Ashes Cricket (PS4): Career Mode – Captain Fantastic!

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Following the disappointment of the one-day cup final defeat at the hands of Scarborough in my first match as captain, the team headed into the T20 competition determined to go one step further. As was the case with my team selection for the fifty-over final, I made bold changes to the XI for the T20 campaign, ignoring the scars of the final defeat. In our first two matches at Bradford and Sheffield, such was the application of our side that I wasn’t even required to bat as we notched back-to-back victories. It was against Scarborough again that we would come undone, this was despite my 26 from 14 deliveries. My swashbuckling 45 from just 15 balls helped us get back to winning ways at home to York before we then beat Hull in the final round of matches, again with me not required to bat. That meant another final against guess who? That’s right, an opportunity for revenge against Scarborough. Again, a ruthless alteration to the team was made and we restricted the seaside side to just 121-9 from their allotted overs. Soon though, we were 15-3 and in real trouble. My 46 from 35 deliveries however helped steady the ship but I was gutted to be dismissed with just four runs required for victory. It didn’t matter though, as we ran out winners by four wickets. Without doubt, it was the proudest day in my Leeds career. It won’t only be Leeds that I’ll be playing for in the future though…

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I’m delighted to announce that I’ve accepted a First Class contract offer from Yorkshire County Cricket Club. I’m reliably informed that I’m not too far away from joining the List A and T20 sides either. I’m due to make my First Class debut at home against Kent and there are three First Class matches remaining after that. It’s up to me to take my best ever club form into the professional arena and earn the right to play for the mighty Yorkshire for years to come. I’m delighted to sign off this campaign for Leeds in style but it’s onto the professional circuit for me now!

Ashes Cricket (PS4): Career Mode – One-Day Highs and Low!

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Off the back of my productive three-day campaign, I took my good form into the 2022 one-day season and delivered the most productive 50-over summer of my career so far.

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In the premier round of matches, I chalked up 102 from 72 deliveries (Including an all ran 5!) at Bradford Recreation Park. The innings meant that I now had centuries in each of the amateur three-day, one-day and T20 formats. I then went onto plunder 35 from 20 balls at Sheffield Gardens before notching up 45 not out from just 25 deliveries at home to Scarborough.

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Maintaining my momentum, I racked up a career best 125 from 92 deliveries at home to York to maintain my run-laden summer. We had been precariously placed at 25-4 and 58-5 but I was only dismissed two runs short of our target of 220.

I would go onto make another half-century in the final round of matches, 68 from 40 balls at home to Hull. In truth, there was another century there for the taking that I didn’t snap up. A win in that match however meant, after defeats in the first two games, we’d won three matches on the bounce and qualified for the final.

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That was a heck of a time to be handed the captaincy and I made a couple of bold changes to the XI. Unfortunately it turns out that the ‘Art of Captaincy’ is not to change a winning team and bring in untried players for a final. I wish somebody had told me that in advance!

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On a personal level though, I contributed one of my best ever knocks in the final. With wickets constantly falling around me, I applied myself appropriately to total 100 from 75 deliveries. If only I could have helped yield another 20 runs or so from the remaining few overs. As it was, we always seemed a bit short having failed to post 300.

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Though we claimed four wickets, Sheffield ran out comfortable winners. To see their players celebrating on the podium was tough. Though the players I brought into the first team for such a big occasion didn’t disgrace themselves, neither did they do enough to really justify their selections. As captain of Leeds, I take full responsibility for those calls!

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To reach a final is no disgrace however and on a personal level I’m now firmly on the radar of the English county sides. Scores of 102, 35, 45*, 125, 68 & 100 in a final amounted to 475 runs at an almighty average of 95.00. It goes without saying that I topped the one-day run charts in the north but there… I said it! Now my captaincy skills will be put to the test in the T20 format. I’ll endeavour to lead the team to the best of my ability as well as continuing to press my case for county recognition.

Ashes Cricket (PS4): Career Mode – 555 @ 61.67!

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Like a letter arriving through your mailbox, the 2022 cricket season soon arrived at my door. Following my limp efforts during the run drought of 2021, I was steadfastly determined to deliver the runs and post some big scores whatever the weather.

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At Bradford Recreation Park, one of my favourite grounds, where the palm trees decorate the full playing sphere, I started the season as I meant to go on and even if I didn’t go on as I’d started it was still a good start! My run-a-ball 169 represented more than double last year’s maximum effort of just 79. My teammates as well as some in the media were quick to point out the irony of me, the husband of a French lady, being dismissed by A.French. Oh how we all chuckled at that one! I was controversially adjudged caught behind when on 26 second time around before the match petered out into a draw. Thrilling run chases wouldn’t rise to prominence until the second half of the campaign.

