October 10, 2017
Having missed the Twenty20s as Neethu’s parents were visiting from Melbourne, I was ready to play cricket. In particular, I was planning to go and spend a whole season in 6ths under Chris Arcella. However, I was persuaded to reconsider by a friend of mine, Vishnu Chari, who thought I would be better off in 4ths, given my skill level. I had later learned that Joe Laria was to captain 4th grade, and he was one of the captains that have valued my bowling very well. So I thought, why not give 4th grade a crack. So I told JP, our chairman of selectors, that I was keen for both 4ths and 6ths. The next logical step was to attend training. I was desperately eager to go and practice with my refined bowling action from my time in Southern Cricket.
As a matter of fact, I didn’t quite generate the swing and bounce until after training today when I went to practice on my own. It was clear to me that I forgot my bowling routine until that moment, which now becomes crucial that I remember it every time I go out to bowl.
Batting was a little bit better. I managed to deflect the ball and played some excellent shots. But I suffered a slight heartbreak when I tried to turn a ball onto the leg-side only for the splice to crack upon impact. That was the second broken-bat I had this year. The Gray-Nicolls e-41 bat I had since 2013 lost a chunk of the bat previously in August while I was trying to drive. But the bat with the cracked splice was the Gray-Nicolls Momentum that I had since 2015. Thankfully I have two bats still standing.
October 14, 2017
I’ve arrived in Aranda about an hour early because I was in the Belconnen Area for a house inspection for my brother. I was initially hoping yesterday that since Joe was captain, I could perhaps play at Kippax in 4ths. However, it later appeared that the 4th-grade side was packed with batting. It was ok nevertheless because I was in 6ths playing for Archie, my other favorite captain to date. I was a little surprised to find a bunch of people playing on the Aranda strip. Usually, some grounds would put a perimeter fencing around it to dissuade people from tampering the pitch. I was hopeful in 6ths that I would fire with bat and ball. Archie advised that I’m very likely to have a chance to contribute in an all-round role. Looking at our side, we only have three decent bowlers in me, Dom Ross and Duncan Gammage; thereby, all three of us needed to bowl out 9 overs each and try to restrict Eastlake.
As I was going on my warm-up run, I took a quick look at the pitch, and it was absolutely green all over except around the batting crease. I prompted messaged Archie that it was a really great wicket to bowl on. However, before we can toss the coin, all the sheds were locked, which meant no cones and stumps. Hence a delayed start was inevitable. Dom Ross went over to Kippax to fetch the stumps and bails. However, not long after he left, Damian Eason, the coach of our Colts (Under 18s) side, arrived and unlocked both change rooms and the shed where the stumps, bails, and cones were kept. Duncan and Damian set up the pitch while Sanjay Sharma and I set up the boundaries (although with later help from Duncan).
The toss was equally vital for us (actually for either side). Thankfully Archie won the toss and sent Eastlake into bat. Apparently, since Eastlake was struggling for numbers, we were against a team of mostly schoolboys. Technically it was a mismatch on paper.
Duncan started off with the first over. He nearly struck early, but Dom Ross at gully dropped Tom Arthur. Three overs later, though, Dom secured redemption by having Nic Arthur caught nicely by Brandon Edgartown. It was 1/7. He soon had Tom Arthur caught behind by Dan Stiller. 2/17. By then, Duncan was still beating the bat and drawn a few edges, including a catchable one that went through Dean Wickham at first slip. After 5 luckless overs, I had my chance with the ball in hand.
My third ball was hit for four, which was the only long hop I’ve bowled today. My first four overs ended up going for just eight runs but no wickets. However, Eastlake collapsed from 2/18 to 7/27 within a blink of an eye. Dom had T Hillan caught and bowled and bowled J Hillan next ball. Although he didn’t get a hattrick, he then bowled Riley Frost and P Hillan. So he finished with 6/7 from his 9 overs. Without a doubt, it was his best-ever figures in grade. His previous best was 5/22 from 9 overs, which was remarkable considering the opposition had scored 300 odd. He took the first six wickets to fall with the 7th wicket coming from a run out from yours indeed. Fitzgerald clipped Dom onto the leg side where the ball came to me. As I was well in, I was able to swoop onto the ball to affect the run-out (with a bit of help from Dan Stiller). It was my first run-out that I had effected since 2009-10, and it was my very first run-out in grade cricket. I was pretty pumped.
It was of no surprise that the confidence from the run-out had flowed into my bowling. I bowled Davis with a ball that woeful had swung back in before it decked away to hit the top of off stump. It was 8/32. After Dom, Dean bowled his only over and took a wicket of Fitzgerald. It was 9/38. Soon after, I took a wicket with my first ball in a new over to dismiss M Mahajan. He was caught by Archie at mid-off; although it appeared, my hand had distracted him as the ball came very quickly to him. I agreed with him on that fact, but I didn’t agree with the fact that it was a deflection because I didn’t feel the ball touching my hand. I didn’t think Mahajan hit a catch to Archie as I thought it was a bump ball at first. But Archie (and everyone) else thought it was a catch. So, Eastlake was all out for 38, and I had 2/11 off 5.1 overs. Pretty good after a long hop in the first over.
The victory was later assured when Dean went bang despite Brandon fell early for 3. Dean smashed big sixes much to our surprise and had proved to Archie who claimed that he cannot loft the ball. Dean’s sixes were as clean as Chris Lynn and hit four of them in his unbeaten 31 off 22 balls. Andrew Loveday soon hit the winning boundary to wrap up victory in the 7th over. We have a 9 wicket victory. So we were away.
Personally, I was okay with my bowling. I didn’t really try to generate swing and bounce as I was able to get help from the pitch. Perhaps an area of perfection moving forward once the pitches become more balanced with bat and ball. As it proved, I have taken wickets more frequently when I don’t open the bowling. It looks like I have a set bowling role moving forward.