2018-19 Season review, March 17 2019

It was, indeed, a remarkable season. I know it didn’t quite get off to the best of starts when I suffered the facial injury at preseason, but it did end pretty well yesterday. I took a catch at gully and put in some decent stops in the field, having worked on the fielding with more purpose on Thursday. Fielding had all of a sudden, becoming important for me in terms of selection and personal improvement. Come to think of it; if I could spend more time on fielding than bowling, then I won’t feel overworked with the ball every session. Just recently, I have made a commitment to attempting to work on it during the off-season with the assistance of a professional coach. I hope it would pay off.

Otherwise bowling wise, the season was a success while I didn’t get much batting opportunity. 31 runs at 10.33 aren’t terrible reading when you have scores of only 4 not out, 12, 10, and 5 all season. At least it was better than the stinky single digit the only phase I experienced after making 47 in a 6th Grade game last season. I hope for better days, especially how well I have been hitting the ball in recent times in the nets.

Now to the bowling. After an inauspicious start in 4th Grade against Queanbeyan (four wicketless overs for 18 plus leg cramp), I was on a wicket-taking spree in 5th Grade where there was no game that I went wicketless (all figures after bowling 8 overs):

  • 2/25 for Ginninderra Black against ANU White
  • 3/35 for Ginninderra Yellow against Eastlake Blue Demons
  • 1/46 for Ginninderra Yellow against Weston Creek Molonglo
  • 2/40 for Ginninderra Yellow against ANU White
  • 2/24 for Ginninderra Black against Ginninderra Yellow
  • 3/28 for Ginninderra Black against Weston Creek Molonglo
  • 2/24 for Ginninderra Black against Queanbeyan
  • 3/30 for Ginninderra Black against ANU White

In eight games in 5th Grade, I took 18 wickets @ 14.00 with an economy rate of 3.93 runs per over and a strike rate of 21.3 balls per wicket. Six of those wickets were from opening the bowling with the others when I wasn’t. Statistically, you would argue that I would be better off as a change bowler, but as a matter of fact, it doesn’t matter when I bowl. I’ll take wickets or at least keep the runs down. The six wickets I took opening the bowling in three games for Ginninderra Black, I only conceded just over three runs per over.

Overall stats of 10 games (including the one set for Adelaide University), 19 wickets @ 14.10 with an economy rate of 3.72, and a strike rate of 22.7 imply that it has been a better season statistically. That is an improvement of last season and the season before that. That is remarkable reading: 2016-17 I took 15 wickets; 2017-18, it was 17. Now this season it’s 19. Perhaps it wouldn’t be too surprising if the 2019-20 season was 21 wickets (as each season the tally increases by two), but I don’t think it bothers me too much. Nevertheless, I was happy to pass 50 wickets in Turf cricket that occurred in my last game on the last ball I bowled for Ginninderra.

At this stage, I am inclined to stay with Adelaide University since I have been encouraged to work on fielding, which will help me get more games. Moreover, I am likely to get more opportunities over the uni students as I’ll be available more often than them. Unfortunately, Goodwood is going to be disappointed, having helped me out recently, but I probably need some impartial advice from my coaches.

 

Pooraka vs Adelaide University at Lincoln Park Oval 2, March 16 2019

March 7, 2019

Up to now, I was confident that next season I would be training with Adelaide University; however, a comment from one of the guys rang a few alarm bells since he hasn’t been getting weekend opportunities to play probably because of his fielding wasn’t up to scratch. While I understood that because the teams were settled, I wasn’t going to get an opportunity, but I was more concerned about obtaining opportunities to play in the following seasons.

Quite honestly, I believe that if I’m available, I should be playing preferably as a frontline bowler. I have been very grateful that Ginninderra has allowed me to blossom with the ball in hand and so I was hoping more of the same this season. That comment from the other person got me thinking if there are a lot of players to fit into four teams every week, then people will have to miss out, and I don’t want to be one of them.

So I had checked out the ATCA website, go through each competition, and see which clubs are fielding the most teams this season. The standout was Goodwood with six, but Para Hills, Brighton, Multicultural Sports Cricket Club, and Prince Alfred Old Collegians stood an equal second with five. Adelaide University was in a joint third with four teams. With that in mind, I should perhaps go and train with the other clubs before the season ends. I already contacted Prince Alfred and Goodwood, and both were welcoming towards new players. It’s just a matter of deciding whom to train with on what day.

But for today, I was going to train with Prince Alfred with the expectation that I would be comfortable in their environment like I had been at Adelaide University. That’s how it panned out for me. I was grateful that they looked after me well, which allowed me to have a bit of fun batting, bowling, and fielding. Unlike Adelaide University, they had a head coach and a nets manager running the sessions, which obviously made it more structured. Moreover, I enjoyed the training on the turf wickets like I have been doing since landing here.

March 12, 2019

Today, I was training at Goodwood. I had been in touch with Nick Oag, who handled their email account and was able to get down to training once they said that they’re willing to welcome new players. Their secretary, Timothy Keen, immediately introduced himself and took my details. I mentioned that Adelaide University had transferred my details from Ginninderra, so I suggested that if Goodwood were going to play me, they would have to work it out with them. Throughout the day, I run in with good rhythm, arms pumping at the same pace as my running speed, which allowed me to load up and got incredible bounce and movement, which gave batsmen plenty of headaches, which resulted in plentiful of edges.

March 14, 2019

At the end of Tuesday’s training, I dropped a few catches, and so thankfully, Nick agreed to help me out with my slips catching today. I was grateful that he could offer advice on my set up and tinker with it so that I can take good slip catches. He also suggested how I could improve my throwing, which was very helpful indeed. It never occurred to me how vital fielding was to become until I reflected on Tuesday night. Thankfully though, when we did the 30 catches session as a team, all that practice did pay off when I was offered a one-off chance, which I took cleanly low down in front of me. Given the improvement, I should strive to give it more importance than before as better fielding, and my commitment towards it will be noted hands down by selectors.

My batting came out better than Tuesday. At the time, their coach Sam “Hooch” Turner suggested that I lowered my backlift to give me enough time to swing the bat as the bowler’s about to deliver. That advice proved to be very useful when I was able to play straight and play expansively when the ball was there with the drive.

March 15, 2019

Remarkably last night, Paul Roberts messaged me that Adelaide University intended to hand me my debut. Now that had put me in a tight spot since I was training with Goodwood that it was a possibility that they might give me a game themselves. So I had emailed Tim Keen, the Goodwood secretary, regarding the mix up because they had to right to know what’s going on. I am thankful grateful that Tim understood the situation and allowed me to play for the Uni if the opportunity arose.

