Thursday, June 23, 2011
Also bowled a couple of overs with the bound - Leg Breaks - looked okay, but nothing to write home about.
Wednesday, June 22, 2011
Sunday, June 19, 2011
If you're looking for an original 1960's surfboard to use as a prop for a photo-shoot or film I have an original circa 1968-69 Bilbo long board. It's a single fin 9'6" model and weighs a ton! Contact me via email or my youtube channel
Image to follow soon.
Saturday, June 18, 2011
The bound is back
So what with there being no option to bowl on grass I've been throwing the ball around outside and getting frustrated at the lack of speed I'm producing. I'm getting the ball to spin loads, but only with the loopy flight as mentioned previously. I've been trying to bowl Top-Spinners, but they seem to be ineffective or require a lot of practice. Currently the best ball I've got at the minute seems to be the 'Wrong wrong un' or at least some weird variation of the Flipper. This ball is fast, accurate and breaks like a small leg break. But, getting really frustrated by the way my stock ball Leg Break has been going I thought I'd get over to the tennis courts and have a practice in there and look at trying to bowl a little faster. Again this didn't prove to be any different with the stock ball and the only positive that came out of it was the Wrong wrong un again coming out very well. In my frustration I decided that I'd chance my recently re-injured ligament and see how the inclusion of a dynamic bound would affect the bowling. Massively, is the answer, just a gentle little bound with the inclusion of a couple of details people have pointed out on youtube and elsewhere..... Bowl with the cocked wrist and to get up onto the ball of the foot more in the rotation. All these things combined made a BIG difference, suddenly I was looking like a bowler again, rather than an old bloke. The difference in speed was very dramatic.
4 overs in, (24 balls) back to back i felt the sensation of stress on the ligament and stopped there. I've been doing exercises working to get more strength into the main thigh muscle on the front of the leg as this is the apparent cause of the ligament weakness and this seems to be paying off. So rather than over-do the bowling I'd rather carry on working with the strengthening and physio and be able to bowl better towards the latter end of the season. But, with todays return to the bound and the fact that I've come away with it still intact (the ligament) I'm very pleased.
Thursday, June 16, 2011
It was the case a few years back that photography was recognised by the public at large as being a trade. The general situation was that you couldn't go out and buy yourself a Nikon F3, FM2 or similar and start producing stunning near professional standard images as easily as scratching your nuts. Back in those days you had to buy film which was light sensitive and expensive on the account of the fact that it's full of silver. The silver you see is the chemical component that forms the image. The process of getting the film into the camera even these days completely baffles people that have just left school with a bag full of 'Good' grade GCSE's and even if you managed to get your £5 roll of film into the back of the camera, you didn't really know whether it was being advanced through the camera as you took the pictures. Taking the pictures..... Now there's a concept and experience that is also being lost to the past. This old skool technique restricted you to at best 36 images on a roll of film and even your enthusiastic uncle or Granddad might have got through a roll once every 6 months assuming that he took a few at Christmas, one or two at Easter and the rest would have been saved for the summer holidays. Because it was such a hit and miss process, time was taken and people would only use the camera on speical ocassions and then there was the wait and another cost while the film was processed.
The film would be taken to a chemist and then sent to a lab somewhere (France if it was Kodachrome). It was so expensive for this part of the process a deposit would be taken and the balance paid once the prints had come back with your negatives. Eventually after a week or so they would be returned and someone somewhere would have turned you metal cannister into 36 prints and 6 strips of negatives. The negatives were the most important part of the process, but 99.99% of the population simply discarded the negs in their yellow packs into a cupboard or draw in the house somewhere to get lost. You'd then with an air of excitement and resignation open the pack and go through the images looking at what you'd tried to capture and for most just getting a basic image irrespective of whether it was out of focus, badly composed or all the wrong colour was enough. I didn't matter that it had cost you a tenth of your weeks wages, what mattered was that you'd captured Aunty Mable or your Neice and you could see it was them.
