Eastlake vs Ginnindera at Deakin West Oval, February 10 & 17 2018

February 9, 2018

I am grateful to be provided with another opportunity in 4ths after an impressive display last weekend with the ball. It also helped that some of our top players weren’t available, which gave me another chance to impress. This week at training, I was able to bowl the ball at a good pace while getting the ball to swing and bounce a little. I also managed to get my in-swinger to work from time to time, but I’m still trying to land them in the right line. I managed to pick up a noticeable scalp in Bradley Thomas (our incumbent duck champion from last season) on Thursday when we miscued a drive to where Point would have been at a catchable height.

Apart from that, the biggest gain from the week was my batting. On Tuesday, I had caught the attention of our assistant Coach Darren Walker who was impressed with my reliable technique, but he suggested that I should wait for the ball to come on against the spinners and try to hit the ball with the middle of the bat. I ended up facing Brendo, our 1st-grade skipper, who wanted to get me out. He was getting the ball to swing and had taken a few scalps himself, and so he wanted his moment of fame by getting me out. He did everything right, but he couldn’t dislodge me even though my last ball against him was a peach that missed my straight bat.

I had also picked up a few warm-up techniques from the Fitness for Cricket site, which should relieve any tightness in the muscles and possibly increase my pace, which it did at training this week.

February 10, 2018

It was a warm day today, and so I was hoping of batting first and piling on the runs. However, there was a slight issue with the pitch being very green. The expectation would be of some seam and swing movement. So the hope is that we bowl first, given the possible help in the wicket.

That’s what Joe did. He won the toss and sent Eastlake into bat. It indeed went to plan. Caleb’s first ball of the match climbed off a length, took the edge, and Joe took an easy catch at slip. Josh Carpenter, at the other end, got into the act, having had an underwhelming opening 2 overs. He had the other opener bowled off an inside edge before snaffling Kerum Koralge with a caught and bowled having bowled a slower ball the previous delivery. We were on top with 3 wickets down for less than 30 on the board.

Then came their fightback. There was some resistance during the fourth wicket stand of 35 between Anujaya and Leeshan before a fifth-wicket stand of 168 between Leeshan and Chamina really hurt us badly and had set them up for a dash later in the day. To be honest, we were on top in the first hour and a bit of the day before we allowed them to get back into the contest with sloppy fielding (through missed chances and poor ground fielding. That includes a missed run-out of my bowling, which I failed to get back to the stumps for although there was no guarantee that I would have collected Josh’s throw knock it into the stumps) and bowling (as we bowled too wide). As a result, we were really flat, and they took a full toll of it. Leeshan made 73, and Chamina made a counterattacking 109. It allowed for a quick dash to get us into bat as they finished with 8 for 279 declared.

I got my chance to bowl after drinks. I initially had struggled with a newish and shiny ball as I had struggled to get the ball to swing. After a couple of overs, I thought about changing ends, but I soon got the ball to move away from the right-handers as I hoped. I had Leeshan dropped by Michael Galen-Mules, and he probably missed a few stumpings down the leg-side since he was keeping up to the stumps, but it was my fault for bowling down leg-side though. So I ended up bowling a seven-over spell and had struck with the fourth ball of my fourth over. Anujaya, who was batting well on 30, tried to drive me through the off-side only to get a thick edge for Caleb to take an easy catch. By the time I completed my seven-over spell, I was starting to lose my line by bowling too short or too full. So it was the right decision by Joe to take me out of the attack. Nevertheless, Joe told me at tea that I’ll get a second spell today since I bowled well earlier.

I eventually got my second chance, but it was only for two overs. I had come on when Eastlake was going for the quick runs, and when I finally broke the partnership of 168 with Leeshan miscuing a shot to Harry Chittick at Mid-off with my slower ball, I decided against a third over for the sake of protecting my figures. It might have been selfish of me to do that, but I felt I didn’t quite bowl quite my best on this wicket. I couldn’t find the perfect line and length on this wicket, and it would be better if I finished for the day. I wasn’t done, though. Joe asked me to open the batting when Joe was frustrated that the people he wanted to do it couldn’t because they were tired. I jumped at the chance since it was for just 11 overs and thinking I might be able to get through. But I couldn’t. I got cleaned up for 1 in the sixth over.