Concerning my possible selection, it would have been a pleasant surprise, but I was more concerned about future seasons. Paul encouraged me not to give up since he knows that there were a few players that were no better than me that played when I wasn’t available. Moreover, he said that I should get opportunities since I’ll be more frequently available than the students in the club. He also encouraged me to work on my fielding, which the majority of the club doesn’t really do that often. Doing more fielding will not be missed by others, he says. Come to think of it, he DOES have a point. I know what I need to do, and I have to be consistent with what I need to achieve, which is to improve on my fielding. Come next season that will be one of my goals so that I’ll become more frequent selection.

As it turned out, when Luke Johnston announced the selections on Facebook, my name was indeed listed and confirms that I’ll be making my debut for the Uni in the ATCA C2 grade under Jim Peters against the bottom-placed Pooraka at Lincoln Park Oval #2. I hope to take my chance, especially with the ball in hand.

March 16, 2019

I arrived pretty early because I didn’t want to be fined for coming late. I initially did get confused by which ground we were on, but one of their guys pointed me in the right direction. The pitch had a mostly green look, which meant from experience, the pitch is going to be very flat, but I noticed that some patches were not green at all on both sides of the wicket. So perhaps there might be some hope for the bowlers.

But Omkar “Andy” Sawant (who did the coin toss since Jim was coming late from work), won the toss and elected to bat much to our delight. Theo Baker got out on the second ball, whipping a full toss straight to mid-wicket. After that, the rest of the batting order settled down with partnerships of 30, 71, 37, 56, and 31 as we powered on to 5 for 225 from our 40 overs. Mo Rafi made 17, James Kimber 61, Brad Kondakov made 42 and Tej Randhawa 25 with Jim Peters and Abhishek Gopalakrishnan not out with 65 and 13 respectively.

During the afternoon tea break, I overheard Jim telling somebody that I was going to get a bowling crack, which did please me a lot. It probably did help to come to training where he was around so he could gauge how I would go as a bowler. Just before we went out to field, Jim told me that I would be coming on as a change bowler which was pretty much my role this season for Ginninderra.

By drinks, we had them at 6 for 43 after 20 overs. Pretty much, we had the game done and dusted. But we couldn’t separate Asser and Musolino, whose seventh-wicket partnership was becoming a menace. Thankfully, Tej found Musolino’s edge that ballooned up for me to take the catch at gully. My first for the club. Despite that breakthrough, we could not bowl them out, and they finished with 9 for 110. Speaking of Tej, he kept it tight and took 4 for 8 from his nine overs.

I did get a bowl at Lachy’s end as the 2nd change bowler. I only bowled four overs, though, since we had them at six down at drinks, and Jim wanted to give Andy and Sabaresh Natarajan a bowl. But I felt I made use of the opportunity. I got the ball to move around a bit, which took several edges through and over the slips. Eventually, my wicket came. Kirkwood had appeared to deflect me into Brad’s gloves, which the umpire said it was pad first, but Kirkwood walked. So it seemed that he did hit it with the bat.

Nevertheless, it all counted. It was indeed my first wicket for the club, and it was my only wicket for the day. I wasn’t really bowling that quickly, though, since I had an overworked left calf from Wednesday’s gym session, which I wasn’t really willing to risk. But that didn’t stop me from bowling two maidens on the trot before being taken out of the attack. A spell of 4-2-8-1 was still a decent day, and I hope for further opportunities.

Canberra to Adelaide Transition, March 7 2019

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.

ANU White vs Ginninderra Black at Dickson, February 9 2019

February 2, 2019

New job all finalized with a starting date on the 18th of February in Adelaide,  I had to say goodbye to Ginninderra, which I did over Facebook, indicating that I much appreciated the support over the three years that allowed me to perform mostly with ball in hand. The messages from the club were incredibly supportive. Most people didn’t want me to go, but more importantly, everyone had passed on their best wishes to me and indicated that I would always be welcomed back.

The entire ACT, Premier Cricket competition, had the bye this weekend due to the test match at Manuka Oval. So instead of playing, I ended up rolling my arm over in the nets in Franklin and even bowled to Sumanth Purelli, who was having a hit with his Telugu mates. I had bowled Sumanth, a decent heavy ball that rose and hit his splice. Later on, since I was trying to pitch it on a full length, I managed to rap Sumanth on the pads. While it was indeed some positives, my run-up was a mess since I was immediately trying to sprint, which affected my rhythm and, in turn, affected my accuracy.  I had some work to do.

February 4, 2019

I had mooted the possibility of attending training today, but the chance of rain put me off. So I didn’t bother. I thought about hitting the gym instead, but by the time I left home, it was past 6.30pm and deduced that I probably wouldn’t have enough time to do my usual weight training plus stretches and be home before 8.30pm. So I instead headed for the nets, but it took me almost half an hour as I drove around the Gungahlin area for a free net for bowling practice. Having checked there initially, I ended up at Franklin nets as a last resort, and thankfully, I saw an open net. I managed to catch up with a fellow club man Simran Singh Gill (I call him Sim), who has busy coaching a girl from behind and had mentioned to him about my pursuit.

It was almost 7pm when I bowled my first ball, but unlike Saturday, I had better rhythm since I focused more on a gradual build-up of my run-up. I also made a conscious effort to pull my bowling hand to the right hip on my pre-delivery jump, which produced my desired out-swinger even when it was about a short of a length. Nevertheless, I felt I was bowling quickly.

30 balls later, I was bowling at Sim with my new ball. The next 42 balls proved to be a good contest. Even when I changed to a white ball due to the light, it didn’t really impact my effectiveness. I got the ball to move away, and since he was at times pushing the ball, I was able to beat his bat from time to time. Even though he played some excellent shots, I had him edging twice. First was my stock outswinger, which probably the few he pitched up, which would have been snaffled at second slip. The second ball was a very rare slower ball. I tried with my action, which he edged to where the keeper would have been.

At the end, when Sim called it stumps, it was 8.15pm, and both of us had mutual respect. He thought I bowled pretty well, and I thought he played some excellent shots. It was, indeed, a good contest. The fact that I still bowled a decent pace after bowling the equivalent of 12 overs was a massive tick to my endurance and my effectiveness from a long run-up in pretty warm conditions.

