Saturday, April 30, 2011

Bowling action in development

New bowling action; Here's a sequence of images showing the bowling action that I'm currently working with. It's not unusual at all, in fact it's pretty normal, but being self taught, I started out with an un-conventional movement through the crease and learned to bowl with this action which many people commented was detrimental to aspects of my bowling. So since last September I've been working to bowl with a proper dynamic bound and bit by bit this is coming together with the help of people on

There's definitely some work to do still and the aspect that I've observed which is evident in these images is that the back foot which pushes the weight forwards on to the rotation foot, then kicks up and around and is the leading foot into the follow through - still swings round more than 180 degrees.

The images below are an approximation of my footfall during the 'Explosion through the crease' aspect of the bowling action. The mantra of many people - Philpott, Warne, Jenner et al is that you keep the body going straight directing the energy fowards at the batsman, which then would suggest that this diagram below would probably be the optimum bowling action as the feet follow a straight line towards the batsman. The only potential issue is the position and angle of foot R1. Coming out of the bound I plant my foot as sideways as I can get it, as this put my body into a side on position ready to rotate around the pivot foot L2. In the diagram L2 is pointing forwards, but as R1 is kicked up in the rotation, foot L2 (Pivoting) twists on the ball of the foot see images below (To be continued).

and Youtube.

First Match of the Season

First match of the season was at Langdon Hills Recreation Ground, which is just around the corner from where we live, see below. The match was an inter-club match with a mixture of the 3rd and 4th IX's. I turned up late, misunderstanding the info on the website somehow, and initially was down at the 12th man on batting side who just been put in to bat. It turned out that one of the kids that was batting pulled what appeared to be his hamstring in about the 5th of 6th over and had to retire hurt. I think initially he was hoping to go back in again, but after his brother stretched it more for him as some kind of remedial actio?!!!! He was completely screwed and hobbled off hardly able to walk back to the car and they took him home. So I was back in the game.

I almost didn't get to bat with only one over to go, but 9th batsman was dismissed on 2nd form last ball of the penultimate over. So I face one ball and survived as it was wide enough to leave. The first ball of the last over and the No.10 was bowled clean, so I was a 'Not Out'. But their captain said 'Bowl the over as last man standing'. It turned out that I was facing G-Man and his first ball was a bit leg-side and I managed one of those little deft touches that took it through the position where the bloke at 45 would be and it almost ran for 4. Another through the off-side I ran it low again, with a faint little touch that got it through the keeper and slips and again that nearly ran for 4. Shame really as the runs didn't count and I played 2 good balls! I'd had a bit of a warm up earlier with Keith West who'd come over to see me bowl, so maybe that had made some difference or maybe my Stac bat? I suppose we'll see next time, as long as I don't have to face an Off-Spinner.

In the first innings as far as I was aware there hadn't been any spin, and if there had been it had been innocuous, as no-one had come back talking about it, so it didn't bode well for me or anyone else that was going to be spinning the ball.

After tea, we went into the field and I got put at Mid off and Mid on and was initially worried about the amount of running I might have had to do, what with my bad knee. In the end I needed to do very little running at all, so that worked out okay. As it was a 35 over match, drinks came out at 18 overs and I bowled after drinks. Although it was sunny it was very blustery and the wicket is set up so that it runs East to West, so I had the advantage of bowling into the wind and with the sun relatively low in the sky directly behind me!

I'd gone into this game with no idea of how well or poorly I was going to bowl, whether because of my knee I was going to walk in off of a couple of steps or bowl with the bound. The bound as yet is still a pretty un-natural bowling action for me and one that I'm not fully at ease with, so initially I set out with the 2 or 3 step walk in. The first ball up was slow and really took the batsman by surprise almost bouncing twice, but he got the bat on it and guided it down the towards 3rd man and got a run. As I recall the field was set primarily by 'JB' the captain, but asking me what I wanted to do with the bloke at No.8 (Mid Wicket) who I positioned slightly closer to Square Leg than I would normally do, leaving a gap between Mid Wicket and Mid On trying to get the batsmen to swing across the line and against the spin. I was hoping if they played cross bat shots there may have been some scope for mistakes to be made? Well, that's my story anyway, but to be honest both of the batsmen were new at the crease and I hadn't been able to get a look at them to see what they were about.

