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Author Topic: Groundsmans Diary...  (Read 1612 times)

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Groundsmans Diary...
« on: October 28, 2009, 10:07:13 AM »

Time is called and stumps are drawn for the final time on another Uxbridge Festival. Yet this is not just the end of the festival, but, another cricket season. For neither Middlesex nor Uxbridge will 2009 go down as a success on the playing field. Relegation to the bottom tier of Middlesex cricket for Uxbridge CC is difficult to understand and Middlesex would have hoped for much more at the dawn of the season.

And so what is there to look forward too? Another winter of discontent. Of endless form filling, interviews, rejections and offers. Who knows where we will be next spring, or even if we will still be here? Lets hope the good lord takes pity on us again.

Preparation for the festival started towards the end of August amid searing temperatures and strong winds, none of which is ideal in terms of pitch preparation. So much water was applied to the square in an attempt to try and keep the pitches from drying out too quickly. Attempting to look after the outfield was a futile exercise as it had long since lost any greenness.

Pitch number four was earmarked for the Kent LVCC match with number six as reserve and held for the Derbys Pro40. Following discussions held after the early season T/20 match with Hants, the plan was to try and make the pitches a little more spin friendly as Middlesex would be playing two spinners. This involved thinning the grass coverage out on the ends whilst leaving some in the middle, and making the ends dry and close cut. Would it work? Who knows?

Best laid plans and all that. The above pitch allocation was changed at a meeting with the Captain, MD & Coach who were all keen to use the Pro40 pitch for the second LVCC game. Also a heavy overnight storm got under the covers and soaked one end of the first pitch but two further days of high winds brought it back to a playable state.

News of the Captain getting floored at Northants suggested further changes for a while but it would appear not as bad as originally thought. Luckily we have options at Uxbridge as the square is hugely underused during the season and pitches are available.

Players came for practise the day before festival and it was apparent that there was a negative feel.

Finally after much preparation work the games started. Kent won the toss and batted, with Key and Northeast setting the platform for a large total and Middlesex toiling in the field for a long day. The pitch was poor, slow and low, making it difficult for the bowlers. For me Chris Silverwood put his heart and soul into it. Comments that evening on the MTWD website were harsh about the ground and frankly some were offensive.

Day 2 got worse as Stevens and Van Jarsveld made batting look a formality. Comments were made that the pitch had been moved as soon as Middlesex started batting as it appeared a different ball game.

Day 3 started well with the discovery of a fiver in the car park whilst walking the dog. Dexter and Berg put on a solid partnership but then things went downwards as a promised meeting failed to take place as did the Middlesex top order in their second dig. All was not gloom as one MTWD person introduced himself, which was very interesting. Also a blast from the past was spotted, Robert Tichener-Barrett. Having started well the day finished with some not unexpected shattering news from Mr Fraser.

Day 4 what a start, no wickets before lunch. Dexter looked in this match, absolute quality. Simple technique and with great balance, he looked at ease. Unfortunately after lunch all went wrong with a few soft dismissals. One has to say that Robert Key made some inspired bowling changes, however, to my mind he has to be the most miserable person playing cricket despite what my new friend says. The end came shortly after tea allowing a little time to move the ground around for a Pro40 next day.

The Kent game was played on a poor pitch, lacking any pace or bounce, meaning the only realistic chances of taking wickets were bowled or LBW. Sometimes at work we have bad days at the office, this was four horror days. No excuses, no one to blame but myself and I apologise to the players, officials and supporters of both sides.

Pro40 v Derbys. A disappointing crowd for the financial experts brought about no doubt by a change in the weather and Fulham playing at home. A Middlesex win was vital, spirits were low. A busy morning and quick turn around, saw us ready in time, just! Derbys won the toss and rather surprisingly put Middx in. Compton continued his wonderful form in this competition with a hundred full of inventive strokes. 240 odd was an impressive score. All the bowlers did a good job and the early capture of Rogers was decisive. The pitch was very dry and balls clearly went through the top when bowling from the Gatting Way end, not a good sign. Think pitch markings will be down on both tracks so far but at least a Middlesex win and the faithful seemed content. Had the chance to meet a few MTWD diehards, Kimmy, Beefy, and Kev and even exchanged pleasantries with my sparring partner LP.

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Top Scores: 171,112,100,99,86*,74*  Best Bowling: 5/18


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Re: Groundsmans Diary...
« Reply #1 on: October 28, 2009, 12:36:45 PM »

cheerio cheerio cheerio!
good read, cheers Leo

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