Keswick Cricket Club is to go live this season with a film streaming and information service that will enable anyone anywhere in the world to watch first XI home matches from its Fitz Park ground.
The film and data – the latter including regular updates direct from the scorer’s book — will add massively to the club’s on-ground match commentary system that has been in operation for several seasons, writes Keith Richardson.
KCC home games attract large numbers of spectators but that audience now has the potential to be enhanced and widened considerably.
The new film streaming and data will provide supporters, whether they are in Sri Lanka, Australia or housebound in Portinscale or stuck in traffic in central London, instant access to watch matches live at Fitz Park.
The system used is known as NV Play and is an online streaming platform currently licensed to the ECB (England and Wales Cricket Board) and NZ (New Zealand Cricket) for use at international and first-class games.
NV Play comes with inbuilt systems for scorecards, replays and advertising, the latter used to help generate fund-raising to cover the cost. The club’s streaming platform is likely to be YouTube and access can be through mobiles, laptops, iPads and smart TVs.
The cost for Keswick CC to adopt the system is just over £1,000, but the benefits for the club’s growing fan base will be significant.
Not only that, club players will be able to watch replays of games and coaches and captains can point to specific game situations while individuals will be able to study their own batting, bowling and fielding techniques. It can also, clearly, be used to study the strengths and weaknesses of the opposition.
Andrew Bryson is a level three ECB coach and member of the KCC management committee who also coaches the club’s juniors and manages the county Under-15 squad. He is responsible for introducing NV Play to KCC.
“We wanted to ensure that, as a club, we stay ahead of the game and be the first to introduce NV Play to cricket in Cumbria,” he said.
“We see this as an addition to the invaluable work that so many club volunteers do to make the club successful.
“Nowadays people buy into an experience and what a local club like Keswick Cricket Club can offer. Our hope is that NV Play will help showcase that and provide, quite literally, a picture of what we are all about.
“Social media is a big part of society and we can provide a positive platform to promote the club through the live streaming, commentary, information and replays. It will also provide the opportunity for local businesses to support the project.
“Being able to communicate with supporters, far and wide, as well as in the local community, is all part of the cricket experience at Keswick. Overseas we know we have supporters who will be watching from Sri Lanka (home of current professional Geeth Kumara) Australia and South Africa.”
The NV Play system works through a camera connected to the top of an off-field sightscreen situated directly in line with the wicket.
This is linked to the laptop/scorebook operated by first XI scorer, David Simpson, who triples up as the club’s secretary/treasurer. It then provides an automated service, with live action and information direct from the laptop/scorebook.
For the record, David provides a dual system of online scorebook as well as a hard copy, written out in the traditional book.
The NV Play will be trialled by the club for 2021 matches and the aim is to eventually extend the service right across the club’s three senior teams, women’s squad and junior teams, if possible or required.
Similarly, as part of its communications portfolio, the club also publishes an annual KCC colour magazine that has been paused because of the coronavirus pandemic and its impact on business made it financially unviable at present. It is hoped the magazine will be published once again early in spring 2022.
But for now KCC is gearing up to a full season of league cricket at all levels on the field.
The club has a new principal sponsor, O’Reilly Wealth Management, and has invested in new playing and training kit.
League fixtures begin on Saturday, May 1 but before then a series of pre-season games is scheduled.
The first is on Saturday, April 10 when Wigton visit Fitz Park followed by an inter-club fixture on April 17 and a game against Penrith CC on April 18, plus a visit from Carlisle on Saturday, April 24.