Golden Grove vs Prince Alfred Old Collegians at Harpers Field, October 19 & 26 2019

October 15, 2019

It was raining today on my way home from work. I did wonder if we were going to train, but in the club’s private Facebook group, training was on even if we had to spend the session fielding. I then wondered, despite that If I should still go. I don’t know how it occurred, but I had a slightly stiff neck, which pains more when I move my head to my right. However, considering it didn’t affect my ability to lift weights yesterday, especially when doing back squats with 85kg, I should be ok.

I eventually turned up to training, immediately ran a lap around the oval, stretched, and then engaged in warm-ups by trying to hit the stumps, which I achieved on the sixth attempt. This week, we were back at the front oval with the turf nets as the new school term had commenced. It meant that we could at least have proper preparation on wickets we’re likely to encounter during the season.

Today’s focus with the ball in hand was trying to run-in quicker and hit the deck harder by pulling the left-arm with extra force. Even though I was back to my usual inconsistent usual self, I managed to get a bit more out of the wicket in terms of pace and movement. Since I was bowling with “well kept” ball with one side rough and the other side shiny, I was able to swing the ball both ways despite this inconsistency due to perhaps an occasional poor hip alignment when it occurs whenever my legs/arms are not straight. The solution to that is to pull the shoulders back before running into bowl.

October 18, 2019

Yesterday I couldn’t attend training since I finished work later than usual, which resulted in me arriving home at 6pm. So I decided it would have been better if I spend time in the gym instead. Moreover, I had been battling with a pain (perhaps tightness) around the right rear deltoid, which provided some discomfort when lifting the shoulder. Thereby, I didn’t see any point trying to train while the pain/tightness was there.

As the pain slightly decreased, I tried bowling with it. I managed to move the ball, but the length was mostly back of a length, which I wondered if was the right length for turf wickets here that would be generally slow and low like in Canberra.

That aside, I was pleasantly surprised that I was promoted into the C1 grade for the two-day starting tomorrow rather than facing my old club, Adelaide University, in C2s. I was looking forward to meeting some of the guys, knowing that some barbs that could come my way as well as going in with some plans against some of their players whom I know well. Later in the season, I might have another crack at them if I play in C2s. Irrespective of this, I’ll be making a return to two-day cricket, having not played the format since over 18 months ago. I remember indicating to the club when I wanted to join them initially that this format suits my conservative game well and also that several of the committee members telling me that I’m likely to play in the higher grades. I’m confident, but as long as the pain/tightness subsides in time before we go out to field.

October 19, 2019

The good thing was that the pain/tightness had subsided by the time I arrived at Harpers Field, the venue for the next two Saturdays. As it was a footy field, the ground looks very big, but it has a fast outfield as the grass had been very well-cut. The strange thing was that the pavilion was further away from the ground, but then again, it was closer to the other football oval at the venue. I was there with Dan “Mose” Mosey, Mitch Larsson, Rory Hustler, and Jacob “Leaky” Leak. We were all wondering where the rest of our team? So we five made the walk to the ground and saw Antony ‘Brabs’ Brabham, our captain for the day. He already won the toss and decided to bat in spite of him not looking at the wicket. His reasoning was, “Let us get a total on the board and take it from there.”

When he did look at the wicket eventually, it was rock hard, so perhaps it was a good toss to win. Eddie Thomas and Leaky opened for us, and both had a few nervous moments. Eddie was dropped twice while Leaky played and missed a few while nearly spooning a pull shot to mid-wicket. Nevertheless, slowly but steadily, almost got us through the first hour until Leaky guided a short ball straight to Gully.

