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No play - no expensive renovation?

This year has been one of the wettest cricket seasons most of us can be remember with a high number of matches lost to weather. Cancelled fixtures have left pitches unused and many clubs facing a loss of income.

As the end of the season approaches club committees faced with a falling income will be looking to make savings to balance the books, and it will be tempting and indeed understandable for them to consider economising on ‘expensive’ end of season repairs to a square that has hardly been used.

But this is short-term thinking.

“It has long been recognised that post season cricket square renovation, undertaken in a correct and professional manner, forms the foundation for quality pitches throughout the forthcoming season.”

Paradoxically, just because pitches have not been used doesn’t mean they should not be renovated at the end of the season.

The grass this year has grown strongly and produced waste plant material on the surface, known as ‘thatch’.

Square

In a normal busy season 'thatch' is controlled to a large extent by regular pitch preparation and players running over the square in spikes.

This organic material must be removed from the square at the end of every season no matter if the pitches have been used or not, and particularly before the onset of winter to prevent it becoming integrated into the soil.

If this happens, then it will produce a cushioning effect on the surface of the square for the following playing season creating inconsistent bounce, limited pace and carry.

A ‘thatchy’ surface may also encourage the pitch surface to break up in play, which when very dry can become unpredictable.

Over-time thatch will become fully integrated as organic matter into the soil, making the preparation of a high quality playing surface difficult, and will most likely mean substantially more outlay in the future to repair the damage created by not renovating the square at the end of the season.

So if funds are tight this year and your club cannot afford top dressings – loam is likely to cost about £400 for a 10 pitch square - please remember that it can only take one year to create problems for the future.

A suggested minimum renovation programme to ensure the long-term health and consistent playability of your square could be:

  • Thoroughly scarify all pitches on the square to remove thatch and collect arisings with extra attention to pitches that have not been used.
  • Over sow with a fine leaved rye grass blend.
  • Apply a pre seeding or autumn winter fertiliser.
  • AND If you can afford it, apply a light dressing of your normal cricket loam (3 bags/pitch) to repair and level worn ends and help bed in the seed.
  • For Full loam dressing you will need 8 bags/pitch.

For a 10 pitch square you should need:

  • 2 x 20 kg bags of grass seed @ £150
  • 2 x 25 kg bags of fertiliser @ £50
  • 30 x 25 kg bags of loam @ £150
  • Hire of ECB trailer - variable
  • Heavy duty scarification by contractor @ £400
  • Full loam dressing - 80 x 25 kg @ £400

(Note these are indicative prices and may vary slightly throughout the country)

Remember you can save money by using the County Trailer and your CGA may have bulk buying facilities.

For more information please contact: