Western Districts & University of Canberra vs Ginninderra at Kippax 2 Oval, December 11 2016

December 9, 2016

The euphoria following my maiden five for continued since last Saturday. Chris ‘Archie’ Arcella had tagged me on a Facebook post regarding Hobart Hurricane’s search for the final spot in their Big Bash League roster. I found it hilarious yet flattering; hence I indicated that I should be playing in 1st grade to being called up for something like this. The well-wishes for the five-for were coming from the Ginninderra players, and one of my ex-coaches, Luke Wimbridge, was coming in on Facebook.

To top it all off, nothing beats praise from a higher grade cricketer being said face to face. That’s what happened recently at training when Jak Wilcox, the tall left-arm quick who plays in our 1st-grade side, gave me a warm handshake and a few words to congratulate me on receiving a five-for against our cross-town rivals. This kind of appreciation is one of the reasons why I joined Ginninderra. Everyone’s out there to support each other on and off the field, plus people from all grades are being treated equally. If someone scores a 50, 100, or takes five wickets or hat-trick, there will be congratulations all round. No factions. No grudges. No junior/senior divide. Nothing.

Before training on Thursday (which was the only training session with the Tuesday session canceled due to Australia vs. New Zealand game at Manuka Oval), I was going through Youtube videos on reverse-swing and the techniques on how it can be executed. I was contemplating adding a few more skills to my armor, especially with a much older ball on certain pitches.  Furthermore, I was also shadow practicing my wrist position for the in-swinger, given that I would like to add a variation to my bowling, especially with the new ball. I managed to try it with some success on Thursday, but the training was hampered due to showers pouring down at around 6pm.

As it seemed, that would have been my only cricket activity all week given that I wasn’t going to play over the weekend with Neethu, my fiancée coming down from Adelaide, and I wasn’t going to initially play on Sunday given that I wasn’t selected in the higher grade semi-finals. So I was entirely down and had resigned myself for no cricket during the weekend.

However, later today, after picking Neethu up from the airport, the 4th-grade captain (and secretary of Ginninderra) Chakra Ravinuthala asked me if I could play on Sunday when Sidu Macal withdrew. I took the opportunity on and told Chakra that I will see him at Kippax 2. As a matter of fact, given that I had managed to take wickets as he expected, including the five-for last weekend, it was kind of him to consider me for selections in the semi-final. Actually, he asked me to keep Sunday free which is what I did. I am incredibly grateful for Chakra for presenting me with the opportunity for the following three reasons:

  1. The semi-final was against our cross-town rivals, Wests-UC
  2. We were playing on the club headquarters where we usually train at Kippax Oval no. 2
  3. Exposure to the white ball.

I haven’t had an opportunity to bowl with the white ball yet, but I knew that it presented a chance to use my honed technique to extract movement from my body. I would love to get my hands on the white ball and bowl with it even if it’s a few overs but I will have to wait and see. I only bowled a few balls with an old white ball at training during the preseason, but this is a different experience altogether.

December 10, 2016

I had fun yesterday with Neethu. We went to Lennox Gardens to have our pizza lunch before going to Max Brenner’s Chocolate Cafe (I had a waffle with banana, strawberries, and chocolate ice cream) and then to AMF Bowling Center in Belconnen. In AMF, I was bowling with a bowling ball, not a 4 piece cricket ball. For once, I was obsessed with speed. I was in the mid 20s km/hr with occasional forays in the 30s. Still, I manage to average approximately 100 points per game.

We later had dinner at Bollywood Masala in Kingston (close to our accommodation for the weekend in East Hotel), and the dinner was excellent as well as the service was quick. It helped when we came at a less busy time. It was during the dinner that I was greeted with the shocking news that our 5th grade lost to Tuggeranong by 2 wickets defending 121. I would have thought things would go pear-shaped for Joe Laria, our captain. Mostly, my absence was significant as was Will Thomson’s when he got promoted to 4ths for the 2-day clash against Norths.

Furthermore, Dominic Tran pulled out at the last minute. So fielding with 10 people was going to be tough this time around. So Tuggeranong proved me wrong by beating Wests than us, so I admit it wasn’t nice to call them the whipping boys of 5th grade, and I do apologize for that statement. I also acknowledge that I was insensitive to Dominic’s absence, thinking he was supposed to play, so I also apologize for the insensitivity.

December 11, 2016

It’s game time, and I’m about to check out of the East Hotel to drop Neethu off at the airport and then get ready for the semi-final clash that I’m still incredibly grateful for. Given there’s no Ben Peel, Sidu Macal, or Adam O’Connor, I would hope to take advantage of a newer one-day white ball and seek to swing it immediately by opening the bowling. Still, it will be Chakra’s call later on either when we bowl first or second.

We eventually lost the toss, and we were to bowl first on a wicket that Vishnu Chari described it as slow, low, and flat. We managed to break through early when Natarajan held out to Prasad Karlapur at Mid-off in the second over of the innings off Jess Howard’s bowling. But Allan Xu and Damien Whitelum were hard to dislodge despite the tidy efforts of Jess, Prasad, Cody Linsday, and Tom Parr. Quite the contrary from Vishnu’s assessment, the wicket started to misbehave from both ends when balls started rearing up from a length during the Wests’ innings.

I later managed to get a go bowling in the 30th over, given the tidy start with the ball we had. I would have like to take advantage of a newer ball earlier on, but I had the white ball that was heavily scuffed up on one end and shiny on the other. I finally got a chance with the white ball ever (apart from a few balls at preseason training) to bowl with. I was trying to bowl out-swing, but in my first over, it swung in instead. It was probably how I was able to clean bowl Whitelum after he made 55 when the ball hit the top of the middle stump. I broke through in my third delivery with the white ball, and I felt I was away.

Soon after, Chakra had Yorke brilliantly caught by Joe and then trapped Ewart lbw in the following over. It was interesting that the umpire gave it out not only after a prolonged appeal, but he appeared to shake his head before that. That’s how everyone saw it, but I shouldn’t discuss further as umpiring decisions for discussion is taboo, especially on Social Media.  So we were in the game.

I should have at least had Xu caught behind when the ball swung out instead of swinging in, given that the rough side was on the right side except the chance was missed. Regardless, I was able to reverse the white ball. All the talk about the white ball being like a dog’s breakfast after the first 10 overs or so yet I was able to extract bounce and swing with the white ball. Once again, all the work I did with Southern Cricket came into the fore, although I developed experience with reverse swing in my short four-over spell that went for 21. Basically, 1/21 off my 4 overs, which gave me my 13th wicket for the season with one more weekend before Christmas/New Year break. I would have liked to bowl more, but thankfully, Chakra pulled me out at the right time; otherwise, my confidence would have been entirely shot.

Anyways, Amit took over from me and effected a middle-order wobble. He bowled Xu through the gate to end his innings on 36, which lasted for about 40 overs. He soon trapped Josh Rowland lbw to a ball that kept low when he went back. He made 47. Then he had Singh stumped on his first ball, which left Singh in disbelief and took 2-3 minutes to get off the pitch. Amit soon took his 4th when bowled Wilson, who kept out Amit’s hat-trick ball.

Cody later got the wicket of Toby Chugg, and he executed his yorkers well in the last over of the innings. He should have got a second wicket, but I dropped a catch having run in from deep mid-wicket and instead hit me right on the outer palm on the left-hand. It was the same place where I hurt myself while training on my birthday in our fielding sessions. I was also dealing with a bruised left shin having stopped a drive off Chakra’s bowling earlier, but it was no excuse for dropping the chance having done the hard work in getting to the ball in the first place.

Wests finished with 9/195 off their 45 overs, and we needed to make 196 to advance to the final. Rob, the Ginninderra groundsman who prepared the Aranda wicket in our game against Weston Creek last month, was giving us iced orange Gatorade, which was good given that it was warm and most of the team was tired from yesterday’s effort. Tom was supposed to open for us but he had to leave at 4pm for his work that was starting at 5. So Chakra and Vishnu opened. Vishnu was resolute while Chakra was trying to give us a fast start. They added nearly 40 in 7 overs before Vishnu was bowled for 9 by one that cut back into him. That was the start of the precession we had that killed our chase. Chakra was out for 30 when the fielder spilled a catch at cover before he caught it on the rebound much to our disbelief. Amit was clean bowled. Jason Cooper gloved a ball to the keeper. Then Sumanth Purelli, Vijay Selvarathnam, and Prasad were caught at slip off Yorke’s bowling when they edged deliveries that spun and bounced. Cody was clean bowled through the gate. Then Jess and I were outdone by balls that hardly bounced. I edged mine to the keeper before Jess was trapped LBW.

I nearly perished on my first ball when I got a ball from Yorke that spun and bounced, which created a leading edge. I realized I was playing with hard hands, so I loosened my bottom hand and the next ball, I got off the mark with a couple. I was looking good batting with Joe, and I was determined to keep batting till the end, and hopefully, we could keep the chase intact. But I got out for 6 caught behind as discussed and Joe finished with 14 not out. He was stranded and batted quite well. Although he’s a back-foot player, he showed an ability to adapt and get forward. That’s why he was not out in the end.

Anyways, we got smashed. Wests were through to the one day final next Sunday, December 18th, to play either Norths or Queanbeyan. Joe and I ended up discussing cricket as I was driving him to his parents’ house in Kaleen. As I touched upon before, Joe is a cricket nuffy and has excellent ideas for the game like I do. We were discussing certain things about what will happen for us and the lower grades after the Christmas/New Year break. I’ve told Joe that I wouldn’t mind going up the grades if they need a bowler that was consistently performing like myself. As I had touched on before, Joe was the main reason for the consistent performance since I had been bowling at least 6 overs a game.

I later learned in the loss against Tuggeranong that we were about 7/40 before being dismissed for 121 courtesy of Archie and Joe making 29 each, and then Jess made her personal best of 15 not out. Then Adam and Joe were amongst the wickets but not enough to dislodge me from being the team’s leading wicket-taker in 5th grade for now. Apparently, I was complementing Archie’s batting through Facebook Messenger when he said that the team missed me. I assured him that I will be back for the next game against Archie’s former club, Norths, on his old turf in Harrison. I suppose we may have a strong team to choose from, and I hope I will be amongst the playing 12 for next weekend. I think Joe was telling me that I may need to open the bowling again, although I’ve taken wickets with the older ball in the past two weeks.

Unfortunately, the bruised left-shin was later to be showing some swelling when I tried to compare my two legs. It was yet another injury to add to my collection that has happened from playing cricket. I would have thought it was unfortunate given the circumstances of how it happened, but perhaps I thought I should have gone back to basics by using the long barrier technique even if the ball was hit quite hard. I want to show commitment, but now getting hurt will be in the back of your mind since it happened previously.

It does have an effect mentally when you hurt yourself like this, and it will undoubtedly come back to haunt you when we attempt half-chances at training in the future. I want to improve my fielding for sure, but I need to do it in a way, so these things don’t happen much.

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