How Flicx helped bring cricket to the land of miracles … Israel case study by Herschel Gutman

Israel is known as a land of miracles, and the survival of cricket in the Holy Land must surely rate as one of those miracles. The odds have always been heavily stacked against the game, yet cricket has endured and even flourished despite lacking adequate playing surfaces, equipment and financial backing.

After the British left in 1948, their local successors somehow managed to keep the game going in the fledgling State, though little is documented. On July 23rd, 1974, Israel was accepted as an Associate Member of the International Cricket Conference, now known as the International Cricket Council, with Pakistan the only cricket nation voting against our membership.

Cricket has grown in Israel since the launch of the Junior Development Program. The program received a major boost when two Flicx cricket pitches were delivered to Israel – this ensured that the game had two new playing areas in the middle of the country. This was and still is vital to the future of the game in these parts of the world.

The Flicx products are perfect for the conditions here. After each game, it takes us about 5 minutes to roll the pitch up and move it to our storage room adjacent to the field. We share the field with the Israel Athletic Association and Maccabi Tel Aviv football, so we can not put anything permanent down.

Shesadeh Salamin - part of the Cricket 4 Peace project

Shesadeh Salamin on the right with his new friend from Israel

About 6 years ago, the Israel Cricket Association launched the cricket4peace project and cross border cricket. These projects help to bring the Palestinian youngsters and Israeli youngsters together once a month to learn about each others culture, language and of course cricket. The projects could not have taken place without the help of the UK based Flicx cricket office. Playing in conditions that often resembles a dry sandy desert – we needed a surface that would have a good bounce and be easy to move around. Flicx assisted us with these projects and played a major part in the Israel Cricket Association being awarded the Global ICC spirit of Cricket award and also the European Cricket Spirit of Cricket Award.

In the summer of last year, we purchased two more Flicx surfaces and have spread them around the country – this is the only way that we can play proper cricket without having to spend thousands of dollars.  The pitches are used in all our major adult leagues and is the main reason why we can host the Maccabiah Games every 4 years – without it, we would have no facilities.

“You can not put a price on what the Flicx pitch has done for cricket in Israel – it is without a doubt the best investment that we have made.”

Thank you Flicx! You have been brilliant for us over the last decade. Here is hoping we are able to get more of your pitches down to these parts of the world this next year!

With very many thanks to Herschel Gutman for writing this blog – Herschel used to work for the ICA and picked up ICC Europe coach of the year in 2013. He has now set up his own private coaching business and he has developed a team of coaches to deliver cricket in schools in Israel and their junior program is thriving.

The night league he started is also doing very well with 17 teams. There are more players in this league than the day league so its the perfect format. You can view the site here: http://www.israelnightcricket.com/ 

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Preparing your Flicx Pitch for the new season – Natwest Cricket Force Weekend (28th-29th March) …

Natwest Cricket Force weekend #NWCF is a great time to ensure your Flicx Pitch is ready for the new season. Add it to the project list and assign two volunteers to the job. It should not take too long and is well worth the effort now – it will certainly pay dividends for the rest of the season.

 2271 clubs are registered for #NWCF

2271 clubs are registered for #NWCF

Here are a few  simple things to do to ensure you have a fully operating Flicx Pitch ready for the season

  • Using your sack truck or trolley move your Flicx Pitch to the outfield, where there is sufficient space to roll it out for cleaning and inspection. It’s worthwhile having two volunteers involved when moving the pitch and we would recommend that they use gloves.

Transporting your Flicx Pitch

  • Using a mop and a bucket of warm soapy water ( A standard washing up liquid should be sufficient)  give it a good clean. For the more stupor bits of dirt/ mud you may need a harder broom or even a hose to wash it off.

Brush / Mop your Flicx Pitch to remove the dirt & mud

  • Once clean, its now time for inspection.  What you are looking for is any broken tiles. Tiles sometimes break at the connectors which may be down to old age, mishandling, incorrect storage etc.  The Flicx tiles themselves however are easily replaced. All you need is a small flat head screw driver and a hammer-  please see link to  our blog on making minor repairs to your Flicx Pitch (Click Here)
  • If you are not sure how to remove the broken tiles or how many you may need, we would suggest you take a photo and email it to gary@flicx.com or call him or Rob on 01295816765 where they can provide expert advice.
  • You can purchase replacement tiles directly from Flicx UK which can be shipped within a day or two of ordering. Again just contact gary@flicx.com with your order

Cricket Force weekend and the Easter break is a good time to get your  Flicx Pitch out and ready for the season, especially if you are going to roll it out and leave it in situ for the season. Please Click Here for the correct procedure for the installation of a Flicx Pitch and recommended maintenance guidance or Click Here to download our PDF guide.

