|NEMWCL||The North-East Mid-Week Cricket League||2013|
The cricket balls to be used should be Grade A balls in good condition and reasonably light in colour, especially on a relatively dull evening. The base colour should normally be red but, with the agreement of both teams, other colours e.g. orange, yellow or pink can be used.
(Trials by the ICC of pink balls are being considered for the one day game: see for example, http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/cricket/7092114.stm)
Pink ball is now available at club level, £9.99 + carriage, 10% discount for 12. plus £9.70 carriage works out at £9.80 per ball. Meets the NEMWCL guidance that cricket balls should be reasonably light in colour!
The following text represents a report produced and submitted to the NEMWCL management committee by Dave Cook, August 2007, regarding the use of coloured cricket balls. A report describing observations on the durablility, visibility and price of various makes of coloured cricket balls during a trial period is also provided.
Alternatively, both reports are also available here for download as a PDF.
Note prices quoted here are supplied as a guide price only and are subject to variation.
Orange and Yellow Cricket Balls Report to NTSCL 'C' and Junior Divisions, NEMWCL
Some years ago the NTSL trialled an orange ball in A and B Division Cup Matches. (It was a Dukes Special Crown Match - Blyth Duncan at Percy Main still has one.) Visually it was a great success but it was felt too expensive for one-off matches, and too hard. This same brand ball has been considered too soft in our trial so there must have been a change in the manufacturing process.
Third teams and Juniors play nothing but evening cricket, 1st and 2nd teams are just the odd cup match, so Thirds, Juniors and NEMWCL teams should be taking the lead on this issue. I have found it is widely accepted there is a definite need to use a more visible ball of acceptable quality, but still economical for clubs, at this level where light conditions are often farcical. Also these levels deserve a lot more consideration than they get! The North Yorks and South Durham League use orange balls in their 15s Tournament. It is worth noting the Pakistan Cricket Board is pressing for wider use of the orange ball in first class cricket, including Tests played in Pakistan, to reduce the amount of play lost to bad light. See http://tvnz.co.nz/view/page/417227/655199
However one manufacturer (Hugh Rogers at Tiflex) has pointed out to me that people with red/green colour blindness have just as much difficulty, if not more, in distinguishing orange/green as red/green, though yellow/green is not a problem for them. About 10% of all males are colour blind, mostly red/green colour blind, so it is not unreasonable to expect to find one per team, though there is a lot of evidence that they select themselves out of playing cricket for obvious reasons all the more reason we should solve their problems when the solution is actually very easy. In running a trial with orange balls, therefore, the suggestion is we have been looking at the wrong colour, and Tiflex are sending us some yellow balls to try next season (they also do orange). Readers also do the County Crown in yellow. Tiflex will do any of their balls in orange or yellow to order but have as standard the Magna at about £11 and the St. James's about £10. Many people have not heard of Tiflex, but actually they manufacture some of the best cricket balls available under the Oxbridge brand name having bought the firm. There is a strong case for playing all school and junior cricket with a yellow ball in my view, as very clearly illustrated in the photos below. Normally sighted people (i.e. with trichromatic vision) would never dream of playing with a green cricket ball, but this is precisely the equivalent of what we expect colour blind individuals to do.
Worth also noting a comment from Hugh Rogers at Tiflex regarding the meaning, or lack of it, regarding 'Grade A' ...
"You can consider 'grade A' as a marketing tool and there is no specification in existence to cover what is in 'grade A' or not. We use 'grade A' for all our unblemished balls and then mark our blemished balls as seconds/ grade B. Many leagues specify that balls must be stamped 'grade A' for some reason and if you don't mark the balls with an' A' then they can not be used in that league. Not surprisingly most people mark the balls with an A as it has no control! The BSI specification is an entirely different cup of tea. I am a member of the committee which works on the BSI specification with the ECB. You do not need the BSI spec. for club cricket and in fact most club cricketers would not like this ball as it would provide different balance between bat and ball. There is a lower seam in this specification so club cricketers would do less with the ball."
"At the end of the day there are only 3 cricket ball manufacturers who have any format of quality control." I assume he means Readers (owned by Kookaburra), Dukes (owned by Morrant Sports) and Tiflex (Oxbridge) based in Cornwall.
As a point of interest the Oxbridge Hampton (£15), Buckingham (£17) and Windsor (£19.50) are surely worth considering adding to the NTSL's list of allowable balls. One thing that can be said of the 'C' Division trial is that none of the balls are too hard, as was the previous experience.