From 0/25, the rot started to settle in much like what had happened last weekend when the C1s lost 9/45. Mitch having got off the mark with a confident push through the covers for two, mishit a short ball to midwicket. Matt Dickinson and Angus Lange had their castles rattled. Eddie, having held the innings together with our only double-digit score in the innings, clipped a low catch to midwicket. Next ball, Lincoln Halton was trapped LBW. Rory was run out, trying to take a quick single. Sohil Jayaprakash, having played a few leg-side shots, chased at one and edged behind. Mose also chased at one was caught in the gully. Next ball (of the next over), I was adjudged LBW when the ball hit my left toe. But I should have known better knowing that the ball has been mainly coming into me. Despite playing a few drives, I was unable to make my first run in Adelaide, thereby making my long walk back to the pavilion (literally). We were bowled out for 58. A collapse of 10/33.

The Golden Grove openers got off to a flyer but punishing anything loose from Brabs and Mose. It eventually helped them to win on the first innings by stumps, but not before Lincoln made his mark in the field. He took a flying catch to his left to help Brabs dismiss the first opener. Then he took a caught and bowled off the other opener and then cleaned up their number four left-handed bat via an inside-edge. Meanwhile, I only managed a couple of overs in which I wasn’t too bad; I could have done better. While I at times managed to beat the bat with pace and movement, my lengths and lines were inconsistent (particularly when faced with a left-right combination). Regardless, I was disappointed when a catching chance just fell short of Mose at mid-on, which would have been some consolation. I would be more disappointed next weekend if I didn’t have the opportunity to add on to my figures of 2-1-3-0 next Saturday.

October 22, 2019

Today was a warm day to be practicing. It was about 33 degrees when I rocked up to practice. But I was physically okay. After a jog around the oval and some theraband stretching, I got bowling immediately. I commenced considerations of whipping my right arm through, which would allow me to disguise my seam position better than before. I had some success as I have been able to swing the ball both ways at pace. This resulted in me hitting the deck harder and beat the bat from time to time. To be honest, though, I was better before batting practice than after as the running between wickets exercise left me to the brink of exhaustion.

That will be a problem if I have to bowl immediately after batting in matches. If necessary, I would need to ‘wing it’ and cut down my run-up length.

Speaking of batting, I knew before the session that my stance had let me down on Saturday, and I managed to correct it today. If my hands are around my waist and after lifting the bat, I have a more significant, fluent swing that allows me to be decisive as to whether to play or leave it alone. As a result, this allowed me to bully the finger-spin delivered by both Will Farminer and Don Kieu by either going down the wicket, going right back in the crease, or slog sweeping from the crease. I hope though to be facing more pace on Thursday, considering that Golden Grove didn’t need a spinner to bowl us out on the 1st day.

October 25, 2019

Soreness in the chest from Tuesday’s bowling (perhaps muscles that were not previously used) was my “excuse” for my absence from training yesterday. I reasoned that the soreness would prevent me from training at my best, which would dampen the confidence leading into the weekend.  While the soreness did minimize, unfortunately, I hit my right forearm by accident on the door while getting out of the toilets. While it was an impact injury, it didn’t stop me from holding dumbbells in the gym nor practicing shadow bowling.

October 26, 2019

After all, in spite of the rains, we are playing. That was good; otherwise, I would have been disappointed that I didn’t get an opportunity to turn my performance around. I relaxed by accepting “failure” in terms of making a pair with the bat or possibly not bowling at all or getting smashed around the park. Moreover, it also helped to know that I wasn’t going to be playing for a couple of weeks, so I just go out, relax, and have fun.

Brabs told us before we started that the ball is likely to stick into the surface and motioned for us bowlers to pitch it up. He started off proceedings with Mitch by only conceding just 15 runs off the first 12 overs of the day. The result of that pressure was the wicket of Woods, one of the overnight batsmen caught (just) by Rory at mid-off on the second attempt. While Brabs continued bowling, Mose replaced Mitch, and after a couple of inconsistent overs, he pitched one on the stumps and castled Innes. Five down for about 90 at drinks, Brabs brought me into the attack.

