January 16, 2018
Started with fielding upon a usual late arrival at training. We were doing some slips catching. I took some excellent catches (including one down low to my left) but dropped one. As part of a group, we were aiming to catch ten on the trot, but it took a since there was a dropped catch from somebody. So once we managed the sequence for the fifth time, we were all pumped, and we decided to head to the nets.
However, Kris Oliver decided that since fielding is our weakest point (he meant 3rd grade, but it still applies to everyone), we went out and did some more out ground fielding and catching work as we saw that the 1st/2nd grade boys were still out fielding. I don’t think I did too badly. I managed to juggle a catch, but I also had overrun a ball while trying to field it.
It wasn’t long before we moved to the nets. For the batsmen, it was a case of “If you’re out, you’re out” mentality. This meant that guys had an opportunity to bat for as long as they like without being dismissed. I didn’t do too badly as I made sure I played with a bent front elbow, which allowed me to time the ball against both pace and spin. I did get out eventually (instead gave myself out) when I skewed a square drive in the direction of Point.
I had initially struggled with the 15-meter run-up that I had worked on in the past, so I decided to extend my run-up to add some rhythm to it and to get some swing and bounce like previously. As a result of that adjustment, I managed to give President Griffo a run for his money (although he was technically outstanding), and I also managed to trap Joe Laria LBW. I suppose if I wanted to play two-day cricket this season, getting the captain out probably would have done me some good.
January 17, 2018
I had a personal feeling that I was to become a better bowler; I would need to learn out to properly swing the ball both ways. Instead of going to the gym, I decided to spend some time perfecting my in-swinger. I had previously tried to swing it in with suggestions from Wasim Akram via YouTube, but that didn’t really work for me. So I decided to try a grip that I remembered from watching a Bob Woolmer coaching video on YouTube. The result was promising, although it took a few goes to firstly getting the ball to move in, and secondly, in sorting out my line to land it in the right spot. At the same time, I also practiced my stock out-swinger to ensure that I could still bowl it.
During my practice, Archie messaged me. As I learned that the selections have been left to the captains now, he wanted to know my intentions for this season. I told him that I will be unavailable for the finals as I’ll be with family and so he can plan for his finals preparations without me. Before I was going to tell Adam with the same news, Archie also had passed on the message to him. I also told Archie that it will be useful to play some 2-day cricket, especially in 4th grade. For the first time this season (I think), I’ve heard him speak so positively about my chances. He believes that once I’m in good rhythm, I’ll be able to bowl longer spells and pretty much bat for a very long time. Another good thing for him is that he acknowledges the part I have played for him to help 6th grade get into the finals.
January 18, 2018
I don’t usually attend two trainings in the same week, but I thought of going anyway so that I can practice my in-swinger. Which I managed to do, but I wasn’t able to land it where I wanted all the time. When I did land it, I at least played with the batsman’s mind after bowling a few out-swingers.
I also later learned that my front arm was an issue in my bowling, so over time, I was able to correct that and get back my swing and bounce, although I wasn’t able to pose much of a trouble to our batters this time round. At least I was able to self-diagnose and correct myself.
I managed to get a bit of a bat today. Although I nicked Josh Carpenter to the keeper, I felt that my game was in good order. I was playing some good drives and using my feet well to the spinners. For good fun, I was hitting Tom Carmody out of the net a few times and was pretty much playing a shot a ball to him. When he moved to pace, I was more defensive, but I at least managed to brag a little that he still couldn’t get me out.
Tonight, I had messaged Archie, asking him whether I’ll be playing with him. The short answer was No, but the longer answer was that I would have been with him in 6ths only for the ANU White team to forfeit the match since most of their players were on university holidays. He confirmed that I would be playing in 5ths.
He asked me if I was going to be 100% unavailable next weekend and I told him while I’ll be in town, I’ve said to him that I’ve got family over for the long weekend. He broke the news that if I was available for both weeks, I was going to be picked in 4ths, which was a bummer for me (since I wanted to play 2-day cricket) and also for Joe. Hopefully, Joe still needs me from February onwards because I want to have at least one crack at 2-day cricket before the season finishes.