But, if you were honest and compared them with the images that you saw in magazines or you looked at them in comparison with your wedding pictures you could see that there was a massive divide. The only person you knew that could get anywhere near that kind of quality was your Uncle John. He had one of those posh cameras with all the lenses and filters and stuff, he had loads of magazines and books and a tripod thing and it was his hobby. Your Aunty Joan was always moaning about him because all he ever did was play around with his camera, fiddling and spending hundreds of pounds on it taking pictures of boats and trains and stuff.
The fact was that up until about 10 years ago you still needed to be trained to be a professional photographer. You had to go to college or work as an apprentice or an assistant, for the most part taking 5 years to get your head around it and learning the necessary skills to go it alone and set yourself up as a professional. But then came digital and Canon. "You can Canon". They made idiot proof cameras and made them cheap. Auto- focus, auto everything and Nikon had to join in too, making cameras more and more accessible to everyone - Plumbers, Fireman, Publishers, Kids, all and sundry.
So, a mate of mine today (Teacher) speaking to a consultant at his work-place, the consultant was there over-seeing the process of laying everyone off (It's happening all over the UK) was trying to get his head round the redundancy process when she made a suggestion....
"Why don't you start working freelance"? Cos it's that easy!!!!
"Well" He replied, "It's not that easy anymore, when you put in a proposal for a job you always find that there's someone there who's willing to under-cut you on price, they've all got the kit these days and it's easily used to get a half decent result. So if you're asking for £800 a day". The Woman suddenly butted in....
"Oh yes, we've just had this with our Daughter, she's getting married in a few weeks and see was looking for a wedding photographer and the one that she was recommended to use by the people at the wedding fair quoted £8000!" Look of disbelief...... "Well of course we didn't go for that and in the end we found this gentleman that said he'd do it for free, so we're uing him. He's just reading all the books now so that he'll be able to do all the stuff on the day." My mate chipped in.
"Don't you think that there will be a difference in the photography, considering one is free and the other is £8000"?
"No, no, once this chap has done all his research he's bound to do just as well". My mate new that this Woman didn't have a clue and pondered whether she'd get a stone mason in to do her teeth next time she had a dental problem?
Next installment tomorrow.
Wednesday, June 15, 2011
He also comes up with a simpler version that most people could organise especially in a net situation.
Currently, if I employ total focus, bowl with a ridiculously loose grip, bowl with a very smooth and relaxed action through the crease and have no distractions, I can then produce the variations in the direction of spin - straight (Top-Spinner), Small Leg Break 45 degree angle and the 90 degree 'Biggun'. But, I can only do this with a slow loopy 'Moon Ball' type flight albeit on a decent line and length. But even my sons watch the ball in let it bounce judge the speed and play it late either defensively or smack it either side depending what line of attack I bowl.
So now I'm thinking I need to get the speed up and work with the Top-Spinner. If I recall correctly a few years back I looked at the Top-Spinner as a remedial method (Unsuccessfully) of recovering from the Googly Syndrome but there was a remarkable improvement in my Top - Spinner at the time simply due to the fact that I spent some hours bowling it. So, perhaps I should look again at the conventional 'Toppie' and see if I can get the speed up a bit and see how that affects the dip? This bloke here has a good video where gets the bowlers to spin the ball through a couple of hoops. The best bit is the recommendation that in order to learn how to do this you're going to have to practice for an hour a day, just on this!!!
Stopped off at the paddock tonight to see how it's drying out (Sunny today) and it has already and the surface is already hard. There's more rain due soon, but I'm hoping that I'll be able to get out there tomorrow and have a bowl and maybe a bat with the kids?
Monday, June 13, 2011
By the time we set out the rain had started – light and spitting, so it was still okay, but we needed it to not get any worse. Fortunately both venues which are about 5 miles apart survived through to the end of both matches with the rain staying very light throughout the morning. Ben’s match (U13’s) was won. The Horndon boys scored something in the region of 93 for 3 (You’d be advised to look at the website to see the real results as I’m getting this 2nd hand). Ben bowled three overs and didn’t take any wickets and wasn’t required to bowl until quite some way into the game. B&PCC then batted their way to victory with a couple of overs to spare with one of the openers Regan Meade having to retire as he scored another + 25 runs. So that means that that they have now won 4 of the six matches they’ve played, it’ll be interesting to see how the ‘Core’ team do for the rest of the season as Horndon was seen to be one of the better teams alongside Wickford and Orsett who are still to come.
