Coughing and Spluttering

Funny old weather. Funny old season. Just as the cricket seems to be picking up some momentum the weather kicks in and puts it all on hold, and then we have to start it all over again!

Having had a very tough session with the Physio on Friday evening I knew I was going to be sore for a few days and the priority would be to get as loses as possible for Tuesday so I was in two minds as to whether I played over the weekend. Decided to play Saturday (was tough on the legs and arm), rest Sunday, coach on Monday and have a net.

As I said, funny old season! Although the end is in site it feels very much like it is just getting started, mainly I think because it has never felt like it has actually got going. I will do a fuller review at the end but the summary is:

  • body has held up really well, and all the indications are that a full winter of rehab and training will make a big difference
  • bowling has been a bit of a revelation and continues to get better as I can get more action through the hip and off the front leg
  • batting has been consistent and gone pretty much to plan, but I need to work physically and mentally on the ‘closer’ role if that is what I am going to do as I have failed to close down a couple of games that I really should have and I have lost some shape and discipline getting carried away with the hitting part of the role
  • I have created all the ingredients for future seasons: Staffordshire Cricket, Church Eaton, Birmingham Unicorns, NBCC and a couple of charities but not necessarily the right balance, which is the task for this winter.

Church Eaton v Whitmore

The strength of Second team cricket is very much dependent on the strength of the clubs First Team. If the 2s keeps getting raided for it’s best players they will always struggle. A 2s need a core of three reliable and consistent performers at least: a batter who will regularly get you 50+ runs, a bowler who gets 3 wickets and an all rounder who constantly chips in with bat and ball.

It is the later role I was hoping to fulfill when I played for Church Eaton, bearing in mind at 60 I am not the future of the club and my mobility from week to week varies according to how much cricket I have played.

We chalked up the expected loss because 96 all out on the 40th (last) over was never going to be enough, even on a very poor wicket with a very slow outfield.

Coming in at 7 with about 10 overs left I was pleased with the amount of the strike I took, but despite quite a lot of creativity at the crease it was hard to find the gaps and the boundary, but it was a solid performance.
Bearing in mind two dropped catches and two 4s off my last over these were pretty good figures. It is one of the bigger ironies in my cricketing life that I am now a regular and consistent bowler, not least because bowling really hurts my arm!

Unicorns Coaching

Continue to enjoy this, and the sessions are taking shape with more players getting involved with helping. I have proposed a structure for both the club and the coaching next year as was my remit, so we will see how much they decide to take on and what, if any, role I have.

Staffordshire v Worcestershire

A game of two halves, but ultimately we were very poor with the bat and threw the game away.

We fielded well restricting them to 126, and my bowling figures of 9 overs, 4 maidens, 1 wicket, 9 runs game me immense satisfaction and pride.

I failed with the bat batting at 8 and with an opportunity to bring the game home, and I am angry and disappointed in myself, but I should never have been needed, or I should have batted in my usual position of 5 especially as we had such a slow start again and one of our best batters was injured so batted lower down.

I will be thinking long and hard over the winter about Staffordshire Cricket. I 100% intend to play but I need at least one of my games each week to be a competitive game and at the moment Tuesday’s are more social than serious as are Saturday and Sunday. Maybe if I can get into Church Eaton 1s I will be challenging myself. One thing is for certain I am not moving anywhere next year as this year has generated a great mix for me.

XL v Wednesbury

Not quite sure how I ended up playing as I don’t recall saying I was available, and the first I knew was when I was added to the match WhatsApp Group (damn application is a pain BUT I did learn recently that when you mute notifications and archive a chat/group it can be set to say archived even when you receive a new notification which if course you don’t receive) but as it was close and they were obviously short I agreed to play, but had no idea if I was expected to bat, bowl or both.

Did neither!!! What a total waste of a day, and to be honest total lack of respect. On arrival was greeted by captain who said he had arranged that we would bat first and he had noted on Plap Cricket I batted in the middle order. So he batted me at 10 and as he ignored convention of retiring batters at 50 I never got to bat.

Post tea ….. only vegetarian option was egg and cheese sandwiches he asked what end I wanted to bowl. Informed him that I didn’t bowl in XL games (and I had explained previously) because I have to limit how much I bowl because of my shoulder and as I had bowled 8 overs Saturday, 9 overs Tuesday and would be bowling 8 overs on Saturday I only played XL as a batter …. or not as the case may be.

These things happen, and teddy remains in the pram BUT XL is lowest team of my priority list now and I will only play if I need to get some batting time in the middle. I am too old and have far better things to do than spend a day watching others bat and then walking from mid on to mid on. Really would have thought though by now that captains would have learnt that when you ask someone to help because you are short you make sure they get something from the game. Reality is I will not put myself out for the XL Club again. Once bitten and all that …..

I have a busy weekend ahead with games on Saturday (Church Eaton), Sunday (Birmingham Unicorns) and Monday (No Boundaries) …. well if the weather allows that is.

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