I was trying to concentrate at the batsman’s pads to help me hit the excellent length, and gradually having shortened my run, I was able to get the ball to swing away from the right-hander without having to telegraph it to the batters. The last ball I bowled in the over had clipped the outside edge of the other overnight batter van Rooyen, which was held by Josh Bean, who came in today in place of Lincoln. The umpire didn’t give it out, but the batter walked. Some relief that I finally got on the board. In my next over, Ward tried to lift me over the top, but it only got as far as mid-on where Brabs took an easy high-ball catch. 7 down for 103.

Next over, I should have had Henderson out twice in the same over. Rory got a fingertip to a lofted drive, which still went to the boundary, and then Angus did not get close to a high ball at point. However, Eddie knocked him over with a quicker ball that rattled his castle.

But I add another wicket soon after nevertheless. After Fairington left a couple of out-swingers, I went wider of the crease and bowled an in-ducker that was kept out. However, I went back to my regular running line and bowled another out-swinger, which he tried to hit over the top but only to Rory at mid-off who took it cleanly. I now had 3 wickets. First such haul in two-day cricket for me, and I nearly had a fourth if Dicko had taken a skier at Cover. I was taken out of the attack, but a haul of 3/15 off 8 overs is indeed a good day’s work.

Eventually, Mitch returned and cleaned up Marks around his legs to finish Golden Grove’s innings at 130. Within the two hours, we took 7/70 and thereby only trailed by 72 runs.  As it was just past 3pm, we jointly agreed to have tea. Suddenly there was tension between the two teams. Most of our guys thought we did enough to prevent a 2nd innings, but the Golden Grove captain was insistent in bowling the 36 overs remaining for outright.

It was then just a case in not losing too many wickets in the first hour. Eddie was badly dropped off Ward in the first over by Innes before he scored but gradually was resolute throughout the first hour. Josh Bean opened with him and survived for seven overs before he was plumb LBW off Ward playing back.

Mitch came in, and after playing and missing, he toyed with the bowling in a manner like Viv Richards would do whenever he came in at no. 3. He played some drives and cuts and also dominated Woods’ leg-spin by coming down the wicket and hitting over the top as well as smashing a long-hop for six. Through his onslaught, we were 1 for 63 at drinks when both captains decided to end the match when it became clear that an outright result would be impossible. Perhaps that call would have been harsh on Mitch, who was just four shy of a first half-century for the club, but Brabs wasn’t aware of it. Oh well.

In the end, last week’s performance really killed us despite our fightback, but we should be proud nevertheless. I had a good bowling day, and I was able to use the ball to swing the ball both ways without telegraphing my intent to the batters. All the recent work I did with Luke in April indeed paid off.

Prince Alfred Old Collegians vs Brahma Lodge at Park 15, October 12 2019

October 10, 2019

Today was a good session, as I have felt that I am at reasonable space skills-wise. For once, my bowling improved in consistency, occasionally straying in line or length. Not only was my run-up smoother, but I was also able to land a ball on a length bowling wicket to wicket and sometimes getting the ball to swing away from the right-handers. This was the line of attack I attempted with some success last week. But today, I was making life hard for a few batters by either hitting their edge or beating it. In particular, I gave Patty Sadlier, the C2 grade/4th XI captain, a tough work over. I suppose that might be one way to get selected.

The only downside was the surface that we were training on due to the school holidays. The outfield, in particular, was very sandy, which I noticed while I was warming up by throwing at a single stump. While it wasn’t affecting my run-up, the sandy surface didn’t allow me to accelerate my run-up. Moreover, it was tricky running on the sand during catching practice after having a hit with the bat. Catching, in particular of the high-ball kind, was tricky, but some advice, particularly from the higher grade players, allowed me to finish my fielding stint on a high note. The information I got was to set up a stable base by attempting to sprint to where the ball could possibly land. It was the same advice that Mick Delaney gave me at the time while I was in Ginninderra. But it seems the lesson had been forgotten.

So as I said, it was a good day, but it remains to be seen where I’ll be playing this weekend.

