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Cricket Fever at Trinity Academy Leeds: The Impact of the 2G Flicx Pitch

Rob Withers is a PE teacher at Trinity Academy Leeds and the driving force behind cricket at the school.

An all-rounder who moved back to Ben Rhydding Cricket Club from Methley this season, he talks about the impact of the 2G Flicx pitch which has enabled more cricket and better practice.

Trinity Academy Leeds only opened in September 2021 serving the ward of Burmantofts & Richmond Hill in East Leeds. It’s an area that has its challenges being one of the most deprived of the city but from within the largely BAME community, there’s a passion for cricket.

Earlier that year, a Yorkshire Post photo of an impromptu game in a Harehills backstreet had caught the imagination of many, and it chimed with Rob when he joined the school as Harehills is only a mile away.

Under Rob’s guidance, the school bought a 2G Flicx pitch and it quickly transformed them into a popular hub for games. They roll out the Flicx onto the 3G football pitch and there’s a reliable surface that requires no maintenance and doesn’t wear out like grass.

Giving young cricketers a professional match experience

He said: “We’re all about elevating things to the next level and giving our students the best opportunities. The 2G Flicx pitch gives them that match feel. It’s important to us that when they go out and play, it should be as if they’re playing professional cricket.”

Rob added: “When we looked at the Flicx, we saw it was a robust surface, easy to set up and it’s been central to our success this year.”

There’s been the welcome benefit that it’s not been affected by the poor weather. Whereas grass squares were boggy and unfit to play early season, Trinity Academy Leeds haven’t postponed a fixture.

It’s also driven more interest in cricket and improving facilities from other staff members and visiting schools.

“I reckon a lot of schools, if they get a Flicx Pitch, they will be able to get more fixtures going and it will be an invaluable resource for them.”

Rob Withers

The school has five cricket teams – boys’ sides covering years 7-9, then girls’ teams at Year 8 and 9. It is also starting a girls’ Year 7 team in 2024. Apparently, they call it ‘cricket fever’ when the summer term arrives and there’s enormous appetite for the game.

The success of any emerging team relies on a few factors but having facilities that give quality practice and the best experience for matches is a great starting point.

Pleasingly for Trinity Academy Leeds, the results are starting to show: “We’ve entered our teams into the English Schools Cricket Association competitions. We’re starting to beat the teams around us and I’d like us to be known as the state school for cricket in Leeds.”

Trinity Multi-Academy Trust (MAT) Cricket Tournament

The school in Leeds is part of Trinity Multi-Academy Trust (MAT) which includes one sixth form, six secondary and four primary academies in West Yorkshire.

The growth of cricket has not gone unnoticed and encouraged the idea of a Trinity MAT inter-school competition.

The plan is to take the 2G Flicx pitch down to Barwick in Elmet Cricket Club and host the MAT tournament there.

It’s a nod to a successful partnership between school and club:

“They’ve been really great to us and said we could use their facilities for free to play some fixtures. The idea was that as our students developed, some would go and play cricket at the club – and that’s already happening.”

There have been other link-ups too including with the Yorkshire Cricket Foundation and Matthew Crookes, who heads the Wicketz programme for Leeds & Bradford.

Wicketz is a Lord’s Taverners cricket programme for young people aged 8-19, living in disadvantaged communities. Trinity Academy Leeds hosts the Wicketz Leeds Hub so every Monday from 7-9pm, there’s two hours of free cricket for students or others in the community who want to attend.

The blanket narrative I sometimes see about state school cricket is pretty negative and while there’s unquestionably room for many more opportunities across the country, this Leeds success story is just one terrific example of where the game is prospering.

For a quote on the 2G Flicx Pitch for your school, just drop us an email kate@flicx.com or for any advice on using your 2G Flicx Pitch on 3G or other artificial surfaces to extend the season.

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