Meanwhile the U11’s run of wins came to an end. Our lads fielded first and did quite well, very few wides and no-balls. Their fielding was good, with very few mistakes being made, but the Horndon U11’s were good batsmen and for the most part kept their wickets and run well between the wickets. The last pair across their 4 overs, got their score up from 50+ to 90+ with a good display of batting and running. This left our lads with a lot to do and they fell short of the target they needed.
Joe’s bowling was okay, I couldn’t see from where I was whether he was turning it, but his last ball he assures me he put spin on it for a Leg Break and it turned. So maybe that’ll generate some enthusiasm for trying to spin it again? Other than that he bowled a couple that he went up for LBW and the first one that everyone else went up for as well was turned down and the second one, that only Joe went up for, he reckons the umpire gave the kid the finger in what Joe says was a bit indecisive and no-one noticed, so I’ll have to have a look at the video footage on that at a later date. Batting-wise Joe hit a decent four back of square leg with sweeping legside shot that went all the way to the boundary despite a fielder getting something on it and slowing it down and he was well chuffed with that, as it was his first ever 4.
It was good to see Frank Farrington bowling his Leg-spin despite being pulverised in one of the matches we missed out on over the last couple of weekends while we were in Spain. This demonstrates that Franks got the constitution to deal with the down-side of Wrist-Spinning when it goes Pear-shaped. The other good thing was that at the match he was spinning the ball up against a wall and watching him it’s obvious that he’s got the correct wrist action and he gets the ball spinning with differing degrees of over-spin
Then today Ben had another match after school against Hutton. I only have his account of it again, but it seemed that they felt that they did well in restricting them to 88 runs off of 16 overs. I’ve no idea of how many wickets they took, but Ben didn’t take any, but mentioned a slow bowler who was just bowling straight took most of the wickets. Ben was the captain again which is good, as it’s something I’d never have done as a kid, as I would never been encouraged to do so by my parents. The lost by 12 runs, but Ben had himself batting at No.8 and he scored 12 runs and in doing so set a family record for a proper cricket game. I think my highest score is 11, scored in the my first ever game. Ben hit 2 x fours, both leg-side sweeping shots, a 2 and a couple of singles, so now I’ve got to find some way of beating him and setting him a new target or better still Joe needs to step up to the plate and score 13 or more! The frustrating thing is I’d like to be able to bat and I’m constantly asking them to bowl to me so that I can practice and its very rare that they take me up on the offer. Just to be able to score 10 runs every now and then would be nice, but I’m just useless and it’s difficult for people to understand that if you don’t bat it’s nigh on impossible to just get the bat on the ball and score runs. I had a game recently and Reg Reynolds was umpiring and was trying to encourage me to hit the ball, I was listening and trying to take on board what he was saying but converting the advice into strokes that would get 2 or more runs, is like me trying to get him or others to walk around on their hands. I can do hand-stands they’re easy and whilst some people perceive it’s a strength thing it’s not, its balance, core strength, flexibility and a little strength in the wrists and arms. But even though I perceive that it’s easy, I know most people can’t do it. The same with skateboarding and surfing…… easy, but some people can’t even find the central balancing point on a surfboard, so whereas I’m good at balance stuff, it seems I’m no good at eye – ball co-ordination stuff when it comes to batting? So if I am to beat Ben’s 12 it’ll be a fluke or through a lot more practice in the paddock, I can only hope that Ben might be encouraged by this score and be looking to improve his batting and as a result I too may get a chance to face some of his bowling?
