Flooding in August!
By Paul Markham
August has been an eventful month for Bradford & Bingley Groundsman Paul Markham, who has seen his ground under water twice as well as preparing a pitch for the Bradford League showpiece, the Priestley Cup final. Here is his latest report.
Sunday, August 25 was the highlight of the season for Bradford & Bingley Cricket Club.
It was the Priestley Cup final, which, to people in our area is the final of the Bradford League first team cup competition. To be able to stage one of these games is a great honour and ours is recognised as being one of the best grounds in the league.
The teams involved were Pudsey St Lawrence v Pudsey Congs and it produced a great spectacle, St Lawrence scoring 190 for nine and Congs winning by eight wickets with 191 for two. A lot of fine cricketers were on show that day, some of them knocking on the door of first class cricket.
Since my last report I have been very busy. At the start of August we had some bad floods again and this made cricket impossible for two weeks at Wagon Lane.
It was so bad at one point that half of my cricket field and three quarters of my rugby pitch was two feet deep in places. And, by a sheer miracle, the waters stopped rising at the top step to the clubhouse. The consequence of being flooded inside the clubhouse does not bear thinking about. Almost four inches of ran fell in that week - more than all the rain in August put together.
Sandbags had to be put down around the doors to stop the water getting in and it was a frantic time for all concerned. I transferred my mowers before the waters rose from the score box, which is low lying to the pavilion, which is high and this move proved to be successful.
From a long-term point of view this is what we are going to have to do. If we get heavy rainfall and the river rises it makes sense to protect your assets and build and store high.
There were two areas of concern on the outfield - the corner by the clubhouse and the stretch at the score box side. Both problems had to be addressed before any cricket could take place.
Water at the clubhouse corner could be led into a drain at the side of the field, but with the water table being as high as it was it took a long time to get away.
The score box side was a different matter because this side of the ground is very low lying and there were no drains to take the water away. We relied on hot sunshine and evaporation for the water to recede. Therefore, we had to rope in the boundary by ten yards so we could stage a match.
Thankfully the water has all gone now, but my greatest worry is that if this can happen in August what will it be like in say December?
Temperatures are high now and, with changeable weather prevailing, it is most important for Groundsmen to advantage of these conditions. Re-seeding is the order of the day, especially wicket ends. Personally speaking, I have only three wickets to do and these are being played on at the moment.
Materials and equipment needed for end of season work on the square and outfield should be sorted out very soon. Don't leave it until the end of the season and then have to wait for it to be delivered. That would be wasting time and it could rain. So the message is act now and good luck with the work planned.