Written by Terry Smith
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Best garden cricket sets for your kids: wonderful memories with family and friends
This article was last updated on August 7th, 2021 at 3:17 am
Is there anything that says British summertime more than a game of cricket in the garden? During this lockdown, albeit cold right now, I pondered how to keep the kids happy in the garden so they can run off some steam. So it got me thinking, the fondest memories I have – playing cricket in the back garden with my cousins still live with me 30 years later (that and a nice game of garden boules that everyone can join in). Now I want to share the best garden cricket sets so your children can enjoy the same.
No matter how old your children may be, there are garden cricket sets out there that will give them a chance to enjoy this classic sport.
It won’t cost you the earth either, these sets start off cheaper than a pub meal, and even the higher quality, more costly sets are not going to break the bank, and will last you for years to come.
We have taken a closer look at the choices available to us at the moment for a look ahead into Summer 2021, and reviewed them for you based on how well they represent playing with actual leather cricket balls, durability and strength of the bat (a must because the V joint always gives up first), safety for your children to play unsupervised, and good old value for money.
All you have to do is read our easy to follow reviews, and then decide for yourself which is the best garden cricket set for you.
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Comparison table: Best garden cricket sets for your kids: wonderful memories with family and friends
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Learn how to get the best garden cricket set
Before you rush off and buy your garden cricket set, here are a few things you might want to take into consideration before parting ways with your money.
When browsing for garden cricket sets you might have noticed that some of them are available in different sizes, usually numbered 1-6.
Size 1 would probably be a good pick for ages 4-5, or to put it another way: children up to 4 feet 3 inches. As you go up each size, the age range increases by a year or two, and the height by a couple of inches. So, a size 6 set is good for 11-13 year olds who are not taller than 5ft 5”.
Teenagers who are taller than 5ft 5” would be better off with either a harrow sized set, a full size with short handle, or simply a full size regular handle set.
Some sets, like the ‘Ram Crazy Cricket’ set we reviewed might have 2 bats of different sizes, so be sure to check the product descriptions carefully.
A lot of modern garden cricket sets are what is generally referred to as the ‘quick cricket’ style. These are constructed of strong plastic, and have a ball that is soft rubbery plastic. The bats are lighter, and easier to handle, but the balls tend to be quite heavy like a real cricket ball, although they are much safer for young players.
If you are going to buy a plastic set, I would recommend spending a bit more on a high quality set, as cheaper ones will tend to bend and warp in a very short time.
Wooden sets are still available, but ones made for the garden will probably come with a tennis ball, for obvious reasons. Again, price is a factor here, and the cheapest wooden sets might not last you too long, although there are bargains to be had if you search hard enough.
Obviously, you need to decide how much you are prepared to spend on your garden cricket set, but here are a few things to consider:
- Firstly, saving money by buying the cheapest set you can find might actually end up costing you more when you have to replace it after a week. I’m not saying you have to spend a fortune, after all its just for a bit of garden fun, but the lowest cost products never last very long at all.
- The next thing to think about is how much you will use the set. If you’re really into cricket, or your children are, you’ll probably end up playing quite often, and so it might actually be worth buying one of the most expensive sets, for the extra durability. If your kids often prefer a football net or similar then spending out big probably isn’t worth it.
- At the end of the day, budget is a personal thing, and people will spend what they feel is worth it. I just advise not going to low in price, no matter if it is a plastic or wood set, as it almost always leads to disappointment.
Most garden cricket sets will contain a bat, some stumps, and a ball, but there are sometimes other extras thrown in too. For example, the Fortress set we reviewed above has two complete sets of stumps and not just one like many of its competitors.
Other sets will have two bats instead of just one, or will have bails for the stumps. A common extra is a carry/storage bag, but these vary wildly in quality so read some reviews or customer feedback if this is important to you.
Then are little things like whether the handle grip is taped or rubber, and this just comes down to personal preference. A lot of sets have stickers on them, and this can sometimes put people off, as can the bright colour schemes used for some plastic cricket kits.
Some cricket sets will come with protective gear like a helmet and gloves, but these are usually not great quality, and when it comes to safety, I always spend more on the real deal.