The progress was very positive towards my last Saturday in Ginninderra colors.

February 5, 2019

I had a chat with Luke Wimbridge over Facebook today and asked him if I pulling my bowling hand to the hip really produced the required bounce and movement. His answer was yes, but I had to rotate and drive the hand through with the drive of the right hip to generate the power. It dawned on me that my desire to be a tearaway quick was dampened by that response. Thereby, his replies meant that I should focus on improving my heavy ball that will hit the splice, and I felt better by that thinking when I immediately thought about Andy Roberts, who had a similar approach in his bowling, which made him reasonably quick during his prime. I just need to hone my run-up and focus on that heavy ball while trying to hit the right length, which would be invaluable on flat wickets.

Which is what I did after work at the Franklin nets. I managed to bowl 24 balls before the rains came, but I was able to bowl the heavy ball consistently on the same line with variable length. In the past, I would get pissed off if I’m unable to bowl my perfect ball all the time, but today I accepted that particular fact as the unpredictability of the lengths could perhaps mess up a batsman’s mind which could result in wickets.

February 6, 2019

I tried bowling again in the nets with the same action as yesterday, but I was bowling short, banging the ball halfway up the wicket. I only came to that conclusion having deliveries 36 balls. Did I know what I could fix? The answer was yes. I tried making my arms more fluid into my action, and again, I was able to bowl the heavy ball, but crucially, it was at a much better length with more outswing than earlier in the session.  Increasing the fluidity of my arms at least minimizes the stress on the back, which would have been caused by the jerkiness of the action. I’m hoping to maintain the excellent work tomorrow.

February 7, 2019

Today was the same result as yesterday. Fluid action via the arms together with a faster run-up as resulted in 30 heavy balls at a good pace. I’m learning a bit more about my action as I go along. My left (non-bowling) hand controls the line where I want to pitch the ball. The wrist on my bowling hand determines the direction of the ball movement. Perhaps while not yet confirmed, how deep I place the ball in my hand could determine the length the ball gets pitched at.

Thereby for me, it is essential to get both my left hand and my right wrist correct so that I make the batsman plays to my tunes and to give ‘em hell as long as the run-up is fast and fluid. It will be all a perfect combination. Earlier on, I felt my action wouldn’t be dissimilar to the right-handed version of Mitchell Starc, but our approaches are pretty different, and Starc’s obviously stronger and has a longer run-up.

Towards the end, though, I came off four steps and proceeded to bowl one over at a reduced pace and one over at full speed. The reason behind it is to be prepared should there be any injury or illness concern on the day, or it’s too hot to be running from my usual mark.

February 8, 2019

After a week full of practice that resulted in the equivalent of 30 overs bowled, I am ready for the final hurrah for Ginninderra, which will be my 37th game, and I need 3 more wickets to reach 50 wickets for the club. It would definitely be a great way to go, although it would be much sweeter if it materializes into a win.

I had told Adam beforehand that I am willing to go up the order to Number 3 if required, given it’s the only position I haven’t batted in for the club. It was a brave request, given my terrible past record batting in that position.

I should instead look to go out and score from ball one, and the synthetic wicket we’re playing tomorrow should allow me to do that. Of course, I need to have a good shot selection, which means defending or leaving the good balls and play shots on the slightly loose deliveries.

February 9, 2019

We are to start one hour early so that people can attend the Big Bash game at Manuka later today. I was to play my last match at Dickson as I learned that it used to be a turf ground for Northies until the Harrison turf pitches came about. I was to play my last game with Adam and Simon, and I was hoping given our combined success together this season, it would be a fitting way to finish. Thankfully, it was a perfect day for cricket also. Not too hot, thereby allowing me to run in from my increased run-up.

Adam decided to field first upon winning the toss. Langman and Lang defied us for the first 20 overs, adding just 54 on the board, although they got a bit lucky when we missed a couple of run-outs. Simon, for once this season, bowled out his allocation, conceding just 16 runs in the process. He bowled pretty well and was unfortunate to beat the bat and miss a tough caught and bowled. At the other end, Liam O’Connell and Aditya Dwivedi weren’t too bad, but they went for a few runs.

Both Adam and I came on for two overs apiece and kept it tight. My first bowl with the lengthen run-up was ok. I was at times, bowling a bit wide, but the ball was coming out quicker than before. Nevertheless, I didn’t really go for runs. I continued after drinks and broke the opening stand when I got Lang out (again for the third time this season), caught well by Aditya running in at mid-off. After that, I bowled without luck as Langman and Zahid Mumtaz held us up. Having bowled five overs for just one wicket for about 11-12 runs, Adam took me off as he needed a wicket. But his experiment with Dom Tran nearly paid off when Aditya just couldn’t get his hands to a high catch at long-on. However, Adam dismissed both batsmen in consecutive deliveries, and he immediately brought me back after Dom Tran’s three overs cost 23 runs.

The first ball of the new spell was down the leg-side, but I couldn’t believe it that Albrecht got a feather, which was well held by our young keeper Jack Stokes. That left me one wicket away from 50 wickets, but it was a bit of a wait as Ashwin Devanathan chanced his armed and whipped a few across the line. Liam came back on after Adam finished with 2/30 from his eight overs and proceeded to break the top of the off-stump when bowling Ford.

On the last ball of my spell, I got a wicket with a slower ball when Mick Burke inside-edged a slower ball onto his stumps, and finally, the 50th wicket was achieved. It was a relief to get there. My last ball for Ginninderra resulted in a wicket, and that too my 50th. I finished with 3/30 from my eight overs. So all the work with the lengthened run-up while trying to run in full tilt didn’t compromise on my performance at all. That last wicket meant this season will end with my best wicket aggregate ever as I crossed 18 wickets in eight consecutive wicket full matches (after a wicketless start in the first week of October).

The last two balls of the ANU White innings were wickets in which Dom Tran was involved. On the second last ball, he ran out Pete Foley, who was trying to get Devanathan on strike before catching the latter on the last ball of the innings off Liam’s bowling.

ANU finished with 9/162 from their 40 overs, which was a decent acceleration. Out of generosity, Dom Tran handed me the ball since I achieved my milestone, and the boys clapped me off as we head to our kitbags. We needed to chase 163 for victory, but we were confident with the likes of Mallik Prasad and Rahul Desai in our corner, especially when Rahul hit Platt for six in the first over of the chase. But our pursuit quickly unraveled.

