Friday, 1 April 2011

The joy of an empty net

The juniors had the nets this evening so I was limited to using them before and after they did. I could have bowled at the juniors but didn't want to waste their valuable practise time with a load of wides so just watched what was going on, how people were batting and bowling and so on. There's one U17 who bowls leg spin and after watching about a dozen of his deliveries I had a word as he was too side-on coming into his delivery stride. There's also an off-spinner who I was watching closely as his pivot is the best I've ever seen, just absolutely perfect.

Anyway I had about half an hour before they finished their fielding drills and I started off with the standing start drill, then tried bowling a few stock balls and then started mucking about trying flippers and off-spinners and the like. To be honest I perhaps should have been more disciplined but I was curious to know what level I was at with those deliveries as I haven't been able to try them out while I've had a batsman at the other end. Lets just say I think I'll be sticking to my tried and tested leggie / top-spinner / zooter trio for the foreseeable future...

They had their net and afterwards I had an hour or so before the light got so bad I couldn't see what I was bowling. I'd love to be able to tell you my length has come back, and that I was on a good line, but I wasn't. Once again it was spraying every which way but where I was aiming. I wasn't too upset, it's only practise after all and if I didn't have these problems I wouldn't need to put these hours in, so the way I look at it I'm just getting that bad period out of the way while I find the piece around which to complete the jigsaw.

The standing start drill does nothing for my accuracy but it's a great help with generating more spin, and by the end I was bowling off two steps into the delivery stride and it was 50:50 whether the ball would be a dismal wide or a big-turning beauty. It's baffling how I can have such bad balls interspersed with ones that would give most batsmen a heart attack, but rest assured I intend to get to the bottom of it! I suppose it could be that in the indoor nets I've been playing safe a bit and not trying to spin the ball as much as I can, while outdoors - particularly when I'm alone - I'm really trying to get a good rip on the ball. If that's so then maybe I haven't actually made that much progress this winter beyond trading spin for accuracy, which is a classic leg-spinner's cul-de-sac.

I stopped for a pint and Gaz was in, so I got talking to him about my School old-boys cricket team who seem to have been struggling for players last season. I need to make sure playing with them doesn't cause problems as far as the league is concerned as our club sec has enough grief with league rules and transfers as it is. It'd be nice to play the odd game for my old school. I only played a few matches for the 3rds while I was there and only got the one house match on the beautiful ground there with it's scenic surroundings. It'd also mean I get a few more games without feeling like I'm hogging a place in the 4ths that might be better used by a junior breaking into senior cricket. Gaz also spoke about the County Council XI which I'm eligible to play for, so I may play in their game against Leicestershire County Council in July. We'll see, but it'd good for me to have a few 'extra' games to get a bit more experience in.

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