1. Gunn & Moore Opener Cricket Set
An extremely popular set that is getting rave reviews and feedback from its many customers, the Gunn & Moore opener cricket set is a bargain at its current low price.
Ideally suited to 4-7 year old children, this is basically a scaled down ‘quick cricket’ set, complete with moulded plastic bat, rubber ball, and plastic wickets with base. The wicket base is ok, but I would weight or anchor it down in high winds. The plastic wickets slip in easily and stay in the correct formation well. I remember being a kid and playing with a classic wooden set and having a nightmare trying to keep the wickets lined up straight after digging them in the ground. I’m glad to see that kids these days don’t have to bother with that.
The wickets themselves aren’t the strongest in the world, but will take the power of a young bowler without issue. If you are intending to throw a few for your son or daughter, you’d better take it easy though, or you could bend them.
The plastic bat is the perfect size and weight for the targeted age group, and has a taped grip to stop it slipping out of sweaty little hands. It features a large sticker with the GM brand logo towards the handle end of the bat, but this doesn’t affect anything, and actually looks quite good. The rubber ball has enough weight to it to knock the stumps over, but is soft enough not to damage windows or anything in case a few shots go wayward. The whole set come sin a clear plastic carry bag and everything fits back in there without a struggle when it comes time to pack it away.
There’s even enough extra space to throw a spare ball or two in there just in case someone knocks a six out of the garden. To sum up, this is a very good, low cost, starter cricket set for little kids. Just don’t expect it to be bulletproof or last forever but then given it’s for 4-7 year olds how long do you need it to last? For the 4-7 age group the Gunn & Moore Opener Cricket Set is my best garden cricket set.
Best garden cricket set – FORTRESS Garden Cricket Set – Kwik Cricket Set
2. FORTRESS Garden Cricket Set - Kwik Cricket Set
“I’m going to say it straight up – the FORTRESS Garden Cricket Set – Kwik Cricket Set is the best garden cricket set overall, no question.”
If your budget will stretch a bit further, I couldn’t recommend anything else but the Fortress garden cricket set. This cricket set gave me the absolute best experience possible as a 9 to 13 year old without using real leather. The ball bounces nicely, comes on to the bat well, the bats are sturdy enough to give the ball a good heave – even if you’re an adult after a few beers joining in 😉 and is very durable.
For the extra pounds you spend, you certainly do get a much higher quality set than a lot of them out there. The plastic used for the majority of the components is incredibly strong and durable, and this is a set that you will be using for years without anything getting bent or misshapen. You can also play a ‘proper’ game of quick cricket with the Fortress set as it includes two bats and two sets of wickets, not just one.
The balls included, called ‘incediballs’ by fortress, are excellent. They have a good weight to them but are much safer than standard cricket balls due to them being made out of rubber, and this makes them perfect for garden cricket matches. These balls even have been made to perform like real cricket balls, and even an authentic look to them, apart from the bright orange colour that is.
One of the best things about the Fortress garden cricket set, is that is available in three different sizes: kids, junior, and senior. All sets are made to the same super high quality, but with differences in the size of the bats and wickets.
These wickets are solid, and won’t get bent out of shape, even with heavy impacts, and as a nice little touch, the wickets even come complete with bails. Apart from the orange balls, and the black grip tape on the bat handles, everything is a bright yellow colour which might not be to everyone’s taste. I thought it worked well for the set though and it certainly makes it easy to spot any pieces you’ve dropped or left behind.
Everything comes in a good sized carry case, that is made from hard-wearing canvas and has an easy to carry shoulder strap. I honestly don’t have a bad word to say about this cricket set for the garden, and if it was me buying, I’d spend the extra to get something of this quality.
3. Ram Crazy Cricket Set - Junior
Another very high-quality cricket set for gardens is the Ram Crazy Cricket set, available for a pretty reasonable price.
Again, for the higher price you are rewarded with very solid components, made from the highest quality plastics. Everything feels extremely durable, and gave me no reason to question the longevity of the product, even with very frequent use.