We wish you and your club good luck for the season … you can keep in touch with us via our social media accounts

Twitter : Facebook : Instagram – do tweet us a pitch of your handywork this weekend and we will feature the best ones for some extra moral support!!

Novel Sports engineers cricket development in Trinidad & Tobago with Flicx 2G Pitches

Cricket is the number one sport in Trinidad & Tobago with legends of the game such as Brian Lara, Dwayne Bravo and Larry Gomes all heralding from this Caribbean gem of a country with a 1.5 million population. Cricket is played in every school and university on the island, with kids dreaming of playing for the West Indies or of claiming a spot in a Caribbean Premier League teams.

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Despite great support for the sport at a national level, community facilities are still developing with many teams and clubs requiring funding to meeting yearly expenses. Turf pitches and traditional “sand wickets” are accessible but they sometimes carry a high maintenance cost to get the perfect pitch.

Duane Zaheer Lall – Technical Director at Novel Sports, a sports engineering company focused on innovative ways to develop sport on the island, has sought to introduce groundbreaking technologies and sporting solutions to address some of these needs in the region.

Coaching is a major part of their business but they imbed technology such as motion and video analysis to differentiate their services from other providers. Novel Sports has now invested in a 2G Flicx Batting end pitch to help them take cricket to more people on the island, some of whom will have never played the game before at a competitive level. “We chose the 2G Flicx Pitch because it’s a portable solution and means Novel Sports can set up a cricket experience centre at various locations for all to enjoy” said Zaheer. “We have already found that kids are very motivated to play on artificial surfaces such as the Flicx Pitch as it offers a good bounce and spin”

The uniqueness of the Flicx Pitch also helped Zaheer secure funding for its purchase earlier this year, in the form of a sponsorship from New Island Corporation Ltd. Zaheer continues “They were happy to invest in a product that was new and different to what is currently accessible on the island and could take cricket to communities, schools and clubs where facilities are limited.”

In Trinidad, the dry season is from January until June and then the wet season is from July until December. During the wet season turf pitches on the island are mostly water logged and not suitable to play cricket. It is then that the new Novel Sports 2G Flicx batting end will really come into its own and will enable many to enjoy year round practice and training to contribute to the growing success of cricket on the islands.

The photos above of Trinidad’s batting end pitch in use, shows a sand base which was constructed and compacted down with the Flicx rolled over the top. The result was a much improved surface versus coconut matting pervious used so again the value for money element of the pitch was a real draw for Novel sports. It will then be rolled back up and taken around to continue to grow young player enthusiasm for cricket with Zaheer and his team providing a real legacy with plans to grow further and purchase more Flicx Pitches in the coming years. For more on Novel Sports and their business do visit their website http://www.novelsportstt.com/ and/or facebook page www.facebook.com/NovelSports

Time is running out on our 2G Flicx Pitch early bird offer … get your 10% discount now!

UK cricket clubs only have just over a week left to take advantage of our early bird offer, saving you 10% off the whole 2G Flicx Pitch range. We are just moving into our busiest buying period so if your club is interested, we would recommend getting in touch for a quote as soon as you can. The 10% early bird deal will end on Tuesday 31st March 2015.

Our early bird deal ends on the 31st March 2015

Our early bird deal ends on the 31st March 2015

On our core product, the 2G Flicx Match pitch, a 10% saving would relate to a saving of £300 so certainly well worth having! The 10% discount is also available on our skills and eagle eyed pitches as well as small sized products such as our batting ends. All products are now made from our 2G tiles which are much softer so provide more grip and improved bounce plus better seam and spin performance versus its predecessor. More on the benefits of 2G

The biggest benefit according to feedback to date, is the products great versatility which gives great value for money to the investment … it can be used successfully both indoors during the winter, then taken outdoors in the summer season rolled out on grass or 3G / astroturf pitches. Many clubs use the product to reduce pressure on their main square by holding junior practice on their 2G Flicx pitch to increase their capacity and grow the game locally. A full review of possible applications and case studies for each are available to view on our new website see http://www.flicx.co.uk/2g-case-studies/

We are also getting an increasing numbers of orders from schools, academies and universities with coaching designs available to support the development of various bowling and batting techniques in younger players. With the pitches now being UK made, our lead times have been much reduced which means you could be playing on your new pitch in no time at all. Get in touch with Gary Luke on 01295 816765 for more information or email gary@flicx.co.uk for a quote.

