in the next 48 hours, so there's no short term chance that it's going to dry up. What I've got to do is try and time it so that I roll it again when the weather is equally as wet but then is subjected to a dry period where it dries up 80%. If that happens around the middle of March and it's warm as well I'll then seed it and roll it so that the seed is embedded into the surface layer and maybe we'll get a good grass covering. Then we've just got to resist bowling on it till the grass establishes itself quite well. I'm fairly optimistic that no matter how it ends up the work that has been done it over the last 9 months or so constitutes an enormous improvement and we''l have a far better surface come June a year after we started to used the paddock.

If we don't get the expected wet weather or snow I may roll it again in a few more days just to smooth it out a bit and compress it so that it's less susceptible to dog damage.

Bowling Practice

Bowled the equivalent of 25 overs today working on my four deliveries. It went exceptionally well except for the fact that I couldn't replicate the same progress I had with the big leg-break a couple of days ago. It came out a few times really well but I couldn't get it to spin with any consistency, I'm not looking for any line and length success at this stage just a big turning leg break. Again as with the last practice I didn't have any real success with the wrong un either which now leaves me thinking is this a long term issue or is this just a temporary thing and I've gone from a not bothered situation to a am i losing my wrong un and if so I'm slightly concerned scenario? The Flipper was going well in both it's guises the top-spinning variant and the back-spinning version. 25 overs back to back represents a big increase in bowling intensity and I've come away feeling okay from it, if anything it's my legs that possibly need more exercise/training so after the visit to the physio tomorrow I may start power-walking as a part of my training regime.

Back home I was flicking the ball and went outside the house and worked on flicking the ball and had a good degree of success with my current biggish turner which I describe as unfurling of the wrist rather than the flicking of the wrist. I adopted the cocked wrist approach with a big emphasis on ensuring the ball left the 3rd finger with purpose and this turned really well with lots of control over the line and length. All of these variations of my leg break involve incredibly small but seemingly very significant changes to the grip and how the contact is made between the ball and the 3rd finger.