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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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.

Review of the 1st #T20roadshow (Poland & Romania 2013) – Three men in a van

Monday 22nd July- MEET THE VAN

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Neil and Conker  (Dark shadow in bottom right corner) collect the van from Gary, Rich & Kate (The Flicx UK Team)

Wednesday 24th July -DEPARTURE DAY

Carefully packed van leaves Epsom with luggage for Neil & Maurice, 2 of the men and

  • A Flicx cricket pitch,
  • Countless cricket bats, pads, balls
  • Other cricket paraphernalia including Crazy catch and ‘Pop Toss’
  • Two massive solid oak rugby tournament boards
  • Several Rugby Tackle bags

Luckily the Third Man, Robin, was on assignment in Hamburg at this point and didn’t need to squeeze in.

Van arrives in Dover in time for an 11:30am ferry to Calais. Fortunately, the bored chaps in uniforms don’t ask us to take everything out to show them what we had – unlike some other travelers 

A smooth crossing followed by steady progress through France and the Low Countries and into Germany allowed us to reach Hannover by 11pm EET.

This started a theme of arriving at staging posts with just enough time to buy a sandwich from an all-night Tesco’s or the like.  On this occasion it was an industrial sized delivery pizza – much more if this would put intolerable strain on the van – which had already become a trusted friend.

Thursday 25th July-  WILL NEIL’S BAG STILL FIT AFTER OVERNIGHT STOP IN HANNOVER?

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Thursday was another day in the cab but this flew by with the AGG (Altitude Guessing Game).  Maurice’s prediction of 2 ‘peaks’ of 200m or more on the journey looked good for much of the day but Neil figured things would get lumpier further south and his bid of 17 proved spot on.  Once again it was late evening by the time we reached our destination – host Jim Parton’s Piotrowice Nyskie Palace in southern Poland.  Jim is an author originally from the UK and has lived at the Palace with his wife Anna and 5 children for the last 6 years.  This is an on-going restoration project on a huge scale.  Jim is making great progress and is now able to accommodate paying guests and has already run a couple of successful rugby tournaments – hence the rugby gear on the van.  However, the real reason we were there was to work with Jim to deliver the inaugural Piotrowice Nyskie Cricket Festival.

Jim welcomed us into his kitchen but more wary was the owl that had been perched above the sink – it immediately flew into a bedroom.  Turns out it was a rescue owl and we hadn’t arrived at a Polish Hogwarts

Friday 26th July- JIM TESTS THE FLICX WICKET WITH BALL NAILED TO HIS BAT

Friday was spent setting things up before the teams arrived that evening.  Jim had put in a lot of work producing 2 grass strips and of course we had the Flicx pitch.  The obvious thing to do was to lay the Flicx pitch next to the grass wicket so a choice would be made the next day.  Later on Friday the teams from Warsaw CC and Prague Barbarians arrived along with an advance party from Krakow CL.  Finally, just before bedtime, Robin, (The third man) arrived from Hamburg, via Frankfurt, Wroclaw and a local taxi.

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Saturday 27th July- THE TOURNAMENT

The morning of the tournament arrived – this was to be a Sixes event – and was perhaps even hotter than the previous day.  It certainly reached the mid 30’s Centigrade during the afternoon.  An inspection of the pitches revealed that maybe the grass one would need a little more of Jim’s loving care and that the Flicx pitch gave a more consistent bounce.  In the end a great compromise was to use half of the Flicx pitch to bat on and let the bowlers run in on the grass.

The first game pitted Warsaw CC, an exciting blend of ex-pat wisdom and Polish youth against Prague Barbarians, an experienced team from over the border.  Warsaw won in a closely fought game that set the scene for a fantastic day’s play.

The other teams were Krakow CC who brought a squad of 8 to cope with all likely conditions and the unknown quantity of the International Cavaliers made up of Jim, Robin & Neil along with Matt MacDougall, a guest of Jim’s from Chicago who was well versed in baseball but had not played much (any) cricket.

