Attracting new players and boosting participation with the 2G Flicx Pitch

Much has been debated around how to get more people playing cricket…

Attracting new players

Participation numbers have dropped by 64,000 in a single year, down from 908,000 in 2013 to 844,000 last season. Just as alarmingly, five per cent of all organised fixtures were conceded in 2014 because at least one of the teams was unable to field 11 bodies, with the obvious knock-on effects of such cancellations breeding disillusionment among those who have given up their weekends for a cause they want, with profoundly good reason, to believe in. And there’s more: less than a third of those 844,000 regard themselves as ‘core’ players – defined as people who  could commit to at least 12 matches in a league season – with the best part of the remaining 600,000 deemed ‘occasional’ or ‘cameo’ players.

It’s not a single approach but a philosophy where making it easy and enjoyable for everyone of all ages and abilities is the way to go but being able to offer something distinctive and innovative when it comes to cricketing facilities is certainly a real plus.

Whether it’s a cricket square or in a field, on a beach or in a sports hall, a cricket surface you can trust is an argument for quality of practice and value for money. Talking to Head of PE at Sacred Heart School in Battersea, Mark Costin, his school stumped up for a 2G Flicx Match pitch to guarantee a playing surface where the bounce was true.

In his case, the investment was well worth it because it made for consistent junior cricket practice and pushed the better cricketers who no longer had to rely on a makeshift, bobbly football pitch.

With no groundsman or expertise to prepare grass wickets, a drop-on pitch made a lot of sense for this South London school and Mark needed little prompting to praise the upgrade:

“It’s absolutely transformed the standard of cricket that we can teach and means we also now play matches against other schools.” – Mark Costin, Head of PE, Sacred Heart School (Battersea).

Mark also makes the valid point that the Last Man Stands format has gone some way to breaking the taboo, and perhaps even snobbery, that we should all play on a grass wicket rather than an artificial pitch. For more information on the 2G Flicx Pitch range, read our latest article with Cricket Yorkshire or watch our new video to see for yourself, how the pitch works …

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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.

Come and see the new 2G Flicx Pitch in Newcastle this weekend at Cricket Club Expo

Flicx UK will be exhibiting this Saturday at the next Cricket Club Expo event taking place at Newcastle Cricket Centre. Managing Director Richard Beghin will be on hand all day to answer questions on the new 2G surface which has proved very popular due to its improved performance and versatility.

10% Early Bird Saving plus a FREE set of stumps

As a special incentive to all CCE show visitors, Flicx are offering a 10% early bird deal on all pitches ordered before 31st March* PLUS for anyone who attends the show and goes on to place an order, we will also provide a free set up stumps from our partners Pimp my Stumps.

Littletown Case Study

Littletown CC won our competition last year with the Cricketer Magazine called Pitch for a Pitch – so became one of the first clubs in the UK with a new 2G surface. Chris Rushworth opened the pitch which they use as a junior surface and roll onto the outfield as a secondary wicket. Representatives from Littletown will be around in Newcastle on Saturday as a real life case study

Play indoors or outdoors

Play indoors or outdoors

Everyone is welcome to attend CCE, from players, committee members, coaches, volunteers or simply followers of the game, but all visitors must pre-register online click here.

* 10% discount available on UK direct sales only

The Flicx Pitch … Taking cricket to where it has never been played before!

Congratulations  to all those who planned, participated and were involved in the recent successful attempt to play cricket on top of Kilimanjaro – an amazing success.! A special note should go to David Harper, for his vision ,drive and determiation to make this challenge happen… without him I am sure the Mt Kili Madness project would have stumbled on a few occasions.

The Guiness World Record breaking cricket match

The Guiness World Record breaking cricket match

Flicx UK were and are very proud to be involved in both successful attempts to take cricket to new levels. Firstly in 2009, when cricket was played at Everest base camp and now in 2014,  at the top of Kilimanjaro and at a height of over 500 meters above the first successful attempt.  That makes Flicx one of a very few companies to have been involved in both world records, a very proud moment in the short history of our company.

It was in 2004, together with the International Cricket Council (ICC), when we came up with a global campaign called “Taking Cricket to where it has never been played before”. People from around the world were invited to share with us their stories of how cricket had changed their lives.  There were some inspirational stories and photographs of Cricket being introduced to islands such as Vanuatu, how families in PNG were now playing the game… we even have photos of Cricket being played ( on a Flicx Pitch) close to the Eiffel Tower, down a mine, in Egypt close to the Pyramids, up in the high forests in Swaziland, on the ice plains of Sweden and many many more!! Never, did we believe we would be involved in taking cricket to Base Camp Everest and now to the top of Africa, Mount Kilimanjaro.

Flicx will continue on its quest to “Take Cricket to where it has never been played before”-  providing sporting opportunities to communities, and individuals who will benefit from this wonderful game. Next stop the moon please Mr Branson!