The rain continued over last night and the ground is pretty much staurated. Today the sun was out and it was breezy, but by this evening it hadn't dried still so it'll now get left till Wednesday. I've just got to hope that tomorrow night if it still is a bit sticky the football kids don't get in there and start messing it up.
Saturday, June 11, 2011
Once I'd mowed and gave it a good roll, Joe adjusted the blades even further (See below) and then gave it another going over (See above) virtually removing all the grass.
We then gave it another roll trying to flatten what grass there was left into the earth so as to give it a nice smooth sheen. (See below).
Some small repairs were done and some of the Plantain were dug out at the batting end. At the moment the Plantain isn't too bad and I do have the option of using some heavy duty weed-killer, but earlier experiences with the weed killer have shown that if you're not careful with the stuff it kills off the grass for the rest of the year. It looks like the only way that you could use it would be to get down on your knees and apply the weed-killer to the weed itself using a paint brush or some kind of drip applicator. Any excess weed-killer (Round-up) that falls on the grass causes big circular patches of grass to be killed.
So, now we're waiting for a little more rain - hopefully over-night to bed in the repairs, as the new dry 'Repair' earth is loose on top and it needs to integrate with the surface. Once that's happened I'm looking forward to get a net up and having Ben and Kieran and hopefully Joe to have a bowl. The weather report for tomorrow looks as though we may be lucky with the games in the morning, but come midday the rain is due and there might be a lot of it. If it does rain heavily, I may get back in there again and roll it some more and make it really smooth. Just need some adults to get involved and come along and have a bowl or some bigger teenagers who can bowl a bit.
Friday, June 10, 2011
I bowled again tonight but there were kids in the paddock playing football so I wasn't really able to practice, but the same observations were made again as with the last couple of sessions. In order to get the ball turning massively it works best if I look at my hand as I bowl.
Thursday, June 09, 2011
A couple of days ago (6th June I think) it rained properly for the first time since February giving me the opportunity to get in the paddock and get the roller going. In recent weeks what with the back to back sunshime in what is now the dryest and warmest start to a summer for more than 101 years, the paddock had already gone through the big cracks phase and was on the verge of strating to crumble on the surface. So this bit of rain is most welcome as it's allowed us to get out there and affect some serious repairs and set us up for another month or two I reckon. Looking around tonight when I was bowling (see below) there was more ominous clouds and the report is for more chances of short but heavy down-pours. If that happens I'll get out there again and roll again.
I've just bowled another 250-300 balls tonight all flicking the ball rather than my usual rolling technique, not once tonight have I rolled, which is a major break-through 5 years into my development as a bowler. Again tonight I followed the same format as last night - cocked wrist - gently flicked or unfurled, with the big flick off the collective fingers as in my Youtube video from a couple of months ago which I need to re-shoot. Initially I was having some reasonable success omitting the looking up, but in comparison to last night the results weren't so consistent, but still nonetheless reasonable. Then the last bucket of 50 balls I went back to the looking up at the hand and bowled 44 good balls. 4 went wide legside and 2 went wide off-side and all using the big flick and looking up at my hand as I bowled.
I haven't got a clue really what the affect of the looking up is, but the impact on my bowling is massive, it may be I'm standing taller, I know in doing it I get up on to the ball of my foot in the rotation and it maybe that I'm releasing earlier as well, but all in all it's giving me a massive improvement on what I've been doing the last couple of years! It's not fast - but it's loopy and accurate and turns big. In between the odd ball here and there I've been bowling the Wrong Wrong Un and that is vastly different and coming along very nicely- Tiny off-break action and skids in low at massively higher speed. All in all a very good couple of sessions in the paddock and my recently re-injured knee is showing signs of improving already which is good.
Ben & Joe B&PCC news
Both Ben and Joe have a game this weekend and again they're at different venues. So far I've been at Ben's games and watched those and they were on a winning streak. Since then we've been away on holiday and missed 2 games and 2 other lads that were in the 'Core' U13's team were also on holiday and some of the other lads got to play and came up against some very stiff competition and B&PCC having got off to the best start to a season in their U13's history came crashing down and out of the cup across the 2 games. On the upside though, Joe's Under 11's have continued there winning streak and have yet to lose a match. I reckon I'll go and see Joe at his away game with Horndon. Ben's at home and he's playing against the Horndon U13's. From what I can gather the remainder of the games for the season are against the strongest teams in recent junior cricket history, so both matches will be difficult.
