Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Lord Admin spreading the gospel

Lovely to see our sweet Lord Admin lashing it to all corners whilst taking a break from compiling his latest Investment Report.

"Lord Admin's technique won approving comments from members of the England women's squad..."

Dr Fox and Baroness Warsi were unavailable for comment.

Monday, 18 February 2013

No white smoke as Shifty stays on - AGM highlights....

Recently, in the bitterly cold Green Room the appointments were made ahead of the 2013 campaign.
Jon and Shifty held court and took the proceedings forward with a resume of all things 2012 and we also had contributions from the floor - most notably from Doogie with a light hearted (at times!) report of his thoughts on the year.
With no plumes of white smoke coming from the portacabins, it was clear that we were to be blessed with Shifty remaining as President.  Mahmood, in absentia, earned his stripes as Vice-President.
1st XI Captain: Simon McOscar will lead his charges into battle for the summer.  Peeling him bananas will be Gary 'Wiff-Waff' Trewartha.
2nd XI Captain: Smudger will front the Mighty 2s and he'll be joined by the effervescent Brian Fraser.
3rd XI Captain: It's all change at the top! He's been Captain of the 3s since the Pope was an alterboy however Coastal Ken hands over the baton to double-jobber Andy Graham who retains his role as Match Secretary.
Broonster was returned as Social Convenor, proving that Tories can win an election in Scotland after all...
After the twittersphere was brought up to speed, Jon and Broonster gave an update on the plans for Fortress Arbo.  This seemed to be very well received by all attendees with the two being able answer some questions posed by the Green Room posse.

Saturday, 16 February 2013

Cricket Practice - Another Nail in the Coffin

I was leafing through some old the Cricketer magazines, like you all do I'm sure, when I came across an article in the October 2011 edition (pictured), of relevance to one of my familiar themes.

It is all very well for one to criticise things that they see as flawed, however without then going on to say what should replace those nonsenses, leaves your criticism hollow.

I have been unable to find the article online, so will reproduce here. It is accredited to Crispin Andrews in the 'Expert Eye' column, page 24, for any subscribing hoarders out there, just in case you do not believe me. To be clear, I am not making this up!!!

Expert Eye

If you want to improve your game then forget about nets, throw-downs and fielding drills. Instead juggle, play on the Nintendo Wii and hold a pencil in front of your nose until your eyes hurt.

Last year Zoe Wimshurst, a visual performance coach, tried out some of these ideas on the Leicestershire squad. Over a six-week, pre-season period, 24 first teamers and Academy players worked on not just batting, bowling and fielding, but on improving their eyesight.

"So many decisions a cricketer makes are based on information coming to them through visual signals," says Wimshurst, who also works with the British Olympic team and runs her own consultancy Performance Vision. "The quicker those signals come in, the more time the player has to make a decision and get their body into the right position.

Wimshurst tested the players' visual skills and then split them into four groups. The first did practical visual training: juggling and kicking balls simultaneously, catching a ball with an unpredictable bounce to help reactions and moving pencils towards their nose to strengthen eye muscles. The second group used an online vision trainer that helped Clive Woodward's England win the Rugby World Cup in 2003 while the third played Mario and Duck Shoot on the Nintendo Wii. "All these help players scan ahead, get both eyes working together and assist peripheral awareness," Wimshurst says.

The fourth group did only additional cricket drills. When tested again, this group had improved it's visual performance and cricket skills least. The winners? Those pencil pushers, although the Nintendo boys ran them close.

The batsman Jacques du Toit from the pencil group, is convinced the sessions helped. "My peripheral vision improved, no doubt," he says. I can keep a clear picture of fielders without having to look up at the last moment ans take my eye off the ball."

So the next time some well meaning psychopath requests some laps of the park to 'warm up', tell them you are working hard staring at a pencil thank you very much.

Further corroboration  that orthodox training methods are very limited comes from this site which I shall let you peruse at your own convenience. In a seemingly decent piece, some quotes may appeal to the teenager in you, I've picked out my favourites:

" if you want to improve your cricket, you need only concentrate on six inches"

"cricket is a mental game"

"What is so surprising is that despite the fact that everyone knows cricket is a mind game, most players and teams practice their technique, but spend little or no time developing the mental skills "

"Once you have mastered the skills of cricket..."