Rahul played around an outswinger from Ganesan; Tom Gray got run-out trying to take on a quick single; Aditya tried a cut too close to his body and edged Platt to slip, and Malik edged Whittley’s outswinger to the keeper Lang. That left us 4/46, and we never recovered despite some lusty blows from Simon towards the end.

We ended up about 50 runs short, and ANU deserved the plaudits. As for me, I hung around a bit, but the increasing run-rate and little time left was the cause of my edging Burke to Lang, having made just five.

Unfortunately, like my first game, we lost comprehensively, but personally reaching the milestone was satisfying. The good thing was that people like Simon, Aditya, Umesh, and Adam wished me all the best, which meant a lot.

Despite the result, it was an outstanding stint with Ginninderra, and now new challenges await in Adelaide.

Ginninderra Black vs Queanbeyan at Kippax Fields (Oval 2),  January 26 2019

January 21 2019

For once I attended training. It is not something I do often but should have done more often. But why did I go today? It was because we were playing Queanbeyan this weekend and my gut feeling was I will be required to bat. With that thinking in mind, I needed to get some practice under my belt considering historically how thrifty Queanbeyan 5th grade bowlers have been as they put it on the spot and wait for the mistakes.

There wasn’t much attendance at the nets when I arrived and had noticed that a couple of people who arrived after me went straight to the nets. Rather than taking their lead (considering they are 1st/2nd grade cricketers), I completed my mandatory thirty catches first. For that, I requested Dom Tran to hit them and I’m grateful that he helped me out and suggested on how I could improve my throwing. It is important for me to practice watching the ball through and developing the confidence (especially with the high-balls) after the pre-season setback. Confidence was indeed high despite a few drop catches but I can only feel that I can put the setback behind me only when I have taken a high-ball in a match.

Even though it was warm, I decided to bowl from a slightly longer run-up and continued my good bowling form from the weekend. I continued to get the desired movement when I angled my wrist and but my consistency needed some work especially when I am tired (after taking the catches). However I had some positives from the session. I had Harry Chittick edging an out-swinger that would have been taken by the keeper before giving Matty Andrews a hard time. He played and missed one that bounced and move and then edged a couple into the slip cordon. I had won those battles but as it was always the case against him, he won the war.

Then I had my turn to bat to finish the session which was why I attended training the first place. Clearly though, I was rusty since I only batted twice in matches all season. But it was important to shred the rust in practice considering it’s Queanbeyan. I was mostly facing spin but while the execution wasn’t quite there, my thought processes were sound which allowed me to get back or forward depending on how the ball is coming out.

January 26 2019

It was going to be a pretty hot day today. Temperatures touching 40 degrees celsius. Because of that, the match is to start an hour early at 12pm. Adam O’Connor declares that it looks like a road and announced that he’ll bat if he wins the toss. As it turned out he didn’t and we had to bowl in the heat. As agreed upon by Adam and Adrian Brunker the Queanbeyan captain, we were to take drinks at every 10 over spells which probably made sense.

At the first drinks break, we had them at 3 for 25. Vishal Patel claimed Peter Jensen and Daniel Clugston in consecutive deliveries before Rahul Desai taking a one handed catch with his right hand to dismiss A Brunker. That was reward for a tight spell for me that yielded 5 overs, 2 maidens, 1 for 6. I had got the ball to move away from the right handers but the pitch hardly had any carry which was why Daniel Heinrich kept up to the stumps.

At the next drinks break, it was 5 for 50. Adam took a caught and bowled to dismiss Tiwary before Josh Benny got a wicket himself as Michael Weston took a sharp catch at short cover to dismiss K Brunker.  The score moved to 7 for 80 at the next drinks break as Adam claimed two wickets in an over. The first was a diving effort by Westo at short cover to dismiss Paton before Adam got one to turn and beat the defences of L Hunter.

Having done well to restrict them this far, we soon lost the plot and conceded 52 runs in the final 10 overs as we undid the effort we had put in as Jimmy Martin and Harendra Kumar made useful 20s to push them to 9 for 132. I got a fingertip to a chance at short-midwicket against Martin before dropping a high-ball hit by Kumar having done the hard work in getting to the ball but missed it as I was unable to steady myself at all and therefore was on the run.

But I redeemed myself. Coming back onto bowl and trapped Kumar LBW as he tried hitting across the line but I leaked over a run a ball in my first three overs to finish with 2 for 26. Vishal who later had Martin caught well in close by Darren Neville finished with 3 for 32 while Adam finished with impressive figures of 3 for 11.

We needed 133 to win as long as we put our heads down we should chase them down. However, our innings mirrored theirs. Rahul chipped Clugston to mid-off which was taken by Couch for 12. Niraj Mehta got bowled by Jensen playing across the line for 11. Daniel trapped LBW by Clugston playing across the line for 1. Sumanth Purelli was brilliantly caught by A Brunker in short cover off Clugston for 4. Westo trapped LBW off K Brunker despite pitching outside leg for 22. Vishal caught at mid-wicket off Couch for 11. Josh caught at mid-on off Martin for 16. It was 7 for 85 and I came into bat. Against Jimmy Martin, I was tentative but survived before Adam brought the score for 98 at the final drinks break. The equation was 35 off the last 10 overs.

I openly said to Adam that I had to come down the wicket instead of being tentative against Jimmy Martin. It was a gamble but I had taken it before against his bowling last season. First ball after drinks, Martin flighted over and with A Brunker fielding a short cover for my tentative pushes I managed to come down the wicket and play a lofted off-drive and ran three. When Adam took a further 5 runs off the over. It was soon 27 off the last nine. As it turned out Martin never bowled again as the pacers were preferred to control the run rate which worked in their favour when Adam and I played out maidens in consecutive overs. You could have argued that we should have at least showed some initiative to score off those overs but I would defend our approach given that we were the only capable batsmen left and so we had to take it deep which we did. By the time we hung around to the 37th over in which we needed 17 more, I said to Adam,  “I’ll go for it and you should hang around and finish the game”. I managed to hit two twos of Clugston after he bowled a wide but I missed the last delivery due to tiredness and was grateful that I was given out LBW because I was tired. I made 10 and our partnership was 37 which brought us back into the game which sadly was later lost when Dom Tran was unable to put bat on ball in the final over and we lost by 6 runs.

Anyone can pinpoint the real reason why we lost this winnable game but the truth it will be hard since Queanbeyan won the crucial moments. Nevertheless, out of the games I played against Queanbeyan, this is the closest we have got to beating them and at least I played a part in this match.