Both Prague and The Cavaliers were very grateful to Warsaw and Krakow for helping out with extra players.  Warsaw went on to win the tournament deservedly winning all their games.  However, perhaps the most spectacular performance came from Stewart Hicks, an Aussie from Krakow who scored 51 not out in 15 balls against Prague.  Had the Aussies not turned things round at Old Trafford there was serious talk of him making the team for the 4th Test Match.

Despite the Saharan temperatures there remained an appetite for more cricket and T10 game followed with amalgamated teams.

Jim and Anna provided fantastic hospitality in the evening to some very weary players, and Tarun was delighted to accept the trophy on behalf of Warsaw CC.  Nonetheless, everyone was up early on Sunday for a long hitting competition won by Pragatti from Warsaw CC and a further game of T15.  Some new talent was on show for this game with Weronicka and Lidia from Warsaw CC joining in, and as ever, all of the action was captured fantastically by Joanna, the official Warsaw CC photographer.

Sunday 28th July- SO LONG PIOTROWICE NYSKIE

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After fond farewells, we truly were 3 men in a van, thankfully minus the rugby gear. We experimented with all three of us in the front for a while but this proved rather snug so we took turns in the back.

We enjoyed a spectacular journey through the Czech Republic and Slovakia – the altitude reading on the Sat Nav struggling to keep up, 983 metres being the top reading.  Predictably though it was well after 10pm when we arrived at the Hotel Prim in one of the less prepossessing industrial estates in Bratislava.  We chose to ignore the well-meant suggestion from the Hotel receptionist that we take a tram for the 7km into the City Centre.  Even our trusted van couldn’t get us in there in time for food, but a couple of drinks at The Alchemist and a sandwich from the 24hr Tesco did the job.

Monday 29th July-  THE TOUR CONTINUES…

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 We joined the Monday morning rush hour traffic the next day for the start of another 400+ mile journey – this time on rather more basic roads.  Slovakia gave way to Hungary and in late afternoon we entered Romania.  The gathering gloom in Transylvania might have put the willies up lesser men but we knew the van wouldn’t let us down.  It really did feel like we’d arrived somewhere different though with horse-drawn carts abounding and storks nesting on the top of lampposts.

We knew the score by now and bought some provisions on the road to our destination, Cluj – some Romanian cheese, yoghurt and even some Aerial to allow us to wash our pungent training gear.  We were looking forward to a couple of night’s stay in our host Marc’s city centre flat.  Marc is the newly elected President of Cluj CC but lives out of town so we were met by the club vice-captain, Andrei.  Andrei interrupted his evening run to show us the flat and point us in the direction of local Sport’s Bar.  Of course we were too late for food but we didn’t care, we had cheese.

Tuesday 30th July – COACHING AT CLUJ CC

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Next morning, Marc met us at the flat and led the way to the ground.  Unlike our stay in Poland, the precise format of the next 2 days was a little looser.  It would combine some coaching, a little teacher training and some match opportunities but in what ratio would depend upon who turned up.  One thing for sure was that we would be presenting Cluj CC with the Flicx wicket kindly donated by our partners.

In the event some of the players from Cluj CC couldn’t make it due to work commitments.  However, we were delighted to work with Virgil, Eddison and Tudor, teachers from the local International School, Duschant, Ruben, Pavel along with Marc from the Cluj CC and two new recruits Andreea and Raul.  Over the course of the next two days we went through some coaching drills, were treated to Eddison’s warm-up routines, had another Pop-Toss long-hitting competition (perhaps not surprisingly won by Pavel who also plays American Football) and played some matches. This was fantastic fun and the level of commitment was exceptional.

 On Tuesday evening we were taken to the only Indian restaurant in Cluj, the Indigo, as guests as of the very kind proprietor, and enjoyed a fantastic meal.

 Wednesday 1st August- BEGINNING OF THE END

 The hospitality continued on Wednesday with a complimentary lunch at the Cantina Primariei ‘Memo 10’ after bumping into Cluj socialites the Cheeky Girls in the street.  There was just enough time left to visit the very impressive Bridge Language Study House which Marc runs with his wife Gyongyver – Robin is signing up to learn Romanian remotely.