All the balls were delivered over the wicket pitching on or around the stumps, none of them went down the Leg-Side which is always a good thing, even though JB did have a bloke at 45 and in hind-sight he could have come up to a position - backward of square leg, mid-way and the bloke at square leg could have pushed back to deep square leg, and the mid-wicket fielder could have gone deep mid wicket where by the end of my three overs I'd lost a lot of runs to fours through there. The little diagram above illustrates my bowling line and I kept to that all through the 3 overs. The bloke at the other end L. Dutton (Lee maybe)? Was bowling well, not sure what kind of bowling and he even shrugged his shoulders to indicate that he didn't know what kind of bowling it was, so maybe it was just Dibbly Dobbly slow? But he took 3 wickets off four overs and only went for 12 runs, so we had the most succesful bowling partnership between us, which was good - combined strike rate of 6.4 - nearly a wicket an over.

My two wickets were pleasing, because as I said I didn't have any expectations what with my knee and the fact that I haven't quite found a groove yet despite all the practice I've been putting in My length was poor a lot of the time with several full tosses one of which was mistakenly called as a No-Ball at the start, they were dispatched for 4 almost without exception, but the balls that I did manage to get to bounce which was most of them did, turned exceptionally well. My first wicket was edged to slips and I think the keeper got his glove to it and sent it wider and the captain at slips still managed to get it, which was very commendable. The other was a nice wicket with the ball pitching around middle and leg and it turned and beat the bat hitting the off-stump.

Ball by ball recollection as best I can......The single and the no-ball I've already mentioned. The 4 in the first over was a full toss. The wicket was the one by the captain JB off the edge. The wide was one that was totally wrong - about 8 foot wide I released it wrong due to messing up my run in. The second over was my best taking Jack Farringtons wicket, which then brought on G-Man and he played cautiously playing forwards blocking the ball, negating the spin, the wide in this over I don't remember but it was down the off-side. Then in the last over 2 full tosses which were put away through mid-wicket or over his head and four good balls, some of which turned exceptionally well. I wish all the wickets I played on turned as much as the Rec did today, because it was as though I was even ripping the ball that much.

Oh yeah - we won. The exact figures I'm not 100% sure but we put up a total of around 170 all out off of 34 overs and the other team were all out for around 135 with several overs still in hand. Some of the younger blokes were joking 'Can we burn the stumps or something, that's the first win I've ever been involved in'! So a nice start and an invite to play Saturday next week for the 4ths I'm assuming?

Knee news: Thankfully the knees didn't get that much of a pounding and my fielding was backed up most of the time by a much younger bloke, further out and slightly wider than me, hardly anyone drove the ball straight through either mid-on/off and I was spared. I didn't bowl with the bound much, although I think the 2nd wicket was with the bound. For most part I couldn't get a rhythm going with my run in and reverted to the 2-3 step version. Again that helped with the knee. So by the time I got home just after six there was a little discomfort, so I got ice on it for 10 - 15 minutes and it feels fine now at 10.22 in the evening.

Note: I reproduced a facsimilie of the score sheet as it was in a bit of a mess, straight after the game my last over had been marked as L.Duttons over giving me 4 wickets.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Ben to represent his school

Ben to represent his school cricket team (Brentwood County High School).

Here’s one of those scenarios where all the practice pays off. At Ben’s school (My older son) they’re into the Spring/Summer term now and they’ve moved from playing Rugby in PE to cricket and yesterday they had their first net session indoors. Somewhat surprisingly they started off with real balls, so Ben was champing at the bit to show his mates what he’s made of. Some of the kids that he goes to school with play a bit of cricket and no doubt there would have been a little bit of banter between them, some bravo…. “I’ll smack your bowling all over the park”, that kind of thing. Ben got to bowl 6 balls he said and all of them were on the money, the kid that is theoretically his rival in the ‘I’m better than you at cricket’ faced Ben’s bowling and Ben bounced one on him – a short delivery which hit the kids helmet and knocked it off his head! Next ball he hit the Off-stump just clipping the bails and another kid was scared of facing him and stepped away from the stumps rather than put bat to ball or block it with his body. His PE teacher commented ‘Blimey’!