The problem of colour blindness in cricket.
John Collingwood bowling for Swalwell at Walbottle with a red ball as seen by a normal sighted person (left) and by an individual with red/green colour blindness (right)
Dave Reay of Percy Main receiving an orange ball at Walbottle. Normal vision left, red/green colour blind (right). The batsman will be aided to some extent by a sightscreen but not the fielder.
Same photo, orange ball replaced with yellow, and (right) as seen by a red/green colour blind individual. A white ball is also OK, but we all lose it against white clothing and its colour does not show through dirt: experience shows the white ball gets dirty easily.
There are some cheap Indian balls that can be obtained from places like eBay but they appear to be of inferior quality, though certainly suitable for nets and practice at £2-£3 each. Flicx market a highly economical orange ball (made by Dukes under licence) but it is only a two-piece. See ( approx £44 for 6)
The following brands appear to be the major orange and yellow balls available in the UK.
Oxbridge Magna £10.95 inc VAT (on line price) plus carriage.
According to correspondence I have had with them they will do any of their balls in white, orange or yellow to order, including the more expensive higher league quality.
Surridge Club Balls
Surridge Pro County Orange Ball at £15.32 is too expensive, but bulk price would be much cheaper.
The Surridge Club Practice Ball (£6 inc VAT) is described as available in orange on their web site but this is a mistake. They have offered 6 Pro-Counties free of charge for a trial with a view to a bulk quotation. Including juniors (and including their 4.75 oz ball which is available) would help a bulk order to get the price down. These had not arrived by the end of the C Division season.
They would need to be £11.00 maximum to compete with other available balls, and usable 4 times (80 overs). The Pro County is described as a quality ball. It is said one of the North East Leagues had a ball contract with Surridge recently which they pulled out of because the balls were said to be proving to be too hard, but the NYSD League think very highly of Surridge; maybe they use a more expensive ball.
Not available from Gray-Nicholls directly, only through retailers, including Justsport.
2007 Catalogue refers to RAM Test ball available in red/white/orange at £15 each (1-11) £11 (12-30), £10 (31-49) and £9 (50+) all + VAT and carriage. Promoted as used in first ever 20/20 Deaf International England v. Pakistan, summer 2006, in which Blyth Duncan Jr. of Percy Main was playing.
Dukes Special Crown Match Sold by Morrant Sports who own Dukes £13.50. Previously trialled by NTSL in A and B division cup matches. Regarded then as too hard and too expensive for a one off need. Our trial has shown the hardness has changed significantly.
Premium leather cover. Cortex centre. Anti-scuff finished in England.
Dukes Special Crown 'A' , Orange Mens
£8.95 from Morrants inc VAT plus carriage, about £9.50 per ball with carriage. Appears virtually identical to Special Crown Match. Club quality cover. Cortex centre. Anti-scuff finished in England.
Looks as if the difference between the Special Crown Match and the Special Crown is only the quality of leather finish. The more expensive ball may therefore do more 20 over matches, and would therefore work out just as economical. Note trial of two Dukes Special Crown 'A' in Percy Main v Benwell and Walbottle, August 2nd .
RRP said to be £14 but at £11.50 inc VAT but ? Quantity discount. Delivery £3.95 up to £20, £5.25 over £20 Also available in yellow. £9.95 + Carriage at Cricket Direct
Justsport can also supply at best possible price.
The cheapest ball is the Dukes Special Crown, with the Oxbridge St. James's, Readers County Crown and Gray Nicholls League a close second, and also the RAM Test if enough are bought (£10.57 inc VAT). The Oxbridge Magna is £10.95. Quantity discount prices are also a consideration. We have not been able to trial the GN league, but perhaps worth noting that GN do not manufacture their own balls.
There is also a ball I have discovered on 'eBay' which I think is remarkable value at around £7 (inc VAT and carriage) and its playing qualities have proved excellent in use with Benwell and Walbottle Juniors. The supplier is able to make this ball in orange, and even put our own markings on it, for a minimum purchase of 36 balls. This ball will be available for inspection in new, used and refurbished states, at the AGM. Curiously it is marked 'Duke and Son' 'Established 1760' though what it has to do with 'Dukes' I cannot imagine, or we would know more about it. It is by far the best 'economy' ball I have come across (i.e.less than £9 inc VAT), and is not even marked 'Grade A!'
