This page contains a Flash digital edition of a book.
NATURAL TURF


COLIN HOSKINS, JOURNALIST, INSTITUTE OF GROUNDSMANSHIP


PITCH PERFECT


What does it take to prepare an Ashes cricket pitch? We spoke to Edgbaston Cricket Ground’s head groundsman, Gary Barwell, to find out


W


hen the doors open at Edgbaston Cricket Ground on July 29 2015 for the third Investec Ashes between


England and Australia, head groundsman Gary Barwell will be confident in the knowledge that he has done everything in his power to produce the best possible playing surface. Being responsible for the pitch at one of the country’s busiest cricket venues, however, means that he has his work cut out. Each season Warwickshire CCC plays eight four-day English County Championship games and 12 or more one-day fixtures at Edgbaston, and there are also a number of one-day Internationals. In addition, the ground is used for daily practice sessions.


PREPARATION IS EVERYTHING Barwell’s role at the five-hectare site is to prepare all international and domestic pitches plus two international-standard net facilities, and to oversee the preparation


of the pitches at Warwickshire CCC’s outgrounds. He manages budgets in conjunction with the club’s director of finance and is responsible for an ongoing pitch plan which is submitted to the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) and Sky TV for televised games. With the modern cricket seasons


now extending from April through to September (though work in the nets usually starts in mid-March), Barwell and his six-man grounds team will be kept busy. An Ashes game was last staged at the


Birmingham ground in 2009, but the stadium facilities have seen a number of improvements since. Barwell will be relying on some of those improvements to assist him in the lead up, especially when it comes to the weather dictating what he and his team can do. “Heavy rain is certainly the scourge


of the game of cricket,” says Barwell, who was crowned the 2013 Institute of Groundsmanship (IOG) Professional Cricket Groundsman of the Year.


“To counteract it, we decided to invest £600,000 in a remodelled outfield in 2010. The pitch is so much better now, and it’s getting better every year, with the turf sitting on four inches of sand. The pitch is surrounded by land drains and the outfield drains at 33mm per hour. That said, when you have a month’s rain in a week – like we did last year – it really doesn’t matter what drainage you have.” The disruption caused by the rain can


limit Barwell’s options, but when it comes to the type of pitch he wants to produce at Edgbaston, his aim is clear – consistency in speed and bounce. “Heavy rain prevents us from getting onto the square to do what we need to do. Sometimes we get just three days to get the pitch ready. When that happens, we roll the pitch on days one and two and take the grass off on the third. “But whatever the conditions, my objective is to keep some level of pace in the wicket. Pace results from a mixture of moisture, grass coverage/density and heat – all have to combine in the right way.”


66


sportsmanagement.co.uk issue 2 2015 © Cybertrek 2015


Page 1  |  Page 2  |  Page 3  |  Page 4  |  Page 5  |  Page 6  |  Page 7  |  Page 8  |  Page 9  |  Page 10  |  Page 11  |  Page 12  |  Page 13  |  Page 14  |  Page 15  |  Page 16  |  Page 17  |  Page 18  |  Page 19  |  Page 20  |  Page 21  |  Page 22  |  Page 23  |  Page 24  |  Page 25  |  Page 26  |  Page 27  |  Page 28  |  Page 29  |  Page 30  |  Page 31  |  Page 32  |  Page 33  |  Page 34  |  Page 35  |  Page 36  |  Page 37  |  Page 38  |  Page 39  |  Page 40  |  Page 41  |  Page 42  |  Page 43  |  Page 44  |  Page 45  |  Page 46  |  Page 47  |  Page 48  |  Page 49  |  Page 50  |  Page 51  |  Page 52  |  Page 53  |  Page 54  |  Page 55  |  Page 56  |  Page 57  |  Page 58  |  Page 59  |  Page 60  |  Page 61  |  Page 62  |  Page 63  |  Page 64  |  Page 65  |  Page 66  |  Page 67  |  Page 68  |  Page 69  |  Page 70  |  Page 71  |  Page 72  |  Page 73  |  Page 74  |  Page 75  |  Page 76  |  Page 77  |  Page 78  |  Page 79  |  Page 80  |  Page 81  |  Page 82  |  Page 83  |  Page 84  |  Page 85  |  Page 86  |  Page 87  |  Page 88  |  Page 89  |  Page 90  |  Page 91  |  Page 92