Sunday, 25 June 2017

In a Rut of Rubbishness

Today saw the longest away trip in our season, the annual 30 plus mile drive out to the strong side at Long Eaton, who despite having beaten us fairly easily last year, decided that an even stronger team was necessary this year.

It's a lovely setting in West Park, with families out enjoying the open space, lots of sport being flayed and the little Fox Covert nature reserve nearby to provide some colour. You may remember I blogged about it last year.

We bowled first, and I didn't bowl well; fair enough, I've had two good games with the ball, can't expect them all to go well. And yet again, this was a very strong side, averaging 10 divisions above ours in ability. Once again our juniors did really well where I didn't, but 277 was always far too many for us to chase.

We started ok if slowly, but then the wheels came off our bus somewhat with run outs and messiness. That the pitch was now starting to get very uneven wasn't helping, the ball began to rear head high one minute, scuttling along the ground the next. I saw some of this, but decided to take a tour of the grounds, taking in the magnificent Harrington Lace Mill that overlooks the ground.

It's not like us to be grouchy.

When I got in, a very slow dippy spinner was bowling, and I tried to get my eye in. 6th ball, I slapped straight to a fielder. My hopes for batting well this year seem to be subsiding horribly, rather as we did.

In order to fit in, I asked a couple of team mates if I should throw my bat as well. They said yes, so I did so, in a sort of "Are you not ENETERTAINED" fashion. Aside from umpiring well at Square Leg, it was the only thing I did well all day. But I enjoyed the game. Usually do, on Sundays.


All text and images copyright CreamCrackeredNature 25.06.17

Saturday, 24 June 2017

Losing My Balls

So, cricket time, and a trip to Whatton and Aslockton, a ground in an affluent part of the county. Aslockton is the birthplace of reformation Archbishop of Canterbury Sir Thomas Cranmer, and the village celebrates that.

Whatton has a prison and doesn't celebrate that.

The ground is a reasonably scenic, if bumpy, patch of greenery surrounded by horse liveries and a sheep field. The sheep are cricket ball collectors, and make a living selling them back to impoverished teams.

Well maybe not, but if they don't they are stupid, because a lot of balls must get hit to them. A few did today.

We bowled well early on, although I was slightly sulkily patrolling the outfield, carrying on the moodyness from the night before. We had them 4 down for not too many, but then a couple of big hitters came off, just as I came on to bowl in the 19th over.

My first ball was hit to the sheep. Perfectly good ball as well. As were the other couple that got hit out there. I had my revenge, taking two wickets and my final over, the 37th, was a maiden. Only bowled one wide, which hopefully impressed the skipper. I've bowled too many lately.

So they got 220, and our openers just saw off their quicker bowlers. Our skipper hit 70, but the run rate was always too much. Me, I was in better form having had an excellent fruit kebab and a magnum as part of the provided tea.

Nature wise, my explorations led me to a dried up stream bed, where many bees, bumbles and ringlet, meadow brown and speckled wood butterflies fed off bramble. There were skippers in the sheep field, the non cricketing sort, but I couldn't get close enough to them.

I'm still the second leading wicket taker in the club. Good.


All text and images copyright CreamCrackeredNature 24.06.17

Friday, 23 June 2017

My Resurgent Buddleia

I reported last Spring how my tattooed Polish neighbour had hacked my buddleia back to nothing to let the sun at her black petunias and other delights.

A year on, it has suddenly grown to ten feet high and is coming into flower. Hoverflies were sampling its delights.

I am pleased. I await butterflies visiting the thickly sweet smelling blooms.


Wednesday, 21 June 2017

How Many Spots, Mr Burnet?

A walk around our conservation and garden areas at work today has revealed that spotty burnet moths, these fairy tale creatures from a child's book, have erupted out of their hiding places and are making merry among the thistle and ragwort on our campus.

I came across them while on a photographic expedition at work - well, it wasn't really, I was crossing the site to collect a parcel that turned out not to be for me, but it was a wonderfully serendipitous thing.

No pretend parcel, no nature spectacle. And these moths are a spectacle, fluttering slowly around like storybook creations, wings a-blur until they settle to reveal an irridescent sheen against which the red spots stand out like rubies.

But how many spots???

