Beach Cricket | The Story of The Spoonbill Trophy
Every summer, thousands of beach cricket games take place up and down the coastline in the United Kingdom. Some with driftwood for stumps, lines in the sand for creases and your best mates in the slip. However, No beach cricket game has looked quite as official as the Spoonbill Trophy back in 2019!
Inspiration & Location
The idea came about from Charles Skinner taking walks on the coast of Blakeney, Norfolk and had heard rumours of beach cricket games taking place on Blakeney Point. On further investigation, they were only rumours.
Charles set out to make it so and found the perfect location after various “controlled experiments” out on the boat with local fisherman and seals watching on in amazement. About 1 kilometre West of Blakeney Bar, a raised bank which appears at low tide, he found a unique strip of sand about 100 metres long and 30 metres wide which was compacted and flat as soon as the tide went out. Perfect for beach cricket!
Hosting a beach cricket game of this nature is no easy task. Playing a match with equipment and kit, plus players, umpires and spectators, all whilst the tide was racing in and out to reveal and then recover the pitch provided plenty of opportunity for things go wrong. Charles planned accordingly, finding the highest tide of the year, meaning the lowest tide also – giving the biggest window possible throughout the day to host. Sunday 1st September 2019 being the date.
Research | Finding the perfect surface
Charles then began researching surfaces to make the game playable. Starting by looking into coconut matting and artificial cricket wickets as a potential option, however on further inspection these seemed unfit to play on.
Charles found 2G Flicx Pitch through a search engine and immediately knew he had found the solution to make the game possible. Charles contacted and then visited Flicx UK HQ in Northamptonshire back in 2019, and after after discussing the 2G Flicx Pitch Range with our very own Gary Luke, left with a pitch set for the fixture!
With all the fine details tended to, there was one job left to name the event! It seemed only fit to name the event after the uncommon bird of the area, the Spoonbill. With the added incentive that the first sighting of the day would win the lucky bird watcher a bottle of champagne!
The Big Day | Sunday 1st September 2019
With Flicx Pitch in arm, boats at the ready and a special trophy made by Charles’ daughter. The ground staff had given the go ahead for the match! Teams were made up of present and former club cricketers from the local area, with Charles Skinner and Piers Lea captaining the sides.
Getting out to Blakeney Bar was no easy feat! See below the directions and map from the match day itinerary:
- About 1km West-North-West of Blakeney Point on the West Sands.
- When the tide is in, the route is:
- Head from Blakeney Point West-North-West towards green buoy number 10.
- At that buoy head North towards green buoy number 9 (you won’t be able to see the number) and turn left 100 yards after leaving buoy 10.
- Then head slightly right aiming at the end of the trees at Wells for half a mile.
- The key trick is to find the subsea creek. Stay well North of the second seal colony where the tide goes out quickly.
- If you go aground early, jettison crew swiftly to stay afloat. We will travel in convoy so these instructions shouldn’t be needed (just lots of shouting).
The day itself went perfectly! Getting out to the bar early, rolling the sand where the 2G Flicx Pitch was to be laid with a hollow lawn roller filled up with sea water and setting up swiftly. The venue was set with boundary markers, stumps and teams in whites! Sailors visited during the game as they thought they were seeing a mirage – on closer inspection, they found they weren’t and stayed to spectate and have refreshments.
After 25 overs a piece, the scores were as follows:
Skinner XI |136 – All out
Lea XI | 132 – All out
Charles’s team taking the victory and the Spoonbill Trophy back home for 2019. Charles had hoped for the Spoonbill Trophy to become an annual event; However, due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, he thought it was best to cancel the 2020 Trophy in light of safety.
An excellent case study of how 2G Flicx Pitches can make cricket possible in the most unlikely of environments, whilst also serving practical functions at Clubs, Schools and Associations globally.