So Ben’s been selected for the cricket trials and he’s doing that after school before his Training with B&PCC on Tuesday night. Ben in his usual style played it cool and seemed non-plussed by the whole thing.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Bowling action sequence

Sept 2015
These images are out of date and my bowling has changed significantly - have a look at the link below...
Check out my other blog here - this is all about Leg-spin bowling and nothing else. Double click on the image below.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Cricket and more cricket

The weather continues - 26 degrees today as warm as Italy and places in the Med and Australia (Although it is their autumn). On the weather tonight they were saying that down here in the south we've not had any significant rains since early February. So far we've had about 3mm of rain which is nothing, but I'm not complaining that's for sure and it looks like it's going to stay like this till beyond Bank Holiday Monday. So we've been getting into the paddock and having a bowl and getting the net up in there and getting some other kids involved - Ben's mate Kieran who's not too bad.

If we're not in the Paddock we're over at the old tennis courts playing in there with a rubber ball. Ben's bowling well, once he's a couple of looseners he's fast and accurate. Joe's bowling is up and down and he seems to do better when you focus his attention by saying 'Joe...4 good balls on the trot I want' and then he seems to bowl well. Some days he spins it some days it just goes straight and this week he's been bowling straight and fast, but seems to appreciate that he get more wickets when he bowls slow with the prospect of it turning. He's got a good Wrong Un that he can just turn to, but like me his Leg Break although good isn't as good as his Wrong Un, but saying that he's bowled a couple of people round the back of their legs a couple of times in the last couple of months.

This was April 19th in the morning, warm and dry and I'd cut the wicket the day before and I'd lowered the blades a bit, but nowhere near their lowest setting. As I've said before, the wicket this year doesn't seems as good as it was last year in May, but it could be still I reckon with some rain. There are big cracks already appearing, but as yet not in the middle of the wicket.

From the bats end (Above).

Here's Joe and view that I've not posted on the blog before. I'm currently compiling a video of the 19th which I may post up on Youtube on my channel.

My own bowling is coming together slowly still impeded to some extent by the fact that I've got this knee injury that I'm slowly nursing back to health. On a plus side though I had a bit of an epiphanal moment a couple of weeks back with regards getting the ball to spin from the hand more. I can't remember what made me do it or trigger the idea, but I just flicked the ball from the hand in a new way and noticed that it spun really well with what appeared to be little effort and lots of control. I've always found that when you ask Leg Break bowlers about their release, trying to get them to explain it, they're a bit vague on the mechanics of it and their response is usually pretty much short of useless. On the internet you have Warne and Jenner showning you how and loads of other people including myself showing the same basic method AKA "The 2 up 2 down grip" spun off the 3rd finger. But even by my own admittance that's pretty vague. You have to have read further to then understand that this isn't definitive, Peter Philpott for instance says that this is just a starting point or basic template and that many people have different varitations of the same thing. But it's the concept of spinning the ball off the 3rd finger that again is difficult to grasp, especially when some people do it and tear their fingers to shreds on the seam and other people have no such problems which then suggest that they've either got exceptionally soft hands or maybe I'm doing something wrong myself?