October 11, 2019

As it turned out, my spell to Patty Sadlier did my selection no harm as I was picked to play in his side in C2s. I found out through a Facebook post made by the club, which indicated that four people were making their debuts for the club. Surprisingly I wasn’t one of them. Thereby, I politely commented that it was my first game as well. They probably overlooked it, but you cannot blame them for thinking that they felt I was around for a lot longer than since the preseason. Nevertheless, the overall mutual feeling between myself and the club is pretty awesome, ensuring that the decision to switch to this club was extremely justifiable.

October 12, 2019

We were bowling first today against Brahma Lodge, and I was scheduled to come on as a change bowler behind Dan Mosey and Andy Heitmann. Before we step out to the field, we had to sign a ‘contract’ to ensure that we will uphold the spirit of cricket this season. To further add to that, the “Captain Serious” initiative was brought in whenever we show dissent as the intent is to make sure we respect the umpire’s decision. As it was wrapped, we don’t know what it was, but from the way it was described, it doesn’t sound that great at all. Might as well; just accept the umpire’s decision and move on.

Andy ensured we got off a good start by rattling Clark’s stumps off the fourth ball on the innings. But he should have a second wicket within his initial four-over spell when our appeal for caught behind against Dodds was turned down. I came on after Dan completed a wicketless five-over spell for nine runs (including three wides before he bowled his first-ever legal delivery). I tried to bring the ball back into the left-handed Craig Fry, which turned out to be a half-tracker, but…. it didn’t rise striking him in front of middle and off when he tried to pull. So I appealed, and he was given out. As people say, “Shit takes wickets.” It cannot be any more accurate.

As it turned out, it was to be my only success for the day, but I should have at least finished better than figures of 1/13 off my four overs courtesy of some misfields. Nevertheless, Patty was pretty happy with my spell. Eddie Thomas had Ryan bowled off an inside edge, which prompted early drinks to break. We were then slightly frustrated in spite of keeping the run rate in check, but from 3/56, Brahma Lodge collapsed to 7/65.

Cam Fry tried to chance his arm at Don Kieu by hitting into the mid-on region where I was lurking at wide mid-on. So it went to me, and I took it after an initial juggle. I, at least, remembered to steady myself to take the chance, making sure all the efforts on Thursday paid off. I have taken both a wicket and a catch on my debut, which was precisely the same sequence in my (then) appearance for Adelaide University last season.

Eddie then outshone me with his own catch. Dodds had tried to loft Andy down the ground, but it wasn’t well-timed. The ball was coming in Eddie’s direction, but as it couldn’t get two hands, he tried with taking it with one, his left, and it stuck, much to everyone’s surprise.

Don then trapped McCappin LBW before Andy cleaned up Manton.  Both finished with 2/19 off 8 overs and 3/11 off 9 overs, respectively. It was then left for Jack Emmett to clean up the tail and ensure that Brahma Lodge failed to bat their 40 overs. The last three wickets of Blight, O’Loughlin, and New were all bowled to help Jack finish with figures of 3/13 off 7.5 overs.

Now we had to chase 102 to start on a winning note. Eddie and Connor Craigie got us to a steady start by resisting for 10 overs and accumulating 29 runs before Connor slashed at one that popped up in the air for a catch. Charlie Austin came and went when he tried to take a quick single when Eddie clipped one straight to short fine-leg and was run out. When Will Farminer was bowled trying to drive, we were wobbling at 3/40, but slowly, surely, we were regaining control of the chase.

Eddie continued to accumulate until he clipped a catch to Square leg after making 23, which turned out to be our top score. With the assistance of ‘wides,’ Lincoln Halton and Patty guided us over the finish line with a 40 run stand to ensure that we chase the runs down with at least 12 overs remaining. This ensured that Lincoln and I made a winning start at the club.

I enjoyed my first game. Thinking about it know I could not only improve my wrist position, which might help at least try to recreate the results from Thursday, I could also perhaps ditch the knee pads I’ve been wearing as a prevention measure against knee injuries which could at least improve my acceleration in my run-up. Considering I’ll be running on grass in training and in matches, I don’t think I’ll have any issues.

