Ground Advice: Covering cracks

20th February 2015

Our MD David Bates shares his expertise as former first class cricket groundsman and a trainer and pitch advisor for both the ECB and IOG. This column – in which he explains how to stop your pitches cracking, Waca-style – first appeared in The Cricketer in February 2014…

Cricket pitches whose profiles have a high clay content hold a lot more water in the pore spaces, so the higher the clay content the greater the likelihood of cracking as that water evaporates or gets sucked out by the grass plants.

Standard UK cricket pitches tend to have about a 25-30% clay content, while the Waca is nearer 80%; hence the pitches play and dry differently.

Big cracks do not necessarily mean that the wicket will play badly, as was shown in the Perth test. It is arguably worse for a cricket contest to have an old and tired profile, one that has become heavily layered over time and so has lost any life in its surface.

The best means to prevent cracking is to ensure an even grass covering in the first instance, as the root structure will help to bind the soil, followed by a controlled drying process that means the profile reaches the right moisture content so the pitch plays to its optimal levels.

To discuss total-play’s fine turf cricket services – including advice and support in carrying out end-of-season and pre-season maintenance tasks, the construction of new tables and profile regeneration call 01604 864575 or click here to find out more.

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