T20 Round 1 vs Country XI, 29th November 2020 [Report written: 30/11/20]

On Sunday, we had our first T20 of the season against a representative team from the Country. Again, we won the toss and batted first and I opened with Wellsy but it didn’t go to plan. Wellsy was first out, in the fourth over, with the score 27, before I was caught at deep mid-wicket in the 6th over for only 7, having chewed up too many dot balls. We ended up making 5/137 thanks to an excellent unbroken partnership of 74, by Sam Fanning and Joel Curtis, two guys I work with every week. It wasn’t enough however, as the Country XI chased it down, for the loss of only 2 wickets, with one over to spare. I bowled the 14th, 16th & 18th overs and finished with figures of 1/11 off my 3 overs, but it was too little too late. In our review, we acknowledged that we were well off the mark in all 3 facets of the game and it was another reminder how difficult it is to transition between formats with little time to practice and adjust plans & techniques. Fortunately, we have another T20 this Sunday, so we have the chance to bounce back.

Round 7 vs Fremantle, 28th November & 5th December 2020 [Reports written: 30/11/20 & 7/12/20]

DAY 2

The day started incredibly well for us as we picked up both openers in the first 7 overs with the score on only 2. Things could have been even better as WA opening batsman, Sam Whiteman, who came into the side for the second week, was dropped at slip, the second ball he faced. There’s a saying that you can’t give good players a chance and that was certainly true on Saturday. Whiteman played an incredibly fluent and free-flowing innings and showed why he’s one of the premier red-ball batters in the country at the moment as he went on to score 165 not out to guide Fremantle to victory [Click here to learn more about Whiteman who was a guest on The Cricket Mentoring Podcast a couple of years ago]. We had our chances and had we held Whitey early, we would have probably won the match, but the wicket was nice to bat and Freo chased down our score of 279, 5 down with 12.1 overs to spare. I bowled 10.1 overs, a lot of them to Whitey, and finished with figures of 0/35. Unfortatunely, I dropped two catches at slip myself, one tough one and one straight forward one. While there are no easy slips catches, I dropped them both because I wasn’t fully focused on that ball, in that moment. Because I was thinking about something else, it meant I was slow to react and therefore didn’t execute my skill to my capability. Slips catching is an art and it’s something I work really hard at but still have room for improvement (I’m going to shoot some videos for our community on Slips catching).

DAY 1

I had two games of cricket on the weekend with mixed results. On Saturday, which was my birthday, it was the first day of a two day match against Fremantle, where we won the toss and elected to bat. I was promoted to bat at number 4 and went in with the score 2/99 with our captain Jon Wells at the other end. I didn’t start very well, as I played and missed a few balls before I was off the mark. I got off the mark with a boundary off my legs, before I hit a nice cover drive for four, but had some luck when I was dropped at third slip when on 15. I never felt settled or ‘in’ but managed to hang in and get 43 when we took tea with the score 2/194. Unfortunately, I was out in the second over after the break without adding to my score. After that we collapsed, as we lost 3/10 but fortunately, Wellsy was still there and yet again held us together (AGAIN) with an incredible, chance-less 163, as we finished the day 9/279 from our 90 overs. Fremantle were able to keep the ball swinging all day, so if we can do the same and can take our chances, we are well and truly in the match!

[Click here to watch the replay of our match – I went in at 3:15:45 and got out at 5:07:35]

Round 6 vs Scarborough, 14th & 21st November 2020 [Reports written: 16/11/20 & 23/11/20]

