If you’re thinking of starting your own stoolball team but you’re not sure what’s involved, we can help. Here are some of the most important things you need to think about but, please, contact us and we’ll be happy to help some more.
What type of stoolball do you want to play?
Ladies’ stoolball is more widespread than mixed, so depending on where you’re based it might be a better option. It’s easier to find enough players for a mixed team though, as you have twice as many people to ask.
Your next decision is whether to play in a league, in friendly matches, in tournaments, indoor stoolball, or a combination of the four. Leagues and friendlies are usually on weekday evenings and tournaments are on Sundays. Indoor stoolball takes over in autumn and winter. See what’s happening in your area, and which days of the week suit you and your players.
Where will you play?
Most teams will need a home ground. Any sports field will do, so try contacting nearby schools, or your local district, borough or city council for public recreation grounds.
You may not find a ground with everything you want, but here are some things to consider, roughly in order of priority:
- Price. Very important because it will probably be your team’s biggest cost. You can expect to pay anywhere from £15 to £30 per match so shop around.
- How it’s maintained. Stoolball grounds don’t need to be a particular shape or be completely level, but if you can find one, typically a cricket pitch, where the grass is kept short it makes for a more enjoyable game.
- Lockable storage. If you can keep your wickets and boundary markers there – or better yet, if they’ve got some already which you can use – it saves a lot of hassle.
- Toilets. Check they’re open in the evening.
- Parking. You may live nearby, but your opposition will be driving.
- Shelter. You’ll be glad you have somewhere to dash when the rain comes.
You need the essentials, but you may not be able to afford everything just yet.
- Bats. You need a minimum of two, but more is better because they come in different weights which suit different people. Stoolball England has a few spare bats for loan to new teams, or you can sometimes buy second-hand bats on ebay. Teams usually have a bag of bats so if you don’t have what you need, ask your opposition if you can borrow from them.
- Balls. Have a few because they do wear out over a season, or get lost in hedges. Opposition teams may be willing to donate a few of their old balls to get you started.
- Wickets. First, check if your ground already has some. It’s best to look yourself because sometimes the staff don’t know what a stoolball wicket looks like! If not you can buy a new set from Stoolball England or get someone to make them for you using our instructions.
- Scoreboard. Most teams have a scoreboard, often shared with a cricket club, which they update after each over. If there isn’t one available use a blackboard or whiteboard, or just ask the scorer to shout out the score at the end of the over.
- Spray paint. You need this to mark the bowling creases on your pitch.
- Boundary markers. Most teams use plastic flags and/or a rope. If you can’t borrow these from the cricket club, a box of sticks will do to start with, or anything that can be seen from a distance. Some teams mark a boundary using their spray paint, although this is difficult for umpires and players to see.
- A scorebook.
When you’re ready to buy your own, you can buy equipment from Stoolball England. Our instructions for building your own wickets are available on the same page.
Make sure you’re covered from the first match you play. Playing without insurance is simply not worth the risk to you, your players, or even passers-by. If you’re part of a wider sports club you may be included under their cover. If not, you can buy stoolball insurance from Stoolball England.
We can help you
There’s a lot to think about when you start a new team, but you’re not alone. If you’d like more advice please contact us. Together we’ve helped many stoolball teams get started and we can help you too.