Marion vs Prince Alfred Old Collegians at Waite Oval, November 9 2019

October 29 2019

Today was a good practice session. I bowled with the pink-ball to start but after swinging the first two deliveries I bowled, I struggled to swing the ball away from the right-hander. Instead, I bowled short of a length with little swing which lessened my threat. After a while, i went for a bat. I looked solid again which impressed Patty Sadlier. I was decisive against the spin of Rory Hustler and Will Farminer either going back, coming down the wicket or playing from the crease.

After batting practice, I returned to bowl against Stephen Ottanelli but this time with my old ball. Immediately, I hit a better length and got the ball to move away. It is becoming clear that I am an old ball bowler as long as there a rough and shiny side on the ball. Thereby there was no surprise that captains of late have used me as a change bowler. But I should be equally adept in swinging a newish ball or a ball that there’s no defined rough and shiny side.

I spoke to Trent English, our coach who’s also the chairman of selectors. I had discussed with him that I would prefer to be available for a full match so that I can contribute and be accountable for the result especially with the ball. Given that I am likely to be occasionally unavailable for a full two day match, I would prefer to play the occasional match in the Limited Overs divisions which thankfully was agreed with Trent. That sense, people who are available for two day cricket should be going to play in the relevant grades rather than trying to organise subs to cover people who are either away on Week 1 or Week 2.

November 2 2019

As it turned out inspite our conversation, I was picked in C1s as a substitute for Harry Greenslade who will only be available for Day 1. When I asked Trent, I was told that the club were struggling for numbers. While I understood that bit, It would have irritated me that I may end up going in the second day having to just bat and not bowl. However, today is washed out courtesy of the heavy overnight rain which forced most games to be abandoned. Courtesy of an “act of god”, I will be able to get a bowl after all.

November 5 2019

Then again, having had a chat to a colleague who also plays Turf in Adelaide, I learnt that there could be a likelihood of another washout with rain being forecasted for the next three days. One thing I do know, is that Thursday’s training is likely not to be on turf so it’s important that I at least trained today.

Which I did. After a warm-up run and stretch, a frisbee game was undertaken between the youngsters and the oldies. Given that I recently turned 29, I would have classified as an oldie despite being a club rookie. But I was in good company as I had the likes of Jack Latchford, Keegan English, Patty Sadlier, James Risby and Sean Bean in my team. What could go wrong. Well, the youngsters got 2-0 ahead, but we rallied back. I pulled it back to 2-1 and then we managed to level the scores at 2-2. Then Trent announced that the next point will be the winner which was eventually clinched by Simon Bean. The oldies got one over the youngsters. As punishment for losing, the youngsters had to run around the cricket pitch and back.

In preparation for the weekend which was to be a one-day match, I started bowling with the pink ball since I need to practice with a newer ball. This time, every time I tried to swing the ball out, it curved in the opposite direction much to my frustration. Having run out of patience, I reverted back to my oldish well kept ball and proceeded to swing the ball both ways like I did in the last match. I felt that the ball had greater velocity as I ran in harder and tried to whipped through my arms.

Once again, I looked solid with the bat even if I was facing an all-seam lineup as I defended, drove and flicked most of the balls in my zone. I felt that no-one was going to get me out which was the case. Similarly with the fielding, I felt I was in a better space mentally as well while Trent was feeding me short/long catches.

After all, it was a good day for training but next Tuesday would be different as the Twenty20 matches are approaching.

November 7 2019

Inspite of the morning rain, there was training on the turf pitches. After a run and a few stretches, I joined in with Josh Bean with some fielding practice where we were trying to throw and hit at the lone stump. As we incidentally were part of one of the two groups, Trent announced a “first to five” competition. The punishment for the losing team as we all found out was ten pushups. Our group lost the first round but won the other two and my direct hit clinched the decider which was well noticed by the B grade keeper and skipper, Cameron Pritchard.

Then it was time for some bowling. I made a pre-delivery tweak in making my back straight as I was just about to release the ball which should allow me to bowl at least a good length if not fuller. As I result, I got the ball to swing as usual both ways which made me more menacing. I also got a wicket as well as “Ollie” Olssen, bottom edged a cut onto his stumps.

