The opposition was made up of some of my team mates from what was Grays and Chadwell CC... Chris Buckley, Terry Hills and Alex 'Wizard' McClellan the Wrist Spinner and some familiar faces from the previous games in the season.
We batted first, not sure if we chose to or we were put in (Most likely). It didn't go that well on a difficult wicket with no real batsmen other than Frank McCleod. Wickets fell at regular intervals around Frank and we ended up scoring 74, with Frank McLeod scoring 41. The next best were two 9's - Asif Patel and Michael Wilson and the rest of us made contributions of 0 and 1's with 4 people scoring 0. Extras accounted for an additional 12 runs.
It was pitiful and I expected to heading home after about 45 minutes once we resumed after tea, but it didn't pan out that way...
For some reason we all bowled well and the batsmen for the most part showed some respect and batted with real caution. Perhaps as this is their local ground they knew how sketchy the wicket was and that maybe the score of 74 was reasonable? This appeared to be the case as Chris Buckley came out and was gone for 0. Chris's records go back to 2000 and in nearly 300 games he averages 23.
With Dutton and Joe my younger son now gone and no longer a part of the 4th XI set-up I was in the field looking around thinking who the hell is going to bowl next. It seemed like it might be me and given how poorly I bowl on occasions and what with no runs of the board it looked as though once Jai and Michael had done there bit the game could be over and done with very quickly! What was making it worse was that Michael and Jai were bowling superbly and going for next to no runs!!!
So, at 16 overs when they'd both been bowled out I was thrown the ball and had to try and maintain the economy and get wickets. Paul Howlett was at the crease having come in during the 11th over. Paul Howlett is one of the blokes that I've suffered at the hands off during the season and so have done some homework on him and have come up with a plan. See here.
The key thing as with most aggressive batsmen, is to keep the ball away from the leg-side and bowl to your field.
Before I came on he'd already hit three 4's through the leg-side in his favoured zone. I knew that as a basic plan I just needed to starve him of that option, so all of the deliveries were outside of off, where as far as I can make out he struggles to get the ball away. In the short time that I bowled at him he was looking to be aggressive - no doubt with the "Don't let the spinner settle" mantra going through his head. He looked to be waiting to see where the ball pitched and looking to then fetch the ball from outside of off getting it over his favoured leg-side. I think it was him although I'm not 100% sure, but during the phase I bowled at him I had two balls go to hand. One at backward square leg that was hit hard and put down and one that was totally miss-hit that I thought G-man (Wicket Keeper) was going to take easily as it was in the air for about 30 seconds, but one of the other players called it, running in from fine- leg or a short long stop position who then dived and dropped it! Never mind as a few balls later he hit the ball to deep mid-wicket and Josh Debond caught it without having to move.
That brought Carter to the crease who I don't know, but maybe I should do some homework on him as he looked pretty handy and him and the opener then seemed to take the decision to up the aggression and little and finish the game off. Despite the fact that we lost it was a really good game. It was good to see Terry Hills bowling - years of experience evident and good to face my old mate Alex McClellan's leg-spin. When we finished we had a chat and bowled some balls to each other and talked leg-spin and flippers and that ball that doesn't exist.
Alex McClellan bowling leg-breaks to Jaidev Charan - Corringham Rec wicket.
Alex McClellan - Wrist Spinner.