February 15, 2019
Today was my last day at work with the ATO, and I finished at lunchtime. I was to fly out to Adelaide for the new job tomorrow, and I thought of having one last training session with Masud Rahman in Harrison, which did turn out.
I started off batting, and most of the time, I was facing kids who were at least 10 years younger than me. I was trying to help them out by encouraging them to use their front arm as a guide to where they wanted to land the ball. I think after my tip, they all bowled better even though they couldn’t get me out. My biggest challenge was facing Masud’s younger son Raakin who was swinging the ball both ways as well Darshima Green, whom I encountered in a two-day match in 4th Grade last year. Again, I managed ok, but I always wasn’t able to get the basic rhythm with my backlift.
I then, at Masud’s suggestion, supervised the kids for the bowling. Still, after a while, my wondering eyes detected that Raakin was mucking around with Darshima’s bowling and Masud’s throw-downs and decided to roll the arm over. I managed to get the ball to move away as I intended, but it took some time before I was able to pitch it on the stumps and eventually catch an edge that would have been caught by Gully. Perhaps the right way to sign off from bowling in Canberra.
Before I left, Masud asked me to pose for a photo that would be on Facebook as he was going to discuss me being one of the first players of his Canberra Cricket Academy, which was very touching of him. I was earlier appreciative of the fact that he encouraged me to come down and not worry about the cost since it was all about having fun. He indeed wished me well for my future and hoped that I come down whenever I do visit Canberra.
February 19, 2019
Today was going to be the first time I would be attending training at Adelaide University, a team that I had decided upon some time back while I was in Canberra. I got there late from work due to the traffic but also having mixed up the training ground. I mistook the nets behind Adelaide Oval as our training facilities since the ground was on War Memorial Drive. Still, I then realized that it was the South Australia First-Class team training there, not Adelaide University.
So after wandering around training to walk before deciding that I was better off driving, it took me a further 30 minutes before I arrived at the nets. Thankfully, an adversary from a Facebook group Paul Roberts who captains the Limited Overs division 5 side, guided me through to the right venue.
Unfortunately, though, I was greeted that I arrived with the session about to end, so I was to be bowling for the time. Which probably suited me as it was something I really wanted to do. I was to be bowling on turf wickets for a change, which I like very much since it was the same wickets that we would be playing on for the weekend matches.
I definitely struggled for rhythm in trying to land the ball with some bounce, but it was too slow. After an over or two, I decided to run in and try to swing the ball. I bowled better after that, getting a couple of edges, an inside edge onto the leg-stump, and then a caught and bowled chance that I couldn’t quite get my hands around. The biggest lesson learned was not to worry about just putting the ball there. I should just bowl with a lot of purpose of intending to be aggressive. That change of thinking helped me later on, and Paul was probably impressed when he told me that I was getting the edges. It meant that if I have the speed, the fitness, and the physique to run in and bowl quickly as I can from a short run-up, then I focus on that and perhaps get Luke to suggest little tweaks without compromising anything I’m doing right now.
February 21, 2019
Today was a lot better since I was able to get to the correct ground yet again. This time though, we were on the hard wicket nets since the players who play in the SACA Premier Cricket got first priority of the turf nets. I at least managed to do a bit of everything and enjoyed it very much. Batting wasn’t of the same fluency, but I was able to leave the balls alone that weren’t hitting the stumps. The lack of fluency was more for shot-making, but it is more to do with my backlift and swing since I have to engage my body to hit the ball. Moreover, I have a tendency to try to smash the ball. I should look to time the ball into gaps, which is more of my game.
Bowling was a lot better. I felt that if I pull the ball from my side, I would be able to release it at a fuller length quickly, which was what happened. I was at times bowling fastish outswingers and occasionally get the ball to lift from a length and seam away, which was the delivery I honed under Luke’s leadership. I even bowled a quick short ball by accident, which was miscued and would have been taken by midwicket. Basically, I had a better rhythm and pace than two days ago.
At the end of the session, we did some fielding. One session was run by Jim Peters, who captains one of the two-day sides, and the other was run by the ATCA Coordinator for our club, Luke McAlister. Jim had a group of us split into three areas. One had flat low catches, another had high-ball catches, and the other close-in catches. Jim was hitting a ball to each area again and again. While Luke was pretty much doing high-ball catches.
I did pretty well with the catching, and I felt that my throwing was getting better as I was trying to throw side-arm, which is helping my accuracy as the balls were going to the keeper.
February 23 2019
I was told before I joined Adelaide Uni that I’m unlikely to get a game for the rest of the season since I joined late. But rather than kicking my heels at home doing nothing, I came over to score for the Limited Over Div 5 side at Klemzig against Gaza, who beat them last weekend. So it was more of a revenge game. Nevertheless, Paul asked me to bring my whites just in case, but it was just that. The team had a full side. I was only scoring, which probably for once didn’t bother me since I had an opportunity to experience the standard of Turf cricket in Adelaide as well as warm temperatures as well.
Paul lost the toss, and we were bowling in the heat. What happened next was absolutely remarkable. Our 15-year-old quick Veaco Smith and his fellow opening partner, a jazz musician in the making Brock Niemann, ripped through the batting order to have them 5/27. The five wickets did not fall to catches. Four of them were bowled with one LBW. It was only some lucky swinging from the lower order that got them to 92. Four of the last five wickets fell to catches. Only four bowlers were used to dismiss Gaza within 22 overs. Veaco took 3/13 off 6 overs, Brock took 2/13 off 5, JL Roberts 3/35 off 5.5, and Tom Spedding 2/28 off 5.
It was just a case of getting the runs with a couple of partnerships. Little we all realized that Gaza wasn’t going to give up without a fight. We were initial trouble at 2 for 4 when both Sean Nugent and Paul were bowled by Simounds for ducks. But Colin Millywood’s stodgy 81 ball resistance for 10 netted partnerships of 19 with Raghav Goel, 28 with Arbaz Kashif and 15 with JL Roberts. His wicket triggered a collapse of 4 for 14. That left us 13 runs to get with just two wickets in hand.
Earlier on, Brock dropped a catch off JL Roberts with the score at 81, which would have ended the innings. Post that drop, Gaza added 11 runs before they lost their last wicket. Now, Brock came in at number 10, and he simply had to make up for that drop. Having opened last week against the same opposition and made 14, there was no doubt that he could do the job which he eventually did. The winning runs though came off four byes, which completed a hard-fought two-wicket victory. Sweet revenge indeed for last week.
Today was, as a matter of fact, pink stumps day, which meant that Gaza had put out a massive feed, and even they had numerous supporters cheering the team on against us. I had also mentioned that it was nice that they have taken such an initiative that not many clubs around Australia don’t normally do. One of the teams that come to mind was the Canberra Workers Redbacks club.