Looking back it was a good call to attend training this week to get that batting practice. The fact I made 10 in a crucial partnership that gave us a winning chance wouldn’t have been possible had I not anticipated a batting opportunity against the Queanbeyan 5th Grade bowlers. I can put down my efforts this week to good planning.

Weston Creek Molonglo vs Ginninderra Black at Mawson Turf Oval, January 19 2019

I hadn’t played cricket for precisely a month since the Ginninderra derby, but I was ready to go bowling wise. I had managed a couple of sessions at the Franklin nets successfully fine-tuning my pace, bounce, and movement. That was my focus, considering at times it was easy for the opposition to pump me over my head if I overmatched since there wasn’t much pace. Hence, I was trying to accelerate the rotation of both my shoulders, hoping that the ball will come out a lot quicker.  It definitely felt that way on the hard net wickets, but it remains to be seen in the match.

I was back in the 5s Black side for the weekend. This time it will be captained by Adam O’Connor as Vasu Patel’s out due to a finger injury he sustained before the holiday break. Adam didn’t do his leadership prospects no harm as the Blacks won a tight low scoring game against the Blue Demons last week. More importantly, I reunite with Simon Edmonson as well. The trio of Adam, Simon, and I have been a winning combination on two occasions this season. Against ANU White and in the Ginninderra Derby, we took 6 wickets between us. Thereby hopefully, we can combine once more for another victory.

The wicket itself looked very green but very hard. From past experience, these wickets proved to be very good to bat on, so it’s best to win the toss the bat. However, that wasn’t quite Adam’s thinking. He felt that the pitch was unlikely to deteriorate and, therefore, still be good to bat on. As it turned out, when he won the toss, he decided to bowl first. Aside from the fact, the pitch isn’t likely to deteriorate, he reasoned that our best chances of winning is to chase.

I was then looking forward to resuming my bowling partnership with Simon at the top until Adam announced that he was planning to use me in the middle overs as he preferred the extra pace of Liam O’Connell and Vishal Patel. Fair enough, I had done a middle overs job before, so it was fine by me although I felt I was at my best with the new ball.

As it turned out, Creek got off to a flyer in the heat. Liam, in particular, took some stick, and after four overs, he was out of the attack, and I replaced him as Vishal Patel wanted to bowl at Simon’s end. Simon again took the early breakthroughs. Costello chipped a catch to mid-on while Godfree chipped a catch to Vishal at mid-wicket.

I initially struggled though with the wind working against my out-swinger as I conceded leg-side wides (as a matter of fact, I bowled nine wides today), but once I got my wrist and front-arm to work as I liked, the ball came out much better. At the other end, Vishal kept it really tight and should have taken a wicket had Aditya Dwivedi not dropped a catch at mid-off.  Gradually though, due to the pressure built by him and myself, I prized out three wickets. Thomas chipped a catch to mid-wicket where Sumanth Purelli took an excellent low catch before I trapped both Bennie and Welfare LBW in consecutive overs (each on the first ball of the over). One out-swinger trapped Bennie on the back-leg while Welfare appeared to get an inside edge.  Considering that we were unfortunate not to win a caught behind the decision of Liam’s bowling earlier, that was some consolation.

Even though I never took a wicket again during the day, I had troubled Matt Wheadon (whom I previously dismissed) on two occasions. In my first over, I got a ball to rise, which hit his glove, but it bounced in front of the slip cordon. Not long after, I got a ball to jump steeply and beat his forward defense. Later on, with assistance with the wind, I got the ball to move back into the right-handers and move away from the left-handed Thomas. After all that, a spell of 3 for 28 in my eight overs was the result. No wonder both Adam and Daniel Henrich (who reckons that was the best he has seen me bowl) were impressed. As I experienced cramp in the left leg, I retreated to the pavilion for the rest of the innings, and the boys continued the momentum from my spell.

Adam claimed the wickets of Wheadon and Ringwood while Aditya breached the defenses of Coughlan. When Liam claimed a run-out, Creek was nine down and was struggling to get to 150. Ultimately with a bit of luck, they managed to get there. Their captain Nathan Spencer should have been run-out only for Liam to mess up a good return by Kushal Kotagal. To add to Liam woes, he bowled a longish over due to series of wides and no-balls. It was so bad that he tried to finish the over with spin. To be honest, Liam’s over was on par compared to that of Curtly Ambrose at the WACA in 1996-97, where he bowled a 17 ball over due to a series of no-balls. We all had our bad days with the ball in hand in the past. Hence we can empathize with Liam. I am confident, though, that he will come back stronger for the experience. He is young, and it was good that Adam was there to provide him with some tips on how he can improve.  Simon soon ended the resistance, and we had to chase 156 for the win on a wicket that is unlikely to deteriorate.

But our batting did. Rahul Desai gloved a catch behind on the second ball in the chase. Mallik Prasad, Sumanth, Kushal, Michael Weston, and Daniel were bowled, and Aditya chipped a catch to mid-on. That left us 7 for 51 after 12 overs as the top-order imploded. Little did anyone knew what was going to happen next. Simon was still at the crease who, unlike the other seven batters, was putting a price on his wicket by playing straight. Vishal had joined him and tried to attack them. Sumanth and Aditya tell me that Vishal will try to murder spinners. He will either hit sixes or get out. I suppose though, these outcomes make him our wildcard, but he provided great entertainment. He definitely looked at ease against Wheadon’s darts. However, it was chaotic entertainment against Spencer’s slow leggies since Vishal got too excited and swung the bat too early. One ball hit the toe of his bat; the other ball hit his chest, but otherwise, when he connected, it went for boundaries. Nevertheless, you couldn’t fault him for trying, and his approach really brought us back into the game by the second drinks was called (a second drinks break was agreed upon due to the heat before the toss), we were just 13 runs away from victory with Vishal on 61 not out.

Ultimately it was fitting that Vishal finished it off two overs later, in the 30th over. He launched Wheadon for consecutive sixes to pull off the stunning chase. He finished with 74 not out off 45 balls with 9 fours and 3 sixes and put on an unbroken 107 with Simon, who finished with 26 not out. It was indeed the great escape considering we were gone for all money until the miraculous happened. No wonder Adam termed it a stunning victory. It was definitely one of the best wins I’ve ever been apart of given that I had played my part with three wickets earlier on. The manner of the victory does embody “we will fight until the final wicket falls,” as described in our club song, which we definitely sang in full gusto. Having been at the receiving end of a lower order resistance by Weston Creek earlier in the season when playing for 5s Yellow, now it felt good to benefit from such strength and for them to be at the receiving end for once.

