Andy Stovold with bowling machines


Are you getting the most out of your BOLA Bowling Machine? Many BOLA users are telling us that they would welcome some input from a professional coach on how to best utilise their most valuable coaching aid.

In response to their request BOLA, in partnership with ex-Gloucestershire opening bat and Director of Cricket Development Andy Stovold, will be organising Bowling Machine seminars open to all club and school coaches.

The seminars will provide comprehensive advice on all issues that relate to the Bowling Machine including: health and safety; game situation cricket; spin bowling and fitness drills. The BOLA seminars will supplement the current bowling machine content of ECB coaching awards.

“Our aim is to promote purposeful cricket coaching with the Bowling Machine,” explained Andy. “There are obviously many excellent coaches working with the BOLA Machine but I estimate that about 50% of our customers could improve the benefits they can achieve with the Machine.

“Too many Machines are left underused because there aren’t enough coaches available to operate them properly. I still regularly visit cricket clubs where the Machine is permanently left at 90 mph. The BOLA is so much more than a ‘speed’ machine. With more knowledge club coaches and school teachers can achieve so much more.”

The seminars will be arranged throughout the UK for groups of between five and twenty coaches, depending on the facilities available and the chosen centre. They could all be coaches from one club or several local clubs and schools could organise a visit between them.

Cheltenham C.C. was one of the first clubs to organise a seminar with Andy. Their Head Coach Steve Cashmore, who is also Chairman of the Gloucestershire Coaches Association, said, “This seminar offers coaches not only essential Health and Safety advice, but also provides them with a toolkit full of ideas which they can use and adapt in their own coaching environment. Andy Stovold manages to combine useful and practical advice with thought-provoking insights into getting the most from machines and players alike. The Gloucestershire Cricket Board Cricket Association look forward to more coaches benefiting from BOLA’s future seminars in Gloucestershire!”

Andy Stovold will also include advice and coaching ideas applicable to the BOLA Fielding Rig where appropriate.
Any individuals or groups interested in attending or arranging a BOLA Bowling Machine Seminar with Andy should email

Lisvane Junior C.C.
Ian Morgan the Youth Coordinator at Lisvane Cricket Club in Cardiff purchased their first BOLA Machine in 2005. He had created the clubs youth section a couple of years earlier with about twenty boys and girls.

This year Ian’s training sessions are attended by about 150 boys and 20 girls each week and they needed a second machine to help them cope.

“The machines are terrific for generating interest amongst the children,” explained Ian. “The first machine was financed through raffles, bag packing at ASDA and donations from keen parents. For the second BOLA we received a grant from the Cricket Board of Wales and sponsorship from local companies.”

Lisvane have ten ECB qualified coaches who cater for their eleven agegroup teams and this season Glamorgan Cricket Development Officer Peter Edwards will also be running an Academy side.

“From eleven onwards everybody uses the machines,” said Ian. “We like to coach one-on-one and the machines are indispensable tools especially with the automatic feeder.”

The club took over the old YMCA cricket ground six years ago and are currently hard at work tuning it into a vibrant centre for cricket in north Cardiff with the help of an ECB facilities grant.

Felsted School in Essex have an association with BOLA Bowling Machines dating back to 1985 when they bought the fourth machine to be manufactured at the Bristol factory.

Master in Charge of Cricket, Charles Knightly, has recently replaced that original machine with two new BOLA Professionals with Stands and Automatic Feeders.

Charles, whose career includes captaining Gloucestershire C.C.C. under 19s and County Second team cricket, is a long-term machine user himself having first encountered them at Dean Close School, Cheltenham also in the eighties.

Felsted have five indoor nets in their Sports Hall and use matting to create differing speeds of surface.

“I like to encourage the pupils to be responsible for what we are going to work on. They will decide on a facet of their game and I will alternate between the machine and live bowling,” explained Charles. “The machine is a fantastic coaching aid especially during indifferent weather.”

The school has produced several England cricketers including Nick Knight (who would have developed his basic shots in front of machine No.4), Derek Pringle and John Stevenson. They also supply Essex CCC with a steady flow of young players and currently have ten pupils representing the county in agegroup teams.

  "The Machines are terrific
for generating interest
amongst the Children."