Major Work on the Grange Square
With no outdoor cricket in Scotland due until the 2014 season, Grange Cricket Club has undertaken extensive work on the square and the outfield.
Cricket Scotland spoke to Head Groundsman Lee Spendlove about a number of ingrained problems that have plagued his day-to-day work and what condition the square will be in next season.
It looks like some considerable work has been going on, can you tell us what is being carried out?
We’ve laid some junior pitches on the outfield and the club are having a new tennis court put in and the soil that has come out of that has been used on sections of the outfield. The patchs that caused the problems during the second Pakistan game and the area at the entrance has been filled in.
It’s not a case of getting the wheel barrow and throwing a bit of soil about, there is probably close to 400-500 tonnes [of soil] all together.
What was the problem with the wickets?
The contours at the ends meant that the saddles at the creases were higher than the middle so the water was running into these points and were lying.
This problem meant two things – firstly, when you came to prepare a pitch, even if you didn’t have any rain the ends were dry before the middle, so you never actually got the pitch uniform. Secondly, to compound things, the levels weren’t even so you were getting low spots within those lower spots.
During match days we would just hope we didn’t get any rain as it would take us two hours to get the water off the covers!
The work that Fraser Hillhouse and his Central Green Services team have carried out has consisted of taking the saddles down to a mean level with the use of a laser, to get it to the lowest point we can.
Once it was as level as we could possible get it, it’s been verti-drained and then rotovated to a tilth of about 20ml so that the seed can be incorporated and then new loam has been mixed in it, and then inserted with a seed drill. It has now been rolled slightly and covered with germination sheets and it’s [the grass] is starting to come through now.
How do you think it will stand up to the 2014 season?
We normally start the season here in April, but we’ll have to sit down with the cricket committee to see what we can arrange - I wouldn’t like to be on there until the first week in May.
We’d be hard pushed to get anything up to international standard before the end of the summer here, but league cricket should be ok.
This should be something that people will have the benefit of for 50 years, although it may make next season a little tricky, but we’ll get through that with the knowledge that we have got it right and will really improve the wickets we’re able to produce.