As the Olympic ceremony came to a close on the 12th August, hundreds of people who were instrumental in making London 2012 such a resounding success will have drawn a sigh of relief, but for Lord's, the home of cricket and its owner Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC), the hard work was still in progress, as they had less than two weeks to prepare the famous cricket ground, who had hosted the Olympic Archery event, for one of its most important test matches, England vs South Africa.
As the crowds cheered the Republic of Korea's impressive bag of three gold medals and a bronze in the archery, the grounds team at Lord's and three specialist sportsturf companies were poised to start work, removing the stands and lifting the patches of damaged turf from the outfield before laying the specially grown new turf.
The job presented a huge challenge as the new turf had to evenly match the levels of the existing sward to ensure a consistently true outfield, or would risk the wrath of two international teams.
Lincolnshire firm County Turf had grown the turf specifically to match the MCC's requirements. County's Operations Director, Chris Medley, imposed a rigorous routine of watering and mowing, before the turf was harvested to a precise depth measurement, ready to lay into the gaps that had been left in the outfield.
Sportsturf contractors and cricket specialists, Steven Pask Contractors, project managed the job and had the task of carefully removing all of the damaged turf from the outfield, whilst ensuring an even depth remained, in preparation for Derbyshire based company Talbot Farm Landscapes, who had the task of installing the new turf. It was imperative that the three companies worked together to an accuracy of millimetres, to ensure that the new turf would blend in seamlessly to the existing outfield turf.
Steven Pask said: "It was a huge undertaking to prepare a prestigious ground like Lord's for a major event in such a short space of time and everyone worked together tirelessly to make it happen. Thanks must go to the grounds staff at Lord's and Talbot's, and County Turf and their Operations Director Chris Medley, whose tremendous input was invaluable. Not only was their turf top quality, Chris remained at Lord's with us for the whole week, lending his support and considerable expertise."
Overall, one third of the entire outfield was replaced in less than a week, creating a new even surface, which was ready for play and was given the seal of approval by the teams and signed off by the match referee.
Only thirteen days after the Olympic Archery event, Lord's staged one of the finest test matches in history. The world's top two teams South Africa and England played some magical cricket in glorious sunshine, which saw a victorious South Africa raise the Test Mace, but there's no doubt that for everyone who had been a part of the meticulous planning and preparations ahead of the event it was a resounding victory for all.
Video link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GWo8EQpe5q0&list=UU4dzcboWxiDQokrppUz0ZhA&index=10&feature=plcp
Lord's has long been seen as the 'Home of Cricket' and the game's spiritual 'headquarters'. But its importance is not merely historical. In practice it remains, to this day, perhaps the most important single place in world cricket.
Its owner, Marylebone Cricket Club, remains the guardian of both the Laws and the Spirit of Cricket, and MCC sides (which play around 500 games a year) perform a key role in promoting cricket - in Britain and elsewhere.
County Turf is a family business based in North Lincolnshire. They are passionate about growing the very best quality turf for customers, who include sports stadiums, golf courses, architects, landscapers and wholesalers.
County Turf has been growing over 1,300 acres of high quality turf on some of the coarsest, free-draining, sand rootzone in the UK. In that time they have gained a reputation in the industry for supplying premium quality turf and excellent customer service thanks to a dedicated team of experienced staff. They are committed to ensuring that their turf is of the highest quality and continually invest in the latest machinery and turf technology to ensure they remain at the forefront of the industry.
They are members of the TGA (Turf Growers Association) and sponsors of the STRI Golf Environment awards.
County Turf is proud to have maintained longstanding relationships with many customers who are based all over the UK and have recently started to supply turf into Europe. Some of their famous customers include the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff, Carnegie Links Golf Course at Skibo Castle, Ullevi Stadium Gothenburg, Parken Stadium Copenhagen, Castle Stuart Golf Course, Croke Park Dublin and the Winners' Enclosure at Goodwood racecourse.
Steven Pask Limited is based in Grantham, Lincolnshire and have over thirty years' experience including twenty five continuous years at Lord's in professional sportsturf contracting in the many diverse aspects of the sportsturf industry. Specialising in cricket they have the capabilities to construct all new sports surfaces as well as installation of primary and secondary sportsturf drainage and renovation and improvement of existing natural sports surfaces.
Talbot Farm Landscapes is based in Derbyshire are Sports Turf Contractors specialising in Sports turf installations.