Saturday, June 07, 2014

Basildon & Pitsea CC 4th XI v Old Southendians and Southminster CC 7th June at the Rec

I'm going to try and write this one up on the quick, because as I write I still have 2 other matches to blog about that I've started and not finished. It's not helped by the fact that I've got hundreds of images to go through and edit down to the best and then reduce them all so that they're blog size.

So lets think about this - how can I break it down - 

  • Weather
  • Team changes
  • The team
  • First Innings
  • 2nd Innings
  • Comical stuff and good stuff
  • Conclusion
Basildon & Pitsea CC 4th XI v Old Southendians and Southminster CC 7th June at the Rec.

Leading up to the game all week there was reports of bad weather, hailstones of biblical proportions, lightning and enough rain to start chopping trees down to start making arks. Ignoring all that and watching XC weather, it looked as though we would be okay and as the game drew nearer, it looked as though the weather would miss. As XC Weather had predicted, there was rain early at about 07.00 hrs and when I got up at 09.00 hrs it looked gloomy and damp and I knew there'd be more rain before it would clear up at 13.00 hrs. It did rain... At 11.00 hrs and looked a little touch and go, but the rain was soon followed by sunshine and as the morning went on the weather got better.

Team Changes
I got pretty much the team that was selected on Wednesday, the only change was Frank Farrington (Wrist Spinner) for Tom Hardy (Chinaman). Not sure which of the two has the better strike rate. So as we all arrived the team looked like this...
Back Row L-R
Gary 'Savvo' Savage, John 'Moondog' Bedford, Steve Healey, Stuart Munday, Jamie Britton, Dave Thompson (Me).
Front Row L-R
Tim Brown, Ben Thompson, Kieran 'The Barbarian' Barbero, Mitchell McLeod, Tom Hardy and 12th Man Joe Thompson. 

No real mishaps today getting the team together, Mitchell sent a text shortly before the game asking if it was on and he ended up turning up late and 12th man Joe was sent home to get his gear because prior to Mitchell showing we had no real idea when he'd arrive, in the end he was about 10 minutes late and arrived the same time Joe turned up, but he didn't really want to play so was quite happy to be relived of 12th man duties.

The opposition won the toss and said they'd bat which was good we'd have said we'd field if we'd have won. The bowling order...

1. Ben - Bowled as the opener and started really well and the 2nd bowler was Kieran. After Kieran's initial traditional full toss at the batsmans head, he then settled down and bowled exceptionally well. Both openers (15 years old) bowled and kept the rate at around 3 an over and the game looked under control, but I was aware that the bowling was going to change in nature later in the game and Kieran and Ben bowled with no reward. I don't even recall any real chances. In Ben's first spell, one of the bats smacked on of his last balls for 6 and I kind of had the idea at this point that both batsmen were just getting into gear and looking to accelerate.
Stuart replaced Ben and again toiled away with out reward, once they'd got a look at his bowling, they then got underway looking to up their run rate. Not many chances came, all ball came my way at mid wicket and I manged to get a hand on it, but not enough to catch it. For me it was one of those days where the balls went under me as I tried to get down and stop them and this seemed to be pretty much the same for lots of the fielders. 
It was the same for MItchell, he bowled well and for no reward again. I then brought Tom on to give him a go, by this time Gary was pretty much playing the role of on-field captain which I'm more than happy to go with. The three slow bowlers Tom, John and I came on and bowled a handful of overs each to no avail, I nearly got a wicket early on in my first over as the batsman hit the ball straight over my head and a new bloke (Steve Healey) to my team who was on the Long-on boundary ran in a long way to take a ball for it to bobble out of his hands and be put down. Shame, because it was obvious from the way he was fielding that he's a very good player. He's not new to the club, he's been around for years, but just new to me. Hopefully looking at his batting averages he's going to stick around and maybe play in the 4's for the season? 

With the game now going away from us and both the batsmen very well set and hitting the ball clean it was time to bring on the big guns again in the form or Ben and Kieran to see if in their last 5 overs each they could make some kind of in-roads? 

During this phase of the game our regular wicket keeper who has been a way for a while and left the last game having copped a ball in the cheek, breaking his glasses had another mishap today. He had a ball square in the nuts whilst keeping off of John Bedfords bowling (I think) and went down like a sack of spuds. He was down for a long time in obvious pain and it too a fair time for him to recover and resume and when he did it was pretty obvious he was still in a great deal of discomfort. He played on for a while into Ben's second spell and eventually a wicket was taken when Taylor tried to smack the ball for six over deep square leg off Ben's bowling and Mitchell McLeod took a good catch just inside the boundary stopping Taylor just a little short of his hundred. At that point as the new bat came out Jamie went off the filed and 12th man Joe Thompson (13) my younger son came on and Steve Healey took over as wicket keeper. 