We left Cluj in mid-afternoon hoping to make Budapest in time for an evening meal though we all knew this would never happen.  In the event we reached the Achat Hotel around 10pm as usual and then took a taxi into the centre.  Needless to say there was just enough time for a couple of drinks and another dose of Tesco’s finest.

Thursday August 1st- A SERIOUS DRIVING DAY

Around 600 miles to Frankfurt but fortunately it was largely motorway and progress through Hungary, Austria and Germany was swift and allowed us to arrive before 8pm.  Robin met an old friend and Maurice and Neil disappointed the local Tesco by going for a pizza.

Friday August 2nd- THE LAST DAY

The final day was smooth enough and we easily reached Calais for our 4:30pm ferry.  Once over the channel it took a while for us to drive on the left and revert to speaking English but normal service was resumed by the time we got back to Epsom.

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Herschel Gutman named ICC Europe Coach of the Year

Flicx UK would like to congratulate Herschel Gutman of the Israel Cricket Association (ICA) for winning the prestigious title of ICC Europe Coach of the Year. (Read More)

Herschel Gutman

Herschel Gutman

Coach of the Year, Herschel Gutman (ECB Level 3 Performance Coach and ECB Tutor /Assessor) has established a night cricket league which runs very successfully across Israel with over 10 teams participating for the league title; Gutman is also leading a successful coach and player development programme involving numerous communities and groups within Israel.

“Due to the work and hours that Herschel puts in, I have seen the wonderful improvement in the junior’s cricket over the years,” explains ICA’s Michael Barnett.

In addition Gutman was the man behind Israel successful campaign to win a Flicx Pitch in the ICC Europe competition asking “How has Cricket changed your life”. Shehadeh Salamin’s “Cricket4Peace” story was translated and promoted by Gutman and it received over 2,500 page views and over 850 likes on Facebook to claim the top prize.

Flicx UK look forward to continuing to work with the ICA and helping develop cricket … Once Herschel takes delivery of the Flicx Pitch we hope to bring you another blog with lots of great photos.

Israel win Flicx match pitch through Cricket4Peace story

Heartwarming story generates huge interest

The International Cricket Council- Europe in partnership with Flicx UK today announced the Israel Cricket Association (ICA) as the winner of ‘How cricket has made a difference to your life?’ competition, for Shehadeh Salamin’s story of how Cricket4Peace changed his community and the lives of many in the troubled Palestinian region.

Shehadeh Salamin’s heartwarming story which really demonstrates the power of sport, generated huge interest and received over 2,500 page views,  please see his story as follows:

“My name Shehadeh Salamin 16, from al – Samoa. All my life, I dreamt of being a famous Palestinian footballer…until our village was introduced to cricket. The game rapidly became our flagship sport, with most kids preferring cricket over soccer!

Shesadeh Salamin on the right with his new friend from Israel

Shesadeh Salamin on the right with his new friend from Israel

I soon found that the more I played, the better I became. But to progress to the next level, we needed more cricketers. Someone proposed holding joint activities with Israeli kids. I must admit, I had concerns. However, when we reached Beersheba, the Israeli coach, George, greeted us with kindness. His warm words broke the barrier of fear in me. I thought to myself “I like to play cricket, just like Israeli children. So it would be fun to play together.”

We played in mixed teams with the Israelis and I enjoyed it! We had amazing collaboration. The head coach said to me in Arabic: “Bravo, you are a great player”. I felt very proud and our next practice couldn’t come too soon. Cricket has given me a new lease of life. Now I am a more confident person with a real desire to continue improving my game. And my dreams have changed too.

Today I dream of a cricket club in Palestine and of becoming the first Palestinian cricketer to play in an international league. I’m sure that with those Israeli and Palestinian children who participated with me, we can also realize the dream of peace together. When holding a cricket bat, I feel I hold the whole world.”

The Israel Cricket Association through the Cross Border cricket project is using cricket to facilitate interaction and communication to break down barriers between ethnic groups. Stage 1 of the project involves bringing together Jewish and Bedouin children in the Negev area, with Stage 2 to include Palestinian youth from the West Bank, a project currently being coordinated with the Peres Center for Peace – Cricket4Peace.

