The 'Merlyn by BOLA' bowling machine is the most sophisticated and accurate spin bowling training aid in the world.

Its original conception was as a development project by Stuart & Williams (BOLA) for the England and Wales Cricket Board who were searching for a means to extend the experience of first-class players against top class spin bowling.

When the ECB took delivery of the first 20 machines in 2009 the 'Merlyn by BOLA' was greeted with praise and enthusiasm by professional players and coaches alike when.'

Play against spin has greatly improved!

"What an awesome piece of kit," enthused Andy Hurry, Somerset CCC Head Coach at the time and now Director of Cricket. "The boys have loved it and in only a few days their game against spin has improved noticeably."

Ex-Kent Captain, England batsman and TV commentator Robert Key predicted in 2009 that, "this machine will have a huge effect on English cricket and the way we play spin."

In 2017 Ex-England and Notts. batsman James Taylor said, 'I honestly believe that England are better at playing spin now than they ever have been before because of the introduction of this Bowling Machine.'

Programmable spinning balls of every imaginable variety

'Merlyn by BOLA' is the state-of-the-art machine that delivers programmable, spinning balls, of every imaginable variety with both drift and turn. Its laser sighting is adjustable to one third of a degree.

The accuracy of the machine and the sophisticated electronic control package combine in a unique way to give the coach complete control of the spinning delivery. The 'easy to use' switch panel allows complete control of line, speed, flight and the amount of top spin and side spin imparted to each ball.

The accuracy of the machine and the sophisticated electronic control package combine in a unique way to give the coach complete control of the spinning delivery. The 'easy to use' switch panel allows complete control of line, speed, flight and the amount of top spin and side spin imparted to each ball.

'I honestly believe that England are better at playing spin now than they ever have been before because of the introduction of this Bowling Machine.' - Ex-England and Notts. batsman James Taylor

"The spin variations on the new BOLA are very, very good. They are subtle and keep the batter on his toes. Because the variations are so subtle they help you hone your ability to predict the length of a spinning ball," said Rob Key. "I have learnt some new attacking options against spin from playing against the machine."

The laser sight for machine positioning relative to the stumps and the simplicity of the Control Panel allows the operator to set-up quickly and navigate through the menu driven software (the menu design is very similar to a mobile phone and simple to use)

Merlyn scores a century!

The Merlyn Machine has been constantly upgraded and modified and in 2017 the ECB traded in their original 20 machines for the latest model and in 2018 the 100th Merlyn was delivered to Exeter University.

"The Machine can get the ball to spin more than a human spinner so we can overload the training which means batsmen will face tougher conditions than they would face in a match," said David Parsons, the ECB's Performance Director and former National Spin Bowling Coach.

"Human bowlers struggle to turn the ball especially on indoor surfaces. The BOLA is a much greater challenge," said Rob Key. "I had to have the amount spin turned down because it was turning square!"

Leather cricket balls

Merlyn by BOLA' can deliver any type of ball of the right size but is especially effective when using leather cricket balls.

"It's great that you can put cricket balls through the Merlyn. Watching the revolutions of the seam is how the batter gets his first 'tell' on what the ball is doing," commented Rob Key.

Steve Rhodes, Head Coach of Bangladesh Cricket Board, said, "The batters don't get any clues from the wrist or fingers of the spinner when they play against the Merlyn. It makes them look really closely at the revolutions on the ball."

The 'Merlyn by BOLA' incorporates a 28 ball Auto Feeder and traffic light ball release indication. The machines were supplied complete with Machine Stands which allows them to be easily moved/stored as well as providing the operator with a safe and stable platform.

Experience top class spin bowling

Rob Key summed up the benefits of Merlyn by BOLA to English cricket: "Playing against spin bowling indoors can be very dull and gets the batter into so many bad habits. English bowlers can't really turn it indoors and batters get used to hammering skiddy lifeless bowling but, of course, it's a different matter when you get outdoors and the ball turns."

"The first decent leg-spinner I ever played against was Shane Warne when I was nineteen or twenty years old. It was a complete mystery! But now young players will have the opportunity of getting some experience against top class spin bowling before they have to face it."

Troy Coolley with Merlyn by BOLA spin machine

Troy Cooley Head Coach at Australia's Cricket Acadamy with Merlyn