With that concern that perhaps I am doing something wrong? I'm always open to new ideas and approaches to flicking the ball out of the hand. There's also the concept of not only a regualr leg break with a standard flick that produces for most part the ball that spins approx 45 degrees off it's forward axis, but the 'Biggun' a Big Leg Break with the ball spinning with the seam rotating 90 degrees or thereabouts to the line of flight with the seam tilted forwards in flight. This ball drifts, dips and turns at right angles almost if it hits some rough. For the Wrist Spinner it's the Holy Grail, the ball that we all covet and for most you may be able to get the ball out of the hand with the 90 degree seam, with a lot of practice, but then controlling its flight, length, line and when you want to produce one in a game is nigh on impossible. In essence there's a lot going on when you bowl one of these boys and the final part of the equation is the way the 5.5oz ball flies off your 3rd finger. Now when you think about your 3rd finger and what it does during your life, it doesn't add up to much does it? And, usually when it is doing it, it has its mates working alongside it, so precision and strength in throwing a leather ball 22 yards, making the leather ball rotate fast enough to cause an audible fizz through the air is a big ask. Hence the experimentation on my part and this..........

which may seem a little bizarre on first inspection. (Ah! It's coming back to me where the influence came from, read on......). The idea came about through observations of the pictures in Peter Philpotts book - yes he of the 'Big Leg Break' and the 'Big Flick'. If you own a copy of his book 'The Art of Wrist Spin Bowling', have a look at the photo's of him releasing the ball and his hand position as soon as it's released, especially his thumb (Pages 19 & 38). As soon as the ball is released his hand is akin to a clenched fist, but I knew that my hand wasn't after my release and this led me to trying to figure out what he might be doing and whether this method was easier in any way and Lo and Behold it was!

I've run this past a few other wrist spinners on forums and they've come back with an acknowledgement that there is something in this and some have said that this is what they already do, but would have been stuck as to explain it. I've found that it gives me (In the short term) a lot more accuracy and the ability to spin the ball harder and with more control e.g. I can decide to release the ball with a 90 degree seam presentation with only a little concentration and effort and it massively reduces the potential of drag downs. At the minute I'm not bowling it particularly fast, but it looks very promising for the longer term, so watch this space for more news.

Knee news

The knee does seem to be getting better and I bowled again today with the bound with no consequences. I've trotted around a bit today, but sprinting is still a way off yet.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Bit of a practice

As the Easter Break has gone on and the weather has continued to be warm and sunny, I've been able to get outside a lot and have a muck about with the kids, cricket, football, run-outs in the woods, cycling and generally lots of walking around and this is all making my leg stronger. Last night, I power walked to the corner shop rather than take the car and that was okay too and it' something I may do again as it's low impact and it does build strength in the thighs. The most rigorous test was the run outs in the woods - uneven ground, kneeling and bending down and I came back from that with sore knees. The discomfort seems to be across the top of the knee now at the base of the thigh muscle and that day I applied ice to it for 15 minutes and that sorted it. At the minute I'm using massage and stretching and bit by bit that seems to be working. Yesterday or Saturday I bowled 12 overs worth of balls using the bound in my bowling action and I came away from that okay, so slowly it does seem that I recovering. Today I mowed the paddock and lowered the blades a bit and the cut now is pretty short. With the weather the paddock is already cracking up and as it's been very dry I'm not sure if it's as flat as it was last year and it seems as though there's a lot less bounce. The session today bowling off of 3 or 4 steps went quite well, very good line, some good turn when I bowl with my karate chop wrist position, but I had a tendency to bowl quite full. My wrong Uns good and the Flippers are coming out well in all four variations. I've been working with the Wrong wrong Un which is one that Grimmett himself gave up on deciding it didn't look as though it had any prospects. I bowled it a couple of years ago without the knowledge of Grimmetts experiments back in the 1930's. I came across it bowling the Googly and the Flipper combined and named it The Gipper not aware of its origins. My experiments with it came to nothing across a season, because I could only bowl it with a very exaggerated action, but a couple of months ago I bowled a Wrong Un primarily with the addition of the Flipper click rather than vice versa with a different emphasis. This new approach produced what felt like a Wrong Un but spun like a Leg Break and considerably faster than my conventional Leg Break. So today I threw a few and they look promising as a variation, but I couldn't get the length right, the line was good though, so a little more practice and the Wrong wrong un may be a viable variation?