Cricket Ireland were run into a very close second place with Dundalk CC, Eddie Bosano-Andrews story and they will receive a Flicx Crazy Catch Wildchild and Freestyle. Crazy Catch is the “Ultimate Rebound Net” and comes as a new handheld model for the new season. The other finalists included Estonia, Spirit of Cricket by Sharath Geetha; Germany, Cricket Club Bonn by Raymond Cooray; Israel, Cricket4Peace by Sharon Gudker and Spain, Lanzarote Cricket Association by Peter Starmer.

Speaking about the interest in the competition Flicx UK’s Managing Director Richard Beghin commented. “The Flicx team were amazed by the quality of stories which were put forward and the enthusiasm with which all the finalists promoted their entries within their cricketing networks. It really shows the vital role that sport plays in changing people’s lives for the better, which is the very reason why the Flicx Pitch was developed in post apartheid South Africa to help break down racial barriers”.

For further information, please contact:

Nick Pink– ICC Regional Development Manager- Europe

Office: +44 (0)20 7616 8637 : Mobile: +44 (0)7788 307022 : Email: nick.pink@icc-europe.org

Kate Costin – Brand Development Manager, Flicx UK

Office: +44 (0)1295 816765 : Mobile: +44 (0)7513 025712 : Email: kate@flicx.com

How has cricket changed your life – Voting Open

Voting is now open to win a Flicx Match pitch from our short list of 6 amazing entries from ICC Europe memebers and their stories of “How Cricket has changed their lives” …

ICC Europe Official Supplier - Flicx UK

ICC Europe Official Supplier – Flicx UK

We are asking ICC countries to vote and to share this competition to win a Flicx Match pitch for 1 lucky ICC Europe member by circulating this page around your network of clubs and players. We are looking for your thoughts on the entry that best fits our competition title “How has cricket changed your life”

Our finalists are…

  1. Estonia – Spirit of Cricket- Sharath Geetha
  2. Germany – Cricket Club Bonn – Raymond Cooray
  3. Ireland – Dundalk CC – Eddie Bosano- Andrews
  4. Israel – Cricket4Peace – Sharon Gudker
  5. Lanzarote- Lanzarote Cricket Association – Peter Starmer
  6. Palestinian Authority submitted by the Israel Cricket Association – Cricket4Peace- Shehadeh Salamin

In order to vote, simply read all the entries and decide which your favourite story is… You then need to click the LIKE button under that blog on a 1 vote per person basis (using the Twitter and Facebook shares on the page itself is also accepted) . Our finalists are able to share their stories on their unique URL in order to achieve more awareness for their entries and also more generally to promote cricket in their country.

Voting closes on the 8th March.

Good Luck to all and thank-you in advance for your interest in the Flicx UK / ICC Europe competition and for all of your votes. (NB- You need to be registered on WordPress to LIKE and vote- it’s a simple process to join and why not follow the FLICX UK Blog too) For more information on buying a Flicx Pitch please call us on 01295 816765 or visit the products page on our blog to find out more….

How has cricket changed your life? Enter to Win a Flicx Match Pitch

ICC Europe and Flicx join together for European countries

The International Cricket Council- Europe is delighted to be partnering with Flicx UK to offer one lucky winner a brand new Flicx match pitch for one cricketing community around Europe as well as runners up prizes of Crazy Catches.

To enter the competition we are looking for stories illustrated by an image showing, how cricket has made a difference to your life and to your community? Anyone whether they be an individual or team can enter from any European Member country, if you have been inspired to play the game whatever your circumstance – we want to hear about it!

ICC Europe and Flicx UK

ICC Europe and Flicx UK

 

After the closing date in mid February, the finalists will be posted online and the winner will be the image and story with the most shares and likes  which also serves to promote cricket to all corners of Europe.