Nevertheless, Joe was happy with my contribution and thought I bowled well. He also said that I was his ‘ideal’ player, given that I was giving 100% effort no matter what and would like me in his team for the future. I hope it would be the case for the last two-day game starting in two weeks against Tuggeranong.

Despite a tough day, we managed to get one laugh when Kris Oliver hit Irantha Rajapaksha in the groin. KrisO can be quite tough to get away (I’ve experienced it in the nets) since he swings it and gets bounce through his height. It’s always funny when somebody gets hit in the groin, but it’s never amusing if you’re at the receiving end.

February 17, 2018

I was reasonably happy with how my cricket progressed with bat and ball on Tuesday. Having gone through past video analysis of my bowling as well as those of Brett Lee and Mitchell Johnson, I made some tweaks to my run-up and load so that I can get the ball to swing and bounce of a length again. It was a pleasing feeling to cause a bit of trouble to President Griffo. He inside-edged onto his stumps before beating his drive with a perfectly pitched out-swinger. I couldn’t get him out after that, but I was in the right direction. The pleasing factor was that those tweaks allowed me to bowl sixty deliveries in a stretch without any proper rest, and I hardly bowled a loose delivery either. I had my chance to bat towards the end. I made a slight tweak to my stance, which certainly got me into trouble last weekend, and I felt I was mostly untroubled as I felt comfortable facing mostly spin.

On Wednesday I had some time to myself at the Franklin nets to keep working on my bowling, and I was able to work on some Yorker bowling which came about via trial and error in some tweaks to my bowling action which was based on the advice I had picked up from a youtube video from the late Clive Rice as well as from Ian Pont’s fast bowling book I had bought from Kindle. Through these pieces of advice, I was able to land the yorkers more consistently, but like any other variation, it should be used sparingly and according to the situation.

Nevertheless, I’m looking forward to testing my current skills while bowling to the guys before they go out to bat. There’s a likelihood of myself not doing anything directly to the team cause having been dismissed late last week. The only hope of contributing further in the match is that Eastlake bowl us out and possibly either deciding to push for the outright by bowling again or deciding to bat. I would like to have another crack with the batting, having ironed out my issue with my stance over the coming week, and I was confident that it would withstand the pressure against the Eastlake bowlers again.

As it appeared, I was restricted to just giving Joe and Umesh some bowling as well as scoring for the whole day as the boys really made a fist of the chase. We had two ACT umpires for a change after two weeks of the batting team providing umpires. We didn’t start too well in the pursuit, though. Umesh was out LBW but only after 10 seconds of an apparent ’not-out’ decision. We were all befuddled by the chain of events, but there’s nothing you (or anyone) can do once the final decision has been made. Michael Galen-Mules chipped a drive to silly mid-off, and Kris Oliver played an uppish flick straight to silly mid-on. We were 4 for 54 and up against it. In amongst the carnage, our captain Joe Laria was doing his best in leading from the front. He finally found support with Karan Patel. Karan looked excellent out there as he showcased his timing and power. No wonder Julian Mules rates him highly. They added 57 for the fifth wicket before both of them got out pretty quickly. Karan made 31 and was out trying to hit over cover, and Joe, having made his second fifty for Ginninderra, chipped a flick to short square leg for 55. We were now 6 for 119.

The follow on target was 180 since Eastlake had to claim a 100 run lead at least to try to push for outright if they wish. Nevertheless, we continued to fight through the lower order. President Griffo made 34, Jared Mathie made 10, and Matthew Bell made 48 from no. 9. Alas, we fell short. All out for 218 in the 72nd over. Eastlake was the comfortable winners in the first innings by 61 runs, but it could have been a different story if we fielded well last week as well as showed a bit more fight with the bat thought the top order. Nevertheless, we made Eastlake (they’re a top-four side) fight for the win, and Joe was pleased with our efforts.

I am hoping for another crack in 4ths against Tuggeranong, and Joe had once again indicated his wish to have me in his side since I do everything that he wants me to do, and I put in 100% effort. Let’s see what happens, but I would need to bug TC again to keep me in 4ths.

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