With the knowledge of a warm day on the cards, I decided that I'd give the paddock a cut with the mower. So after the dew had dried out I got in there with the mower set on a relatively low blade and cut 2/3 of the wicket from the batting end. Having done that and noticing that it's pretty damp still in areas where Ben would bowl, I got the roller working as well and gave it another going over with that.
So here's how it's looking today 24th March. The bare patch where the batsmen stand is already cracking up and the unrolled bit in front of that is too dry to be affected by the roller, so that'll cause problems for anyone batting against spin.
Having got it ready I had a bit of a bowl - 28 overs worth, went okay. I seem to have picked up from where I left off last year which is good news as I was bowling pretty well at the end of the season last year. I then went on and grooved my bowling action through October and November and I'm pretty much where I was back then already and it's not even British summer time! Additionally I seemed to have gained some control over the way the ball spins - being able to bowl with the seam at 45 degrees and another method with the ball almost at 90 degrees and switch between one and the other quite readily. As a result I'm getting the ball to turn big. But additionally I've got accuracy! With the accuracy and the results I've been seeing in nets I'm now bowling round the wicket pitching the ball wide of Leg Stump turning the ball in to the stumps. I'm not that sure how that would work with good batsmen as I've got a feeling they would play the ball off the back foot - but at the same time these batsmen may fall to Deep Square Leg? But, I've been bowling the ball on or about leg stump with the better bats and this seems to have been causing problems, so it'll be an option. This new approach initially would suit bringing the field right up, but I think I'd have to prove consistent accuracy in game situations to justify taking that approach. But, overall my bowlings looking very strong and if I can increase fitness and stamina things look promising.
It's only a week and it'll be Easter and potentially 2 weeks of non-stop cricket either in the Paddock or over at the Rec. It's over this 2 week period that my fitness and strength increases exponentially because I'm out all day doing nothing but doing stuff with the kids - cricket, cycling, swimming, walking, running, rugby - even a bit of soccer! Today bowling those 27 overs, my arms and shoulders are fine, but my feet are the parts that are sore. My knees have come through fine too as last year they were ropey at times. So just some general activity over the coming three weeks should see a good level of fitness. More fine weather tomorrow, so more bowling and hopefully I'll be able to get Joe, Kieran and Ben involved.