Wednesday, June 08, 2011
(1). What not to do when you’re 51 and got ropey knee ligaments http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8NRx7UFLHLI
and therefore a newly re-injured knee.
(2). No rhythm.
(3). Indecision with regards rolling or flicking.
(4). Loads of Leg-side crap.
(5). A bunch of youths were sitting outside the paddock mucking about and not allowing me to do the total focus thing.
So having bowled pies for an hour and not getting anywhere, the kids left and I thought about what I was doing and set about getting things right. First up, I loosened my grip using the big flick method and straight away the ball turned off the pitch far better. Thinking things through, I remembered ‘Spin it up’ and tried releasing the ball marginally earlier and again this seemed to make a substantial difference for a short while, but then it started to fall apart again. Reviewing it once more I focussed on what it was in the last 36 or so balls that had made the biggest improvements and concluded it was the slightly earlier release and the more relaxed grip and this had a direct relation to something I do in between bowling the balls. I’ve mentioned before either here or on the Spin forum http://www.bigcricket.com/community/forums/spin-bowling.36/
that in between bowling I go through the arm action and release the ball over my head and spin upwards so that I see the seam rotation and catch the ball. This gives me a sense of what I’m trying to achieve when I next bowl the ball forwards with the bowling action and it usually makes a difference on the next ball. For some reason it occurred to me that, perhaps as I bowl the next ball instead of looking down the wicket at where I’m bowling I’ll look up and watch what happens with my fingers, hand and wrist. Again if you’re a regular reader of this blog you may have read my thoughts on fine motor actions and the fact that in the bowling action, I perceive that I’m wholly un-aware of what happens to my fingers, hand and wrist as the ball is released whilst looking down the wicket. I’m pretty convinced that I don’t actually do what I’m trying to do and that this is a consequence of having gone through the googly syndrome and still not having recovered.
So this evening I bowled the ball and watched what I was doing with my hands, observing where all the components were. I watched as the ball came out of the hand spinning perfectly as per the description in Bob Woolmer’s book describing Warne’s ball of the century. The ball pitched and turned ridiculously at 45 degrees off of a slow delivery with lots of loopy flight. 36 balls later I collected 95% of the balls from a position very wide of the off-stump line having landed 90% on a good length and line with varying degrees of turn. Another bucket of 36 went down with very similar results. Weirdly, even though this meant that as I was bowling, I was having to take my eye off of where I wanted the ball to go, in order to watch what was happening to the hand, my accuracy seemed to be better? But, watching the hand meant for some reason I was able to maintain perfect seam presentation and flick the ball ridiculously hard, but it required a different level of emphasis in the delivery as I was grunting like a pig in my efforts to get the ball spinning hard in the way that I wanted?
With these epiphanal moments I have to be wary as I find the next session I’m unable to replicate the same outcome and that’s a bit depressing. But hopefully remembering to use a loose grip and releasing a smidge earlier and watching the ball again I might be able to produce the same results. The conclusion seems to be that I’ve confirmed my belief that I’m not actually doing what I think I am. Despite all my best efforts it now seems obvious that my usual bowling action for some reason or other is still far more like a ropey top-spinner than a Leg Break most of the time. This seems to be down to this bad connection between my brain and the physical action and I’m convinced that this is connected to the Googly Syndrome and the fact that bowling Wrong Un’s in the way that I did in order to learn the delivery completely re-writes the programming and makes a full recovery very difficult.
Hopefully if I’m able to repeat what happened tonight the longer term prospects will be that if I carry on bowling like this….
(a). I’ll be able to bowl Faster.
(b). I’ll get some drift.
(c). Bit by bit I’ll have to look up less and the action will be learned without the necessity to watch the hand?