Cricket pitch covers can go beyond enabling the pitch to remain dry enough for matches to go ahead whatever the weather. Their tactical use can aid the groundsman in meeting the key long-term objectives of keep the pitch dry – and the grass plant alive, as total-play MD and former first-class groundsman, David Bates, explains…
Modern cricket pitch covers are split into two basic categories – flat sheet ground covers and raised cricket pitch covers. Both styles have their pros and cons, and each individual ground will favour a certain style or combination of covers depending upon its topography. For example, raised mobile covers aren’t always suitable for grounds that have a gradient within or across the line of play, or where saddling is an issue, as water can run down from higher up the ground and ‘pond’ underneath the raised cover.
In this case, flat sheet covers are preferable – they can be deployed across a greater area of the ground, capturing water on their surface so it doesn’t pool. If water does collect anywhere in a ‘dip’, it will rest on top of the cover as opposed to saturating the pitch. To meet this remit, there are breathable flat sheet covers on the market that also let light through to the surface – including our own flagship Climate Cover System – which is designed to be left in place for extended periods.
Where possible, we recommend alternating the use of mobile and flat sheet covers to can control how the pitch dries out through evaporation, transpiration and drainage. Combined with an effective rolling programme this results in a surface that gives the desired hardness – and, in turn, performance.
Whatever your budget, we’d advise investing in the best ground cover solution you can afford. At the very least, a decent single wicket flat sheet rain cover, which can be picked up for a couple of hundred pounds, will pay dividends when it comes to enabling matches to continue should the weather be against you.