It seems to me that having performed well in the game, I might be around in C2 for some time, particularly with two-day cricket about to get started next weekend. I would like to be involved in that since my recent form within this format has been impressive for Ginninderra. I just have to wait and see, but I should continue to train, especially with my bowling.

October 3, 2019

Preseason has finally come to an end. I am happy where my game is at the moment, and based on Ben’s feedback from last week, the club is too. My bowling finally clicked the previous night after diagnosing the problem to be my run-up. While the consistency is still in progress, I managed to at least make the batters play by going wicket to wicket and occasionally trying to get a ball to curve to hopefully force a rash shot.

The good thing, though is that from next week, I’ll be paired up with someone else who will investigate my ‘pitch map’. This was an initiative by our coach Trent English which is designed to make us more match ready. I’m looking forward to it as it hopefully could guide me to become more consistent.

After the session with Keegan with the bat last Monday, my batting has become a bit more confident. More so on the front-foot, while I’m hoping to become a bit more aggressive with the fast short deliveries. At the moment, I’ve resorted to ducking underneath them, but whenever it’s well-directed at my body, the ball pops up after I hit it tamely. I’m hoping some fine-tuning with my backlift can assist in that regard especially when we’ll be training on the hard wicket nets next week and more importantly if I am going to bat in either the C1 or C2 grade on October 12 (as the limited-overs only sides have the bye).

Basically, I am at a functional headspace with bat and ball and with catching. Last night, I decided to join in the slips cordon drill and caught all but about 2-3 chances that came my way. I try to get my head over my toes so that it helps my reactions, but I need to be careful that my hands don’t follow suit. This is because, ideally, the hands should be giving with the ball to develop soft hands.

Saturday, September 28 2019

Even though there’s still a week to go, pre-season is about to come to an end. While I was hoping to have hit the ground running with Prince Alfred, unfortunately, it hasn’t entirely gone to my expected plan. My bowling, which I still consider my stronger suit, hasn’t wholly produced the consistency I was after while my batting had lacked fluency, which did bring my confidence down.  It was so bad that I wanted a session with just the bowling machine alone, which I managed to do on Monday with the assistant coach Keegan English feeding balls into the machine.

Before that session, I actually revised my batting routine, mainly how I lift the bat. When I went out to face the machine, I remembered exactly what I needed to do, which then not only allowed me to time the ball but also to hit it with some power. Keegan having wanted to analyze me to find faults with my technique, simply said that he couldn’t find anything. In the end, I told him that I had a routine and wanted to make sure I followed it, which I did. After that, even though I was facing slower bowlers, I felt more confident also though I should avoid trying to play across the line against the spinners.

I am more disappointed though my bowling hasn’t entirely developed as I liked due to the inconsistency of the line and length that could be brutally exposed. But a chat with Ben Lobban certainly has raised my spirits. He reckons that after facing me, he would have thought that I would be a convenient addition to his side’s bowling stocks. Having asked him further where he usually plays, he told me its B grade. While I started thinking that it would be a dream to play 1st/2nd XI cricket for a club, he quickly advised me that I’ll probably start in C grade which is fine as long as I can get some overs in every game I play (which he thinks will be a given).

Anyways, I shouldn’t be worrying too much how I’m going right now because Ben reckons that I am doing really well, and others had mentioned this as well.

The moral of the story then…… Quit worrying and start believing. Who knows what happens next?

September 4 2019

The fixtures for the coming season are out. Prince Alfred will be fielding four 2-day teams (A1, B2, C1, and C2) alongside two one-day sides (LO1 and LO5). Looking at the fixtures, C1 has a bye on November 2 and 9 with the one-days teams having a bye on October 12 and January 11. Regardless, it seems that it’s likely that I’ll be able to get a game every week, which would make the annual fees of $315 excellent value for money.