My mid-season form then followed a similar trend of campaigns gone by, with dismissals in the twenties and thirties occurring with alarming regularity. I made 36 and 29 in defeat at Sheffield before falling for 7 and 31 at home to Scarborough. The fall on 31 was at least in part down to an attempt at an admittedly unlikely achievable run chase.

The penultimate match of the season was somewhat of a juxtaposition for me. I contributed scores of 90 (61 balls) and 82 (44 balls), the latter in a partnership of 98 that I clearly dominated. With reckless disregard for the risk to my batting average should I come unstuck, I took the attack to the York bowling… attack! My innings end came about only because of my selfless attempt to win the match for my team and my batting partner’s selfish concern for his own statistics. With five wickets still in hand, I was appalled, disgusted, dismayed, insert appropriate adjective, with the defence minded approach our late middle-order batsmen applied in the final overs. Our number six finished a shameful 8 not out from 33 deliveries when the game finished a draw. Victory was just 38 runs in sight!

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My facial expression in the above photograph aptly sums up my thoughts regarding my teammates’ efforts in our draw at home to arch rivals York. I was not a happy chappy!

In the final round of matches, hosting Hull at home would bring about another thrilling run chase, this time one that had a much happier ending. That wasn’t before I suffered the frustration of being run out when well set and playing beautifully in our first innings. I had reached 39 (Those frustrating thirties again!) when I was caught short attempting a third. Such was my angst at my dismissal that I honestly don’t remember whether I was still attempting the third or had turned back. I must also offer further apologies for the smashed window in the changing room. It wasn’t a moment to be proud of and of course I will cover the repair costs and accept my fine without appeal.

From one end of the emotional spectrum to another, it was with rapture unbound that I should be at the crease when we completed a cheeky run chase on the final day of the three-day season and righted the wrongs of York. When I entered the theatre, we needed 64 runs from 18 overs however when it came to the crunch, despite there being four overs left, the clock had already ticked past the close of play. So it was that with just three deliveries remaining and with myself undefeated on 46 from 36 deliveries, my teammate drove the ball to the ropes to seal a stunningly deserved victory on a rocky horror picture show of an end of season pitch. We embraced, the bevvies flowed and another cricket campaign, in this format at least, reached its conclusion.

We (Leeds) finished a respectable second in the Northern Division (err… really, we only won one game?!) and on a personal note, I too finished second in the run charts. 555 runs at 61.67 was a far better effort than recent years. I was only just pipped to the premier post by my teammate and opening batsman who too played his hand in the run chase against Hull with a classy 74 from 75 deliveries. No looking after his batting average, just playing for the team!

Ashes Cricket (PS4): Career Mode – Double no Trouble!

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In my first season with my club side Leeds, I was dismissed in the nineties on two occasions in the three-day format before under performing somewhat in my one-day and T20 outings. During the 2019 season, I hoped to write the wrongs of those ‘close but no cigar’ moments but at first struggled to do so. I was gutted to make only 9 in my first visit to the crease of the new campaign but followed up with a composed 81 in the second innings. There then followed a frustrating runs of scores: 11, 32, 11, 20, 19 & DNB, so the pressure was on come the final match of the season at home to Hull.

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I’m delighted to say that I removed the cheeky monkey from my back and recorded my maiden century in club cricket. Oh and I achieved it in style too and with added panache! When on 94 and following a couple of dot balls, I cleared the ropes with an almighty six to send the small but passionate home crowd into delirium.

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… and I didn’t stop there! I determined not to be content with merely one hundred and go onto make a daddy hundred. I combined finding the boundary with working the gaps and went onto turn my maiden century into a double. Once again the loyal home faithful went berserk!

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Just look how happy I was upon completing my double-hundred. Though it would’ve been easy to have become overcome with emotion, I remained focused and continued to churn out the runs.

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My career best knock eventually came to an end late on day one, courtesy of a fine reaction catch by Hull’s short leg fielder off the right-arm pace bowler.

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Having accumulated only 183 runs in seven innings prior to my epic knock, I had clocked up 240 come my downfall against Hull. That meant I finished the 2019 three-day season with 423 runs at an average of 52.88 which placed me fifth in the run-scoring charts. My 218-ball vigil meant that I recorded the highest individual score in the league by just one run!

