Written by Luke Wylie
The last traditional Tuesday post showcased some of Northern Soul stringer, Chris Wilson’s interpretation of some classic pockets. But with the rise in popularity for traditional pockets there is a greater demand for stringers skilled in this dark art. As such I assumed Chris couldn’t be the only one out there with exceptional talents for weaving together pockets of perfection. After some research and some forum surfing I stumbled upon a Polish stringer.
Enter Piotr Stalmach of www.Meshwizard.eu. He really started stringing in early 2009. He then opened up a stringing retail business on the continent which means that he has had plenty of practice and time to hone his abilities to produce some pretty cool string jobs. Piotr’s advice has even featured on popular lacrosse media outlet laxallstars.com. He attributed his knack of weaving his way round a stick to his great grandfather who used to weave wicker baskets. It’s somewhat in his genes!
So we have two excellent stringers, perhaps the best their countries have to offer. Both are extremely knowledgeable on the topic of stringing and like to display their talents. At this point it seemed logical to pit them against each other, head to head, in a stringing challenge. So I kicked the hornet’s nest and waited to see what madness would erupt. The task was to create a traditional or variation pocket that looked amazing, displayed a high level of complexity and was fully functional. These guys did not disappoint.
First up we have Chris Wilson’s variation on Coach Matt’s Hawk pocket. Originally Chris showed me a mean looking pocket on a Warrior Swarm X following a black and grey colour scheme. The level of detail on that first pocket impressed me but after consideration Chris decided to submit this Nike Vapor with the Hawk pocket variant. He made a good decision. Using a single interlock spine down the center of the pocket helps to create an extremely channeled and accurate pocket. This leads down to an almighty saddle for the ball to nestle on when the stick is more vertical. He has also incorporated twisted connectors between the outer and inner leathers as opposed to the traditional diamond style. This provides the pocket with both consistent hold and release. The pocket coupled with a great head such as the Nike Vapor leads to a formidable stick; one that I certainly wouldn’t mind playing with!
Next up is Piotr’s Maverik Flight 17 with a 2-leather Stinger pocket! Now, Piotr is an extremely approachable and friendly guy, much like Chris, but when talking to him and looking at some of his previous string jobs you can help but notice an air of eccentricity. It’s a characteristic that produces creativity and originality. He is not one to shy away from thinking outside the box and that much is clear from this head. He chose perhaps one of the less popular heads on the market the Maverik Flight 17 and paired it with an original looking 2-leather pocket. As you can imagine only using two leathers presents it’s own challenges but he also mentioned that he had always wanted to try utilizing coils, so potentially making life very hard for himself he went ahead and produced this green monster. It looks incredible the colour scheme would suit the Maverik United team on the LXM Pro tour very nicely. The 2 leathers connected with a series of pita-style twists and coils will provide the pocket with an amazingly smooth release as well as forming a channel. The outer coils connect to an innovative diamond pattern formed without the use of outer leathers; this should give the pocket great hold.
Both stringers have really done themselves proud producing small pieces of functional artwork. It feels wrong of me to judge whose is better especially when both are of such high quality. I will leave it up to you and the comments section below. Please find the complete display of the pockets in the gallery.