Tuesday June 8th 2010

I have always longed to read a set of committee Minutes which simply announced that it was generally agreed that everything should stay exactly as it was. The closest I got was from a waspishly humorous Housemaster who reported of the regular term’s three-hour-long evening meeting that “all the usual people said all the usual things”. Admittedly referring to only one item.

Similarly, where is the newsreader who can announce “There is no news worth reporting this evening and so we shall play some music”?

It was a bit like that here at Schools Cricket Online HQ, with not a single result reported until Monday morning and even then very few indeed. As usual Mr Murphy and his Law had the last laugh, with glorious cricket-playing weather during the half-term break.

However, news arrived of a fine match before half-term when Lancaster Royal Grammar School? entertained Bolton. The home side started badly, at 11 for two after nine overs. Then the captain Mark Walling and Charlie Rossiter took the score to 194 before Walling went for 118 and Rossiter for 63 in consecutive overs. The momentum was lost, but still Lancaster managed the quite formidable 260 for six in their 50 overs.

In reply Bolton lost both their captain and vice-captain in the sixth over, but powerful batting by Giles Makinson (77) and Adam Halton (47), ably supported by the middle order who all exceeded 20, led a grand team effort to overhaul the Lancaster total with seven balls to spare and win by four wickets.

The shortage of cricket to comment on gives me the opportunity to commend a book by a coach for whom I have long held a very high regard. Chris Stone has had huge experience of coaching at very reputable cricket schools such as Sherborne and Tonbridge as well as County experience, most recently with Kent CCC.

With the exponential growth of overs cricket and especially Twenty20, the standard of fielding in professional cricket has risen dramatically. By following Chris?s book ? The Complete Book of Modern Fielding Practices ? any school coach can achieve the same level of skill among his or her pupils. Rather like the art of running between the wickets (*see below), such skills can have a huge effect on the course of a game and very high standards can be achieved by almost any half-decent player properly coached in quite a short space of time. To achieve similar high standards of batting, bowling or wicket-keeping takes very much longer.

The book gives detailed guidance on the exact techniques required in every aspect of fielding, and then a whole series of exercises to develop those skills. Chris Stone published his book some years ago, but has several copies remaining. If you would like a copy, then send a cheque, made out to Chris Stone for ?11.50 (including P&P), and post it to him at 15, Court Meadows, Littlebourne, Kent CT3 1XX.

* If you want to read my definitive guide to the art of running between the wickets, go to Useful Articles and then choose ?Cricket is played in the mind ? or ought to be?. From there you can click on the link to the section on running (or anything else).

A thoughtful correspondent, Nigel Wood-Smith of St Albans, gave me a helping hand with my commentary this week. I quote his e-mail verbatim. Shades of Henry Newbolt.

?I thought you might be short of material this week so I am sending a short poem written by a well known poet after our first defeat of the season at the start of May this year. Nigel

Victory snatched from the jaws of defeat
Is a cause for rejoicing, especially sweet
Because unexpected, but no less a wonder
Is when a brave army comes up from under
And, though falling narrowly short of victorious,
Shows its opponent defeat can be glorious.
So it?s of Hudson and Moore that we sing
To make the pavilion rafters ring
With the music of triumph when 14-5
And the fear that our lads wouldn?t come out alive
Was converted not just to a sigh of relief
To have proved to a smug team who?d give us grief
That they?d little to crow about, but to a roar
Which warns what the next match will have in store! Anon?

I bumped into a former colleague while out shopping mid-morning on Monday. On my asking why he wasn?t at the chalk-face, he replied that he had only four periods to teach this week because of a combination of external and internal exams Rather bears out what I was saying last week.

Results:

*Lancaster RGS 260-6 (50 overs) (M Walling 118), Bolton 264-6

*King?s, Macclesfield 196, Lancaster RGS 197-4

*Radley 221 (50 overs) (W Marriott 110), Winchester 90 (A Tinsley 5-18)

*Glasgow Academy 147-9, *Lomond 52

High School of Glasgow 119, *Dollar 123-2