Anyone who also came along to the Cricket Club Expo series of shows at Lords, Newcastle and Cardiff – will also benefit from a free set of 2G branded “Pimp my Stumps” as well as the 10% discount, again if ordered before the 31st March.

How the Flicx Pitch is helping to grow the game on Lanzarote

Cricket in Lanzarote is on the up and up … with a wonderful year round climate they get to enjoy a lengthy domestic season as well as hosting their own invitational tournaments and welcoming an ever increasing number of touring teams. It is the 10th Anniversary of cricket on the island this year and that has coincided with the official recognition of cricket as a sport in Spain by the Spanish Government.

The pitch in Puerto Del Carmen

The pitch in Puerto Del Carmen

Initially all playing surfaces were covered in volcanic gravel therefore a length of coconut matting would be laid down to play on however in 2009 the Lanzarote Cricket Association (LCA) brought a new pitch from Flicx UK which is rolled out on an Astroturf. The standard of cricket on the island was transformed instantly. Peter Starmer, from the LCA said they are all indebted to the Flicx Pitch that they have been using for over 5 years now. “It enables us to play cricket in the same environment all year round, and given the understandable lack of grass on the Island, it makes for a fantastic playing surface with the only variable being the weather -will it either be hot or very hot!!”

The Lanzarote season lasts almost 10 months and every game is now played on our Flicx Pitch. This year, the LCA are proudly hosting their 3rd annual international T20 tournament which is held over three days in March, with teams from the UK competing with Lanzarote whilst the prequel to this event is a local franchise based T20 tournament in February followed by a number of games between a first and second representative XI. (Following the success and demand from the March tournament, the island will now be hosting a second T20 International in October). After Easter the 35 over league season starts which runs until August then in September a local club based T20 competition once more in readiness for the arrival of the touring teams takes place with Lanzarote very proud of their near perfect home record, having being beaten only once (in the final of last year’s March T20).

Amongst other LCA activities, they are currently talking to the England and Holland over 40’s about a possible triangular tournament towards the end of the year, have sent their league winners to represent Lanzarote in the Spanish Champions finals in La Manga as well as organising a beach cricket competition on the Playa Grande, Puerto del Carmen, in the Summer – this event is also played on their Flicx Pitch which is a great testament the products versatility. A youth cricket festival and a street cricket competition in July also forms part of their calendar which serves to promote the sport and they fundraise during the annual Lanzarote Summer Music Festival.

In summary, the Flicx Pitch has been a major force behind the development of cricket on Lanzarote. It enables them to play several games a day and on several consecutive days of the week when the demand arises all without any deterioration in the pitch conditions. The nature of the Flicx product enables the LCA to replicate a much truer bounce than would have otherwise have been possible to achieve on an artificial surface. It is safe to say that they truly appreciate how much the Flicx Pitch has contributed to the development of cricket in Lanzarote and will continue to do so.

Top 10 FAQ’s … Everything you need to know about the 2G Flicx Pitch

The 2G Flicx Pitch is a versatile cricket surface solution with various applications possible and many thousands of pitches being used to help grow the game in the UK  and all around the world. To help any prospective buyers to find out more about the product and how it performs, we have put together this FAQ’s blog covering some of the questions we are often asked … If you have any others, just post them in the comments box below and we will come straight back to you or for customer reviews, try our testimonials page.

1) On what surfaces can the 2G surface be used on? We blog on various applications and produce case studies from customers showing which surfaces the 2G Flicx Pitch can be used on … (Read More). More generally speaking the following surfaces are suitable

  • Grass… sub surface preparation recommended (see installation guide)
  • Astro
  • Wooden sprung floor (bounce level dependent on floor construction)
  • 3G rubbercrumb pitches (NB- Testing is ongoing on new generation rubbercrumb pitches designed for Rugby which contain a rubberised shock-pad, please contact us if this is your intended use)
  • Concrete
  • Sand – must be very compact not a beautiful white soft sandy Caribbean beach!!