DAY 2

If you read last week’s Monday Motivation, you would have seen that last Saturday we had a rain affected game where we only managed 30 overs of play. We had Scarborough 5/71, but due to the fact that not enough games reached 40 overs of play, the whole day’s cricket was wiped, with a one-day game fixtured for Saturday. This was obviously frustrating, given the position we were in, but rules are rules and we had to start again. We won the toss and choose to bat on what turned out to be a tricky wicket! I went in at number 6 with the score 4/137 in the 41st over. Out top order had said 220 was a winning score, so there was plenty of work for us still to do when I got to the crease. I chanced my arm and had a bit of luck and even though I didn’t hit them as well as I would have liked, I finished 26 not out (off 26 balls) as our innings finished 5/188. We started really well with the ball, as Scarborough slumped to 3/16 early in their innings, before putting together a couple of partnerships to get ahead in the game. When we dismissed their set batter with the score on 6/116, we got our noses in front before a couple of cameos from their lower order swung the game back their way. With 10 overs to go, they had 4 wickets in hand and needed 50 runs to win. With 5 overs to go, it was 3 wickets in hand and a ball needed. We got a run out at the start of the second last over, followed by 3 dot balls, before their number 10 hit a lovely cover drive to make it 5 needed off the last over, with 2 wickets in hard. Scarborough had a set batsman in and on strike, so they were well and truly the favourites at this stage, however our bowler bowled an awesome over as it went dot, dot, run out (by me) and then we got the final wicket, caught at long on (just inside the boundary) to win by 4 runs! An epic result that puts us top of the ladder.

[Click here to watch the full match replay. I came in to bat at 2:19:14 and you can see my run out in the last over at 6:38:50]

DAY 1

We had a frustrating, rain-affected day on Saturday, with only 30.3 overs of play possible. We won the toss and elected to bowl and Scarborough finished the day 5/76. Even though the wicket had been under covers for a couple of days, their openers started well as they batted through the shortened first-session. At 0/43 then 1/58, they were in control before our opening bowler, Lachlan Pratt, took a rain-interrupted hat-trick. His first wicket came with the score on 69, as he removed the opener caught behind. We then went off for a long rain delay and upon returning, Pratty took two wickets in two balls to make it a hat-trick. I caught the hat-trick ball at second slip, so it was a nice feeling to contribute to a memorable moment for him. I did also drop a catch though, which was incredibly frustrating. I pride myself on my catching and have taken 8 catches so far this season so was really disappointed to drop a straight forward chance at first-slip from our left-arm spinner. Personally, I think there’s no worse feeling in cricket than dropping a catch as you’ve not only let yourself down but you’ve also let the bowler and your teammates down. Fortunately on this occasion, it didn’t cost us too many runs. Other than those two balls, I didn’t really have much to do on Saturday!

Round 5 vs Midland-Guilford, 31st October & 7th November 2020 [Reports written: 2/11/20 & 9/11/20]

DAY 2

In my cricket on Saturday, we had an epic outright win as we took the final wicket off the second last ball of the match in a late and very dark finish to the match. Resuming on 1/6 chasing our score of 215, Midland-Guilford started well as they took the score to 1/37 before we took 3 wickets for 1 run and 4 for 9. In those 4 wickets, I took two catches at second slip, the first one a one-handed diving catch across in front of first slip (to a lefty), one of the better catches in my life. Midland then put a good partnership together as they took the score to 5/149 before we then took the last 5 wickets for 7 runs to bowl them out for 156. This gave us the win (on first innings) and a lead of 69 runs. Our openers played well, as they took the score to 0/71 at the tea break. While most of us were thinking we’d bat the day out and get a few guys some time in the middle, our captain, Jon Wells, had another idea. With 35 overs still left in the day and our lead 140 runs (with 10 wickets in hand), he suggested we set them a run chase and have a crack at an outright win (which you get more points for). So we decided to aim for another 60 runs in 10 overs, giving them 200 to chase with 23 overs left in the day. We had a feeling they would try and chase it, as they didn’t have a lot to lose and to their credit, they gave it a red hot crack. At one stage, they were 3/122 in the 13th over, on pace to chase it down. However, we knew that it would be incredibly hard to sustain that run rate for over 20 overs and once we got their captain out to make the score 5/131, the game was well and truly in our favour. We thought they would have ‘shut up shop’ then and fought to not let us get the extra 5 points, but they kept going after the win. This meant we were right in the game and kept taking wickets as they continued to attack. With 3 overs to go, we still needed 3 wickets and amazingly it happened. Wellsy got someone caught on the mid-wicket boundary before taking the final two wickets with quicker balls, the final wicket coming off the second last ball of the day. While we had some luck along the way and honestly, were lucky to still be going when we were due to the light, I think it was a deserved win, given we took a risk and took the game on in pursuit of extra points. There’s a great saying that ‘fortune favours the brave’ and I think sometimes you have to be willing to lose to be able to win (although we did play it very safe with our declaration).

