ANGELA KELLY COLUMN: Cage cricket gets people talking
A NEW form of cricket designed to make the sport more accessible to everyone could well be coming to a park or urban space near you very soon.
Cage Cricket was the brainchild of former Hampshire player Lawrence Prittipaul and Portsmouth cricketer Trevor McCardle. It’s already spreading across the country – as well as to cricket hot-spots like Barbados and Australia – bringing a new vibe to the traditional game.
The latest initiative has seen a permanent and already popular Cage Cricket site at Ordsall Park in Salford, and all the signs are that it could soon be available in Bolton.
The sport involves a portable metal cage which is set up on any strong surface. Colours are important here as the fielding area is divided into four colours, with score markers placed at strategic points around the walls of the cage.
Cage Cricket is played by teams of six who all get a chance to bat, bowl and field in turn with the potential for scoring individually in all those positions either by hitting the markers, bowling or fielding well. One player keeps the score on a board on the wall and players rotate with fielders having to keep to their individual coloured zones.
A composite moulded bat just slightly smaller than the usual wooden bat is used, and the ball is made of single-skin PVC.
Bats can be custom-decorated to suit individuals or teams, but normally come with “cool graffiti to make them look really colourful,” explains Jasmine Titmuss, adult participation officer with Lancashire Cricket Board involved in promoting Cage Cricket The LCB, part of the English Cricket Board, is driving this element of the sport forward, as they are with others like Last Man Standing.
“But Cage Cricket, or urban cricket, really can be played anywhere – in alleys between houses, on basketball or multi-use courts,” states Jasmine, a talented cricketer and captain of the Lancashire ladies’ side.
The Salford cage cricket pitch, created in conjunction with Salford City Council and anti-crime initiative Fearless, only opened in July as part of a major park redevelopment and is already proving very popular with local youngsters as well as adults.
They’re starting Sunday practice sessions there and there’s an open day on Sunday, November 10 from 11am to 1pm with anyone aged 14-plus welcome to go along and have a go.
“The great thing for youngsters is that they can register their team with www.cagecricket.com and there’s an app so they can put in their scores – they can also record individual scores,” adds Jasmine.
There’s an obvious plus for youngsters in being able to play in confined spaces – “and matches only take about 40 minutes so it’s not a big commitment of time, either,” says Jasmine.
“And for cricket clubs, it’s a great way to find new young stars and help with practice anytime as they don’t need to worry about a water-logged pitch.”
She believes that “Bolton, with its long history of cricket and rounders is the ideal place for cage cricket to thrive. And we’ve already had some interest here so it’s looking very hopeful.”
The LCB is currently happy to give out the cages and equipment free to interested clubs and organisations. Just contact her on 0161 282 4029 or email email@example.com