2) Why is the 2G surface better than the original surface? The new surface itself produces a better ball bounce whilst seam and spin performance is improved. It provides the bowler with more traction and thus the ball does not “skid” through as it did with the original design…

The  new 2G surface  can be rolled out on many difference surfaces and still provides a suitable bounce, whereas the original surface was only really suitable for outdoor purposes. It is therefore far more universal and can be used both indoors and outdoors. In addition it’s easier and softer to roll out and is available in brighter colours and new designs with the option to brand up your pitch with a sponsor logo. The 2G product is now UK made and therefore we have been able to reduce lead times considerably whilst both surfaces were independently tested by the leading UK sports surfaces laboratory ( Labosport UK) where the new 2G surface came out far superior in terms of  its performance with reduced slip and improved ball bounce.

Rolling out a 2G Flicx Match Pitch

Rolling out a 2G Flicx Match Pitch

3) What is the best way to prepare a sub surface?  We provide details installation instructions with our pitches to ensure the sub surface is prepared in the correct way which maximises the performance of the pitch. We will honestly advise you if the product is suitable for your needs and requirements or not and pride ourselves on great customer service.

Installation Advice http://www.flicx.co.uk/pitches/technical-information/

The pitch its self does not need much maintenance. However depending on the surface it is rolled onto, there will be a certain maintenance required.  This is especially applicable to a grass under surface. The grass itself will need constant mowing during the growing season.  Its important that the “feet” of the under surface of the 2G Flicx Pitch sit firmly on the ground (grass will lift the pitch up).  Thus by mowing or simply using a light roller ( less than a ton) or running up and down the pitch it will resettle the pitch.  At the beginning of the season it is important that weekly maintenance is upheld to ensure a good consistent bounce.

4) Do the corners of the 2G pitch actually get staked down after being rolled? You can certainly stake them down –  try using 4- 5 inch nails.  Its great if you can leave your 2G Flicx Pitch down for the season and let the grass grow through it… and then you simply mow on top. This provides excellent bounce and a turf like pitch without the major maintenance of rolling and preparation.

5) How does the 2G pitch react after being stored for six months at a time? If you roll up the pitch tightly after the season ( straps are provided) and then store it standing up right it normally will be able to roll out quickly and easily with little damage-  The damage only comes when its loosely rolled and allowed to lie horizontally …  The tiles then get bent and will take a while before they flatten out. The plastic has what we call a “memory”, thus if stored for a while in a rolled up position it will take an hour or two to flatten out.  This can be done by simply leaving it flat on the playing surface. In warmer weather it will flatten out quicker.

6) For use over multiple days at a tournament is it better to lay and roll the pitch on day one and leave it in place for the next 4 to 5 days? Oh yes … the longer you can leave it down the more settled it is and thus the bounce remains truer.

7) What is the best type of footwear for this pitch? Rubber cricket shoes or court shoes? and should the batsmen avoid running on the pitch?? Both types of footwear are fine however we would recommend  that you avoid wearing studs as they can damage the pitch as well as possibly having them caught in the pitch and thus possibly twisting an ankle. There is no problem at all if the players run on the pitch however , like any synthetic, it can get a little slippery when wet.

8) How does the hard leather ball hold up over 40 overs?  The new 2G surface is more forgiving but you will see a certain amount of wear. For best results use Kookaburra balls from Australia. Both hard and soft balls can be used on a 2G Flicx Pitch to support junior and senior cricket games.

9) What makes the 2G Flicx Pitch so universal? There are so many applications of the 2G Flicx Pitch and its this versatility which makes it so universal. A club could use it inside for winter nets over the closed season, then move it outside in the summer to increase junior capacity or put it in the nets to replace a worn artificial. We have had the pitch host cricket games in the weirdest and wackiest place but most of all it allows more people to have the opportunity to play cricket and this is why the product was developed in the first instance 17 years ago.

Creating opportunities for more people to play cricket

Creating opportunities for more people to play cricket

10) Who generally buys the 2G Flicx surface? The Flicx Pitch continues to be popular with clubs and schools in the UK as well as overseas where stand alone cricket facilities are not so prevalent. Here you can convert a grass field or an artificial football pitch into a cricket venue and various leagues have sprung up on Flicx Pitches where playing cricket was previously not possible (Case Study). We work closely with Cricket Boards and Associations (and the ICC) worldwide to develop more opportunities for people to play cricket.