I shall not forget that this particular resistance ensured that the dominant efforts of Adam, Simon, and myself ended in victory. This time, we took 8 wickets between us as Simon earlier took three wickets with the ball to complete a reliable all-round performance. Us three together are now three wins from three and have taken 14 wickets between us. Unfortunately, though, Simon is away next week, so hopefully, next month, we will reunite.

Nevertheless, we all played a part in one of the best victories I’ve ever been in.

Mid-season Review, December 19 2019

Well, it’s now the Christmas/New Year break, and I’ve played six games across both the 5th Grade sides as well a one-off match for the 4s at the start of the season.

I would have liked to play a bit more white-ball cricket as I intended to, but my unavailabilities at times during the first half of the season counted against me. Nevertheless, when I played the one game, I got some good movement when bowling with the new ball until cramp got the better off me.

Since then, I have spent my time in both our 5th Grade sides. With the Blacks, I was opening the bowling with Simon while with the Yellows, I was a change bowler. Regardless of the role, I was handy as I was averaging exactly two wickets a game while bowling out my allocation of eight overs. The noticeable difference was the economy rate as per the below, which may be due to my differing roles.

Yellows: 3 games, 6 wickets, Average 20.33, Economy 5.04, Strike Rate 24

Blacks: 2 games, 4 wickets, Average 12.25, Economy 3.06, Strike Rate 24

Regardless of being on 10 wickets after 6 games this season, which obviously eclipsed the number of wickets I took in the same amount the games in the previous two seasons. In 2016-17, I was on 5 wickets. In 2017-18, it was 6. There was no apparent reason as to why my tally is more this season. Perhaps, I was trying to focus on my stock out-swinger, which made me more conscious of my wrist position as well as my shoulder rotations to ensure I hit a decent length most of the time.

Since the derby, I have been attempting to add a bit more speed into my bowling by trying to getting my bowling arm to ‘load’ early before delivery, which resulted in some extra bounce and movement after pitching. I consider this development to be a success considering the times when I was plagued with an illness, which restricted my run-up but not my effectiveness.  Buoyed by that development, I focused on bowling the in-swinger by changing my wrist position, which brought partial success only because my direction wasn’t perfect. That remains to be a work in progress.

For now, there will be no bowling as I head overseas for the break.

Ginninderra Derby: Black vs Yellow at the Nest, Kippax Oval, December 9 2018

December 8, 2018

Leading up to the derby, I was extremely grateful that a couple of mates who cared for my mental state went out of their way to give me advice. It was along the lines of taking the fear of getting hurt by the ball and just go and catch it. I think we can put it into perspective a similar quote by the Patches O’Houlihan character played by the late Rip Torn in the sports comedy Dodgeball, whose dialogue was “Can someone catch the god-damn ball.” Pretty strong point indeed.

Furthermore, my mates seem to think I was overthinking things a bit too much and suggested I just relax a bit. One of them suggested to perhaps whistle/hum a song. Worth a try, I thought.

Anyways, I got transferred back to Vasu’s team, and perhaps my old-team would not hesitate to take it to me on Sunday. I’ve noticed that we had 12 people, so I was hoping not to bat at all. Not so much to hide from their chirps but more so with the warm weather and my past history with cramp, Vasu thankfully agreed to my idea of me batting 12 and just open and closing out the bowling innings with Simon Edmonson once more.

December 9, 2018

Playing at the Nest was a different feel to playing on all the other grounds around the territory. The ground was indeed huge, but the grass was evenly cut, so if we get the ball in the gap, we can get value for runs even if we time the ball. No different to Freebody 1 or the Kingston Oval I played on in Sunday Social a couple of years ago.

Now for the toss, Archie won the toss and decided to bat. Perhaps getting a whiff of me opening the bowling with Simon, he was going to open with Lindsay Thompson alongside Andrew Loveday. Thommo was going to do some pinch-hitting since he was given a license to go from ball one. In retaliation, Vasu said to me, depending on how it goes, he may take me off after two overs if Thommo got stuck into me.

We got off to the best possible start in the first over. Loveday out, third ball presenting a high ball catch to Jaymin Bhatt at mid-wicket before Simon only conceded just two runs. 1/2. I came on. Thommo was circumspect as was the new man Darren Walker. Apart from the sprayed off-side wide, Thommo only clipped one to deepish mid-on. I had wanted to protect myself from Thommo’s onslaught with that fielder together with a man at cow-corner. Neither man was required at all. In my next over, Thommo did try to swing me over to the Raiders Club only to present a simple catch to Vasu at mid-on. 2/9. I nearly got a second when trying to take a caught and bowled off a hard hit by Darren Walker only to hit my thumb and still go for four.

It hardly mattered. Daz in the following over chipped Simon straight to Adam O’Connor at mid-on, and again, the Yellow 5s had another top-order collapse. Duncan Gammage batted well to steady the ship and featured in two good partnerships. He added 40-odd with Brenton Furze before Furze missed Jaymin’s cutter and clipped the balls before adding 32 with Luke Snowie before on track for a fifty; he chipped Chakra straight to Rahul Desai at short mid-wicket. What a shame, but we would take it. Duncan out for 45, Yellows 5/91.

Having slacked off a bit, we regained the ascendancy and rolled them for 139 in the last over. Andy Brains chipped Adam straight to Vasu at mid-off before Gurjiv slapped me to Adam in the same position. Snowie, who held the innings again with 40 edged Adam into Dan Heinrich’s gloves before Jaymin cleaned up the innings firstly by getting Archie to chip a catch to Simon at mid-wicket before yorking Dom Ross after he slogged his way to 15 runs. Jaymin finished with 3/25 off 7.1 overs, Simon 2/29 off 8, Adam 2/23 off 6 overs, and myself 2/25 off 8.

It was nice to see some support for the derby, especially with the likes of Jak Wilcox and Jarryd Hatton (although much is definitely left to be desired with his choice of clothing). It is nice to hear Jak give me a wrap with my bowling. He was pretty impressed with my run-up and was delighted that I pitched the ball up. I had told him it was the first time I was bowling at the Nest and was under the impression that it would be a belter if our club captain Rhys Healy made a double hundred on it.