Round 4 vs Bayswater-Morley, 24th October 2020 [Report written: 26/10/20]

As I mentioned previously, we were fortunate to play on the WACA on the weekend, but despite having a decent game myself, we got smashed by Bayswater-Morley which was the ‘lowlight’ of the past week. It was a good toss to lose, despite wanting to bat first, we thought it would be a good wicket all day and we started well with the ball, reducing Baysy to 3/13. I took a pair of catches at second slip off the bowling of CM mentor and former WA fast-bowler, Josh Nicholas. They put together a few partnerships and a former CM athlete, Ryleigh Cameron batted well for his 79, before I bowled him with the second ball of my spell. I finished with figures of 1/30 off 6 overs, with Baysy getting to 8/231 off their 50 overs. They did a good job to fight back from their tough start, but we thought it was well under par and were really confident going into the break.

Unfortunately, we lost last week’s centurion and our captain, Jon Wells early and then kept losing wickets regularly as our batters got starts, but didn’t go on with it. I went in with the score 4/91 and ended up being 43 not out off 59 balls as we were bowled out for 163 in just 38.4 overs. It was a really disappointing effort on what I thought was an excellent batting wicket. [The match was live streamed on the WA Premier Cricket YouTube page and we will be publishing my catches, bowling and batting on the Cricket Mentoring YouTube channel later today and tomorrow.]

I love batting at the WACA (I’ve previously played in 7 grand finals there) and felt in complete control on the weekend, but unfortunately, didn’t have anyone stay with me. Our lower order are decent batters and have proved themselves capable on a number of occasions, so I had faith and belief we would win the whole time, even when our 16 year old number 11, who was batting for the first time in 1st grade, came out to bat. After a dominant win last week, it means after 4 games, we’ve had two wins and two losses to be middle of the table.

Round 3 vs Mount Lawley, 17th October 2020 [Report written: 19/10/20]

In my cricket on the weekend, we had one of the most comprehensive victories I’ve ever been a part of. We lost the toss and bowled first on a wicket we expected to be very good. Mt Lawley got off to a flying start in the first 5 overs before our opening bowlers found their lengths and pegged the run rate back. We took our first wicket in the 11th over with the score on 43. Some good bowling brought about the second wicket with the score 71 before we bowled poorly as they raced to 2/122 in the 23rd over. With their captain and opener, Stewart Walters racing to 80 off 86 balls, we were staring down the barrel of a large run chase. However we re grouped, bowled a few tight overs and then got the rewards as we took two wickets in 3 balls to remove Walters and another one of their best players to reduce them to 4/122. I came on to bowl in the 29th over and bowled a tight spell and finished with the figures 0 for 20 off 7 overs. My Lawley were on 150 with 15 overs to go but we finished the innings well as they only managed to get to 8/217 off their 50 overs.

In reply, it was an epic performance by our two openers as they put on 188 for the first wicket. Our captain (and Adelaide Strikers star) Jon Wells made 106 off 83 balls while WA state-contracted batter Sam Fanning made his maiden first-grade century and finished on 102* off 132 balls as we won by 9 wickets with 12.2 overs to spare. I was due to bat 6 and didn’t even get back into my colours which I can’t remember ever happening before in my 1st grade career.