Moving on to training, Trent English apparently threw up around himself and did not rock up to practice. So his assistant, Keegan English, took over proceedings. Due to the numbers, training finished earlier than the scheduled time of 7.30pm. Immediately, I got bowling. Last week, I felt I was often bowling short rather than the length. Having reviewed my bowling footage at the time, I had changed my bowling approach so that I can not only hit a fuller length but also get the ball to move away.

Initially, I continued hitting the shorter length, but after small adjustments like my head position, I finally managed to start bowling at a fuller length with movement. Even though I wasn’t consistently getting the ball to move, I was at least testing the defense of the batters. The next step is to deliver the ball in a fluid motion so that the ball I can deliver the ball I intend to bowl all the time. What I find is that if I pull my left-arm slowly yet in a rhythmical manner, my bowling arm will be able to come around and finish on my left hip. Perhaps I could model my action on Mitchell Starc.

Unfortunately, my batting hasn’t progressed in a similar way to my bowling. Even though I managed to sort out my bottom hand grip in between training, I still continue to have issues with it only because I forgot the change I made. Nevertheless, that didn’t stop me from guarding my wicket while wearing the British Compliant Gray-Nicolls helmet I purchased recently.

Two weeks in, I have managed to make some progress with my game. But again, more work needs to be done. Mainly on my bowling if I want to be considered among the first-choice attack in any grade. The key is consistency in line, length, and movement. I just need to get the mechanics right.

 

August 28 2019

“Welcome to Prince Alfred,” I thought moments after coping a tennis ball at the back of my head during a warm-up exercise. It was indeed a little unsettling, but that subsided by the time we hit the nets at the Red Center, a recreation and leisure center right next to Prince Alfred College.

After that, there was a significant announcement that the head coach Trent English was to double up as the chairman of selectors. An excellent opportunity to impress with attitude and commitment to all aspects will not do me any harm in terms of getting a game, especially in 2-day cricket. Moreover, he was going to give a bit more focus to Twenty20 as well, which could definitely benefit the longer formats, much like what we had seen on the international stage.

When we went to the nets, everyone who batted (me included) was wearing helmets. Just recently, the ATCA had announced that they were applying the mandatory helmet usage rule enforced by Cricket Australia. I also had found that from Griffo, Cricket ACT was to follow suit. The helmet, though had to be a compliant one (perhaps only because it would also need space for the neck guards to be attached at a later stage). Unanimously, it didn’t sit well with the club, and to make matters worse, it could be likely that the fielding team might have the right to refuse bowling to a helmet-less batter.

There is some validity in the fact that why is it necessary for a competition like the ATCA, which isn’t at the same level as any District Level competition in the nation to enforce such rules. Then again, if we look at things from the other side, it is all about player safety when they get hit. From the administrative perspective, it is all about tragedy prevention (within community cricket in particular).

Anyways, back to the nets session. Having had a month off away from cricket, I was a little rusty. I am still trying to correct the bottom hand so that it doesn’t tightly grip the bat. Nevertheless, there was a sign that the work in the off-season had paid off as my head wasn’t falling over to the off-side while dealing with the ball pitched into my pads.

With the bowling, though, it will continue to remain a work in progress as I had been banging the ball in as opposed to getting it on a length consistently. When I hit the length, edges were being induced. More attention will need to paid to both my release point and my non-bowling arm.

In any event, the cobwebs have started to blow out. There’s one month to go before the season begins to get my routines clicking into gear.

August 11, 2019

Back at my old club, Ginninderra, there was another change with Matthew Phelps taking charge as coach. Phelps, the former NSW batsman, took over from Mick Delaney, who had turned the club into a very competitive side, much like Shane Warne did with Hampshire within the early part of this millennium. Mick had been part of the club for the last three years and had quickly turned the fortunes around, which resulted in three trophies: 6th Grade in 2017-18, 5th Grade in 2018-19, and, more importantly, the Douglas Cup in 1st Grade in 2-day cricket in the same season.