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Condovers + West Tilbury + Cricket + campsite

I'm still after information with regards the cricket pitch at Condovers campsite in West Tilbury, Essex. Double click on the image below for a larger image of it.

Ultimately, I'm after images of cricket either being played there or images of the ground, pavillion, teams that played there or scenic images shot there featuring the pitch. The best image would be of a game being played with the West Tilbury Church visible in the background shot by someone who was a bit handy with a camera (Black and white or colour).

I'm after information with regards who's home ground it was, what the team was called and their history. Ideally I'd like to be able to establish how long the pitch was there and whether its history is long and linked to the local community e.g. who's land it was and who leased it to the cricket team. If anyone has any anecdotal info about it please get in touch with me via the email address on this blog or email me direct at
8th Feb 2012

I stumbled upon some old photos of Langdon Hills cricket teams and discovered that in addition to the de-commissioned pitch opposite the Crown Pub at the top of the hill there, there was another probably older pitch heading S/E towards Horndon on the Hill. About 50 yeards along the High Rd, is the junction of Dry Street and on that corner there's a field currently with a beacon in it and a small car park. This rather rectangular field was in fact a cricket pitch in the 1950's and no doubt earlier.

Enthused by the Langdon Hills pitch No.3 find, I set out to look to see if there was any more info on the Condovers pitch and came across this entry in Wikipedia - and in the section on development and industry there's this note - Random surface destruction in the form of scattered gravel workings (‘ballast-holes’) either open or infilled, is evident in places, one of the 19th century quarries being now overgrown and serving as a pleasant scouting camp-ground. Which indicates that the cricket pitch is likely to be no older than around 100 years at the most? But, still no images and only one account by Allan Fullbrook at Thurrock Cricket Club (Formerly Grays and Chadwell Cricket Club) who prior to that were Tilbury CC and it was during that time I recall in the 196o's that Allan 'Fozzy' Fullbrook played at the ground. He remembers the pavillion, saying that it wasn't much more than two rooms to get changed in.

Check out my other blog here - this is all about Leg-spin bowling and nothing else. Double click on the image below.

Why you should stop bowling Leg Spin

Here's an interesting piece I've come across before and thought I'd post up.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Paddock + cricket + weather + knee

Not been blogging much, so this one is a bit of an update. Firstly the weather. Here in the UK we've just had an really warm start to April with the temperature getting up to 22 degrees today which is about 10 degrees too warm, so we're sun burnt and getting our tans off to an early start. March was ridiculously dry as well, so the paddock for an example is already cracking up because of the dryness. This has meant that I've not been able to roll it as much as I'd have wished, but what with it being April now and our phenomenon of April Showers, hopefully we'll see some good down-pours over the next few weeks and some opportunities to roll the wicket and for the grass to get growing again with some vigour. Because it's been so dry it has meant that we've been tempted to get out there and use it, so at weekend we put the nets up for the first time and cut the wicket and had a bit of a knock about and video'd it. The video will possibly end up on my channel on Youtube in a few days once I've edited it.

So here's the paddock with the nets up viewed from the entrance, you can see where we've been using it the grass has already started to wear a bit

So the images here above were from the weekend and then today we went over and pruned the bushes behind the stumps for the camera to be set up behind the stumps and behind the fence with the the camera either looking through the links or just peeping over the top. While we were there one of my neighbours was out the front of his house remvong top-soil from a patch of garden and trying to dump it discreetly in the shrubs and council maintained patches of bushes and trees and I reallised it was good top soil that we could use on the wicket and to help maintain and level it. So I went over and offered my help in getting rid of the dirt by dumping it in the corner of the paddock and he was more than willing to take that as an option. We ended up loading full buckets and bins in the back of the car and driving up on to the verge and carrying the earth the last few yards to dump in the corner of the paddock. The other thing we did while we were over there was paint the crease lines as you can see below. Then later in the day as the sky clouded over, I realised that if I didn't siv the earth and it rained I'd have a problem with the earth being in a condition not ready to go on the wicket, so I sivved the earth and got myself a waste bin full of high quality top-soil ready for repairs and levelling. We then took the full bin back to the garage for strorage and the excess that was left on the paddock in the corner I started in-filling the dips at the bowlers end and a few other places knowing that we'd have rained later tonight and that would be a good start to get the fresh topsoil integrated with the existing earth and grass, see below.