"you need to be sufficiently aroused to perform at your best. But if you become too aroused, your performance will suffer and you'll start to make mistakes"

"Cricketers often allow their arousal level to become too high"

Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Dear Skipper

I started writing an email to our new 1st XI skip to pass on some of my questionable wisdom, but then realised as it got longer and longer that I probably send something like this every season to every new captain. On re-reading it, it occurred to me it probably applies quite well to our other new skippers too. So I hastily set about deleting some of the names from the less flattering anecdotes and post it now on our esteemed website for the perusal and belittlement of all and sundry. In future I can just send all new captains a link to this soon to be seminal piece, on cricket captaincy. Happy hacking, hackers!!!

New 3rd XI regime, Nostradamus gives it until May


Congratulations again, I'm looking forward to seeing how you do. I'm usually ambushed in at the AGM as VC for new skippers, as my psuedo-philosphical approach to leadership seems to be seen as having been half decent when I was captain. Personally I think it was just because the boy before me was a health conscious non-smoker with authoritarian tendencies.

Stating what I hope is obvious, I'll be available for as much or as little advice as you feel you need (if selected of course).

Hopefully some of the following bletherings will help prepare you for the ordeal to come.

I loved the on-field stuff like field placings & bowling changes etc, but other things (availability, weather, incompetent umpires, cheats (perceived or otherwise) etc) tend to be less enjoyable aspects. I think you need a degree of confidence in your abilities/decision making and I suspect you will be reasonably sure of yourself. But I don't think you can judge how good/bad someone will be until they actually do it and even then, I suppose their 'performance' is only a matter of differing opinions really.

I remember starting off with great, fresh expectations, but I can guarantee this team/club will frustrate the heck out of you at times. For some reason, like the rest of us you will somehow see this as charming. You inherit everything rather than starting from scratch and some of this may ultimately stifle some of your good intentions.

Also, absolutely do not forget, the views of the 2's and 3's must be taken into account (i.e. there might only be 15 bowlers available one Saturday so each team needs 5 and in the balancing you aren't necessarily always picking a best club XI in the 1's so you can ensure each team has enough bowling. That sort of thing. As 1st XI skipper you're also club skipper really, so have to try to see it from 2's and 3's perspectives (which can, sometimes, to their total annoyance, be pretty tough to empathise with).

Availability will do your head in!!!

On-field-wise, my approach, as I alluded to earlier, I like to think is quite philosophical. You will make some unbelievably inspired decisions and you will totally cock up as well. Make sure you take the credit for the former and blame the bowlers for the latter. Just got to try to do more of the former. But even then, firstly, there is nobody who knows what the right thing to do is every time and secondly, even if there was, you can do everything right but at some point their number 11 hits a Shanton wonderball for 6 to win the game with your best catcher tipping it over the boundary exactly where you put him. You won't have all the answers, you won't get it right a lot of the time, but you've got to take what you already have and know, apply it as best you can, and hope that more often than not it works. And obviously learn from any mistakes.

Some other random general rules I bore in mind or realised during my incumbency:
  • Seldom listen to bowlers. In all seriousness. They are usually only seeing it from their 6 balls perspective. You are in charge of the whole game. They might think bowling 6 snorters at a rabbit has some worth and it's the rabbit's fault for not being good enough, whereas if you get Dougie to bowl a half tracker that the bunny can sky to the keeper, I'll take that every time. The smarter chuckers certainly know more about actually bowling than I do and what's best for them in the context of their own tactical approach at removing a batsman. Its a lot about knowing what you know and judging if its better or worse/more or less applicable, than what they know. Mostly the non-bowler will know best!!! There is nothing worse than someone who bowls one long hop an over refusing to let you put a man on the square leg boundary. In their head they're Glenn McGrath. I definitely experienced reluctance, or in one amusing instance outright hostility (from Worsnop) to the skipper changing 'their' field settings. In their defence, I think this is mostly because they had rarely if ever played under what they would see as a decent captain. Once they saw I wasn't just blindly fiddling, I think the mutual trust grew to the point I could tinker with fields as I saw fit. Of course its a democracy, but you are still the ultimate decider. Saying all this, my first question before a bowlers spell would usually be 'what do you want?'. Greatest ever bowler to walk onto the field, answered correctly the first time I ever asked him, "I don't mind, it's up to you" - Gaz T v Watsons 2011His wisdom made him 6-39 as I built a keeper-point slip cordon with our 10 men while our absent skipper snoozed off a hangover. Case closed methinks.
  • Decide what you are best at, where you should field/bat/bowl and stick to it. Too many captains start slipping themselves down the order.
  • Be patient. I recall in a game v Heriots, they were something like 120-2 of 25 overs with a top bat at the crease chasing our 220. I was quite confident that if we just kept going as we were, we'd get a chance or two with the good batter and they had a long tail even although on paper they were coasting. When we were switching ends between overs, I remember Bonnie Prince Charlie sort of pleading/berating with me to do something and gesturing with outstretched arms. I replied something like 's'cool man, keep the faith, all under control' and in the end I think they were about 205 all out. Whose to say we mightn't have skittled them for 150 if I'd done things differently or if they'd have won by 8 wickets instead. All you can do is back yourself and hope you are right more often than not. This game was also notable in the career of El Presidente as he bowled the first and last over of the innings.
  • All your best players will instantly become unavailable, indeed, some seem to go missing altogether, however they will all be replaced almost immediately by a new raft of talent who you will view with suspicion for opting for Arbo over the various majestic clubs and grounds that surround us.
That's all for now,