With Mick joining Chris Griffin in the Cricket ACT ranks, Matthew immediately has some big boots to fill considering our recent success (especially with the club also being anointed as the Premier Cricket Club of the year). Realistically, it would be too much to expect from the club this year with this change as we need to adapt and gradually understand Matthew’s approach. Unfortunately, I’m not there to do that since I’m more focused on my game elsewhere.

It has been confirmed by MyCricket that I’m indeed a Prince Alfred cricketer, and now I’m awaiting the pre-season to start. I had learned that it will be late August and late September, and it is going to be more skills-based, which is pretty good. It would allow me to maintain my all-round skills but, hopefully, progress a bit more on the fielding.

Even though the opportunity to have a hit (while wearing contact lenses) on the ProBatter was lost due to a malfunctioning system, I still felt confident of my game after a long while. As a result of this confidence, I am targeting a double of 200 runs and 20 wickets as long as I don’t miss too many games due to family commitments, possibly injury, or match abandonments (due to wet or scorching weather). Even if I miss games due to any of these reasons, a double of 150 runs and 15 wickets will suffice this season.

Moreover, it would be nice if I could have at least one game where I trouble the scorers in all aspects. The only time to date I did that was when I captained the Canberra Workers Redbacks to a tight victory against Brewers Best in 4th Grade shortly before making the transition to Turf cricket. I still remember that game. Having won the toss and batted. I opened the batting, scoring 25 and been involved in two fifty run stands. Then, I took a catch to commence our defense of 189 in 45 overs before chipping in with two wickets in the end. Before that, I managed an all-round performance in bat and ball for Riverton Rostrata against Armadale in 6th Grade in 2013-14. I made 39 in two and a half hours of batting that lead a recovery from 3/4 and 7/60 to 148. Then I took two wickets opening the bowling and conceded just 19 runs in 11 overs, but it wasn’t enough to stop Armadale from a 2 wicket victory. So I’m hoping for similar performances this season, depending on the role I might be playing.

Aside from these number specific goals, my target is to play a bit more of 2-day cricket (availability and weather permitting). While the format would suit my game very well (particularly batting), it should also be tailored to my fitness as opposed to 1-day cricket (as past attempts for all-round performances were dented by cramp in the 2nd innings). This is because generally, one week will be batting and the other bowling or fielding. Even if I play one-day cricket, I should be responsibly hydrated enough for the cramping not to occur.

 

 

 

July 24 2019

I am officially a Prince Alfred Old Collegians cricketer. Adelaide University has signed off my clearance request for my transfer without any questions even though ATCA just has to act. They probably would have reckoned that I was probably better off elsewhere, given that they might give more opportunities to students.  It will remain to be seen if there was going to be any banter when we face-off, but I’m mentally prepared to treat it as white noise.

I can’t really wait for the pre-season to commence. Not just because of the transfer, but also the confidence within my all-round skills are at an incredible high. With the bat, I felt like a dominator on both sides of the wicket, particularly to flighted slow bowling that allows me to come down the wicket and hit it with timing and power. It all came about via the conventional hard top-hand grip with the loose yet supportive bottom hand. It is important that since the kitbag would be untouched until pre-season, my newly formed batting routine and technique stay fresh in the memory.

Bowling wise has been steady. The fifteen paced run-up from last month has proven to be less of a hindrance to my body and my skills. Having been able to get the ball to move away and/or bounce, I had started working on an in-ducker, which is still a work in progress, but it’s a valuable ball when it all falls in place. My biggest concern though is my line, which is about a 4th/5th stump which batsmen could slash at it regardless of length. But that has been self-corrected since it all comes down to my non-bowling hand. I also managed to get the ball fuller than before, which again comes down to the non-bowling hand.

Fielding has seen some positive gains, as throwing from a conventional side-on position has provided my throws with extra power. Moreover, I have been encouraged by the coaches to study how players through from the outfield in Baseball, which does tie in with the basics conducted by Mike Young, the former Australian Fielding coach whose background is in Baseball.

