Cricket Australia invest in portable pitches

Cricket NSW's picture

Cricket Australia’s recent investment in 28 portable pitches has equipped junior clubs across the nation with one solution to the growing problem of finding space to play competition matches in built-up regional and metropolitan areas.

The governing body has invested $105,000 to allow clubs access, at a discounted price, to the British-made Flicx pitches, a product which due to being made from recycled plastic is durable and portable. 

Lachlan Tosh, Cricket Australia’s Junior Formats Specialist, conceded securing playing fields is one of the main issues faced by most junior cricket officials.

He acknowledged it was compounded by the successful implementation of Australian cricket’s junior formats which has resulted in a growth of teams around the nation.

“We’re thrilled by the success of the new match formats Australian cricket has rolled out for juniors,” said Tosh.

“The improved game play, which includes more runs and more wickets, has been tremendous, but we need to find a solution to cope with the increasing demands on facilities due to the growth seen in team numbers.

“We’re enjoying seeing increased junior team numbers amongst clubs as a result of the junior formats, and we’re thrilled with it because it is our ambition to be the sport of choice for young boys and girls around the country.

“However, we don’t necessarily have an increase in the number of facilities.

“That means we need to be a little bit smarter around using our current facilities better or creating opportunities to use other facilities that may not have been utilised for cricket previously."

Tosh said with the introduction of the new Stage 1 and 2 junior formats, for ages 10 to 13, the portable pitches allow two matches to be played on a full-sized oval.

To do that we need two pitches, and in my opinion, the Flicx Pitch is a fantastic alternative, or solution,” he said.

“Their portability also allows for them to be transported from a weekend competition game to a primary school the next day, if it’s needed.

“The durability of these pitches means there’s no reason why they can’t be used every day of the week.”

Flicx pitches consist of rows of small plastic tiles and after being laid on a hard, flat surface require a minimum of only 30 minutes to settle (before a game starts).

They were trialled successfully in Victoria last summer, and Tosh said the initial feedback from the teams that are using them is positive.

“People are very positive, especially in regard to the playability for that Stage 1 bracket,” he said.

“There were some initial concerns about the pitches being made out of recyclable plastics - concerns about the bounce of the ball and whether it would it roll – but the initial feedback around the bounce has been tremendous.”

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