The 2G Flicx Pitches are on the ball with Dukes

From the very top model as used exclusively in UK Test Matches to the junior model used in schools cricket, the Dukes dedication to quality is relentless which is why Flicx UK have officially approved them for use on new 2G Flicx Pitches.

Dukes becomes the approved ball of the 2G Flicx Pitch

Dukes becomes the approved ball of the 2G Flicx Pitch

The origins of DUKES cricket ball making can be traced back to the year 1760 when production started in the Tonbridge area of Kent. The skills have been refined and handed down through the generations. The same meticulous care and attention is paid to all the traditional processes in addition to new technology to ensure that products of the highest standard are made available for the game at all levels today with only the very best raw materials are used to protect the brand’s reputation for top quality.

DUKES is responding to the demands of the modern game by using new advanced technology to produce long lasting surface white and brightly coloured cricket balls for Limited Overs cricket and possible “Day/Night” Test Matches. Another major breakthrough is an exclusive process to ensure very good shape retention whilst retaining the right “feel” on the bat.

Speaking about the first cricket ball to be officially recommended for use with a new 2G Flicx Pitch managing director Richard Beghin said ” We have been using the Dukes ball for many years with Flicx Pitches. The ball has a hard varnish and a quality finish which means it performs exceptionally well and is very durable and so its great to make this partnership official and add the Flicx branding. Whilst this is an approved ball, other cricket balls can of course be used on a Flicx Pitch”.

Anyone interesting in buying these Dukes products specially for use on a Flicx Pitch should contact Flicx directly on 01295 816765

The “Pitch for a Pitch” competition winners are…

Flicx UK and the Cricketer Magazine would like to congratulate Littletown CC who have been announced as the winners of our “Pitch for a Pitch” competition and will receive a brand new 2G Flicx Pitch to further aid the redevelopment of the club which is based in County Durham.

The Littletown CC story spoke of how the clubs facilities had been transformed from an overgrown mess into a field of dreams thanks to the hard work and dedication for the local community. We are sure a 2G Flicx Pitch will help the club develop further and we will be sure to follow their journey as the new pitch is received.

VIA Littletown CC

VIA Littletown CC

For all the latest from Flicx – do follow us on Twitter @FlicxPitch 

Website redesign and launch completed – www.flicx.co.uk

To coincide with the new 2G Flicx Pitch range launched ahead of the 2014 season, Flicx have redesigned their online home at www.flicx.co.uk, giving it a 2G makeover by means of profiling the new product range by Flicx UK.

New website live

New website live

The new website is now a comprehensive source of information on the benefits of the new 2G surface as well as the various applications of the pitch for both the indoor and outdoor game. Potential customers are now able to read a selection of case studies and testimonials and in the future more video will be available which is an area of development for the site going forward. In addition the site profiles some extraordinary stories from ICC members around the world (Flicx is an official supplier member) of how cricket has changed their lives. We have put links to our past competitions which award a Flicx Pitch to the most popular story, just one way that Flicx hope that through cricket, lives can change for the better.

Social Links

Don’t forget you can also find us on the following social media platforms – do follow us and share your Flicx photos with us

Any feedback on the new website, we would love to hear your thoughts or ideas on what else you want to see or know about us!! Please comment below….

Order your copy of the new 2G Flicx Pitch Brochure TODAY

The official launch of the 2G Flicx Pitch will be taking place on three dates next month alongside the upcoming Cricket Club Expo shows taking place at Headingly, Edgbaston and the Ageas Bowl. After rigorous testing and development, the Flicx 2G pitch will be available for purchase ahead of the 2014 season and to celebrate the launch we have brought out a new brochure which outlines…

New Brochure

New Brochure

If you would like a copy of our brochure simply email your contact details to Kate Costin –Kate@flicx.com and whether you would prefer a hard or electronic copy. Alternatively you can contact us via social media … you will find us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram !!

The legacy of Nelson Mandela at Flicx UK

Sporting figures across the world have united in praise of Nelson Mandela, who passed away yesterday aged 95. The world-renowned anti-apartheid activist and former president of South Africa had been in critical condition for the last few months. Mandela will be remembered for his belief in the importance and power of sport. He memorably declared: ‘Sport has the power to change the world, it has the power inspire, it has the power to unite people in a way that little else does.’

Francois Pienaar accepts the William Webb Ellis trophy from Nelson Mandela in 1995

Francois Pienaar accepts the William Webb Ellis trophy from Nelson Mandela in 1995

The team at Flicx UK were particularly saddened by the news of Mandela’s passing. In many ways, the companies formation was only possible as a result of the cultural shift brought about by the former South African president. Motivated by a desire to use sport to help break down the inequalities, that had existed in his homeland, Managing Director Richard Beghin sifted through a number of ideas before settling on cricket as the solution. “It was around 10 years ago, and Mandela’s new South Africa was just a few years old, so you felt you could help mould the future.” Cricket in South Africa had been seen as a white man’s sport, but Beghin believed that by offering a portable cricket pitch – a roll-down product that could be used on any flat surface – he would widen the accessibility to the game.