The two months I spent at Gillespie Sports honing my all-round game have undoubtedly been worth it. Now it is up to me to revise what I’ve done so that I can hit the ground running at pre-season.

June 29 2019

Since the 2018-19 season had ended, I had made a conscious effort to improve both my physical fitness and technical skills (particularly in fielding). Unlike previous years where I was focusing on one superset for weight-training (in each gym session) in the BowlFit app, I tried to cram in three supersets into one gym session. The reasoning is that if I have to miss a gym session anytime, I know that I have managed to train every part of my body at least once. The progress from this as resulted in me putting on 6 kilos of muscle, which I should see that as a positive sign since I could use that to my advantage when it comes to power training.

My last trip to Perth at Easter allowed me to visit Luke at Southern Cricket again. As a result, I went from an action that was a combination of Brett Lee and Danny Morrison to a more slinging action like Lasith Malinga. The reasoning behind this is that it will generate vertical bounce and movement while also controlling the type of delivery I wanted to bowl without having to telegraph it to the batsman as I’m loading up to bowl.

In a bid to maintain the lessons learned from this, I spent the majority of my Tuesday and Thursdays after work bowling in the nets at Gillespie Sports in Edwardstown. Slowly the new action became natural to me, but it obviously required practice. I had started from a short run-up, which I thought might be the way to go for the upcoming season (since subsequent attempts to increase the run-up had reduced my effectiveness). However, one of their coaches had encouraged me to place a bit of faith in my body (as I have good lower-body strength) by increasing my run-up, which would reduce the impact of injury if I stuck by my ways. Cheers Levy. More work needed to be done, though.

Speaking of coaches, I ended up spending time with three of them working on both my fielding and batting. My first fielding session was with Steve Stubbings, the former Derbyshire player and coach (now coaching at East Torrens). He initially highlighted the importance of getting low and staying low when chasing the ball down and had put me through a series of drills, which he says that I had picked up and executed quickly than the Derbyshire players he previously coached. Cheers Stubbo. I instantly warmed up to him and wanted to work under him. Unfortunately, though, he was a top-rated coach, so I ended spending time with Stedgy honing my throwing skills. While there is more work to be done with him on this aspect next month, it is clear that if I slow down my throwing motion, I’ll be able to hit my target more often rather than spraying the ball all over the place.

The Batting coaching was initially more a trial to see how I go. In the end, I ended spending time with Nick, who grooved my head and backlift, which instantly allowed me to hit through the leg side without my head falling over. As he’s also a spinner, he was instrumental when batting against spin, which allowed me to come down the wicket or go back and across depending on the flight and length. He also helped me to commence hitting over the top effectively by explaining that it requires just a full extension of the bat. More work is to be done with him over the coming weeks so far; there have been promising signs.

Even though things have been rosy in the nets, it hasn’t been so away from it. I had initially been looking forward to the Adelaide University pre-season training and hopefully getting some opportunities. Just recently, though, I had learned that the majority of the club’s new recruits are bowlers, which meant I had to fight for opportunities as a bowler alone, which I had accepted since I had to work on my batting and fielding which might be tiebreakers for selections.  Moreover, it seems that preferential treatment would be given to uni students, which obviously won’t sit well with me who is seeking consistent selection based on availability.

Till now, I had been a one-club player for a particular competition. In SMCA in Perth, it was Riverton Rostrata. In the CCSCA, it was Canberra Workers Redbacks and recently Ginninderra within the ACT Premier Cricket competition. Thereby initially, I intended to play for Adelaide University in the ATCA competition. But the thought of paying full fees and playing fewer games concerns me given the current situation. I had to look out for myself and contacted Prince Alfred, whose secretary was keen to get me on board since they’re registering a 4th 2-day team, which would be of interest to me since it’s my preferred format. All it requires now is for Adelaide Uni to sign off the clearance form within two weeks. Otherwise, the ATCA will sign and process the form themselves. At this stage, I’m likely to be a Prince Alfred player.