May the farce be with you.

Was this really only 18 months ago???

And was this really only 9 months ago?

Saturday, 2 February 2013

"Giants" Of Holy Cross Fail To Impress


The UK's barmy smoking restrictions almost put paid to our valiant boys hopes in the Activcity Indoor 6's at Forrester High School on Friday night. More on that in a sec.

First up we were pitted against Division One new boys Edinburgh South and retro Crosser, the Good Doctor Astley!!!

HX: S McOscar, P Kumar, A Millington, T Archer, R Bainbridge, J McOscar.

With most of our team debuting in this format and a green skipper in Si McOscar, who sloppily lost the toss, we were put in and got busy running ourselves out (3 of the 5 wickets were run outs, although Bainbro still managed to miss a devious straight one as is his way and got bowled).

We tiptoed into the 70's with the highlights being Praveen clattering the first ball he faced for 6 and a decent tap by hot new signing Jimbo McOscar. But it wasn't enough and the Good Doctor eventually saw his team home with 4 wickets down.

I arrived to witness the last rites of this defeat and proceeded to read the riot act at our underperforming slackers. I was especially harsh on the skipper for losing the toss as our tournament survival now hung by a thread. Confusion reigned supreme as Praveen appeared set to make for home before we reminded him there was still a game to come.

Before long it was Game 2 and we were on against another former HX Leg End, S Russell's East Lothian County CC (aka Tranent). Simon paid heed to my barracking and this time won the toss, opting to put the oppo in first. But wait, there were only 5 bodies left. Praveen had indeed scarpered!!! Welcome to the captaincy Si and try and keep your troops in order!!!

With complete reluctance, I safely entered the arena, jeans and all.

Praveen as game 2 kicked off
Our chuckers set about their task of spraying down some leg side wides and when we realised we weren't going to get them all out inside 8 overs, it became apparent that I might have to bowl my 2 over quota.

Praveen re-appeared at this point. Turned out he'd simply nipped outside for a cigarillo and hadn't realised we were playing again straight away. If only you could smoke in gym halls, none of this would have been an issue!!! But I wasn't for budging from the game now especially with a chance to show the throwers how to bowl.

With obvious trepidation, the skip threw me the ball. Needless to say I found some prodigious swing and couldn't even keep the ball on the mat for the first couple of deliveries. But once I adjusted the seam I soon began to terrorise the Tranentians ending on 0-19 from two overs in a cameo that everyone there will surely remember until the day they croak. These figures would have been even better if Archer hadn't dropped the first wicket in what would probably have been a match winning hat-trick as the men from the East tried to find a way to cope with my 'variety'.

They made their way to 82 which if we cut out the run outs, should have been a breeze. However, the less said about our innings the better. Lets say our ringer salvaged things. Retiring once before returning as last wicket he plundered 39 (not out) partnering extras (mid twenties) whilst the rest of us failed to make double figures. We managed to reach the target on the penultimate ball (Milly turning one round the corner for 3) keeping our slim tournament hopes alive.

The other highlight was a call from a Tranent player as we floundered mid innings "come on lads, this'll be a giant killing"!!!!

Did I mention the dropped catch off my bowling???

There is an Indoor 6's link on the ESCA website. It hasn't been updated yet but I'm sure details will appear in due course.

Finally, for all the evidence based factboys, this picture of club stalwart McGill on his third last birthday is counter proof of the actual good that pumping chemical smoke into your lungs can do.

Happy Birthday Coco, here's to the next 100