Spinning a yarn with Bruce
By MITCHELL DALE
IT'S not easy being a spin bowler at Connell Park.
The synthetic track doesn't exactly produce sideways movement and it's not the largest field around, meaning spinners need to use all their cunning and trickery to get wickets.
Having it as your home ground is almost certain death for any spinner.
Therefore it is a bit of a surprise to see Bellingen's off-spinning all-rounder Bruce Mills the club's equal-leading first grade wicket-taker with pacemen Justin Gilbert and Gavin Brown.
Even more surprising is that Mills has taken more than half his wickets at Connell Park.
All three bowlers are locked on 12 wickets, with seven of Mills' coming at Bellingen's home patch of dirt.
"You have to work for your wickets at Connell Park," Mills said.
"But I have been pretty fortunate to have some generous bowling figures there (3-17 against Colts and 4-77 against Nana Glen).
"There is no spin from the wicket, so you have to get your wickets in the air, with change of pace and good field positioning.
"You just have to keep a good line and length, chip away and wait for the batsman to make the mistakes."
After a slow start to the year with the bat ? ironically because he feels he was trying to score too quickly ? Mills is now starting to produce some runs.
In Bellingen's monster 288 against Sawtell last weekend, Mills was one of the standouts with a well-compiled 70.
"I put my head down on Saturday, before that I was throwing my wicket away," he said.
"I wasn't spending enough time at the crease early on, I was trying to score too quickly and got myself out.
"I was pleased with my last innings, although I would have liked to score a hundred.
"But at my age, fatigue was setting in."
Mills, 39, took the 2003-4 season off to concentrate on helping the Bellingen Junior Cricket club re-establish itself as the powerhouse of the Nambucca-Bellingen competition.
"Looking after the juniors can be a big ask and I wasn't able to give both (seniors and juniors) 100 percent," he said.