The first Flicx pitch was rolled out at Telkom Country Club in Pretoria – helping young cricketers who had been brought up in under-privileged townships to develop their game with the product subsequently having the same impact in many other countries around the world including most recently in the Cricket 4 Peace project in Palestine.

In 2001, Beghin had the idea to hold a cricket match on Robben Island (it’s very first) as a tribute to those that struggled against apartheid. The cricket match was organised by Flicx and saw a Western Provence XI including a number of high profile players take the field against a Robben Island invitational XI featuring several ex political prisoners and wardens, a great indication of the newly formed unity between them. As a legacy, the pitch was left at the primary school on the island.

The match on Robben Island

The match on Robben Island

Richard Beghin (middle) on the Flicx Pitch

Richard Beghin (middle) on the Flicx Pitch with Paul Adams, Charl Langeveldt and Nabeel Deem

The world-renowned leader had been in critical condition for the last few months and his death has been met by tributes from those inspired by one of history’s most iconic leaders. Commenting about Nelson Mandela’s influence on Flicx, founder Richard Beghin said ” Mandela has been a huge inspiration to many South African’s including myself. His philosophy and love of sport as a vehicle towards peace and change really paved the way for the Flicx Pitch to take cricket to “places it had never been played before” in a country that was desperate for new facilities that would allow all races to participate and enjoy the game together”. Inspired by Mandela’s lead, Beghin quit his sales role in an oil company wanting to play his small part in his countries reformation. As a result, through his new pitch, he aspired to see young kids seen for their sporting ability, enthusiasm and skills rather than the the colour of their skin or their social background.

Looking forward to 2014, Flicx will be launching their new 2G range. Now settled at their Brackley base, the business continues to expand with the Crazy Catch rebound nets now an important part of their product portfolio, which still works on the Mandela principle that through sport, we can achieve anything.

Flicx Synthetic Pitch Report by Neale Price (VCA) September 2000

Paul Montgomery and I conducted a trial at the City of Casey Ovals on the 13th September 2000. The idea being that we get as close to a realistic game scenario as possible. A second trial was conducted at Cheltenham Secondary College on the 19th September. The pitch had already been trialed at Camberwell Magpies and Ringwood Cricket Clubs with varying degrees of success and not in ideal conditions.

Neale Price

Neale Price

In the trial at Casey we laid the pitch over a compacted dirt car park areas. Although the substrate for the pitch was slightly undulating it was as close as we could get to the appropriate style base for the product as suggested by the manufacturer (Flicx). The other trial at Cheltenham Secondary College was over a standard concrete pitch located in training nets.

NB- The manufacturers suggest that the product be laid over a firm even base. The more consolidated the substrate is the better the performance of the product.

We used various 156g balls for the trial, from reasonably new to quite worn. My findings are as follows…

  • The bounce and carry for both medium pace bowling and spin bowling was more than adequate and similar to that of synthetic grass over concrete.
  • The ball seemed both ways in a moderate fashion with no alarming variance.
  • Both off spin and leg spin were trialed and the pitch responded favorably when spin was affected correctly.
  • Batsmen commented that they were happy with the way the ball came through and had no problem keeping their footing with standard style rubber soled cricket shoes. Bowler’s comments were of a similar nature. (The players involved were all used to Synthetic grass or matting pitches)
  • The pitch lays flat with only a small rise along the edge, (approximately 12mm); with this problem eradicated if the pitch is embedded slightly into the surface (Grass removed or rolled firmly)
  • There is no doubt that this pitch will not perform up to standard if laid on top of long grass or over an under-prepared substrate.
  • The product is guaranteed against UV for a period of 15 years under constant exposure to the elements and, unless stolen, is almost a lifetime product. One area that is exposed to wear and tear on a continual basis is where the bat is continually tapped down whilst the bowler is coming in. This is well catered for in the fact that the product is made up of interlocking squares of approximately 100mm each and pieces can be removed and added where applicable.
  • The pitch can come in various colours, bat the basic is green, and the markings (batter’s centre mark, crease line), are already factored into the product when it is made up.
  • It rolls up into 2 pieces in a similar manner to standard matting but because of its rigid nature does need a pole or similar through the middle to make it easy to carry. Although it has a fair amount of weight, 2 people can carry it easily. It then fits into the back of a Utility, Van or Station wagon fairly comfortably.

The trials were attended by a number of people from local councils, clubs and associations and the response was very positive indeed. The applications for this type of product are almost limitless given that it is a pick up, roll out and store away style product.

The product will be put into a full time situation probably in October 2000 so further results and viewing of the product can be made available.

Neale Price was a Regional Cricket Manager and Game Development Manager at Cricket Victoria before taking up an appointment in Game Development with Cricket Australia.

Factual points of interest –The Flicx pitch comes in 2 rolls, each roll weighs approximately 67.5kg. A Carry Cradle can be purchased with a Flicx Pitch for ease of transport and to reduce lifting requirements.