Anyways, back to the chase. We needed 140 to get against a decent attack on Paper. Andy Brains, Luke Snowie, Thommo, Gurjiv, and Dom Ross, I thought, will probably offer us no quarter. So it was terrific to see that Rahul Desai and Kris Ravinuthala got us to a perfect start by adding 66 for the first wicket. There was some drama, though. Rahul presented a sky-ball off Gurjiv’s bowling only to fall in between Luke Snowie and Duncan Gammage. That was certainly a lucky break, and it can undoubtedly be really annoying when it really happens if you are the fielding captain. No wonder Archie got his troops together at the end of that over. Furthermore, Kris shouldered arms but wasn’t given out LBW. It looked certainly close but not quite a wicket.

Anyways, the Blacks lost three quick wickets before drinks. Rahul skied a catch to Brenton at mid-off for 34. Dan Heinrich played around a straight one from Luke Snowie and had his castle rattled for 6 before Ronak Desai misjudged a delivery from Dom Ross and went back rather than forward. We were 3 for 77, but Kris was still there, and he went on to make a very good fifty in the presence of his dad at the other end. Kris added 33 with Jaymin (who made 16) before adding the remaining 30 with his dad (who hit the winning runs and finished with 23). Our side won the derby comprehensively by 6 wickets with just over 10 overs remaining.

The great thing was we all got together to sing the song, which was indeed an impressive club spirit. While it was indeed an official fixture in terms of the 5th-grade competition, but in the end, at least the club got a win on that weekend.

Personally, I would have liked Archie’s Army to win the derby to hopefully still stay in contention for top-four. It’s just unfortunate that they haven’t quite got the rub of the green in the moments that mattered the most, but you hope that one day it will all click together, and they would re-start building the momentum.  They can do it. They just need some luck to go their way and just run away with it.

I was happy though to reunite with Simon. Once again, we worked together as a bowling pair and made crucial in-roads in both this game and the ANU White clash back in October. We, along with Adam, can be a capable trio for the Blacks as long as we play as many games as we can. Unfortunately, it’s not going to be the case as I’ll be away until mid-January.

 

Ginninderra Yellow vs ANU White at Scullin, December 1 2018

November 19, 2018

Even on Saturday, I was losing energy and coughing from time to time. My illness much to my annoyance has been troublesome for that last month, but I still gambled and played three matches during this time and had reasonable success except for Saturday. As my energy had been compromised due to the illness, I had been avoiding training worried that the intense fielding circuit would have got me in serious trouble and perhaps sideline me for much of the season, which isn’t what I wanted.

Having a week off from cricket since I’m off to Melbourne to watch the Indians perhaps expecting to roll the Aussies will probably allow me to hope again regain my fitness with the hope the illness finally goes away. It will not trouble me again for some time this season.

I had thought about my bowling since a rare bad day on Saturday and did come to the conclusion that my loading hand before delivery was a bit low, which was why I had been overpitching a bit and conceded boundaries. I had to get it higher, and while I’m at, I better off looking at increasing my run-up and developing a proper rhythm that allows me to gradually increase my pace.

Today was a great day to get some bowling done, but I need to find a net before it gets taken. Armed with two new 4-piece cricket balls donated by a good friend of mine, I managed to find a spare net in Franklin. I had decided for now to abandon my desire for pace and focus on hitting my lengths after my performance on Saturday. I again started with a small run-up of 6 meters (4 paces) to focus on moving the ball of the seam and hitting the lengths which proved to be successful but only after I gave my self cues so that I can bowl my stock ball around the same spot again and again. I was generous since my lines were inconsistent, but there were outside the off stump. I had read across a couple of books that the late Richie Benaud had passed down advice to Shane Warne on the lines of “Bowl 6 leg-breaks on the same spot, it will take you three years”.  The legend tells that it took Warney two years of achieving that, but a point had been made.

To hit the ball in the same spot for each ball in a single over requires endless practice. For me, it is all about getting both arms to work in sync together with my wrist position.

November 20 2018

Having revised my running technique, I attempted to get some more bowling done after work since the weather was perfect for a quick session. The emphasis was on the running technique and the cues to ensure that I can bowl the delivery in the same spot every ball in an over. It did not quite work out as I hope since I realize that I was bowling half-volleys despite landing the ball in the line of off-stump. Although I have been able to move the ball, I just realized that how I hold the ball will dictate the length, I would be bowling. It was indeed advice that I picked up before on a bowling tutorial by the late Clive Rice (who played alongside Richard Hadlee in Nottinghamshire between 1978 to 1987 and was part of Transvaal’s mean machine in the 80s before being instrumental in setting up Kevin Pietersen’s career while coaching Nottinghamshire).  Based on that advice, I pushed the ball a little back further into my hand, which helped to successfully pull the length back slightly while hitting the same lines. Very good self-feedback, which helps to understand what I should be looking to correct if I miss my length.

November 26 2018

Having the weekend off enjoying the Melbourne journey by road, I returned to practice for the first time since my recovery from the ongoing illness. I arrived rather pretty early at about 4.40pm and immediately got bowling to TC, who is intending to make a comeback. Once again, we both had a decent battle, but it’s safe to say that neither of us won it given TC played some excellent shots, and I bowled some proper deliveries, which would have created half chances.

Before I could contemplate a session against the bowling machine, it was time to field. Again, we had to do the 30 catches before we ventured into the fielding session. First of all, we were split into two teams for the best of three, with the winning team deciding the punishment for the losers. First of all, the focus was more on clean pick up and throws to the person hitting them. Each team earned a point for each clean pick-up and throw, and a set is won once a team reaches 10 points first.  My group lost the first but won the second. Then it moved to catches.  Drop a catch; lose a point. Take a catch to earn a point.  Unlike the first two sets, this one was more competitive since there were drops and catches galore. It was very tight at one stage at 8-8 or so, and then the hitters were conspiring together to perhaps make matters hard. They even deliberately hit catches in opposite directions when it between BT and the current club captain Rhys Healy but neither of them got around. But we were getting closer at 9-8 when it was soon my turn, and my opponent was Dylan Faram (quickly known as Clark Kent since he started wearing glasses). Again there was the conspiracy between Mick and Hatts who were hitting the catches before the critical chance. Mick hit me a sitter, which I accepted, but because Dylan got a chance that bounced, we had to go again. My next opportunity was a little harder, but I took it over my head while Dylan missed his. We won the best of three, having lost the first set. So the losers had to run a lap around the oval before we resumed more fielding drills before nets.

When I think about it further after training, the key for taking catches is keeping your eye on the ball. Sounds simple, doesn’t it, but that be the reason why my catching has ranged from hot to cold.

