Friday, 15 April 2011

A turning point...?

No video for you this time, I thought I'd just go and have a normal net without the hours of editing afterwards. As usual I started off with some gentle standing-start bowling drills in an empty net, but wasn't totally satisfied with how everything was feeling. Sure enough when I started bowling at batsmen it wasn't clicking and I was bowling some really poor balls - wides, long-hops, full-tosses and none of them with much rip. Anyway, I persevered with only modest improvement until it came to my turn to bat.

After the summary failure that was my slog-athon on Sunday, I decided this time to just play my own game, i.e. defensively - block the good balls, leave anything that was neither hitting nor hittable, and only try to attack the really bad balls. Sadly the guys bowling at me were, to be frank, rather inaccurate and I probably left more than half of the balls I faced. I only hit out at a couple, was bowled once and gave away only a couple of catching chances.

Harry was back bowling again so it was nice to get some practise in against a leg-spinner, something I've lacked in the past because I'm pretty much the only one who bowls it. I did OK - he started out bowling outside leg stump and although he was turning it nicely it was easy to form a wide barrage with pad and bat so they weren't troubling me. He moved to a leg-stump line and had me in much more trouble, and if he had a ball that didn't turn with a leg-break action I would have been really up the creek, but as it was I just defended the stumps and the ball turned well outside the edge of the bat. It was useful to see how the other half lives! Anyway, my defence was pretty solid although it would have been nice to get bat on ball more often. So rarely do I face balls in the corridor on a drive-able length that I don't know how I'm supposed to learn anything.

I went back to bowling again, and again it was a bit haphazard, and then one of the old hands at the club (I hope he won't mind me calling him that) called me across to the other net and gave me some intensive coaching. First of all he got me thinking about my "trigger", which is something I hadn't thought of before, at least in terms of my bowling. He got me bowling around the wickets, with a high arm, trying to release the ball at the same point each time. Bowling round the wicket has never been a strong point of mine but for some reason it worked very well. Perhaps this was partly to do with him insisting that I start my run-up side on, so I sort-of crabbed diagonally into my delivery stride. Whatever it was, I was now bowling a consistent line and length with a fair amount of spin, PROVIDED I remembered to keep my arm high and felt for that point where I should release the ball.

I bowled about four overs at some of the senior batsmen - just me bowling, no-one else - and it seemed very encouraging, with them having to either adjust their shots or else the ball narrowly passed outside the edge. My consistency was so much better, only on the two occasions where I lost my form did I lose either line or, within reason, length. It felt very strange to be bowling the way I was, round the wicket with a high arm, aiming outside leg stump, but I can't argue with the results. I may have to persevere with it for a while, despite it feeling "wrong", as it could be just the thing to move my bowling on to the next level.

Well, there's only just over a week to go until our first match. I'm unable to go to nets on Sunday so there's just one net between now and then for me. Summer seems to have taken an age to arrive, but I'm now starting to feel a few nerves...

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