Sunday, 5 September 2010

Not with a bang but with a whimper

And so at last the season is over, and not on a particularly high note I'm afraid. Saturday's game was disappointing for me for at least four reasons. We lost the toss and were put in the field, and as we went onto the field I mentioned to the captain that I fancied a bowl if the situation arose. It would have been more accurate to say "if I don't get to bowl I'm going to be seriously pissed off", but I didn't think that approach would get me very far.

I started off fielding at square leg/point (they seemed to have half a dozen left-handers in the team) and not much came my way. Later I was moved to mid off for an over or two, then in one over I became part of a gradually swelling slip cordon. By the time we had five slips finally the edge came, and of course it was in my area! I reached out but couldn't get a hand to it unfortunately. I was then posted at Deep Fine Leg for pretty much half the match, and as usual, much to my annoyance, had to run the full length of the field between overs or else be in position too late. I find it hard to understand a captain who puts his fielders in this position, as in my case I find that at the start of each over I'm out of breath and therefore my concentration suffers, and by the time I'm recovered and able to concentrate the over's just about to finish and then it happens all over again. Daft, but it always seems to happen to me.

And as the overs ticked by, and the wickets fell, my heart slowly sank as it gradually became clear that I wasn't going to get to bowl. By the time nine wickets had gone down, I'm afraid all I could think about was how pissed off I was going to be when the final wicket fell. There I was, having bowled my bollocks off in the nets all season, practising longer than probably anyone else in the club, and my season was going to end with just 1.4 overs bowled and no wickets to comfort me on those long winter nights. Sure enough, as the ball looped up and the catch was taken for the final wicket I felt sick, and pretty much stormed off the field. I didn't complain, mind - I just quietly fumed.

My demeanour was not greatly improved by being told I would bat at number 8, especially since we were chasing a modest 122 to win on a pitch that had become synonymous with high totals this year. No bowling, and now it seemed pretty likely I might not bat either. We went out to bat and pretty soon it became clear that I would indeed be called for, as wickets seemed to fall like ninepins. The sixth wicket went down and I went in with the score barely above thirty, probably not in the best state of mind but trying to remember to keep moving and bend the left elbow.

I was told to watch out for one of the bowlers swinging the ball big, and my partner said he was trying to "farm the strike", which basically amounted to him totting up 4s and 2s against the other bowler while leaving me to face the swinger. I spent one over at the non-striker's end, then blocked the swing for an over. He really was in-swinging it big, not too quickly so I'd imagine he was using some spin. It's certainly not something I've seen before and from the seven wickets he took it seems I wasn't the only one.

Another over as non-striker, with my partner amassing another 14 while I was still yet to get off the mark, and on one occasion I hit the ball virtually three quarters of the way to the boundary only to hear my partner shout "NOOO!!!" while seeming to edge towards me. I was several yards down the wicket before I turned back, mindful that he'd already run Duncan out earlier, but there was at least one there and probably two. A few more blocks, and a rather desperate waft, and then the final ball of the over swung in and would have gone down leg if it hadn't deflected onto the bails off my left knee. Eventually we were all out for a miserable 72.

So no bowling, some batting but no real chance of any runs, and an exhausting and rather disappointing day in the field. Not the best way to enter into the long cricketless winter months I'm afraid.

Good points: Didn't throw my wicket away, adapted quickly to bowler's unusual action.
Points for improvement: Oh pretty much everything else...

Today's stats: (Stafford 4th XI Vs Norton in Hales 1sts, 50 overs each)
Batting: Bowled T.Lavender, 0 (12bf, 0x4, 0x6 prt: 7th:14)
Bowling: (didn't bowl)
Fielding: Ct 0, St 0, RO 0

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