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NWMCA Balls - a message to clubs
Date of Event North West Metropolitan Cricket Association: Fri Feb 21, 2020 3:08PM

All NWMCA clubs

There have been a lot of misunderstanding circulating both through rumour and social media regarding the trialling of balls and the decision to use Kookaburra balls in finals.

To be completely transparent here is what has led us to where we are today:

- In July 2019 we agreed to an extension of a preferred supplier agreement with Gray Nicolls GN) (the owner of the Platypus Googly long life Ball) to supply the association a range of balls for all grades Junior Senior and Woman’s cricket for the next three years. Effectively locking in pricing. (The association needs approx. 7,000 balls a year 2220 in senior men’s cricket)

- In September we placed our first order for the season of 60 dozen balls.

- In November we approached GN for our second allocation of balls (another 30 dozen)
On contacting them we were advised that the account manager we had been dealing with had been made redundant three months earlier and that GN no longer made the Googly ball GN said they could not provide the balls.

- As at November 2019 the current stock held was not going to cover the rest of the season.

- On contacting senior management at GN and voicing our displeasure they were not aware of the three-year agreement and did not offer any solution.

- Through contacting the National Sales/Marketing Manager of GN we could secure all remaining Googly balls (800). They were delivered in December.

- We renewed discussions with GN around the original 3-year agreement and the provision of a suitable replacement ball.

- The first trial which occurred in the senior grades was the equivalent quality of the Googly, unfortunately this ball failed in around the 15-20th over from splitting at the seam.
The second trial was the GN “highest quality” two-piece ball but this also failed. Although some reports were positive most were unhappy with the rate of deterioration of the ball.

- We then invited Kookaburra to provide a ball. The one they produced for us passed the trials and received good reports. While these trials were being conducted, clubs were still using the googly long life which we expected would see the season out. 

As the remaining original stock depleted, the new stock began to circulate (800 purchased November)

- Through January we received numerous reports of balls failing.

- After discussion with the new GN account manager we found out that the balls provided in November (the 800) were “seconds” or “rejected” based on quality. So, as of January we did not have a ball that we were confident would provide an even playing field for all teams.
- The board decided that especially with Finals a month away that we could not have balls failing in our finals matches. Our only option was to play with a ball that was going to last which from our trials was the Kookaburra ball. We purchased enough for the finals in our top grades.

Based on our discussion with Kookaburra the pricing and supply of their ball is a considerable increase to clubs which on face value is excepted by clubs however places additional pressure on club’s finances. Kookaburra understand their ball is superior to the GN product and have at present a “monopoly” on the market. 

We did not want to be dictated to by a manufacturer as to what price we were going to pay for a ball when they have no competition.

The Dukes Ball
 
We contacted Dukes UK in January and outlined our requirements.
Bob Byron and myself met with the Part owner of the Dukes business on Wednesday, 19th February.

Dukes are very interested in aligning with the association and can supply all our ball needs.

Dukes have provided 36 balls to trial which have been distributed to Luscombe, Kyte and McKay shield teams.
 
Conclusion

This is not an ideal situation and does not sit well with the board. However, we cannot rely on the Gray Nicholls product and we have the only Australian alternative asking a price that is not suitable.

The only option, therefore is to use the Kookaburra ball for finals and once the Duke ball trial is completed the Board can then make an informed decision on what is suitable for the next 3-5 years.

We cannot have a ball fail in a final and disadvantage one team. The ball must be able to last 80-70 and 35 overs.
 
The best advice we can provide to clubs that are in finals is to purchase a number of Kookaburra balls i.e “Tuf Pitch” and use these in training over the next 4 weeks so that players become more familiar with the ball.
 
 
 
Yours in Cricket
Peter Bryceson
President - NWMCA

Last updated: Friday February 21, 2020 3:10PM
Author: Bill Maddern