Apart from the robustness of the set, the one thing that really stuck out for me was that the makers have actually thought about who uses sets like these: families. Now, in families there are of course people of different ages, and not everyone is going to feel comfortable using the same sized equipment, so Ram have included a size 3 bat for smaller players, and a larger size 5 bat too. It’s a simple idea, but one I thought people with more than one child would appreciate.
The set has two sets of stumps but they are not the same. There is a 3-wicket stump for the batter’s end, but only a single wicket stump for the bowlers’ end. However, this actually makes little difference in a garden game of quick cricket. Both sets of stumps are very stable, and there are also bails for the batter’s side.
For people who don’t like the bright yellow colour scheme of the Fortress garden cricket set, this one’s darker, black and red colours might be better suited. The base of the stumps is still a brighter colour though, as are the two rubber balls that are included.
Just like with the Fortress set, the balls that come with the Ram Crazy Cricket set are weighty and meant to perform just like the real thing, and they’ve done a good job at insuring that.
The set comes in its very own ‘Crazy Cricket’ carry bag, that is the same black with red colour as the majority of the set, and is made from hard wearing materials. Unfortunately, there is only a carry handle on this bag, and no shoulder strap, but it is still comfortable to carry around.
This is a very serious contender for best garden cricket set, and the two different sized bats is a great idea for families with more than one child. Excellent quality, and looks great too.
4. GM Cricket Diamond Beginner Cricket Set
Prefer the feel of a classic wooden cricket set over a modern plastic one?
Then maybe you’d be interested in the GM Diamond beginner cricket set.
Comprising of a wooden bat, 4 stumps, a bail, and a soft ball, it has everything you need for game of garden cricket with the family and friends.
The ball is basically a red coloured tennis ball, so it shouldn’t be breaking any windows or harming anyone hit by a stray shot. It is very easy to hit it quite far though due to the lack of weight, so older players should take care not to swing too hard or you’ll lose the ball over the fence.
The quality of the wood used for the bat and stumps is ok, nothing great but about what you’d expect for the price. GM’s diamond beginner cricket set is available in different sizes: 1 to 6, with 1 being the smallest and 6 the largest. The smallest size is supposed to be aimed at the youngest players, but because of the bat being wooden it might be too heavy for those under 6 years old. A size 6 would be fine for anyone over the age of 11 up to early teens, I’d say.
As with most cricket sets, this one comes with its own storage/carry bag, and again it is not the best or worst I’ve ever seen.
And that about sums this set up: it is not great, but not bad either. To be honest, I thought it would have been better as it is made by GM, who have a great reputation and have some amazing products out there. Sadly, this isn’t one of their best, but still better than a lot of other similarly priced wooden sets out there.
Other kids activities:
This low cost, wooden garden cricket set is meant to be used by children under 4 foot 9 inches tall, and will set you back around eleven pounds or so.
Now for that low price, you can’t expect a professional quality set, and the stumps and bail are where this is most obvious. It’s not that they are terrible or anything like that, it’s just that they don’t feel as solid as what you find with more expensive sets, but I guess that’s to be expected. Note, you will not be in the garden, have a few glasses of wine, join in with the kids, and expect the bat to be in one piece an hour later. This kit isn’t that…
Also, the bail doesn’t quite sit on the stumps as well as it could due the grooves not being deep enough, and falls off on its own accord from time to time. It’s annoying, but not a deal breaker.
The size 3 bat, on the other hand, actually feels pretty good. I especially like the rubber grip on the handle which I much prefer over the taped kind. The bat doesn’t feel too heavy either, which will make it more fun for kids to use for extended periods without getting fatigued.
The ball is just a standard tennis ball, like the one found in the GM set we reviewed above, and that’s ok for little kids to play with in the garden. If you’ve got older children, you might want to invest in a good quick cricket set that has a rubber ball with more weight to it.
The bag that the set comes in is what you’d expect for the price, and I wouldn’t expect for it to last very long, and you’d probably be better off using an old sports bag or similar instead if you’re transporting the kit around a lot.
For what it is, this set isn’t bad at all. Is it indestructible?
No, of course not, it’s a budget kid’s practice set, and you get what you pay for. All in all, it’s worth a look as far as garden cricket sets go.