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Buying kit

We are pleased to have the long-term support of Beckenham Cricket Specialists, who offer a 20 per cent discount (off RRP) to anyone who shows an Alleyn Cricket Club fixture card.

Clothes

For summer and winter practices, the simplest approach is to wear a sports kit with trainers. All our new junior members will be given a Club cricket shirt. To look the part in matches, a pair of white cricket trousers will help. A cricket sweater is a nice thing to have, but most players don't really bother. Trousers and sweaters can easily be had for £10 to £20 each. When a child starts to get serious about cricket, cricket boots (spikes) are increasingly helpful since they help to prevent injury when slipping and sliding on grass. When trying them on, you're looking for the same comfort as you would get from trainers.

Buying a bat

Up to and including Year 4 (the Under 9 team), any bat will do. A cheap, lightweight bat from a sports shop is just fine. You just need to be able to brandish it so you can knock the soft ball out of sight! 

As soon as the hard ball is introduced (from Year 5 onwards) then a nice-looking clean bargain from a multi-sports retailer is not a good idea. It will feel brittle when you hit the ball, the hands will sting if the ball is struck hard and the bat will break before long. You need a proper bat made from English willow. It's likely to cost at least £50. 

Choosing a bat:

  1. Bat sizes are dictated by their height. Stand with your arms by your side, and the top of the bat handle should sit neatly in your hand. A rapidly-growing child quickly outgrows a bat, unfortunately, but don't be tempted into thinking that he or she will grow into it. That doesn't happen. They just won't be able to use the bat properly until they're taller.

  2. Bat weights are easy to get wrong. There are two tests. First, stand in a batting stance and lift the bat into the backlift using just your top hand. If it's too heavy on the wrist or forearm, go lighter. Second, take the bat in your top hand and hold it out, horizontally in front of you (en garde, like a sword). Again, if it feels heavy, go lighter.

  3. The bat must be knocked-in. Knocking-in means thousands of hits on the bat from a special bat mallet, which compresses the outer wood into a responsive, resilient surface. A bat that has not been knocked-in will have soft, springy wood, and it will hit the ball like a dream until it breaks in two, which will be very soon. Many bats are pre-knocked-in and some have a protective covering. Ask the bat specialist in the shop: does it need knocking-in? If they say yes, they may be able to do it for you for a surcharge (BCS offers this service for £20). If the shop assistant doesn't know what knocking-in is, then perhaps you should not be buying a bat from them.

Protective kit

Up to and including Year 4 (the Under 9 team), children play with a soft cricket ball so protective kit really isn't needed. From Year 5 onwards, the hard ball is introduced. A child will need an abdominal protector (box) which is very cheap but it's a must-have and everybody likes to have his or her own. It must be worn with elasticated underwear otherwise it will slip down the leg. Boxer shorts are hopeless. A box is the cheapest item of cricket kit to buy.

We'll provide all the other protective kit your child needs. It's completely up to you if you'd like to buy your own. As a child becomes older, you may wish to purchase batting gloves. Look for comfort and flexibility of movement; when buying gloves at the cricket shop, always grab a bat to get a good feel for the gloves. 

When you buy batting pads, the trick is to check that the velcro straps fit exactly around the calf. The velcro tabs should be secured on the inside part of the leg (if the tabs stick out from the outside of the leg, the batsman is wearing the pads the wrong way round: here's Alastair Cook wearing them the right way and Kevin Pietersen wearing them the wrong way and with the lower strap clearly too long for him). If they're too loose and the pad can be rotated around the leg, then the pad is too large. A thigh pad is a good idea and quite cheap. It's good to get used to running with batting pads and a thigh pad. It's not as easy as it looks on television.

It's a requirement of all organised cricket that a batsman under the age of 18 must wear a helmet. There's no reason why this should simply apply to children, though; quite honestly any cricketer who goes out to bat without a helmet is trusting luck. They're expensive, though. Fit the grille in such a way that the line of sight is between the visor and the grille (you don't look through the bars of the grille) but ensure that a cricket ball cannot fit through the gap.

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