Both Ben and Kieran were taken to task being hit for 4's and in the 42nd over the bats decided that they would retire. Then off the last ball of the game the captain Nathan  Linfield who was on 146 mis-hit the ball off Ben's bowling and hit it towards Fine Leg, but it went up in the air and the replacement Wicket-Keeper Steve Healey ran and caught it.

Our Innings

With John Bedfords batting performance last week, although it was a big total, I thought that with this weeks line up we may be able to force another draw. As I don't bat at all and I'm pretty useless at it, I can't begin to speculate how the bats rationalise their approach. I'm assuming that they may have a look - see what the bowling's like and then make a judgement as to whether they give it a go and try going for a win initially? Unfortunately it didn't pan out that well again with 3 naughts and a single for 4 of our top order, it was obvious that we were in trouble again right from the outset. John Managed 10 before being caught at Mid-wicket. 15 year old McLeod played his normal game... all or nothing and with 2 x 4's and a 6 within his innings came off after a few minutes with 16. Tim Brown got a 0 and that brought me to the crease with Tom Hardy and we stuck out a load of overs facing two left armers - one a finger spinner, so his balls were like Leg Breaks and the other bloke bowled left arm over and was very accurate. We blocked for England and very slowly made some runs. Tom Hardy did really well and accumulated 20 runs making him the most productive batsman from our team and I managed 8. I eventually fell foul to an older gentleman who apparently played for England and represented England in the Ashes back in the day!! He bowled dead straight slow and loopy and varied the speed. It just looked like the easiest bowling to attack if you were even marginally good at batting. He came round the wicket (Right Arm) and I tried sweep slog it down to fine leg and he bowled me. 

Ben was next and he blocked well and hit the balls that he felt he could, but fell for naught off the same bloke bringing Kieran to the crease. Kieran managed 2 before being bowled by the England player in the same fashion as both me and Ben. We at least managed 65, at one point it looked as though we may have been bowled out for less than 50.

On Reflection

Another game where we were comprehensively thrashed, but again another game where we had a game loaded with young-uns, who are primarily bowlers. Jamie batted with his nuts in tatters, so I wasn't surprised that he went for 0, it might have made a psychological difference if he'd been okay? The main thing though is that we got a full game and the bowlers all got a bowl. I'm not sure if Steve Healey would have bowled if given the chance, but when asked he didn't seem fussed one way or another so I left him out, knowing that he'd bat up the order. I know that a lot of the older experienced players are left in dismay at some of the fielding, but these kids are learning and getting overs in and having a bowl is important. One of the best players on the field who is liked by the kids is Gary Savage he's vocal and very supportive and very sympathetic erring towards pointing out the positives and letting the negatives go. All these kids when they bowl, know that they're getting it wrong when it does go wrong and they don't do it intentionally. They obviously beat themselves up over it and feel bad about it, so I like Savages approach and I hope he plays in this side for the rest of the season, he's a really good bloke. While I'm at it, I'll mention Stuart as well because he's very similar, but not quite so vocal and obvious. 

I just hope that the sequence of losses isn't too much of an issue for people, and that,if they focus on the fact that in these situations when we get to bowl first, that this should be seen as a positive - we all get to bowl and it gives us a chance to pit ourselves against good batsmen. Plus we get a decent length game in. It also means that the lesser batsmen in situations like today can spend time at the crease and at least gain some confidence in some way and make a few runs.

Scoring - just when I thought I was getting the hang of it, today's scoring turned out to be a disaster again. I did try and teach Tim Brown how to do it, but he lost interest quite quickly. I'm going to target Ben in the coming weeks, but to be honest I need to practice more myself and not allow myself to be distracted!!!

 You should never pull daft faces at the camera! Ben before the game.
 Steve Healey, Stuart Munday and Gary Savage and the Langdon Hills Rec shed.
 Joe and Ben pre-match banter in the sheds.
 Me performing some pre-match formalities with the oppo.
 After the two deluges, thunder and lightning in the last 6 hours The Rec Langdon Hills came good again due to it's drainage attributes and the fact that it's on a hill. Well done to the groundsman who looks after it!
 Joe took some shots of the action for us - Nathan Linfield fends one off.
 This is the other geezer - J Taylor who scored 90+
 Nathan Linfield batting
 My wife Michelle and Kieran's Mum Tanya with a well prepared and delicious tea, that the opposition commended them on.
 More tea action...
 L-R - Tim Brown, Mitchell "Three plates" Mcleod and Tom Hardy

 Ben blocking. At this point most of the bats had the whole team around them within 25' of the bat!
 Nine blokes around the bat for Ben facing the ex Ashes bowler
 Ten blokes for Tom Hardy who in the end was the highest scorer of the game and not out - well done Tom!! 
End of the game and another thrashing...