November 12, 2018
Having struggled a bit trying to pull over the weekend, I at least managed to ask Masud yesterday to help me perfect the shot while continuing my training with playing spin. I only just realized the fundamentals that my other coach Luke had taught me in the past, and given my lack of decent batting practice to date, I had to try to drill in those fundamentals once more. I could have easily attended club training again, but I probably need some more dedicated one-on-one assistance to help me get up to speed. The money spent will definitely be worth it.
The practice was worth it. I was able to apply the pull shot fundamentals when getting throw downs, but against the side-arm was a challenge since the pace was much quicker. It was no different from the difficulties I encountered over the weekend, but a back-foot trigger at least helped in getting into right pulling positions.
November 16, 2018
I eventually decided against a back-foot trigger after getting some last-minute advice from Luke. He suggested tweaking my bat hinge, making references to old videos he did for Southern Cricket. It was probably a piece of the missing jigsaw with the batting having tinkered it for some time without the desired results. After all, his advice helped me to a run on good form with the bat between December 2014 until February 2016, where I was reaching double figures quite often and making 20s, 30s, 40s, and even a fifty. I tried his advice with another session with Masud. Against the side-arm, I again struggled, but it gave me more power when facing spin throw-downs and proper bowling. I was timing them with some power too. It will remain to be seen how I go tomorrow. I even bowled a bit at the end. I tried my usual four-step run-up and was able to get the ball to move. I also tried a few slower-balls as variations should I need to keep the batsmen in check tomorrow. As I learned I was playing against Weston Creek, I knew that their batting approach was to go hard (even across the line) from last time. Having these variations up my sleeve will at least make me prepared, but I need to use them smartly in terms of when you should use them.
Whether I will get a bowl tomorrow depends on our bowling attack and, of course, the stand-in captain Luke Snowie. We already have some decent quality. Andy Brains, Dom Ross, Luke Snowie, and Duncan Gammage are definitely a formidable attack, with each one opening the bowling with success in the past. But I am sure I’m not too far away. I also was an opening bowler, but most of my wickets have been with the older rock than the new. If someone the quartet doesn’t roll Weston Creek tomorrow, I’m hopeful of a crack to stem the tide in the middle overs like I did last week. I would be disappointed if Luke Snowie overlooked me with the ball considering my impeccable form to date. I guess if he isn’t going to bowl me much, then hopefully he could at least bat me up the order. Likely, it won’t be in the top four as Brenton Furze, Duncan, Andrew Loveday, and Umesh Patel are playing tomorrow.
Anyways, back to the session, I did try to bowl off six steps with mixed success and accuracy, which is a sign that its work in progress. It still needs a bit of action moving forward, and the coming Monday provides a perfect opportunity in that. I have been working well off four steps in my past two games, so there would be reasons not to fix something. Still, it would be good to return to the eight-step run-up I even tried at the start of the season, but I might have to compromise in a match situation primarily when I have recently batted.
November 17, 2018
The Mawson pitch looked similar to the one I batted last year and made 47. It was definitely a bat-first wicket. As a matter of fact, the consensus among the team felt that the pitch will get worse to bat on in the second innings. So it was good that our stand-in captain Luke Snowie chose to bat first. But we had a problem. We only had 10 men, and JP selected a guy who apparently wasn’t available, which definitely pissed Luke off for sure. Further to our woes, Lindsay Thompson was out injured, having injured his knee running through a skinny wicket at the Phillip Oval last week.
Well, the same top order story continued for us. Brenton and Duncan held out trying to drive on the up, and Michael Weston got bowled trying to drive. We were 3 for 16 in the fifth over and badly needed a fightback. We got one. Andrew Loveday, who talks more with his mouth than score runs, did much of the latter, which delighted us, but it was a real pity when he held out at long-on after drinks for a well made 33. He had excellent support. Firstly with Luke, who played some delightful drives before getting one that popped off the surface and presented an easy catch behind the wicket of Weedon’s off-spin for 24, and it was no surprise that he was pissed at throwing it away. They added 37 for the fourth wicket. Umesh Patel also gave Loveday support in a partnership of 41. Umesh hung around, but he also punished the loose ball. He got to 32 until he missed a ball that hit his back-leg to be adjudged LBW.
From 6 for 115, we were in slight trouble, and only Andy Brains got us up to 150. Both the Dom fell cheaply, and then I came in. I only faced one ball which clipped my pad and ran for the leg-bye. Two balls later, Brainsy went for a slog and got bowled. We were bowled out inside the 33rd over. Again, like last week what a waste. We did set out to bat our overs and still failed miserably.
We had a job to do with the ball and with 10 men. Luke Snowie started the rot by dismissing the openers. The first one was caught at slip by Duncan, and the other bowled, trying the hack. That second opener had burned the number three just before. He played the ball to what seemed a vacant point position, and me, fielding at forward point, went after the ball. Somehow, the ball stuck nicely on my left hand, and only then I realized an excellent run-out opportunity at the bowler’s end with both batsmen at the striker’s end. I thought I blew it when I try to throw the ball quickly, and it went wide. All the fielding training I did at pre-season went down the drain, I thought. But Westo backed up my wayward throw and got the ball to Dom Ross, and the number three was run-out. Terrible cricket all round, but we got a free wicket.
Brainsy replaced Snowie before the 13th over and promptly picked up a couple of wickets himself. He had their number five fending at a shortish ball, which Umesh took a good catch at Gully before trapping Spencer Coughlan lbw with a yorker. At the other end, I replaced Dom Ross. I started with a loose short ball hit for four by Weedon. Next ball, I sprayed the ball for an off-side wide. But I soon found an element of control until my fifth ball he tried going down to seemingly slog-sweep me to the leg side and hit him on the thigh. I instinctively appealed, thinking I might have a chance and was rewarded with an LBW dismissal. Remarkably it was my 3rd LBW wicket this season, which was the same amount of LBWs I gained in the last two seasons. But I then come into some stick by Godfree and Hyauaison, who remarkably brought their team back within touching distance. Yes, I was a bit loose, but I should have at least a second wicket with perhaps fewer runs conceded overall. My figures were terrible after five overs, but I at least tried to pull it back slightly for the rest of my spell. 8 overs, 1 for 46. I deserved better, I thought, but I could have bowled a bit better.
Loveday did break that troublesome 7th wicket stand by bowling Hyauaison with a brilliant off-cutter and brought us back into the game again. But Godfree was still there and got to fifty. Eventually, his partner hit the winning runs off Snowie in the 37th over. Ouch, more than last week, this really hurts. We were dominating, but we really let it slip. We lost it ourselves after drinks before we didn’t maintain the intensity in the first half. Quite frankly though not batting out the overs again hurt us badly, and still, the top-order failure was a problem.
Queanbeyan is next,, but I will not be there for it.