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By Chris Marshall
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Cricket Diary: Reflections

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Last week I consumed more beer, bread and pastry in three days than I normally do in a year so I sit here typing this weeks diary fighting an urge to Google ‘ colonic irrigation’ and not at all upset that the Test Match was all but over in three (3) days so I didn’t bother going on the Sunday.

A little stiff after two games in two days the week started off with a long net on Monday night as I continue to work on head position, stance, guard and not striding across my stumps. It certainly paid off on Sunday, and apart from the strain it is putting on an old neck issue it feels OK. Bowled a little as I would like to bowl a bit more on a Saturday as we don’t really have any slow bowling options (I hear Jay bowled a couple of overs this weekend which makes a lot of sense as to quote Nasser ” bad leg spinners always get wickets” – sorry Jay, couldn’t resist!).

That was it really. Thought I would give my body, and in particular my little pinky a rest, and Thursday, Friday and Saturday I was at the Test Match.

Has to be said that the atmosphere and company far exceeded the quality of the cricket. New Zealand were a class above and to all those that said it was an England B team …. New Zealand made 6 changes and with the exception of Stokes and Butler it was pretty much England’s A team.

In a funny way England’s current position and woes reminded me very much of playing in a development team (or indeed any team) where balance is so important. England only really had three experienced players, four or five who have shown potential, and the rest just finding their feet at Test Level.

Watching the procession of batters traipsing back to the changing room after yet another short stay at the crease characterised by poor shot selection also reminded me of my own Saturday’s, well it would if we had changing rooms at Stafford Grammer.

The parallels just kept on coming, at pretty much the same rate as the Carling and the Pork Pie: too often the openers don’t provide a solid foundation, putting pressure on a relatively inexperienced number 3. This is turn puts additional pressure on the experienced batters in the middle order who are forced into a more restrained role than they were selected for. Inevitably this puts pressure on the remaining batters who then topple like a dominoes pizza …. I know, more food, I really do need to think about a diet!

So after three days at the Test Match the conclusion I came to is that I am playing for England – I told you a lot of lager was consumed!

On a (slightly) more serious note all my cricket this year has been played in ‘development sides’ which is exactly what I signed up for, expected and needed. Ironically my one exposure to non development came as a late call up to Barlaston Cricket Clubs 3s, where I batted at 3, fielded cover/mid wicket primarily and had a good ‘education’ on the faster pace of the game when you have regular 1s and 2s playing with and against you. The fact I top scored with 22 as we capitulated to 62 all out, faced 40 balls which was twice as many as anybody else, and (finally) had the benefit of a dubious umpire call or two just about summed up the season so far.

If we can get an established opening partnership, allocate our experienced resources correctly, use of bowlers sensibly, and improve our fielding we will do much better, and indeed will the 4s who in the last two games I have played have done a great job for about half the opponents innings only to have a couple of experienced batters take the game away from us.

On the subject of reflections and as the diary is a little shorter this week, if anyone wants to read more then maybe this post I wrote some time ago about a Club Development Officer may be on interest.

And in other news, Masuri have sent me a replacement bat so back to the shed with my knocking in tool and more try and figure out if I am going to use it.

I have France in the sweepstake, owe the club £5 and have another Williamson Boucher junior bundle to raffle and a Kokkaburra Bat and Gloves, so I will get these sorted in a week or so as this Friday I am back at Edgbaston for a T20.

Thank You

Gray-Nicolls are generously supporting this diary and my return to cricket for the 2021 Season.

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