The knee's been okay for the last couple of days and seems to be improving with the increase in activity. I'm a long way off of being able to run, but I've been bowling a lot today and carrying around big heavy buckets of earth and there's no apparent soreness, so that's quite promising.

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Intrinsic and Extrinsic Motivation

It's late and I'll write this up sometime tomorrow.

Weekend cricket

Nets on Sunday Joe and Ben Joe and Ben’s nets session was a slow starter today with both of them as with last week bowling poorly initially, but as the session progressed their bowling got better. Ben initially was bowling short and down the leg side, Joe on the other hand was bowling full tosses down both sides mostly the leg-side. The coach Chris set Joe some targets e.g. bowl a full length ball at the stumps and Joe took it on board and tried to bowl 5 out of 5 in the way Chris had suggested and straight away his bowling changed. By the end of the session Joe had disturbed the wood work 3 times and forced errors that would have created catching chances at point, cover and mid wicket all of which looked like dollies. This approach by the coach Chris was very interesting and I wonder if it's under-pinned by any sort of learning theory and whether it's an approach that is taught to coaches? The basis of the approach maybe that you break down the goal that was set into bite size and measurable pieces. For a kid Joes age the session of an hour almost probably blurs into a series of un-quantifiable levels of success and if he's bowling poorly as he was the general feeling would be that the whole session was a bit of a flop? But, breaking down his success potential into small renewable chunks that he himself can quantify might help to measure success rates and therefore spur him on as it did. Maybe even if you bowl 1 good one out of 5, it's measurable and then you can discard it and move on to the next five and therefore be bouyed by the fact that you attained 1 out of 5? Whereas if you're looking at the bowling over a period of an hour, the good balls are lost in amongst and much larger volume of poor balls? Ben on the other hand hadn’t hit the stumps but created catching chances for the wicket keeper, slips and gully off of balls down the off-side, showing a big improvement as the session went on. The other boys Finlay, Harrison and Harry were all bowling really well too, Harry was particularly good with in-swingers that didn’t swing till the last few yards. Enthused by Joe’s potential 6 wicket haul he was up for bowling some more once we got home. Having mowed the paddock this afternoon a while before going to nets both Joe and Ben were up for using the paddock rather than driving over to the tennis courts at the Rec. It’s a little damp over there at the minute so early in the year and could do with some more rolling, but we gave it a go and it was okay. We took the camera and shot some vid which I’m working on now as I write, which I’ll upload to Youtube later tonight. Knee issues I’d already had a bowl in the paddock earlier once I’d mowed it and bowled probably 15 overs albeit only off of a 2 or 3 step walk in and up to that point my knee was holding out well. In addition to bowling I’ve actually jogged about a bit today too and that was trouble free, so I’ve been looking pretty good on the knee front of late and it looks like recovery is happening. The bowling then that took place in the paddock which would have also combined squatting down to get under a fence and some running around and jumping had a little more affect on me and I came away from that feeling a little tenderness, so I’ll put some ice on that before I go to bed tonight and see if that helps as in the past that seems to have made a big difference. Paddock News Mowed the paddock today and it's looking okay. Very dry for this time of the year and as it says above we've had a bit of a knock about on it today (Sunday). Have a look at the video on youtube

Saturday, April 02, 2011


Been taking it very easy, avoiding any stressful activities on my knees other than last night when Joe, Ben and I went over the 'Rec' tennis courts and had a bit of a knock about and I bowled three overs off a walk in and I came away from that okay. Last few days the legs been okay, if I am limping it is very minimal, so it does seem as though the inactivity has helped and it's feeling a lot better. I may start to look at doing some very gentle exercises with the thigh and see how that goes. I've got nets on Monday night and may bowl again off a walk in and see what the outcome is as well.