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Week 6: Rolling Roles

Sunday 27th October

Got my leaflets delivered and was back home just as people started arriving back from the Christening. I was horribly sweaty and it wouldn’t have been to fair to anyone to introduce me like that, Paige would’ve broken into tears, women would’ve fainted and grown men chundered. I showered and went to meet people. I was immediately handed a cider, so the afternoon took on an altogether more promising hue. 

Everyone I met was very nice but some were on the strange side. One kept trying to scare me by telling me about the wildlife I knew a fair bit about already, being into that kind of stuff. I smiled and nodded, taking care to laugh at the appropriate times and I think I got away with it.

I got tired very quickly. I don’t know if it was physical tiredness from leaflet delivery or the mental exhaustion of being amicable for a few hours but I went to bed early. Not before we had a couple of Nelma and Basil’s friends - the Newberry's - round for tea. Mick came over too. They were interesting people who had recently been on a trip to Dubai. We were regaled with stories about how they had been asked to change flights due to theirs being overbooked. Mick and I suggested online check in, but were told that ‘no one does that!’

 

Monday 28th October

Nudgee TopJack was thrilled with his new Nudgee School coaching top right up to the point when the 1980s called to ask for it back. In a Kiwi accent.

Today would be my first proper day of coaching and I wasn’t sure what to expect. I also had leaflets to deliver, because the weekend round was a one off. I spent the time while waiting for Tim to collect me folding the leaflets so that I could deliver them the next day. 

We got to Nudgee - a place, not a cricket shot - fairly early to give us time to set up. We had the Grade 10/11’s today. We planned to do a quick bit of fielding and then do a competitive net. There would be 5 guys padded up for 4 nets. When one got out, everyone would move up a net and whoever was out had to sit at the side. It was interesting to watch the way the boys' attitude changed over the course of the net. They started out free-flowing and carefree, but by the end they were being very negative. It was hard to offer any constructive coaching because you couldn’t focus on anyone for any length of time.

The rest of the day was passed in standard fashion so nothing out of the ordinary to report.

 

Tuesday 29th October

I was up very very early - 0530 ready to start work at 0615. I actually felt very refreshed when I woke, having expected to feel awful. Coaching was good; the younger age group was doing a lot of batting drills so I felt like I could get more hands on and help out more. The kids all have fairly solid techniques when doing drills but get someone bowling at them and they go to pieces. Still, they aren’t as 'challenging' as the U9’s I coach back home!

Got back still feeling good and had a proper breakfast. I sat and chatted with Wally until he went to work before I decided I’d better tackle the leaflets. It was damnably hot and by the time I got back I was definitely feeling the early start. That meant another vegging end to my day, but at least I felt I had earned my rest.

 

Wednesday 30th – Thursday 31st October

NudgeeTim gets ready for another coaching session at Nudgee School

Two more days of afternoon coaching were pretty much the same as the first two. Wednesday’s group did the drills and Thursday’s lot did a net. I think we should have done more nets like the one we did yesterday (where when you are out you are out) with the first team at Winscombe. Everyone (including me) tends to be very flash and gung-ho in the nets and then wonders why we tend to get out softly in matches. At least I finished the UK season with decent stats, suggesting I wasn’t the worst perpetrator. 

Australia played their final one day game in India on Wednesday and England started their first warm up on the Thursday. The decks out in India must be the biggest roads of all time, as 350 seems to be the par score. George Bailey was the star of the series for the Aussies. He’s now massively in the frame for an Ashes spot, which wouldn’t be too upsetting from an English point of view. He has a…functional technique at best; he is very good through leg and hits it cleanly but looks susceptible to nicking off where the pitch is anything less than a strip of tarmac...like the ones out in India. 

Mitchell Johnson has been bowling well and will probably get picked for the Ashes too. Everyone is saying that he’s a lot better than the last Ashes out here but I can still see him going to pieces in front of the Barmy Army and spraying it big time. 

I’ve been most impressed with Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli though. They both make batting look effortless and twice in the series Kohli has scored 100’s from 50 balls. In this series decider though, it was Rohit who stole the show. He smashed 200, including 16 6’s! Kohli will score hundreds of one day runs, but I don’t know how good he’ll be in Tests.

England toiled hard on the first day, and the Aussie A team smashed them for the most part. Queenslander Chris Lynn made 100. I’m not sure why Rankin is in the squad at all. He seems like he can’t direct the ball and he isn’t outstandingly quick. He is very tall though and having seen how Clarke handled the short ball last series I’m sure he’s only there to give Clarke the hurry up should we need him. I think Tremlett is twice the bowler Rankin is though and I’d love to see good old Chris fill Clarke in a few times. I also reckon James Taylor was unlucky to have missed out on the tour.

 

Friday 1st November

Today signals the start of Movember! A few of the boys from Norths are taking part and we all actually signed up on the website. Hopefully we can raise some cash!

I didn’t have to coach today so had the day off…I have most of most days off to be honest. Day Two of England’s game saw them fight back a little. Cook got a few and Bell and Trott got 100’s. Bell is one of my favourite players. I love the way he makes batting look so easy and it’s good to see he has matured a bit mentally too. Dad used to say he was a bit like me, or I was like him, in that I often get starts and then get out. Of all Bell’s traits, it’s not one I like.

 

Saturday 2nd November

Alan Border FieldIt's a lonely walk at Alan Border Field, home of the mighty Queensland. Even lonelier when you are not actually batting this week

I played for Fourth Grade this week, which I was more than a little unhappy about seeing I haven’t really done anything wrong in Third Grade, albeit without setting anything on fire. I have certainly not done any worse than anybody else in the side, barring maybe two. I don’t know whether it’s because I’m new and an easy target or whether people don’t rate me but it’s not where I want to be playing. Irritatingly, I can hear Dad's words about being sure to seize opportunities echoing hollowly.

I was then thrust into the role of wicket keeper. I wasn’t the happiest about that either as it means another week without a bowl. I guess all I can do is take the chances I get down the grades. I seem to struggle with that for some reason. I just can’t crack the mental side of my game and I’m starting to get very annoyed with myself. I don’t know what it’ll take for me to start scoring heavily. I score runs when I ‘feel good’ so I know that if I hit one of my first few balls for 4 I’ll probably score runs. But if I feel scrappy or my thigh-pad feels wrong or something like that I probably won’t. It sounds very fragile and I only wish I knew how to cancel all of that out.

I’ve kept a few times before and I’m not the worst but I’m by no means the best. We lost the toss and would bowl first so I donned the gloves and got ready. As a soccer goalkeeper, I am all too well aware that catching one early on in the game does settle you down; I took a few good ones whilst the seamers were on and started to feel good...well, competent. I’m a bit dodgy up to the stumps but I did my best. I took a catch off of out left arm spinner, high and to the right. I thought it was a decent catch but I was so happy to have taken one I almost didn’t appeal! Soon after that I took a stumping. Several of my supposed team mates were a little too surprised for my liking that I was actually doing OK. I ended the day with 12 byes and no more dismissals against me.  Our opposition were 324-7. Not brilliant from us.

I’m not entirely sure what happened with England today, I think they fell fairly quickly after Bell and Trott were done. Root got a few. Ballance, who I’d like to see do well, got none. I don’t know why I like Ballance, maybe I just like to root for the underdog.

We went round to Alex Kurth’s new place after cricket for a housewarming party. It was mainly Third and Fourth Grade boys there so it was a good evening with a few beers and some decent banter. We got home and Wally decided we’d go to Southbank tomorrow. No, I don’t know what that is either.



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