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Last season I had batted exclusively at four in the longest format before dropping to five for the limited overs affairs. In the first four matches of the 2019 season, I disappointingly found myself down at five in the order. Seeing that I needed time in which to construct the sort of innings that I’m capable of, Leeds boldly pushed me up to first-drop for the final match of the season. How I rewarded them! Hopefully I’ve cemented my place at number three in the order come the 2020 three-day season. It’ll be interesting to see where I find myself positioned in the batting line-up for this season’s one-day and T20 tournaments.

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Back to my 240, you’ll see that I scored runs all around the wicket. Off-side, leg-side, square, leg, you name it, I scored there. Now it’s about adapting my game to the shorter formats and having more productive 2019 campaigns than I did in 2018. I’ll be looking to pass 1000 career runs across all formats early in the one-day season. Hopefully we can avoid the mid-table obscurity we finished with in the three-day season and reach a couple of finals-days. It’d be the least we can do for our supporters!

Disclaimer: Please don’t think that Pro level is too easy. I’d been struggling but batted well to get to a maiden hundred. Having got there, as a player will do in real life, I determined to knuckle down, not throw my wicket away and go big!

Ashes Cricket (PS4): Career Mode – Slogmaster/From Zero to Ninety in a Matter of Seconds!*

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*By seconds I mean upto two hours.

Start as we mean to go on! Yes that’s right, I ducked on debut but did make a stoic second innings four against the mighty Hull. Only by getting both my mind and fingers crossed between classic and standard buttons did I come unstuck. It’s the usual six local teams league structure but Career Mode now incorporates Three-Day, One-Day and T20 cricket making it impressively more immersive. I’ve signed up with Leeds and as well as Hull will enjoy days out to Bradford, Scarborough, Sheffield and York, flood defences provided!

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Against Sheffield I responded by reaching 19 before both a change in the commentary box (Thanks Mel Jones!) and the introduction of spin, immediately combined to distract me and send shivers down my spine. I’d fallen against spin in both innings on debut and followed suit here too.

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Come the second innings and with the field up, I launched a huge straight six early in the piece. It was my first career maximum and I struck another the following day. The bowling attack encountered was a challenging mix of both pace and spin as well as right and left-arm.

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I reached my maiden fifty, with a little help from my Kookaburra Ghost, at more than a run a ball. The sweep shot was particularly effective for me though in truth it often ended up being executed more like an out and out slog!. We’ll take the runs any way they come though!

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My avatar has ended up not looking particularly like me but my teeth have had a nice shine, although I appear to have an extra head growing out of my right shoulder. This is a concern because it could effect my batting!

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Whether or not either my glove or bat actually made contact with the ball that was caught behind off yet more spin to end my epic second innings inversion of my first innings score remains unclear. Just look at that crack. Off the richter scale in Yorkshire!

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Of course there’s no DRS at this level. I’m not bitter at the decision though, only proud of my innings of 91. Of course a further nine runs would have been welcome but though I could barely open my eyes as I left the crease, deep down I know that my career best knock puts me in good stead to attain my career ambitions.

Big Ant appear to have made huge strides with their follow-up to the Don Bradman Games and I can’t emphasise how much better club (Amateur) level is for having two innings matches. I’ll keep you up to date with my career travails as I begin the quest for Yorkshire and England recognition. For the record: I’m middling every difficulty level, that’s pro level (So 3rd out of 5) and medium specifically on the batting and bowling front as well as selection difficulty and am playing on a PlayStation4 console.

Don Bradman Cricket 17: Delight to Despair on Daughter’s Debut!

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The tiny twirler tweaks the first victim of her career!

Admittedly 6 months old is probably a little early to send someone out onto the cricket field, so we’ll have to imagine that we’ve gone forward in time a bit. Based on my daughter’s physique and the way she turns her wrists, I’ve got her down for a bit of right-hand wrist spin bowling and a lower order right-handed bat, primarily a worker of ones and twos. If in real life she turns out to be a left-arm pace bowler and left-handed six-hitting bat who keeps wicket part-time then I’ll have been proved very wrong in my assumptions!

Anyway, she’s signed for Leeds and unlike my last career, following a few patches by Big Ant, she and her teammates will be up against the local opposition that I selected. That’s Hull, Middlesbrough, Scarborough, Sheffield and York.

