All cricket clubs have the same stuff, right? Nets, sightscreens, roller, mower…well, here are 6 ideas to upgrade what you do and what you offer members and visitors this year.
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1. Ooni Koda Pizza Oven
An Ooni pizza oven will make your cricket club the talk of the league and is a guaranteed way to sell incredible food all year round.
Will it improve the speed and agility of your playing squad? Probably not. They will be happily stuffed with pizza, so no quick singles but perhaps fuelled for an epic stay at the crease?
Why is the Ooni a gas-powered revolution? It’s portable, compact and can make tasty stone-baked pizza in minutes.
I have an Ooni Koda 12 at home and it gets loads of use across the year. The oven reaches 500ºC in 15 minutes and you are able to cook a pizza in 1-2 minutes. (There’s also a bigger Ooni Koda 16 too).
It connects to a propane gas cylinder and one of the best things is that the set-up is super easy and fast.
The Ooni range could be the perfect signing for your cricket club. Just don’t tell your opening batsmen or bowlers.
2. Bushnell Velocity Speed Gun
Who is the fastest bowler in your cricket club? Who is the fastest speed merchant in your league? Mph isn’t everything – but it’s fun finding out.
The Bushnell Velocity Speed Gun is a point-and-shoot radar gun with the speed displayed after the trigger is released.
It can measure the speed of a baseball at up to 110mph from 90ft away so a 34mph googly in Division 4 of the Nidderdale Cricket League should be a piece of a cake.
Why would you buy one? Let’s face it. Everyone would want a go. You could use it at nets, fire it up between teams, have an inter-league competition or see who’s quickest at a Finals day.
Awesome for socials too – you might discover the next Pat Cummins is the Dad of a junior or the new guy who runs the bar.
Runs on AA batteries (which aren’t included – stingy, I know) and you can be up and running in moments.
There are cheaper speed guns on Amazon out there but Bushnell has the credibility that when you clock 80mph, it’s there or thereabouts.
Sadly, the same probably goes if it registers 29mph too!
3. Feed Buddy
The Feed Buddy will save you hours of bowling at your mate who has a work ethic Steve Smith would be proud of.
It delivers accurate throwdowns time after time. No weary half-tracker hurled into the side netting for you. It delivers tennis balls or Feed Buddy’s light, bowling machine balls.
Set it up to receive 10 balls at a time every 5 seconds for intensive practice to find your groove.
I like this because it can be used by a coach at a cricket club for any age or any cricketer looking to hit some balls before they go into bat.
It’s worth saying that there are alternatives, particularly if you want one with a Yorkshire flavour – The Root Academy Cricket Ball Feeder.
Also, don’t mistake this go for an actual bowling machine. Its job is to lob balls gently at you so you can cream a majestic cover drive. It won’t have you hopping about the net and ducking under fearsome bouncers.
For that, I suggest either BOLA or a cheaper, credible alternative is the Paceman Original. Or, go old-school and use a Sidearm which will be double the value if you also have a dog.
4. Zing Bails
Bails that light up as they lift off the stumps are commonplace in professional cricket and are increasingly popular with grassroots clubs.
There’s a few reasons you might like to add some Zing to your matches – did I mention they light up? Perfect for a T20 competition or a Saturday league match.
They’re less likely to blow off (particularly popular with batters I’m told). Easier for umpires to judge a tight stumping appeal too. Plus, they could be just what you need to add a bit of panache to a final or an exhibition match under floodlights.
The low-tech version of that scenario is playing at night in hi-vis jackets and Zing bails.
5. Anker Nebula Solar Portable Outdoor Projector
Transform your cricket club into a Cineworld without the popcorn costing a small fortune. Get everyone together, show films or hold your awards night outside in summer..
For outdoor projectors, brightness is key (measured in lumens so 100-500 as a guide) as is battery life, picture quality (full HD please) and you don’t want to have to mortgage your groundsman’s prize mower to buy one.
So, assuming you’re after a sub-£500 outdoor projector then the Anker Nebula Solar Portable is well worth a look. It ticks the boxes in terms of quality, brightness and is light so no need to spend an hour setting everything up.
Here’s Amazon’s Top Outdoor Projectors to give you some choice.
6. DJI Mini 2 Drone
If you want incredible footage of your cricket club for a video to tempt new members and sponsors. Or, scenic shots of matches to share on social media then a drone could be the answer.
There are companies out there who hire out their expertise but if you want to own a drone for longevity and to get stellar imagery then DJI are a very good choice to look at.
I have a DJI Mini 2 which is easy to fly, light, has impressive picture and video credentials and fits into the budding amateur class. It’s not a toy but nor is it £2,500.
Key things to think about with a drone are: deciding what your budget is, weight, picture quality, video quality and flying time.
Drones are classed by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) and if you need a Flyer ID then you have to pass a theory test online. It’s no big deal, I didn’t need to get one but took it anyway for peace of mind.
Lots of fun to be had and a unique perspective. Here’s Amazon’s Best 4k Drones for Adults.
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