While I would have loved to bat, it’s awesome to win so comfortably and I was incredibly proud of Sam who I mentor as he bounced back from a couple of low scores in the first two matches. It was a great show of character that once he got a start, he made it count! As a young, contracted player, he had been putting a lot of pressure on himself to score runs so this innings will give him the belief that he’s good enough for this level and therefore the freedom to play his way moving forward.

I think there’s some great learnings from the journey and rollercoaster that Sam has been on so far this season so want to share with you an extract from a message I sent one of the athletes I mentor, on Saturday evening after he had a tough day as I think it’s a good message for any cricketer when things are tough.\

Last week Fanners was in tears after he got out. He was so desperate to do well. We had a good chat about it during the week and I reemphasised that he’s a good player and good players shine over time. If it’s not this week it’s next. 

He started nervously today and you could tell he was trying hard. But fortunately for him, it was a good wicket and Wellsy was smacking them at the other end. He focused on getting off strike then once he was in, expanded. He’s on top of the world tonight.

You’re never as far away as you think!! You’re class mate and class doesn’t leave you. You need to learn then get over it. You need to use the disappointment to drive you to keep working hard and focusing on your process then the results will come as they have for Fanners.

It’s a tough game. Stay patient and trust yourself chum.

I hope those words to the young player I work with can help you bounce back from disappointment.

Round 2 vs Subiaco-Floreat, 10th October 2020 [Report written: 12/10/20]

I’m pleased to say that Saturday was a better day for both myself and our team, as we got our first win of the season. We won the toss and elected to bat against Subiaco-Floreat in a game that we were desperate to bounce back from our poor performance the previous week. We spoke during the week about having a focus on two things when batting:

1. Running between the wickets and 2. Building partnerships

Our shift in focus from ourselves and worrying about our own performances to the team, showed in our intent and intensity as we batted like a different team to the previous week. We made 8/233 off our 50 overs but it could have been more as we were 4/220 after 46 overs before we lost a few wickets going for it in the end. I batted number 6 and went in in the 33rd over with the score 4/161. I got off the mark first ball, which is always nice when coming off a duck, and played well, as I was out on the last ball of our innings, caught at deep mid-wicket for 36 off 37 balls, on a wicket that wasn’t easy against the old ball.

When Subi got to 2/113 the game was probably in their favour, however as is always the case in cricket, a wicket can change everything. We broke that partnership with a good catch on the boundary then took two wickets in two balls when the score was 132 to have the game in our favour. Another little partnership swung the game to Subi before another good outfield catch put us in the box seat. We ended up taking 4 excellent outfield catches on the weekend which were crucial to our victory. At 8/167, still needing 67 to win at better than a run a ball, the game should have been dead but to Subi’s credit, they kept fighting and took it to 8/202 before Wellsy took the final two wickets in the 46th over as we bowled them out for 205, a pretty comfortable win in the end. I bowled 4 overs (29th, 31st, 33rd & 35th overs) and finished with 0/17 and took two catches. So it was a steady day all round for me and most importantly we got the win!

Even though I’ve played a lot of cricket, I’m still always learning and this week I was reminded yet again of how important it is for me to have a positive mindset. The previous week, we were chasing a low total and I went out to bat with more of a mindset of ‘hanging in there’ and accumulating runs. As a result, I wasn’t looking to score and backing myself and therefore made a mistake early (missed a ball from a left arm spinner that I’d hit 99 times out of 100). This weekend, I went out with a real intent to score and got off the mark first ball. Instead of being scared to get out, I was thinking about where I could get runs and looking for balls in certain areas to be able to capitalise on those scoring opportunities. Hence when the ball came, I was ready to put it away.

Round 1 vs Claremont-Nedlands, 3rd October 2020 [Report written: 5/10/20]

On Saturday I was reminded yet again, that cricket is a tough game! If you read last week’s MM email, you’ll know that we were playing Claremont-Nedlands, who have won the past 5 one-day titles. So it was always going to be a tough game, especially given they had WA stars, Joel Paris and Matt Kelly. However we were ready and excited for the challenge going in to the match!

