Monday, 21 May 2012

Finger update

The swelling on my finger was still evident today so I rang NHS Direct for some advice, and the nice lady who spoke to me said that a trip to A&E might be in order. After a fairly lengthy but not unreasonable wait, my finger was seen to by a doctor who, after the odd prod and squeeze here and there - "Does this hurt? No... Does this hurt? No... Does this hurt? YES!!!" - sent me for an X-ray. Three X-rays and a short wait later I was told they suspect there's a small fracture just above the joint that was dislocated, but that otherwise I should retain full function in the finger once it's healed. I've got to see a specialist on Monday, but for now I'm out of action for the foreseeable future.

Sunday, 20 May 2012

Adding injury to insult

Well if last weekend was frustrating, this weekend took the biscuit. We were up against Aston, and as with last week we had the relatively new innovation of a warm-up before the game. After a bit of gentle running around playing catch we moved on to an exercise where one person would lob the ball up in the air for an oncoming fielder to catch. I had already set off to catch a ball when Dan, keen to make the exercise a little more challenging, started telling me to touch the ground before catching the ball, which threw me enough to not quite get my hands under it, resulting in a dropped catch and an unusual sensation in my right hand.

As I looked down I was somewhat perturbed to see the little finger on my right hand pointing in a highly unorthodox direction. Having never broken a bone or dislocated a joint in my life I really didn't have the first clue as to what had happened, except that whatever it was it wasn't healthy. I couldn't move the finger at all, not because it hurt too much - it just refused to operate. It was extremely distressing to have a part of my body reduced to the status of Associate Member, but Ali soon surmised that it was dislocated rather than broken, and said I could either go to hospital or reset it myself, warning me that it would be painful.

Monday, 14 May 2012

Be careful what you wish for...

This weekend was, not to put too fine a point on it, a disaster. I hardly know where to start in describing the sheer frustration welling up inside me as I think back on it. A full month into the season I did at last have the ball thrown my way, only to have is snatched back in a manner which left me absolutely hopping mad. So sit back and enjoy one of PC's trademark rants...

The day didn't start brilliantly. I was warming up in the nets when Ali and Dan called me away to make sure we knew what we were doing is setting up the pitch, and after less than ten minutes I went back to the nets to find some thieving bastard(s) had stolen two of my balls. They must have known they were mine, I'm the only person who goes around with a bag of 8 - make that 6 - identical balls, specially chosen because they closely resemble the balls we use in the league. I am becoming extremely tired of the rather 'Marxist' view some people in the club seem to have towards other people's property.

So anyway, the game got underway with the opening pair starting solidly and continuing solidly. Indeed, they were into the 90s before they were parted. In came a guy with a retro Duncan Fearnley bat who to be fair had the talent to match the master blaster image as he set about smiting the bowling to all parts. Dan then brought me on to bowl and I set about placing my field with only one variation from normal being that Ali went on the leg-side boundary when I would probably have put him at slip.

Thursday, 10 May 2012

Steady progress

I went down to the club on Tuesday for a bowl, oblivious to the fact that the under 15s had a game on. No matter, a few distractions aside I managed to get through a full-ish programme. At the moment there are four things I'm working on and in general it seems to be going well and I'm probably bowling as well as I was at the end of last season. The spin is still there, the flight is still tempting, the accuracy is reasonable and I may even have got a touch faster. Here are the four things and the reasons for them:
  • Straighter run-up - easier to concentrate on target area, less energy wasted and less stress on knees from over-rotation.
  • Higher leap - more energy transferred into the delivery, easier to get into a more side-on stride
  • High front arm - Less tendency to throw the front arm away, better balance, initiates a more repeatable shoulder movement.
  • Higher bowling arm - less variables so better accuracy, slightly more speed, more adaptable for more advanced variations i.e. Wrong 'Un/Flipper
A father of a couple of our senior players, who must have played a bit in the past, came in for a bat and once I'd found my rhythm I was regularly getting him all crossed up, with plenty of stumping and catching chances as well as a few mis-hits, and he said afterwards that he thought I bowled a really tempting length, exactly what I'm aiming for. Just before I finished for the evening, bowling on my own, I started bowling really consistently and produced some really beautiful deliveries.

Monday, 7 May 2012

A long way to drive for fielding practise

I suppose after the weather issues last weekend I should be happy to have played two matches this weekend, but in all honesty I'm feeling pretty low. Two matches, both at charming little grounds in obscure corners of North Staffordshire, but I faced a total of three balls, and bowled none. The consolation that the last competitive ball I bowled took a wicket (last year) is beginning to wear just a tad thin.

Saturday's game was against Porthill Park, but played on their Scot Hay ground - a nice if slightly tatty ground half way up a large hill near Newcastle under Lyme. In classic fashion a few drop-outs in the club left us a man down before we'd even started, and we turned up to find a large rectangular pudding had been inlaid into the ground where the wicket should have been. Dan was of a mind to bat first, but a few of us (including me) persuaded him that with the sun out the wicket could only get better so we'd bowl first. In the end we lost the toss and had to bat anyway...

Friday, 4 May 2012

Back on the physio's table

I'm sure it will surprise no-one to learn that my match last weekend was called off well in advance due to the rain, as in point of fact the ground we were due to play on was actually flooded. This has given me a little more time to work on my bowling, or at least it would have if it wasn't for the very sudden and unprovoked onset of a massive pain in the left side of my neck. As such I wasn't able to do any bowling on Monday, which was unbelievably frustrating as the appearance of a strange bright orb in the sky, which I seem to vaguely remember is more properly called "the Sun", made it the best day for bowling in a month or so. It was so frustrating to have to let such a perfect day go to waste.

So on Wednesday morning back I went to Bluebell, my physio, where once again Nicki knew exactly which bits to press to make me grimace. I don't want to make it sound like torture because she's very good, but it does feel like with a deft little press of her thumb here or there I would pretty quickly fold under questioning. My neck seems to be responding reasonably well, but I'm not feeling 100% yet so this weekend's match against Porthill could be tricky - not only am I out of practise, I'm also a little hampered, which is far from ideal for my first match bowling of the season.