The latest episode of The Community Cricket Podcast addresses a pressing issue that many cricket clubs are facing – the scarcity of cricket pitches. As the popularity of cricket grows, with thriving junior sections and an increasing number of women and girls joining the sport, the demand for pitches has outstripped the available supply.
The situation is exacerbated by the financial struggles of local councils responsible for maintaining these pitches. The rising costs of pitch upkeep and mounting debts have led to concerns about the future availability of cricket grounds.
To tackle this issue, Kate Costin (Marketing Manager at Flicx UK) and founder Rich Beghin explore the advantages of using non-turf options, such as the 2G Flicx portable roll out cricket wicket. Artificial pitches like the Flicx Pitch provide a cost-effective solution and can be set up in various locations, creating opportunities for more cricket matches.
This episode sheds light on the importance of re-educating players and officials about the acceptability of non-turf wickets, especially at the grassroots level where the need for extra pitch capacity is at its greatest. By embracing these alternative solutions, maximising their multiple applications and fantastic versatility, we can ensure that the game of cricket continues to thrive and expand, enabling more players, regardless of age or gender, to enjoy the sport they love.
CLICK HERE to listen as hosts Darren Talbot and Tim Ferrone chat with with Kate and Rich as they share valuable insights about Flicx pitches and how they can revolutionise the availability of cricket grounds and better utilise the green spaces that are available. Discussions on the pod explore innovative approaches to overcome the challenges posed by the limited access to cricket pitches to ensure the future of community cricket remains bright!
Top 5 conversation topic highlights in the Podcast were …
- The idea behind the Flicx Pitch and it’s purpose to bring communities together through the power of sport
“Back in 1999 I had just gone back to live in South Africa and I suddenly realized there was a huge need (for cricket pitches after the end of the Apartheid era). David Richards, who was wicket keeper for South Africa, Hansie Cronje who was the old captain, and Paul Adams, who were doing an interview on a show similar to the Test Match special, saying how desperate the need is for facilities so I got together with a friend and we made up this plastic roll out cricket pitch. We didn’t know it was working, but the idea was to convert football fields into cricket fields and thus get wider community inclusion into playing cricket. 25 years later, it’s still around” – Rich Beghin
2. One of the best applications of the 2G Flicx Pitch – protecting the main square!
“One of the great uses I’ve seen of it over the years is actually on the square because I think one of the challenges groundsmen are pushing back on junior sections and other club chair people and things like that is on wear and tear on the square. And yet if you pop a Flicx Pitch over the top of a normal square, it performs brilliantly. I’ve certainly found that’s one of the strongest solutions, but also just trying to encourage groundsmen to work on an area on the outfield to make it hardened and compacted a bit like a square and then pop it on top and then all of a sudden you can get many, many more games of cricket on. It’s something we are desperate for in this country” – Darren Talbot – T20 Cricket Company
3. International Impact of the 2G Flicx Pitch – helping cricket to develop all around the world
The impact of the Flix Pitch extends beyond the UK, reaching countries with limited cricketing infrastructure. Cricket Japan, for example, has successfully used the Flix Pitch to introduce the sport to new communities and create interest in cricket. The portability and ease of installation make it an ideal tool for developing cricket in countries where the game is still in its infancy.
4. Cost-Effectiveness and Performance
“The 2G Flicx Pitch strikes a balance between the expense of maintaining a turf wicket and the durability of a non-turf surface. We see ourselves in a bit of a hybrid position in the market between a turf wicket and a non turf wicket. With a cost of just under £4000 for a full 22-yard pitch, the Flicx Pitch offers an economical alternative to traditional pitches. Its lifespan, exceeding ten years, makes it a great long-term investment for cricket clubs.
Our most popular pitch is called the Multi Age Pitch. It’s a full length adult wicket, but it has junior crease markings to the specification of the club, so we can make whatever crease lines the club is paying too. Normally, 17 and 19 yards are the ones that are put in for the U11’s and U13’s but it can be whatever the lengths that the club needs. These lines are integrated into the pitch, so it saves any line marking, any mess, and you just move the stumps to change the age group of your fixture. So very easy.” – Kate Costin
“Portability wise, the fact that this product can be taken up and put away, I think has massive advantages. I know a lot of clubs have problems with vandalism, and the cost of putting an Astro in that might end up with a barbecue on it inside two weeks has, I know, caused a lot of issues, which has meant they haven’t gone down the route of having an Astro wicket. But I think one of the huge of the Flicx which we’ve touched on is the fact that you can take it up at the end of the day and pop it in a cupboard somewhere and it doesn’t get damaged.” – Darren Talbot
5. Growing the game, Changing the game
There’s still work to do. I mean, growing up myself, not having the opportunity to play cricket in school at all, it’s great to see now how girls are really taking to cricket and absolutely loving the opportunity to play. But in terms of it being on an equal footing in this country, there’s still a huge amount of work to do. The same for players from Southeast Asian communities and giving them the same opportunities as their peers. Obviously, with the recent ICEC report, there is a large amount of work to do to create a sport going forward which delivers on equality and diversity and I would like to think that the Flicx pitch can play a huge role in not just growing cricket, but changing cricket for the better.
The lack of cricket pitches has long been a concern for cricket enthusiasts. The Flicx Pitch provides an innovative and cost-effective solution to address this challenge. It’s versatility, ease of installation, and portability make it a valuable asset for clubs and organisations seeking to enhance their cricketing facilities. By utilising the Flicx Pitch, cricket clubs can not only increase their playing capacity but also attract new players, promote community engagement, and foster the growth of cricket, especially among new playing groups. With this ground breaking solution, the future of cricket looks bright, promising better opportunities for cricketers of all age, gender, background and ability. Flicx really is levelling the playing field!