Late February saw Ivanhoe returning to the nets for another session, although injuries and inexplicable other engagements meant only 7 souls made it to Hatfield. Taking up two nets allowed all and sundry to get a long bat…although with the pace, guile and movement on offer this also provided opportunity for one’s off stump to be pegged back…no doubt banter about walking wickets will ensue unless next week sees tightened up defences.

The hot and steamy conditions in the nets accorded an unreasonable amount of swing and the ball hooped around in the air, providing a workout for all bowlers as at any time there were either two or three people bowling in each net…those with older bodies may creak a little for a couple of days.

As with last week, John fronted up in one net…he’s getting a taste for batting early, when the season starts he’ll hear “We’re batting” and rush off to get his pads on. Standing the ‘right way round’ meant it took Hansi a wee while to work out how to get the ball outside off (rather than leg) stump, but Peter was on the spot straight away. Working up a healthy pace as well as moving the ball out of the hand, presenting an upright and proud seam there were ‘oohs and aas’ aplenty. Right at the end of his prolonged session the shots came out and his trademark lofted drive was played a couple of times.

In the other net, Tai took on all that Saquib and Shez could hurl down at him, crashing the ball to all parts of the net. It wasn’t all doom and gloom for the bowlers though, as the odd ball beat the bat and the stumps rattled a couple of times.

John did weave his magic against several of the batters hitting the stumps a couple of time, but Hansi managed to beat him down so much that he reverted to bowling some left-arm ‘stuff’. He said it was to protect his shoulder but all could see how this was the only way to get Hansi out.

The ultimate humiliation was when Hansi played a reverse pull to one of John’s mystery balls…good to practice in the nets but unlikely to be seen in a match situation unless there is something very odd in the air!

John got his mojo back when bowling to Saquib, who missed a straight one, but otherwise batted well.  

The non-stop bowling certainly put many miles into the bowlers legs, as well as according the batters the opportunity to really get their eye in against one bowler and work out their nuances and start to pick the deliveries from the hand.

Author: Hansi B

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