Saturday, 5 June 2010

My first competitive over

(N.B. This post was written some time after the match for the sake of completeness)
And so at last I got to bowl in a proper match.

But first, it should be noted that I had been put down to bat at No10, and sat out the entire innings as we put on 290 for the loss of 6, Bob Singh continuing his excellent run of form with 93 not out. A little part of me was ever so slightly miffed not to get a go in the middle, especially after showing some decent progress in the nets the previous Thursday, but on the whole I didn't mind too much as 290 definitely looked like a winning score and I could hardly argue my form merited a higher station in the batting order.

So into the field we went and with only three balls bowled I dropped an absolute dolly. I was pretty embarrassed as I felt I hadn't properly switched on, but in retrospect I was again trying to catch it too far from my face. Anyway, on I went chasing after everything, no more catches coming my way but a few boundaries saved. One ball in particular flew off the bat, bounced up and was on target to hit me "squarely amidships" until I turned to stop it with my right thigh, leaving a pretty impressive bruise!

Anyway, a couple of relatively respectable partnerships aside we had them in plenty of trouble and with 15 overs left they were down to their last wicket. We were running out of bowlers due to the lower limit on some of our younger players, so the Captain looked around for someone who hadn't had a bat who fancied an over and I put my hand up. He told me I'd bowl the next over and I worked myself up into a bit of a state, to the point that a couple of balls before the end of the preceding over a catch went down and I was disappointed that the match hadn't ended! So I'm afraid nerves played a big part.

I've still only been bowling leg-breaks (or anything else for that matter) for barely four months so I was just aiming for the right length, trying to give it a good rip and essentially hoping it would land on a decent line. My length throughout was reasonably good, one hopeless slider-turned-beamer apart, and I gave it some flight and was getting a little bit of drift, and I was getting a healthy but not excessive amount of turn (it was an artificial wicket). With one wicket to fall and plenty of runs in hand I didn't have to worry too much so just tried to bowl them out.

Now it has to be said that by conventional standards it was a poor over, with a total of 8 wides. The umpire did shout "wide" for the first one or two but didn't bother with the rest, so it did feel a bit like the never-ending over. However even some of the wides were in a weird way encouraging, with plenty of turn off some of them, but of the fair deliveries they got a single off one, two were OK and three were absolutely peachy, drifting a little, pitching on a perfect length, just missing off-stump and forcing the batsman to choose between leaving and edging. In the end they just about managed to do neither and I wasn't far off getting that last wicket.

So without wanting to dwell too much on the wides, I was very pleased with the amount of spin I got on the ball, the length and the flight, and I come away knowing that if I can improve my accuracy I could turn into a pretty decent bowler. Several of the guys seemed very impressed with those three balls, and the captain said after that he should have left me on instead of bowling himself - he unfortunately got hit for 16 off his one over! Anyway we wrapped the match up the following over so I now have a second win under my belt.

Good points: Three outstanding balls bowled, bowled as aggressively as possible, several boundaries saved.
Points for improvement: Catch dropped because of poor focus at the start of the innings and poor technique, got too nervous when waiting to bowl, bowled way too many wides, not vocal enough in the field.

Today's stats: (Stafford 4th XI vs Church Eaton 2nds, 40 overs each)
Batting: did not bat
Bowling: O 1, M 0, R 9, W 0, wd 8
Fielding: Ct 0, St 0, RO 0

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