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Our highlights for 2011

Monday 14 November 2011, 9.47pm

Film, TV, press and radio interest in stoolball


This year stoolball has attracted interest from i54newmedia who are a documentary film making company. They have filmed practically all aspects of the game from schools, ladies and mixed matches to bat manufacture, coaching courses, indoor stoolball and a visit to Sport England. Release of the finished article is expected early next year and a brief taster of the film has been featured on our website.

Television coverage

BBC One featured friendly stoolball at Northchapel in their Countryfile programme in May. This proved very popular and Stoolball England received a lot of good publicity following its showing. Still to be broadcast on BBC Two is an “Escape to the Country” programme featuring a couple from Surrey which was filmed at East Dean & Friston Cricket Club, close to Birling Gap and Beachy Head in Eastbourne. Stoolball was represented by the Trojans team from the Eastbourne Red Triangle League who provided players and umpires and were a credit to the game.


Apart from numerous articles provided for local free advertising magazines and some Parish Magazines, our biggest slice of publicity came in an article in “The Lady” magazine which featured Winterfold ladies club who play in the West Division of the Sussex County Stoolball Association.


Our President, Shirley Reed, spoke about stoolball on Radio Solent in April and later in the summer on 10 June; Liz Peck who plays her stoolball in Sussex was featured on Simon Mayo’s Radio 2 Drivetime programme talking about the game.

Government funding cuts

The loss of virtually all the Competition Managers, Partnership Development Managers and School Sports Co-ordinator jobs as well as severe cut-backs with our contacts at county, district and town council sport development sections has meant that we must build new relationships.

One of our most successful has been with Horsham District Council where work is still in progress to submit a funding bid to the Small Grants scheme of Sport England. Much work is involved and great stress is put on evidence of development, forward planning and good governance, as well as the development of pathways for good performers to play at a national level.

Training courses

A Level One coaching course, with Helen Murdock at the helm, was held at Alfold in Surrey on 20 March with 13 members in attendance. This was a 6 hour certificated course which worked on the basic skills of batting, bowling and fielding, followed by simulated coaching sessions designed to increase each potential coach’s stoolball knowledge. At the end of the course, each candidate was given an evaluation sheet with comments from the tutor on their performance. The feedback from each candidate was very positive.

On 17 April at Plumpton Cricket Club, an umpires’ course was run by Kelvin Speirs in conjunction with a scorers’ course headed by Kevin Hilliard which was attended by a total of 17 people, 11 umpires and 6 scorers. It was a three hour course, with the first hour being run separately and dealing with items specific to umpiring and scoring. The second hour was spent on the field of play where a game was laid on for the umpires to “umpire” and the scorers to “score” and in the final hour there was a combined session dealing with “questions and answers”. It proved a great success.

Plans are in progress to produce further courses in 2012, together with our first ever Level Two coaching course. Let us know if you’d like to take part.

Stoolball interest outside the home counties

During the year we have had encouraging interest and reports of stoolball being played in Northern Ireland and the Isle of Man, as well as in Anglesey, where the local cricket club want to start playing the mixed game. Our contact in the Isle of Man is planning to bring a party of young players to play stoolball in Sussex during next summer.

Perhaps our best news comes from Sydney, Australia where a young man who used to play stoolball in the Eastbourne Red Triangle League is planning to start playing the game. He tells us that there are currently no mixed games available in Australia and he wants to remedy that. He is having the wickets made locally and we have sent him some bats, balls and scorebooks to get things started. So watch this space for the first ever stoolball mixed stoolball version of an “Ashes” series.

Proposed abolition of cheques in 2018 – abandoned

After attending various meetings in London where the abolition of cheques was first announced by the Home Office two years ago and then discussed more recently at another meeting held by the Sports & Recreation Alliance at their London headquarters, we were pleased to hear the Government’s announcement that the use of cheques will continue for the foreseeable future.

Stoolball coaching at lunchtime and after-school clubs

Whilst much of Stoolball England’s coaching in schools was severely curtailed as a result of the government’s spending cuts, an abbreviated programme was carried out by Michael Ledwich in Surrey at Meath Green Junior School and Yattendon School in Horley and Salfords School in Redhill.

In the Horsham area, Ruth Arthur and Becky Hull conducted coaching sessions at Southwater School, St Mary’s School and All Saints’ School, both in Horsham, Shelley School, Broadbridge Heath and held taster sessions at Warnham and Slinfold. In East Sussex, coaches held a taster session at Harlands School in Uckfield and Toni Wheatley coached the youngsters from Punnetts Town Community Primary School and the Primary School at Burnt Oak. On completion of the coaching programme there was a game between the two schools which was greatly enjoyed.

Website developments

Our website administrator, Rick Mason, has done excellent work in taking the Stoolball England website to new levels with the production of maps showing the location of all clubs as well as tournament locations. The development of player and team statistics has also been impressive. There has also been a movement towards social networking via YouTube, Facebook and Twitter which has produced much useful additional exposure for stoolball. Currently work is also developing to produce a section on promoting sports clothing containing the Stoolball England logo.