Like on Tuesday, my batting continued to be solid as I mostly played drives although the pace of Connor Craigie continues to bother me when it pitched short. So much so that I ducked into a short ball that just missed my head which probably left my batting to be desired a bit more regarding my backlift.  But I was impressed with how I did in the running between the wickets exercise because when I got really low but ready to push off, I took off. I was fatigued as usual but it was the most efficient I ever ran between wickets.

After training, I learnt that I was picked in C2s after the re-selections for all grades except B grade who already commenced their fixture. Patty “Sads” Sadlier hinted this to me as his side would be light on specialist bowlers and so I would be expected to hopefully bowl nine overs.

November 9 2019

Inspite of the weather over the last two days, we’ll be playing today. I was warned by a colleague who also plays in the same competition as me albeit in a different team that the 2nd Waite Oval, our venue for the day would have short boundaries. In a matter of fact, one side of the boundary was just 25 metres long. Absolutely Ridiculous. I was hoping though that Marion would show some common sense on the day to rectify this to ensure a level playing field.

When I arrived at the venue, the Marion guys applied their common sense by lengthening the boundaries so that it’s at least 40 metres all around. But it was definitely hampered by the main Waite Oval. However, it was at least better than I would have imagined earlier. Sads won the toss and elected to bat on the basis that we hadn’t quite assembled a full team yet. We managed to get the full team within the first few overs, but by then, Sads and Rory were dismissed with just 17 runs on the board. Sam Knight, Charlie Aust and Lincoln Halton at least guided us to a respectable score of 3/101. It was a treat to see Charlie and Lincoln bashing boundaries as well the running between wickets between Sam and Lincoln who both run well between the wickets. But once they all fell, we fell too, stumbling our way to 146 all out, dismissed on the penultimate delivery of the innings.

Coming in at 8, I looked comfortable at the wicket. The Marion team were impressed with my solidarity with their slip fielder asking me along the lines of “Why are you batting so low, if you have such a great technique”. I got off the mark not just on the sixth delivery I faced but in Adelaide itself. It was my first run in the city in my second innings. I eventually made four before top-edging a pull to fine-leg waiting on the shortish boundary of the ground.

Despite our batting collapse, we had a total on the board. Andy “Heito” Heitmann trapped Bailey LBW before Rory (bowling mediums instead of spin), bowled Ullah with a yorker and then having Woodberry caught well by Charlie standing up to the stumps. At 3 for 24 we were on top. Jenner and Mallia (who apparently plays SACA Premier Cricket for Southern Districts) fought back with a 52 run stand before Jenner was adjudged LBW off Rory.

Mallia was still there and Marion needed 55 off the last 10 overs. I had been bowling since drinks had figures of 5-1-15-0. I had kept it tight and unlucky that I clipped the edges of both Mallia and Burdon which didn’t get to hand and also had Mallia dropped by Heito. Nevertheless, in hindsight I should have used my changeups a bit more than trying to swing the ball both ways like I did earlier. In my sixth over, I was inaccurate where I conceded a boundary second ball and five wides down the leg-side but I at least managed to breakthrough, getting Burdon to chip a catch to Liam Rippon at square leg.

From there, we got ourselves back in front. Heito had Harmer caught well by Sam at slip before having Sapkota well caught by Alex Mckenzie who before caught Mallia off his own bowling. And when Lincoln engineered a direct hit to dismiss Streng (courtesy of Trent who made throwing practice mandatory prior to nets), we were on top at 9/118 with four overs to go. However, from the moment when Sads dropped a tough chance off Heito, we were in for a rude shock, particularly me. Pearson (who earlier took three wickets in our innings), smashed me over my head for six before hitting a boundary. That brought the target down to 5 an over from the last three and they got it in the end in the penultimate over. As the match was initially a two-day match, we kept going to the last ball and they got ahead by 10 runs.

In the end, it was a painful loss and I felt I was responsible since my last two overs were very costly because I didn’t use changeups like I did in the past. With Twenty20 training going to start on Tuesday, it will be a good time to practice bowling changeups a bit more which will definitely make me a more effective limited overs bowler.

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