June Cricket Diary 2005

Laurence Gale MScin Cricket

June Cricket Diary

By Laurence Gale MSc


We should get some consistent warmer weather in June, which is more conducive to preparing cricket wickets. The bounce and pace of the wickets should be improving now that soil profiles are drying out. Most Groundsmen are nearly half way through their playing season, looking to see how well their facilities are playing and standing up to wear and tear. Irrigation will be a major consideration with evapotranspiration (ET), the combined water loss from both the plant and soil surfaces, now rising due to the warmer weather. Watering will be essential for wicket repairs and preparation. Irrigate uniformly and ensure the right amount is applied. It's important to ensure that the water gets down deep into the rootzone to a minimum of 150newport-cricket-drying-out.jpg

Mowing of the square and outfield should be undertaken on a regular basis to maintain heights of cut. The square should be maintained at between 6-14mm and the outfield between 12-25mm.

Continue to verticut, training the grass to grow vertically. If you don't have a verticut option then use a drag brush to help stand the grass up prior to mowing. If using verticutting units be careful not to mark or scar the soil surface, as these scars will be hard to remove as the square dries out.

Summary of a 14 day wicket preparation:-



Day 14 -12

Cut down to 6mm, hand rake in 2-3 directions to clean out bottom of sward.

Day 12-10

Soak wicket until water is standing on full length of wicket.

Day 10-1

Roll wicket every day if conditions allow in 3 x 20 min spells with 1.5-2 tonne roller to consolidate and release moisture from wicket. Mow as required to keep sward at desired height (6-4mm).

Day 10-5

Keep wicket dry, if possible, with flat sheets.

Day 5-1

Use raised covers, if available, to keep wicket dry but still allow air movement.

Day 3-1

Reduce wicket height to 5mm, mark out using string lines for accuracy.

Day 1

Final mowing at 4mm, overmark, set stump holes.

After match wicket repairs begin with the brushing and sweeping up of any surface debris, soaking the wicket, scarifying, spiking, top dressing and overseeding. Additional work may be required to repair foot hole damage. It is important to carry out good repairs, as newport-cricket-worn-ends.jpg

Seeding of the ends where the grass is weak, sparse or bare can be continued, and the rise in temperature will help germination. Use germination sheets to aid this process but remove the sheets regularly to check for diseases. Remember that without good seed to soil contact the operation is useless. Ensure you use new seed as old material may not give you the required germination rates.

Remember not to neglect the outfield; it too has a major effect on a game if unattended. The outfield should be treated the same as any other natural grass pitch, carrying out regular mowing, aeration and feeding programmes to maintain a healthy sward.

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