January 20, 2018
We started at 11am instead of the usual 12.30 due to the extreme heat forecasted in the afternoon as the temperatures are expected to reach about 39 degrees today. We were encouraged to take multiple drinks breaks were possible. As it turned out, both teams took the drinks breaks every quarter of each innings.
Queanbeyan had nine players at the start, yet they decided to field first. I was hoping we would field first since we could at least field in the morning where the heat may not be that bad. As it turned out, it was still hot even at the start. Yet they rolled us for 76 with Dan Stiller topping the scores with 29. Most of our batsmen were bowled or LBW, which concerned Adam very much when he rocked up just as our innings was about to finish. He just arrived back from Brisbane an hour later than planned. He was there watching cricket which was played last night. Adam thought most of the guys got out playing across the line (which was partly true) and not straight (absolutely right).
My contribution to our innings was 3 not out batting at 10. But I was happy about my change of mindset in that innings. When I came in, I was facing John Martin, their left-arm spinner who flights it and lands it on the spot. On my second ball, I decided to try and charge him and hit it straight, but it went to mid-off on the ground. Next ball, I came down the wicket again and went over the top of a vacant mid-on for two as it didn’t quite get to the rope. In my view, I courageously got off the mark as I generally not that proactive against spin. Once John bowled his next delivery short, I went back to cut, but the ball went straight to the fielder. Nevertheless, I continue to gain confidence when being proactive against spin, which started when I made that 47 last month.
So Queanbeyan needed 77 to beat us, and they probably might do it in a canter. There were reasonably comfortable at 1/39 at drinks (after 12 overs and Adam took the wicket opening with left-arm spin), and I had bowled one over for four runs and had two fingers in my left-hand ringing in pain after attempting to stop a drive in my follow-through. So probably it was a matter of time for them to finish this reasonably quickly. But it was going to be a canter for them.
Instead, Dom Ross and I exhibited panic for Queanbeyan as we both orchestrated a collapse. I kept it tight at one end while Dom continued his wicket-taking habits. He got rid of the Ferns by clean bowling John and trapping Michael LBW. He also had a batsman caught at mid-on by Mark Wilson as well as another batsman LBW. He finished with 4/15 after 6 overs, and I was hoping he would continue after drinks to try and get another five-for, but it wasn’t to be for him.
It was amazing that I was able to keep it tight because I was probably a little over the place with my run-up initially. Vasu Patel at least recognized that I’m landing way behind the popping crease, which made me correct my run-up so that I land just behind the popping crease. It helped me to land the ball and get the ball to swing initially, but I was still bowling a little full to my liking. Nevertheless, I managed to dismiss the left-handed Haskins with a slower ball, which the batsman dished up a lollipop of a catch for me to gobble. It was my only wicket for the day, and the second time, I dismissed a batsman caught and bowled this season (and my third catch for the season too). It was only in my sixth and last over that I finally managed to get some deliveries to swing and bounce a little, which had Couch defending a little uncomfortably from the crease. I had realized up to that point that my load wasn’t high enough as it should be at head-height at an acute angle to my body. Overall, I finished with 1/13 off 6 overs and made sure with Dom’s help that the game could still be won.
After drinks, I went off the field, and Jared Mathie came on to bowl. He got the wicket of Couch caught by Adam, but they soon finished the chase off in the 27th over. They won by three wickets, and it was the tightest of contests so far. Adam was pleased with the bowling and fielding effort and thought if we could have at least made another 30 runs or so, we could have possibly won this game. Instead, we had to contend with a tight loss (and a fourth consecutive defeat).
Although I wasn’t going to play next weekend, I was hoping on going to practice on Tuesday to continuously work on my in-swinger and my bowling fundamentals. Making sure I land closer to the popping crease and loading the ball reasonably well, allowing me to generate some swing and bounce. I later realized that our club was playing a t20 game against the Hong Kong cricketers. So I would have to practice on my own in Franklin unless there will be a few guys going to do some practice during the Twenty20 match.
Off the field, I would need to convince Neethu to allow me to spend the first weekend in February playing a two-day match, but I do have time for that.