November 8, 2016
Thankfully the weather stayed away today for training as it allowed me to hone my run-up for bowling. I have been able to bowl reasonably quickly at the start, but the problem was that I was a bit lazy with my knee drive, which would have made life even extra difficult for the batters. It was because I went flat out for pace, which is quite the opposite of what I should be doing.
Hence, I slowed down my run as I focused more on building acceleration of my run-up, which will help my knee-drive, and the results were better, although, at times, my bowling arm was coming through enough. So there was work to do in that aspect.
Batting was a little different at training since we were given a maximum of ten balls to bat a time before you exchange with your batting partner. If you get out within your turn, then you had to turn it over. Thankfully I didn’t get out, but I felt I couldn’t have been better at getting my head over the ball, which was something that Luke had also instilled in me since our days together.
Overall I got a lot out of the training session with the ball in hand, and I didn’t get tired courtesy of the extra energy. It is a testament to the fitness work I’ve done since the off-season, and long may the good work continue.
November 10, 2016
This morning I woke up with a sore back and legs. I usually work out my back and legs whenever I don’t have cricket because it will be critical for my bowling in particular. For the whole day, I had pain in these areas, but it wasn’t going to stop me from training because I wanted to continue bowling.
I added some minor tweaks to my delivery action, which later helped me to be back to my unplayable best. I had quite enjoyed the contest with my 5th-grade captain Joe Laria. I was beating him with out-swing and bounce before he edged a delivery into the slips. It was later good to get his positive feedback from him, and he had suggested what field settings I could do for certain situations for my bowling. It’s really nice to have a captain that thinks a lot about cricket like I do.
November 12, 2016
I was hopeful of a match today once the rain from overnight had cleared. It would have been disappointing to drive for 30 minutes to Queanbeyan and then having to go back home as the pitch would not be dried in time. That’s what happened to our 4th-grade side who had their game abandoned in Chisholm, Tuggeranong, without a toss. It was because there were no covers to protect the pitch from the rain. Instead, with some of our players from the initial starting line-up having withdrawn before the match, we managed to get two players from 4ths, Jess Howard and Jason Cooper.
We were at Brad Haddin Oval (formerly Queanbeyan Town Park) which for cricket nuffies is named after former Australian and NSW Wicket-keeper Brad Haddin whom was involved in two victorious World Cup squads for Australia in 2007 and 2015 and was the main hero with the bat in the victorious Ashes whitewash in 2013-14. Anyways, back to the real cricket. The curator for this oval had told us that although the pitch looked ready, the adjacent square was still damp to be played on. Hence, it was advised that we had to inspect the ground at 2pm with the hope of a 2.30 start.
That left us with at least an hour to kill. I would have loved to go to the nearby Anytime Fitness for a short gym session to warm up my muscles, but I didn’t have my gym gear (I usually carry it in my car, but it was with my parents who need to get around with it for the day). Instead, I went for a significant feed of Subway in the Riverside Plaza shopping center, followed by some Honey Soy and Tandoori chicken wings from Kingsley’s. By the time I returned, the stumps were already in place, so I thought we’re going to have a game, albeit a reduced one.
Joe lost the toss, and we batted in overcast skies. It was a 37 overs a side game due to the delayed start with 2 bowlers can bowl 8 overs max while the others can bowl a maximum of 7 overs. Quite frankly, our batting continued our usual struggle. Queanbeyan to their credit got the ball to move considerably, and the keeper stood up to their bowlers for the whole innings, which meant that batting outside the crease had been taken away from us. We could only manage 7 for 91 in our allocated overs. I felt the turning point was the freakish catch to dismiss Michael Ison, who looked good again. If the ball was traveling a wee bit higher, then it would have been a safe shot. Govind Thiagarajan’s new personal best of 24 and Chris Arcella unbeaten 23 (despite the fact he felt he wasn’t batting that great) ensured we batted our overs, but Arcella a.k.a Archie thought we should have been proactive against such bowling.
From there, Queanbeyan ran away from the game and consigned us to a hattrick of defeats as they won by 8 wickets. Adam O’Connor and I bowled all right, although we conceded a few boundaries between ourselves. I got the ball to swing, but the line was too straight to my liking, which is why the Queanbeyan openers got me away for a few boundaries. Whenever I bowled outside off, I managed to keep the runs down there. As a result, I finished with 6 wicketless overs for 23. Although it was a slightly forgettable outing, I remember the sledge from the Queanbeyan opening bowler John Fern who was standing as square-leg umpire. Adam had bowled a short ball that hit their captain, who was batting at the time as he tried to pull. John simply said along the lines of “Jeez, his missus has given him a better hook than that,” and I was cracking up laughing.
Although we lost by 8 wickets, we at least managed to push the game till the 31st over courtesy of tight bowling from Jess Howard, who should have got a wicket and Thomas Ison, who got both the openers out in an impressive five-over spell which included a hat-trick of maidens. To be honest, our bowling isn’t too bad. It’s just that our batting and fielding need more improvement, and we can work on it no problem.
Regarding me, I should have bowled around outside-off like I did at training, which was disappointing. I have to go back to basics again, given that after a decent start with the ball in hand in the season, I’ve only taken one wicket in 24 overs across three games. I’ve been keeping it tight, but I need to make subtle changes, particularly for various conditions.