The little tweaker got the call-up to the Leeds side for the opening match of the season at home to York. Batting at number nine she made 7 runs before being caught behind down the leg side off their spinner. She was surprisingly thrust into action with the ball early in the piece, bowling the second over of the innings in the power play. After an economical start she was removed from the attack and not recalled until the 18th over which again was an economical affair. Aged just 19 and on debut, she was presented with the responsibility of bowling the final over with York requiring seven for victory. Two dot balls were followed by the little one’s first ever wicket, caught on the boundary at deep fine leg. She looked destined to be the hero on debut but with the batsman having crossed, the York player cut the next ball for four leaving the away side requiring three from two. My daughter then, possibly feeling the pressure, dragged the ball a little down the leg side and again, the ball was dispatched to the boundary as York sealed victory with just one delivery remaining. Her debut summed up the fluctuating emotions that an athlete experiences, the highs and lows of team sport. Despite the loss, I’m sure that she’ll be a better cricketer for the experience. Next up it’s Hull as the tiny twirler endeavours to achieve her dreams of representing Yorkshire and England.

Don Bradman Cricket 17: Career Stagnation

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Incase you’re struggling to read it, yes my batting average does say 19.50!

Career stagnation. No I’m not talking about real life. Oh no, wait…

So it’s been a while since I provided an update on my ‘glittering’ career on Don Bradman Cricket 17. That’s because, in the main, I haven’t been playing career mode. There were one or two issues but I’m glad to reveal that yesterday the game’s developers, Big Ant Studios, released a third patch on PS4 as well as on XboX One. There seem to have been one or two tweaks on the technical aspect of batting. I Know this because earlier today I was dismissed in a way that I’ve never got out before!

One glaring omission from the game out of the box and one that has caused outrage in the forum…

http://www.planetcricket.org/forums/forums/don-bradman-cricket-17-forum.306/

… was the omission of player statistics from your player page. Up until yesterday’s patch, you would only see your batting statistics when you walked out to bat (We’ll come to bowling statistics later) aside from some very out of depth current season only stats. Now you can see your batting average, strike rate and 50s etc in amongst the many tiles, these tiles include league standings, fixtures and selection status (Again, we’ll come to this later) on your player page.

If you can just about make out my batting statistics on the picture above then let’s please draw attention to another bug in the game. Yes I scored 50 not out but have since hit 55 not out. I’m sure that my career best knock is included amongst my career runs and enhanced my batting average but just didn’t tally on the 50’s column nor was my career best amended. Again, referring to the forum, I’m definitely not the only one that has had this problem.

As you can see, my batting average is a paltry 19.50. It didn’t take me long to realise that batting at number five in what are only T20 matches until you get signed professionally was not a smart idea. I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve been not out in the forties (Honestly, I’m not making that up!) or have got out trying to clear the ropes in the final overs, or just haven’t batted at all.

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82.83, that’s a great average! Oh no, wait, that’s my bowling average.

Onto bowling. Well at least I now know what my average is… 82.83!

Prior to yesterday’s patch there was no way at all of knowing what your bowling average was. Credit to Big Ant, they listen to the feedback on the forum and act upon it. Now, as well as having your bowling stats on your player page, they come up when you are brought on for a spell with the ball. Obviously I’ve been informing followers of my England matches and have finally figured out how to bowl a bit better. That average of 82.83 has already tumbled down from the nineties in the five matches since I returned to career mode and I’m confident that I can bring the two numbers closer together.

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There’s a second page as well but they don’t even want me in Zimbabwe!

Even if I do up my batting average towards the 30s and bring my bowling average down to… the 30s (Optimistic I know), I may be destined to spend my entire career playing club T20 for Leeds against all those non-Yorkshire teams that I didn’t select as mentioned in a previous career post…

https://sillypointcricketsite.wordpress.com/2016/12/18/don-bradman-cricket-17-career-catastrophe/

That’s because there’s a glitch where you can’t get signed up, particularly with England (No really, this has been confirmed on the forum). Different console and different versions of the game seem to have different bugs and glitches so it’s possible that there isn’t a selection glitch on my game and that even in the Zimbabwean domestic competition, they’re not looking for players with a batting average of 19 and a bowling average of 83!

I commenced my career soon after buying the game when The Academy wasn’t live so I don’t know if I get signed up whether I could be playing with Joe Root or Jon Roth. I hope they’ve fixed the teams in the leagues issue so that next time I start a career playing for Leeds, I can take on York, Hull and Sheffield etc, not Southport and Whitehaven. I’ve also designed a nice bat and helmet that I’ll use next time. For now I’ll keep going with this career whilst Big Ant keep patching things up and I can learn how to get a bit better. I’ll definitely choose to bat higher in my next career as I really think batting at five is restricting me from making scores big enough to draw the attention of any of the counties, T20 franchises or national selectors!