The Cricket Pitch Experts
Of all sports surfaces, natural cricket pitches are notoriously the most challenging to build and maintain. While non-turf cricket pitches have, over the years, come on leaps and bounds and offer a great alternative for both match play and practice, for many players nothing beats playing on a well maintained natural turf cricket pitch.
Cricket pitch agronomy
In an ideal world, a natural cricket pitch would be a solid block of clay loam – hard and at the correct moisture content to give the ball a true surface with pace and bounce required for the modern game. In reality, most pitches have seen years of ‘top dressing’; forming layers of varying materials and buried organic matter. A natural cricket pitch should ideally be:
In reality, whether your natural cricket pitch is based on a clay or sandy soil, a careful maintenance programme can help ensure it is up to the rigours of the game.
Cricket pitch performance standards
When it comes to constructing and maintaining natural turf cricket pitches, as part of its remit to raise standards across all areas of the game, the England & Wales Cricket Board (ECB) has published rigorous guidelines to ensure uniformity both in terms of size and performance – for example, the length of an adult pitch is 20.12m (22 yards).
The ECB document ‘Recommended Guidelines for the construction, preparation and maintenance of cricket pitches and outfields at all levels of the game’ outlines all of these in detail. total-play Ltd adheres closely to these guidelines while carrying out any works – be it the construction of a new natural cricket pitch or maintenance or regeneration of an old natural turf cricket pitch to ensure the required standards are met.
Cricket pitch construction
The construction of a new cricket table from scratch requires expert input from the outset; from deciding the processes and timescales required for works and establishment of a playable surface, through to the finer details like selecting the optimum materials based on the geography of the site and the native soil type. ‘Full Construction’ of a natural turf cricket pitch incorporates a gravel raft, building layer and loam, while ‘Profile Construction’ of a natural cricket pitch uses imported loam directly on the existing soil base.
Cricket pitch maintenance
Natural cricket pitches require careful maintenance throughout the year. Any changes in pH or build-up of organic matter in the grass sward can lead to a host of common natural cricket pitch problems which require expert intervention to resolve.
Depending on the league, the playing season can generally be from the middle of April to September, with the spring pre-season works period, summer playing season and autumn post-season works periods the busiest in terms of maintenance tasks. By carrying out key works such as mowing, fertilizing, scarification, rolling and dry brushing, cricket clubs can ensure their natural cricket pitch meets the performance standard guidelines set by the ECB.