Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Woeful cricket

I've just spent my lunch watching the Emmanuel under 11s on Wandsworth Common. It struck me how much these matches are driven by convention. The kid's see their heroes on the telly in position and copy them.

The fielder's were positioned in a very decent circle around the bat in conventional positions. In reality actually you could completely dispense with the mid on, mid off, mid wicket and probably extra covers. Everything is bowled so wide that almost everything gets cross bat cut, pulled or hooked round the corner so in reality you need a bunch of points and covers, fine legs a square leg and a couple of slips. Anything that gets hit back down the ground has so little power that the bowler could deal with anything that came anywhere near him.

I say it's woeful, but actually it's struck me it's probably a sport you simply can't start playing, very well until you get the other side of puberty. The kids may have a good mind for the game but they simply haven't got the physical strength to pull it off and deftness and wile isn't something that they can draw upon either unless they can perform the absolute basics physically. A 22 yard pitch is difficult for a pre-pubescent kid to bowl down, as he simply can't get the power behind his arm to propel it down the pitch without chucking, so everything is loopy and dribbles past on the second bounce and reaches the keeper along the ground (spin is completely out of the question). Batsmen can only get the ball to the boundary consistently by wheeling their arms and cutting it. A hook, or a pull might get it there, but because there's so little pace in the ball to start with it's unlikely.

Football and rugby, are a completely different prospect altogether, watching kids as young as 8 you can spot real talent, an awareness for the game, feints, sidesteps, ball control are all skills that can be picked up and when the strength comes it's a case of honing it.

Anyone agree, or think of a sport that you can't start excelling at until you are much older?

8 comments:

Paul said...

Hi Six,

You're right about the 22 yards/puberty conundrum - I remember playing in an Easter quick cricket match before I'd reached my teens and had the misfortune of being chosen to bowl. My first ball bounced three times before reaching the batsman who was laughing so much he completely missed it!

Span Ows said...

Fishing...nobody young has the patience!

Bowls...nobody young dares play

Golf...nobody young cares

Six Years Late said...

I'll have to disagree there Span. From the age of 8 I'd sit on a bank with my rod in hand (sorry couldn't resist the innuendo, sad innit).

And bowling. Now there appears to be something interesting going on at the bowling green I walk past everyday on Wandsworth Common. It's open to anyone and they hire equipment out. In the past month I've seen a group of teenage girls in crop tops and low slung hipsters playing. Someone who had hired the whole thing out for a wedding reception (quite a nice idea I thought) and yesterday there were dozens of about 8 or 9 year olds on there. I've no idea why. It's the kind of thing I expect to see written up in a lifestyle column in a month's time as a new urban phenomenon, then someone will try and make it cool like allotments and bring out a magazine called crown green bowling punk.

Span Ows said...

Ah ha...I was setting a trap... I'll have you know that a certain Span HAS been on the cover of a CERTAIN magazine ...playing bowls!...26 years ago!!!! at the tender age of 18.

...the shame!

Lucy said...

Bowling is now cool eh!?
Well you learn something everyday.

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