When we resumed nets, I was able to develop some good swing and bounce, unlike earlier since I didn’t really realize that the ball was reversing in the opposite direction to what I intended to do. It was why it took a while to get the ball to move in the intended direction once I worked the direction of the rough/shiny sides.

Mind you, it’s a lot easier to bowl to proper batsmen rather than those who continuously employ the leg-side hoick of constant frequency like Josh Benny. Bowling to him was a nightmare, but I realized if I take the pace off, I will fancy getting him out. I had been experimenting with the knuckle-ball, but I realized I need to disguise it better. I got lucky that day, but proper bats will notice any apparent changes and set up accordingly to negate me.

November 28, 2018

Although it was wet, I went for a bowl to perhaps make my run-up more efficient, having lost energy on Monday, and indeed the results were there. However, I had to still avoid twisting my back, which would have caused massive counter-rotations, but the truth was that the positions of my arms were the culprits since there is that obsession in trying to bowl straight and to get the ball to move away. What I find is that if my arms move straight while brushing my sides, I can at least avoid the back issues, which made it essential for my non-bowling hand to lead the way in hitting the areas. I couldn’t quite hit the same spot as I intended to do, but I, at least, as usual, kept it around the offside. The ball was coming out with more energy, and I had felt during the session I had regained my pace that was lost due to illness. I had announced to my captain in particular on Facebook that I’ve restored my wheels as Lovey likes to put it and am pumped for the weekend. Lovey asked if it meant he didn’t have to keep up the stumps. The answer was in the affirmative, but I mentioned that if he isn’t scared of losing some teeth, he is welcome to continue keeping up.

December 1, 2018

We lost the toss and had to bowl first. The ANU White openers started steadily against Luke Snowie and Dom Ross before laying into me when I came on first change. I was trying to bowl too quick, and I wasn’t able to hit the lengths as I like. To make matters worse, I missed a simple return from Luke Snowie in amongst a mix-up. I freaked out under pressure courtesy of Archie’s shout from behind, “Take it.” It reminded me of Phil Tufnell’s similar mishap back in 1990-91. It was funny seeing his stuff up, but it wasn’t when I was one stuffing up. I did manage to get the breakthrough. I got one to swing a leg-middle line and knocked out the middle stump as Lang tried to hit across the line. I should have dismissed the other opener in Whitehead as he skied a full toss only for me to miss the catch and hit my leg.

That hurt because Whitehead went on to make 118 out of a total of 6/181 at the end. I did come back a bit after that getting Burke to edge an out-swinger to Darren Walker at gully, and I finished with 2/40 off my full allocation of 8 overs. Given our usual sloppiness, we should have been chasing 200+, but Luke Snowie’s 4/17 at the end ensured we only had to chase 182 instead. He eventually dismissed Whitehead with Dom Tran taking an excellent running catch at long-on and in amongst his wickets; he even knocked over all three stumps in dismissing Boyce. That was a picture of destruction, and it’s not very often you see all three stumps knocked out the ground. I suppose though on synthetic wickets where the wickets are held together on sand that can be very dry at times, its likely to happen.

Archie was disappointed. If the catch was taken, we could have been chasing a much easier target than 182. But we had to bat well and bat the full 40 overs. Lovey and Cam Whitty gave us a much needed solid start. 76 in 17 overs before Whitty’s lofted drive landed at cover, and he was gone for 17. Just before the drinks break, Darren Walker tried a lofted shot as well and gifted a caught and bowled to Albrecht. We were 2/88 at drinks, and with Lovey having raised a maiden fifty for Ginninderra, we were well set with a long batting line-up.

Lovey was rolling along after drinks. Taking Albrecht for 20 off his over but he fell to the same bowler attempting to sweep, and the bottom edge was taken by Lang. Lovey out for 73, and we were 3 for 108. Jared Mathie and Duncan Gammage developed a partnership themselves by adding 34 for the fourth wicket, but both batsmen fell (as did Daniel Heinrich with a slightly twisted ankle) as the run-rate started to rise.  Brenton Furze tried a lofted shot and hit it to cover. 7 for 154. 28 needed off 5 overs. We still got this.

Our hopes rested on Luke Snowie, who, by far, is our best batsmen. He bats like Glenn Maxwell but without the funk. We were hoping if he stays in with Archie, we can see it home. It even got tight once the equation become 15 off 2 overs. Archie started well by hitting Ganesan for four before taking a single. It was now at a run a ball. But soon it was a disaster. Snowie lofted Ganesan to long-on, and Dom Ross was bowled off a full-toss trying to slog. 9 for 173 with the last pair of Archie and Dom Tran to go for the last over. I wasn’t going to bat after all since the hitters we required. In saying so, I did suggest to Archie at the start that let us get off to a flyer and demote me for later. At the time, I was going to bat 8 or 9, but the increasing run-rate ensured it never materialized.

Unfortunately, it didn’t work either. We couldn’t get the runs, and to make matters worse, Dom Tran wandered out of his crease and got stumped. All out for 177.

That really hurt because we laid the platform at the start. But in Archie’s post-mortem, we played out too many dot-balls, which put the pressure on the tail to see us home. In saying so, we didn’t take our chances in the field, and we chased too many. The perfect performance is still yet to come, and a turn-around is required. The derby between the two Ginninderra sides is next, and a season of hell is likely if we don’t win that.

In more positive news, our current 1st-grade captain (and chop king) Rhys Healy pulled a miracle out of nowhere. Against Queanbeyan’s imposing 330 odd, he single handedly defied a poor start to see his side over the line with a superb unbeaten double-hundred. He finished with 202 not out, and with Dylan Faram’s 97, the final score was 5 for 358. It will not be a surprise if he comes into contention for ACT selection and possibly beyond.

December 2, 2018

I just wondered whether I should carry on. I am missing regulation chances in matches where it should have been pretty easy, but it isn’t. I can certainly point the finger at what had happened in pre-season when I was fortunate to get away with just a cut below the left eye.

I can take x number of catches at training, but is it worth playing if I can’t take the simplest of chances in the field. I just need to be encouraged to go for it without worrying too much.

Playing cricket requires mental skills, then anything else since confidence is a massive factor.  It’s unfortunate that having taken some good catches last season, I’m unable to hold on to simple catches. I have to own up and recover, but I need help.

 

Ginninderra Yellow vs Weston Creek Molonglo at Mawson Turf Oval, November 17 2018

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.