October 11, 2016
Finally, I had managed to attend mid-week training at Ginninderra. By then, I had decided to replicate Ben Hilfenhaus’s bowling action, which generates good out-swing at a decent pace. I had experimented with his bowling action in a Sunday Social game and took 2 wickets in 4 overs, but I had issues with my run-up, especially when I bowl wide of the crease, which doesn’t control my outswing very well.
That’s why I decided on Tuesday to buy and use a bowling marker at training. I placed the marker near the ‘stumps’ at the bowler’s end, where I would place my right foot. The idea is to help me stay closer to the stumps and not give width to the right-handed batters.
As a result, I ripped out three 1st grade batters and nearly had a fourth much to the delight of their teammate Luke Ryan. I clean bowled the vice-captain Rhys Healy, then Lochlan Christian chopped on before captain Brendan Roweth got a faint tickle to the keeper. As I said, I nearly had a fourth, but I spilled a return catch off the coach, Mick Delaney.
Batting was a bit of a challenge with the lack of consistent light in the nets, particularly against the tall fast bowlers. But I managed to bat well. Then we finished with fielding. It was ok to start with, but it got really tough when we were penalized whenever someone missed a catch. The last thing I needed is to remind me of the bad times back in Perth.
October 13, 2016
Thursday training was a big turnout compared to Tuesday. So I didn’t get much of a bat. However, I used the opportunity to continue the excellent work with the bowling. Having managed to control my out-swinger, I decided to engage my right knee, and the results were mind-blowing. Immediately I gained extra bounce, which caused plays and misses, edges, mishits, and the occasional clean bowled.
On Tuesday, after a while, batters were able to hit through the line, but suddenly I felt the tables were turned, and that has brought a bit more confidence for my bowling. The fielding component was better as well. We tried to simulate what we would expect in a game and, from there, practice our catching, throwing, and backing up the wayward throws.
We later had a BBQ afterwards where the selections had gone out. I was hoping to play in the lower grades so I can get some bowling, particularly in 4th grade, whom Jason Cooper reckons I’m better off in that grade based on what he’s seen. As it turned out, I was to play in 5ths at Conder so I can get some bowling. I later got encouragement from Chakra Ravinuthala, the 4th-grade captain, to go and set my field rather than let the 5th-grade skipper Joe Laria set for me.
October 15, 2016
The Conder Oval was right behind the Lanyon Vikings Club, where I attended the Canberra Malayalee Association’s awards night back in July. The pitch was a lot of green, and the outfield was not even across some areas, not adequately cut. The Western Districts & University of Canberra players believe the pitch will cause deliveries to misbehave. Sensing we didn’t have a full team with our captain Joe Laria to rock up later, they put us into bat. We ended up having 10 people turn up with a couple of players that were about 14 years of age. I think they were hoping that could roll us over extremely cheaply, and the start would have reflected that view.
Sammy Gautam, Blake Nitschke, and Will Thomson were dismissed with 14 on the board. Sammy and Blake were bowled playing across the line while Will copped a brute of a delivery that climbed and brushed his glove. We managed to at least bat to drinks when we were 4/45 after 23 overs courtesy of Govind Thiagarajan’s patient 10 that was made across 20-odd overs. After drinks, Caleb Stevens and Sam Anavatti batted really well for us to put on 70 for the 5th wicket. Caleb’s knock was an incredibly mature one, and it came at the right time for us. He got himself in, sussed the pitch out, and went to play his shots. Sam did likewise, but he rotated the strike more when Caleb was dealing in ones and twos. From 4/106 with under 10 overs to go, we would have hoped for 130+, but we lost the plot and got bowled out for 121 in 42.3 overs. Caleb made 44, and Sam made 22. I ended up coming in last and didn’t face a ball when Dominic Ross held out. Had he survived, we could have eked out a few more runs.
I got the opportunity to open the bowling in our defense with Will. I started things off by claiming one of the openers as they tried to go over the top and hand Adam O’Connor (who just arrived from Canada 2 days ago) an easy catch. Will chipped in by knocking over their number three with a similar delivery that Will himself got out to. Meanwhile, the Wests captain, Dean Whitelum, was holding the innings together briefly, and he got lucky against my bowling. A couple of high balls fell short of fielders, and then he was dropped by Blake at mid-on. In amongst off this, I managed to get a few plays and misses while he worked me away through mid-on for a four and then smash a rare full toss of mine for six.
I was done after my sixth over in which I had 1 for 24, and as it turned out, I never bowled again in the match. Not soon after, the number four bat was dismissed by Adam (who was previously in Canada for the last two and a half years) with Will taking the catch. Then Dominic Ross bowled Whitelum with an in-swinger, and Wests were 4 for 40 odd. They obviously had a mini partnership going, but we managed to claim two more wickets before drinks. Sam Anavatti deceived Neil Hathaway with flight and loop to bowl him, and then Surojit Samanta was run out when he tried to get off the mark. At drinks, they were 6 for 70. They were ahead of the rate, but we had a chance knowing we needed just a further 4 wickets.
They continued to take the attack to us, and it seemed that they may have run away with the victory. Joe bowled their number seven who was anchoring the innings, and then Govind claimed the eight-wicket when the number nine batter was caught out trying to clear the infield. As it turned out, Govind had bowled the wrong-un, so that was a piece of smart bowling on his part. Then it got tense, and it really seemed that Wests would sneak through. I was guilty of making that happen as I spilled a simple offering off Govind’s bowling.
However, what transpired next was unbelievable. The number ten bat, Szabo, was adjudged run out by the square-leg umpire when it appeared he plonked his bat down rather than sliding it, which could have saved his wicket. Then Adam clean bowled their number eleven to ensure we snuck home by a single run. Wests all out for 120 with all the bowlers taking a wicket and Adam O’Connor the pick of the bowlers with 2/14 off 6.3 overs.
We managed to sing the club song, which is a tradition similar to how the AFL clubs celebrate when they win. To beat our cross-town rivals by a single run is a great way to start the season despite having only 10 players. As it transpired, all our grades were taking on Wests, and all of our grades won except 1st grade, which is a pretty good achievement.
I had a yarn with Joe after the game; as it turned out, I was given a crappy end with the wind not conducive to support my out-swing. I ended bowling cross-seam that allowed me to generate the out-swing through my action, but it harmed my run-up, so my rhythm was out.
I was hoping for better luck next time I bowl, but it’s an excellent way to get my first wicket in the ACT Premier competition for Ginninderra.