Final renovations at Edgebaston
Over the last two weeks the square at Edgebaston has been top dressed again, with about four tonnes of Ongar loam being hand spread on eighteen of the wickets. We worked this latest top dressing in to the new grasses with lutes to finish readdressing our levels for this year.
The practice areas have also been top dressed for a second time, there are twelve wickets here, allowing a further two tonnes of Ongar loam to be spread and worked in to the surface.
The seed that was pressed into the square in October has not only germinated but has started filling in the bare areas quite well. The autumn has been very mild and wet, so apart from the worry of disease, we have enjoyed almost perfect growing conditions giving us that good early start of re-growth.
We have also been cutting the square and the outfield on a weekly basis; I cut the square just before the second dressing with the Lloyds mower and had a good couple of barrow loads of clippings.
The square was fertilised two weeks ago with a 4:0:4 feed to help harden the grass, because the square is quite large I used about 50kg's (2 bags) to cover the area.
We have now scarified, over seeded and sand dressed the outfield. About 50 tonnes of sand was used for the dressing and I will look to vertidrain the outfield this month when the grass growth slows down. This will help to keep the ground open for longer as we can stay off it with our mowers.
This close season provides us with our latest project, which is to provide an outdoor artificial practice strip for the players. Although we have an indoor facility, the players understandably prefer to practice outside whenever possible. If the weather isn't good, the new practice area should allow batting practice outside on the synthetic wicket with the aid of a bowling machine.
The area outlined for this is at the west side of our six-foot practice wickets along the fence line. Having marked out the area we used the turf cutter to provide us with a clean edge to work to. The ground is so hard here with years of compaction from rolling that it would be extremely hard to cut an edge in with a half moon. The machine makes very light work of this and we had the outline cut out in less than ten minutes.
Once we get the concrete in and it has cured, we hope to fix with glue a new type of synthetic carpet. This carpet has been used to great effect at our indoor school and does not require the traditional underlay.
If the players are brave enough for a little winter practice, it should be ready for use shortly!