Stoolball education package

Anita Broad from Newick Stoolball Club in Sussex has been working with the East Sussex Records Office to produce an application to the Heritage Lottery Fund and create a Stoolball Education Package using a combination of creative arts, history and heritage as a great cross-curricular opportunity to develop the interest in stoolball in schools.

Schools festivals and championships

Stoolball England ran their third Primary and Junior Schools Stoolball Festival at Horsham Cricket Club in July where 12 teams from local schools took part.

In co-operation with Sussex County Stoolball Association, Stoolball England again supported the Sussex County Schools’ Championships which were held at Plumpton in June for Year 9/10s and in July for Year 7/8s. In the Year 9/10 competition, Bishop Luffa from Chichester were the winners with Ringmer Community College the runners-up, and in the Year 7/8 event, Angmering School were the winners with Bishop Luffa in second place.

Public community events

Stoolball England personnel again carried out stoolball taster sessions in June at TakePart in Preston Park, Brighton. At Sparks in the Park in July in Horsham Park, members of local clubs Barns Green, Winterfold and Broadbridge Heath helped with the coaching.

Golden Challenge for stoolball in schools

The “Golden Challenge” is a series of sport specific, skill based challenges that primary school children can achieve at bronze, silver and gold level. Standards and activities at each level have been drawn up by the creator Mel Dunn during her previous role as Partnership Development Manager at Hailsham Community College and, in the case of stoolball skills, she received assistance from Connie Chapman from Angmering and The Regis School. The results of the tests are collated centrally on computer and used to compare other schools’ statistics, run inter-school competitions, establish a winner and identify talent.

Rules revision 2011

One of the requirements of “good governance” is that we carry out a review of our playing rules every three years. Such a review is currently in progress and the results of any amendments will be published in a new rule book covering the period 2012-1014.

Helping to promote the game

Stoolball England has attended county and club matches and tournaments in all counties playing the game to sell equipment and to offer help and guidance to all organisations in affiliation to our governing body. Stoolball England is greatly indebted for the work carried out by Keith Younger who continues to play a major role in the refurbishment of wickets and bats. In addition, Stoolball England personnel have continued to attend all meetings run by the Sport & Recreation Alliance, Active Sussex and The Payments Office (relating to the abolition – or not – of cheques).


Insurance is an important aspect in the services supplied by Stoolball England to its affiliated members. You will all have noticed that this year we changed our insurers and these negotiations were carried out by our Insurance Officer, Michael Ledwich, to whom we are very much indebted. It has meant that clubs were not exposed to large increases in their Public Liability Insurance and he also achieved a small decrease in the Personal Accident premium.

Sports leadership volunteering

Stoolball England are planning to work with Sports Leaders UK who are about to form an association which will allow them to remain in contact with sports leaders who take their qualifications. By working with Stoolball England and other governing bodies, Sports Leaders UK will be able to provide a referral pathway into specific sports for volunteers and potential coaches and officials.

New scorebooks

Stoolball England’s Kevin Hilliard has produced in draft form two new scorebooks for possible future use. One is for limited over games, such as those played in August leagues and the other for county and league matches of longer duration. The current tournament book will remain unchanged.

Club accreditation

The criteria for the Club Accreditation Scheme which was set up in 2009 by Kevin Hilliard with the help of Active Sussex has now been updated and we are now required to fall into line with the national Club Mark scheme. Not surprisingly this is producing much new work as Kevin starts to produce new documents to bring our scheme into line. The first document covering our Playing Programme is currently under construction.

National planning policy framework

Stoolball England has written to the Minister for the Department for Communities and Local Government outlining our concern about the lack of protection for sport and recreation facilities in the draft document produced and issued by the Government.

New clubs and those working towards formation

It is most encouraging to give you news of a number of new clubs who will either be playing next season or looking to start playing in the near future.

West Kent Ladies Stoolball League

  • Ashurst & Blackham Stoolball Club

Chanctonbury Ladies Stoolball League

  • Broadbridge Heath Stoolball Club
  • Southwater Ladies Stoolball Club

Ladies friendly teams initially

  • Worthing Ladies Stoolball Club
  • Warnham Ladies Stoolball Club
  • Glynde Stoolball Club
  • Firle Stoolball Club

Andrew Lusted has been an effective force behind the potential re-forming of Glynde Stoolball Club having just written a most intriguing history of the original club. Copies are available from Andrew himself or from Stoolball England priced £7.

Mixed stoolball teams

  • Lower Beeding Lemurs Stoolball Club (friendly games initially)

Mixed teams (in the pipeline)

  • East Dean & Friston Stoolball Club
  • Selsey Stoolball Club

Social mixed teams (in the pipeline)

  • Horsham Rugby Club
  • Peper Harow Cricket Club
  • Chipstead Cricket Club

There is also news of the potential arrival of mixed stoolball in Crawley. Amey, a business team currently playing in the Lewes League is moving to Crawley and work is already afoot to establish their team in that area and build up interest in stoolball.

In most cases, Stoolball England has been involved with these clubs in giving advice so that they are set up correctly with a constitution, insurance and equipment. All this interest is most encouraging and bodes well for the future. To all the teams mentioned we wish every success.

John and Kay Price, October 2011

Tags: accreditation, agm, coaching, equipment, events, funding, insurance, media, meetings, planning, rules, schools, volunteering, world