Speaking about the competition Nick Pink, ICC Regional Development Manager – Europe commented, “Cricket has the potential to captivate and inspire people of every age, gender, background while building bridges between continents, countries and communities. We would encourage all European Member clubs to consider entering this competition and are grateful to Flicx for providing a prize that will improve the facilities of our winner’s giving more people access to the game,” said Pink.

On behalf of Crazy Catch Richard Beghin added, “Flicx Pitches have provided new playing surfaces for youngsters around the world for the last 12 years having originally been designed and developed in South Africa, for youngsters in Townships. Flicx and ICC have worked closely over the years to help develop cricket and this competition will be a great way for clubs around Europe where cricket is not so easily accessible, to improve their facilities and demonstrate the power of the sport. By entering the competition it’s also a great opportunity to raise the profile of your club locally using the power of social media,” said Beghin.

Competition Format

Entries are now being sought from ANY individuals or clubs around Europe. To enter simply describe ‘How cricket has made a difference to your life and to your community?’ Maybe you were inspired, taken the game to an area where it hasn’t been played before, have overcome barriers or helped others to improve their cricket or know someone who does.

Please write and submit in no more than 250 words your entry with an accompanying photo to ricx@flicx.com before the deadline of 14thFebruary 2013. You will have until the 8th March 2013 to place your vote and the winner of the Flicx match pitch will be the submission with the most likes and shares.

There will also be runners up prizes of Crazy Catches for second and third place.  Don’t miss out on this fantastic chance to win a brand new pitch for your community- write your entry today and send to ricx@flicx.com.

  1. Entries limited to ICC Europe Member Countries.
  2. Each entry must come from a club or individual association to a Member Cricket Federation
  3. Each entrant should adhere to the ‘spirit of cricket’
  4. Each submission must be received no later than midnight (GMT) on 14th February 2013
  5. Voting online will end on the8th March 2013
  6. The winners will be announced by 30th March 2013
  7. ICC Europe and Flicx UK have the right to use the pictures and stories submitted in their own media unless otherwise stated.

Q+A with Richard Beghin – MD of Flicx UK … All you need to know about the Flicx Pitch

Rich, Tell us a bit about how the Flicx Pitch products were originally developed…

The Flicx pitch originated in South Africa in the late nineties and was created to help young cricketers who had been brought up in under-privileged townships to develop their game. The pitches are still made in South Africa from recycled plastic. Having moved myself to England myself in 1999 we launched the Flicx pitch at the ECB Coaches Association conference at the NIA; where shortly after we received an ECB contract to supply 799 pitches to inner city schools and deprived areas.

What is unique about the Flicx pitch?

The Flicx pitch is a cost effective way to get a new cricket surface and is generally half the price of synthetic products. It is most frequently used to convert football, rugby or hockey pitches into cricket pitches for the summer- which can then be returned simply by rolling back the Flicx Pitch.

A roll out pitch can convert any sports fields (or surface for that matter!) into a cricket field with no long term damage however some customers choose to embed their pitch permanently into the ground in which case its rolled in and grass grows through it and it is cut like any other crease.

How many Flicx pitches have you installed so far?

We have installed well over 3,500 pitches worldwide from Iceland to China to Russia to right below the Eiffel tower in France… We work very closely with the 5 ICC regions to take cricket to a new audience, providing many youngsters with a new opportunity to enjoy the game. Already this year we have had inquiries from Sierra Leone and the Solomon Islands and will soon be installing on the beautiful island of Vanuatu  (off the East Coast of Australia!)

The Flicx pitch in the London Eye

The Flicx pitch in the London Eye

Is there just one Flicx Pitch?

No – Products range from a full length pitch to shorter batting ends to various different types of coaching pitches with markings on that are used as bowling and batting targets, helping young players with their decision making. We also have our home range which means the product can be easily used in the safety of one’s back garden.

How can clubs/schools/ individuals buy a Flicx Pitch?

We would recommend that you get your Flicx pitch in time for Easter so the pitch is rolled out when the ground is damp. Please ring us directly for a quote 0n 01295 816765 or visit the website www.flicx.co.uk. The other option is to go through any of our approved Flicx Pitch retailers…

Home use of the Flicx pitch

Home use of the Flicx pitch