These photographs would tend to indicate that these are 5 spot burnet moths - don't go there with that "narrow bordered" stuff that's above my pay grade - and when the teasel flowers, that's when they'll go mad.

I'm waiting.


All text and images copyright CreamCrackeredNature 21.06.17

Monday, 19 June 2017

Heat Anaesthetic

Again my cricketing exploits in 28 degree heat over the weekend led to me being really tired, but it was only during and after my 10km run today that I began to feel it - I was too tired to take photographs - and then when I got home I fell asleep with my mobile phone in my hand.

A 90 minute bath helped, reading about Chris Bonington's mountaineering expeditions. Feel non skanky for the first time in a few days now the day has cooled.

Neighbour's flowers very impressive at the moment, especially the black petunias.


All text and images copyright CreamCrackeredNature 19.06.17

Sunday, 18 June 2017

Back in the Sun, Back in the Wickets

A much better day today, as I led the Sunday XI to an enjoyably glorious defeat against a powerful Burton Joyce side.

As usual I lost the toss and we soon found ourselves bowling - I don't mind this as it means I can eat a big tea - which meant 2 and a half hours fielding on a hot day against a team of players who on Saturdays play at least 10 divisions above most of us.

I think they thought they were onto an easy one with us, they came out swinging and after my first over was taken for three boundaries, their skipper was so annoyed when I got him out a little later that he threw his bat into a hedge. More bat throwing followed later when I bowled their star batsman (whom in my initial researches I thought was a woman because of their name) with a beautiful inswinger for 11.

We took regular wickets - most gratifyingly with our juniors to the fore -  after that until progress was stilled by a couple of big hitters targeting the bowling green - and hitting it too - on the short straight boundary. I managed to get one of them caught behind, then we had some direct hit run outs as well, more great stuff from our younger players, leading to more bat throwing. 229-8 they got, a good effort by a team of low division players.

Tea! Love my teas!

The batting was another story. We had some irritated the opposition by not allowing them to score the 340 we overheard they were expecting, and they took it out on us by sending in their fastest bowlers, the quickest I have encountered all year - to bowl at our 13 and 14 year old batsmen. Luckily my Saturday skipper, who they said was "shit" scored a few boundaries through the simple exponent of hitting with his eyes closed, and their rather mouthy fast bowler who cleaned me up second ball had the ball smashed into him by one of our tailenders, who got his best ever score today, much to their irritation.

They were hard players to be fair, and that's why they've won every division they've played in on Sundays. But I think they played us a bit too hard, although they appreciated our junior efforts. We were clearly never going to be any kind of threat.

Perhaps it was karma we forgot to pay for tea.


All text and images copyright CreamCrackeredNature 18.06.17

Saturday, 17 June 2017

I am a Dog Mess Cricketer

Today was another of the rubbish ones.

I was actually expecting a day off today, the 3rds didn't have a game, but a few drops outs meant that I was drafted into the 2s for the first time this year.

Sweat was pouring off me just cycling down to our ground, let alone after doing a few warm ups. We fielded first, and after a fairly controlled start, the opposition coasted to 261 for 2 off 45 overs. We fielded really well, even my own usually stiff as a board self was good today, with no mistakes made at all.

Unfortunately against higher standard batting my bowling was rubbish, although to be fair no-one else's was very good at this point in the game apart from our two juniors. Couldn't bowl with the big follow through I need to succeed after my confidence was dented by an umpire's warning for full tosses.

Darn umpires. They are always having a go at me, I feel persecuted!

Still got a few past the outside edge of the bat, but a dead slow wicket like this was take's all my effectiveness out of the game.

When we then batted, I took as many of my clothes off as I thought I could get away with, and lay down on the boundary to do a not very good sketch of the opposite view of the ground. Meadow brown butterflies were out in the meadows, and also a banded demoiselle drifted by. The big spot however, was a brown hawker dragonfly, wings glinting brassily in the sun, patrolling the dog rose hedgerows.

After a super knock from our opener, we subsided, and muggins here after trying to bat straight and properly, managed to knock the ball onto his stumps viat the bottom of his bat.

Really in bad form at the moment, and utterly luckless. Another chance tomorrow. When maybe I won't be dog droppings.


All text and images copyright CreamCRackeredNature 17.06.17