Solihull Schoolboys Bowled Over By New Facilities
Fresh from celebrating a title-winning season, cricketers at Solihull School are preparing for new challenges with brand new state-of-the-art training equipment.
The independent coeducational school is one of the first in the country with its own spin bowling machine as well as all-weather nets.
This year, the school's first team, the Under 15s and Under 13s all won the Warwickshire Cup and the Under 12s reached the county cup final.
Furthermore, seven players represented their county or region. Among them was first-team captain Oliver Haley, who also went on to play for Warwickshire Second XI.
The new 'Merlyn' spin bowling machine will enable the players to test themselves against Test-match quality spin bowling.
The machine, built by Bola, can deliver spinning balls of every imaginable variety, giving the coach complete control over line, speed and flight.
Former England, Leicestershire and Warwickshire all-rounder Darren Maddy is Master in charge of cricket at Solihull is delighted with the new equipment.
"The machine has opened the eyes of our cricketers to the thrill of what it is really like to face a top quality spinner," he said.
"It will come into its own midway through the winter term when we start training sessions for next summer."
Darren has also played a key role in designing a new six-lane artificial net system to replace three grass- and three artificial nets.
"These will complement our indoor nets in enabling pupils to develop their skills outdoors all year round," he added
"I am delighted by our success, with a first team that was among the best in the country with eight successive wins and strong age groups coming up below them.
"The enthusiasm for cricket was such that we fielded three teams at Under 12 level."
© Cricket World 2014