In the event of us being able to agree this is a desirable way forward Ian Stokoe at Justsport will be able to give us the best possible prices on Dukes and Readers balls - but not others. The two Dukes Special Crowns appeared good balls. Ian confirms this, but says the Special Crown Match, which is a more expensive ball, is better - and if it lasts an extra game becomes just as economical. However, in spite of the fact that they are the brightest orange, they have not performed well in our trial, losing shape, scuffing and finding unfavourable comment from some bowlers who complained they were impossible to shine.
Dave Cook, August 2007
None of the balls tried were regarded as too hard. In some case quite the opposite.
The favoured ball for playing quality was the RAM Test. It was commented however that the ball's colour was rather dull which defeated its purpose somewhat. The Readers and Dukes balls tried were felt not to be reusable after one 20 overs match which would not be economical.
The Oxbridge Magna and Surridge Pro County remain to be tested.
Emphatically, in contrast to previous experience, these balls have not been found to be too hard.
Dukes Special Crown Match (DSCM)
Appearance virtually identical to DSC maybe marginally better finish to leather. If anything even brighter orange! No significant difference in seam to DSC possibly a bit more prominent in DSCM. Same apparent roundness. Since this ball retails at £13.50 compared with £8.95 for the DSC it was interesting to compare their playing qualities.
Ponteland v Newcastle City (rain interrupted) felt it was too light in weight (it isn't) but lost shape quickly. Had 2 scuff splits in it after 12 overs use. Hard to polish - bowlers didn't favour. Ball actually reported as 'too soft.' Same feeling at Ashington v Benwell/Walbottle; lost shape in damp. Leather scuffed, in spite of 'anti-scuff finish.' Ball used by Backworth also badly scuffed.
Two Dukes Special Crown Match, badly scuffed after 20 overs use.
Dukes Special Crown (DSC)
Leather appeared a bit rougher, does not appear hard to feel. Feels small indicating it's a good shape. Used at Percy Main v Benwell & Walbottle. Very bright orange appreciated by all including spectators and umpires. No apparent swing maybe that was just the bowlers! 78-10 in 17 overs and 79-8 in 18+ overs hardly a bashing but the ball was soft at the end of this time, though it had held its shape well in the dry this time. Leather scuffed, in spite of 'anti-scuff finish.'
Readers County Crown (RCC)
Glossier finish to leather compared DSC and DSCM. Duller colour. Suggest we might also approve the yellow version of this ball if it's OK.
After 12 overs of an abandoned game cleaned up reasonably well with a damp cloth. However lost its shape when wetted more thoroughly, but took Pliandure treatment well. A second ball washed more carefully by just a clean with a damp cloth retained its shape. Least prominent seam of the balls investigated, though one team remarked it had a 'good seam'. Didn't swing (Team A), swung and spun quite a lot for a new ball (Team B!), good swing early on (Team C!). Also reported by several to have quickly softened/lost shape in play and considered not in good condition even after only 11 overs in an abandoned game. One ball felt generally in good condition after 20 overs. (Team C)
Readers County Crown after 20 overs in damp conditions. Quarter seam distorted and beginning to open.
County Crown in generally good condition after 20 overs, but with quarter seam beginning to open (right).
RAM Test (RT)
Feels harder than the Readers or Special Crown. Different 'clunk' on the bat. Duller orange again than Readers. Good round shape. Very prominent seam! (Percy Main commented, they nip about quite a lot!). Percy Main commented playing in the wet was a good test for them.
Kept shape at Benwell & Walbottle v Morpeth when slightly damp. Played well, not too hard. Cleaned and refurbished very well with Pliandure. Generally favourable comments from teams that have used this ball, but noticeably duller. No one commented the ball was too hard.
RAM Test refurbished for another game after 20 overs use
Many people have commented on the greatly improved visibility, especially in the dark, which was the main aim of the exercise, and I think proves the point. Beneficiaries, as reported, are outfielders, slip fielders, batsmen in the dark, umpires and last but not least spectators!
On the negative side, some bowlers have commented that some balls (not all) are difficult if not impossible to shine. The ball that has come through the trial best on playing qualities (the RAM Test) is unfortunately very much the dullest colour, though RAM have taken this comment on board and are to make it in a brighter orange. The Readers County Crown was generally reasonably well received but felt to soften quickly and not keep its shape. There are however two balls still to try, the Surridge Pro- County, and the Oxbridge Magna. I have now seen the Oxbridge ball, and feel it may well prove to be the ball of choice at £11, with the Oxbridge St. James's at £10.
The Dukes and Readers balls are felt not to be reusable after one 20 overs match, which would not be an economical proposition.