May 1912 Sir Neville Cardus arrived at Shrewsbury School and he described
the cricket grounds thus: “the richness of the open air of England
and the murmur of summer on the most beautiful of playing fields which
spread and imperceptibly mingled with the pastoral land of Shropshire.”
For five summers a young Sir Neville toiled on this ‘pastoral land
of Shropshire’ as the school’s assistant cricket coach. He
wrote of his labours, “When the field lay empty I would gather the
stumps from a dozen pitches and carry them in sheaves in my arms, a solitary
reaper in the evening sunshine.” He certainly sounds like a man
happy with his duties, which mainly involved bowling at the ‘young
gentlemen’ in the nets.
What would he make of the shinning, £2.2 million, purpose built
cricket centre and its row of equally shinny BOLA bowling machines that
arrived last October?
The Cardus Cricket Centre contains four lanes of floodlit ‘Supergrasse’
(the same surface that is used at Lord’s indoor school and the ECB
Academy at Loughborough) and classrooms complete with the latest video
The four new BOLA machines were supplied on BOLA stands which are designed
for ease of use and drastically reduce set-up time.
The school’s cricket professional is Paul Pridgeon, the
ex-Worcestershire seam bowler, who is also a keen advocate of the machine
and uses BOLA HiViz balls to acclimatise his better players against short
pitched bowling and also uses the machine to groove shots with all age
groups in the school.
Shrewsbury school also owns two older machines that are still providing
'Cardus like’ services in the four artificial and 24 grass outdoor
'I've had enough Bernard - I want you out!'
- This cartoon appeared in Private Eye 2007.