After it rained all day on Friday, we won the toss and elected to bowl first, a decision that seemed right when we took a wicket in the first over. Claremont have a very experienced and highly-skilled side, and although we removed both openers with the score on 10, they moved to 3/113, 4/142 then 5/166, before we took 4 wickets for none as they fell to 9/166 with WA fast-bowler Liam Guthrie taking a hat-trick. Unfortunately their number 11 hung around as they took their score to 192 all out. I came on to bowl in the 33rd over and finished with 1/21 off 5 overs as I took the wicket of Joel Paris, caught at long on as he tried to take the game on a bit. In reply, we lost wickets early and I went out to bat with the score 3-24 in the 11th over. Unfortunately, I played all around a ball that drifted in from the left arm spinner and hit me on the pad in front of middle and leg, as I departed without troubling the scorers. We slumped to 7/68 then 8/97, before our tail wagged (as it often does) and we made it to 164.

Our top order let us down in what was an excellent opportunity to beat the reigning champions and give us lots of belief and confidence for the rest of the season. However, it wasn’t to be and we have to reflect, work hard at training this week, continue to back ourselves and our teammates and rebound this week against another good side in Subiaco-Floreat.

Personally, it was the worst possible start to the season, but as always, it’s done now and all I can do it learn from it and move on! Something that I’ve learnt and become much better at as I’ve gotten older and more experienced, is to not dwell on bad performances, as it only hinders future performances. IN this last week, I’ve been watching the awesome Netflix series called The Playbook and in the episode with famous basketball coach, Dawn Stanley, she speaks about the 24-hour rule that she implemented with her team. She said that regardless whether they win or lose, they have 24 hours to enjoy it or dwell on it but after 24 hours they have to leave it behind and keep moving forward. I can really resonate with this as I used to dwell on a bad performance for days and the rpevious weeks low scores would often still be lingering over me a week or two later when I batted next. THis is not a good place to be but it’s something a lot of people struggle with. So if that is you, try and implement the 24 hour rule. Regardless of whether it’s a good or bad performance, give yourself 24 hours then move on. Once it’s done, it’s done and the only match you can then impact is the next one. I’m keen to hit lots of balls this week and continue to work on my game and will aim to play attacking cricket this weekend when I get my chance.

About the writer: I founded Cricket Mentoring in August 2016 with the goal of helping cricketers all over the world become the best they can be – on and off the field. As a former professional cricketer with Middlesex CCC (2010-2012) I’ve played with and against some of the world’s best players and worked with some elite coaches. I’m a Cricket Australia Level 2 coach and through my own personal experiences, practice and a hunger to always learn, I’ve developed and continue to refine my principles and philosophies on coaching and cricket. I believe there’s 6 pillars to peak performance (Technical, Tactical, Mental, Emotional, Physical, Lifestyle) and most athletes only focus on one or a few things. All of our content (articles, videos, podcast) covers the 6 pillars and has been created to assist cricketers understand what it takes to achieve great things in the game.

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When I quit my job and went full time with Cricket Mentoring in July 2017 I decided to do a vlog (video blog) detailing my life as a player, coach, small business owner, entrepreneur and someone who is constantly trying to learn and become better. Fast forward almost 3 years and we’ve published just under 300 episodes of a daily vlog Scolls Stories and this year transitioned into a weekly vlog, Scolls Weekly. Click here to check it out plus the other hundreds of awesome free coaching videos we share on our YouTube channel. They are created to inspire people to chase their dreams and live their best life and are designed to help aspiring cricketers and coaches around the world learn and improve themselves. Please say ‘G’day’ in the comments on here, YouTube or any of our social media channels and make sure you subscribe or follow so that you get our daily tips and advice!

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