GRAFTON grandad Geoff Shepherd and the wood workers at the Men's Shed have eliminated one of the arguments during backyard cricket at the Shepherd household.
After much trial and error, they have produced a carved set of cricket stumps which leave the batsman in no doubt he has been bowled.
Named the Stump Jump, echoing an earlier Australian invention, the stump jump plough, Greg Ryan and Kel Phelps have handcrafted a set of stumps mounted in a base, which sends one of the stumps flying when struck by the ball.
"It will certainly help convince Jack he is out when I manage to bowl him," Mr Shepherd said. "If there's any dispute, he'll be able to turn around and get it in writing".
Stump Jump designer Mr Ryan has carved the word 'out' on the base of the device under each of the trip mounts to put each dismissal in writing and avoid arguments.
He said Mr Shepherd, a neighbour of Mr Ryan's, commissioned the device for use on multiple surfaces, like the backyard, beach, park, concrete or asphalt.
Mr Ryan said the idea of the stumps was to introduce more excitement into backyard cricket by ensuring the stumps turned into missiles every time batsmen were bowled out.
"Bowlers will absolutely love it, batsmen probably will be less pleased and wicket keepers will have to be on their toes," Mr Ryan said.
"But it is safe as there are no pointy ends on any of the stumps."
Wood turner Kel Phelps has done outstanding work turning some old sticks of Oregon pine into the three polished stumps. To get bails with the required weight, he chose some Western Australian jarrah, which he has also used for the trip mounts.
The hardwood base has holes to allow the stumps to be pegged down and a non-slip surface to keep it secure on harder wickets like bitumen or concrete.
Mr Phelps said the fine-grained Oregon was perfect timber for the stumps and the jarrah made was ideal for the bails.
"We made another set from Oregon, but they were too light and blew off in even a light breeze," he said.
The Stump Jump mechanism has each stump in a hinged trip mount that allows each stump to swing back when the ball hits it.
There is just enough tension in the mount to keep the stumps steady until contact with the ball sends it flying.
The Men's Shed has begun work on improving the Stump Jump's design.
My Ryan said having the stumps mounted in a rubberised socket could improve the reaction once the ball strikes a stump.
"You could say the Men's Shed has come up with a truly wicket idea," Mr Ryan said.
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