Types Of Cricket Nets
Cricket nets – or cricket practice net facilities – are a key tool in the cricket coach’s armoury; offering a safe and enclosed space to hone the skills of both batsmen and bowlers. Here, we will look at the different types of cricket nets available to clubs, the standards set for cricket nets by the England & Wales Cricket Board (ECB) and essential maintenance for cricket nets.
As with anything, the type of cricket nets range from the basic to state of the art, but themain distinctions are between the types of netting system and surface on which the facility is based. The most basic are created using a mobile batting cage – basically a metal framework on wheels that can be moved around the ground – and a standard grass cricket pitch. Probably the lowest cost option, these are still used by clubs on a budget and can also be useful to create additional practice facilities at grounds that have a busy coaching schedules. The main downside is that practice sessions will put greater wear and tear on the main cricket table and also rely on good weather or the use of ground covers to keep the playing surface dry.
One way of getting around this is by using a mobile batting cage over an artificial cricket pitch – not only will this relieve the impact on the club’s grass pitches but the surface will be usable most days of the year, even after rain.
Over the past decade, the use of mobile batting net cages has been on the decline, due mainly to more and more cricket grounds, clubs and schools investing in permanent, purpose-built cricket nets. While cricket nets facilities can be based on grass, the rapid evolution of synthetic cricket pitches in recent years has seen more and more choose to invest in this low-maintenance, hard-wearing option.
This investment has been driven by the availability of funding from sources including the ECB and Sport England among others; seeing clubs from grass roots to first class taking advantage of the opportunity to improve their facilities. To access this funding, however, grounds must select a supplier and product that meet a stringent set of performance criteria set out by the ECB in its TS6 ‘Performance Standards for Non-Turf Cricket Pitches’ document, which describes the requirements for non-turf cricket pitch systems intended for outdoor use.
When selecting a supplier, clubs should take into account a range of factors – alongside budget – including the pedigree of the installer, the features of the individual cricket net system and warranties, as well as paying important site visits to clubs where the system is already installed and in use.
As a Code of Practice Installer for Total-Play has developed a range of no less than three ECB approved artificial cricket pitch systems, all of which come with extensive warranties and are installed in line with the ECB Code of Practice
These include the flagship tp365 system which, featuring a premiere wilton woven carpet, exclusively designed ‘HD Protection Tunnel’ netting system and a dynamic base which has been designed to offer a balanced game between bat and ball and encourage turn is the most popular for use in cricket nets facilities. Tp5t, meanwhile, shares tp365’s dynamic base, netting designs and all of the playing characteristics but with a less inexpensive – tufted – carpet. tpB1 is the latest addition to the range; offering a bound (Asphalt) base option. The tpB1 system comes with a premiere wilton woven carpet and the netting system used with the tp365 system, but its bound – or engineered – base design offers greater stability in flood risk areas and, initially, lower maintenance requirements in high-use open sites.