In June of this year, a herd of cows from a neighbouring field got out and wandered all over the club's first team square and outfield, inflicting rather a lot of damage. In any other summer, the damage may not have been so bad but, with the ground saturated due to the incessant rain, the two factors conspired to create, what can only be termed as, a nightmare for the groundsmen.
The club have been in existence since 1951, and was once part of the old British Sugar Sports and Social Club. However, in 2007, the sugar beet factory was closed as part of the restructuring of the company, leaving the future of the sports club in jeopardy.
It was left to former employees, Peter Starling and Steve Evo, to take on the running of the facility, forming a new sports club, with British Sugar giving them a five year lease on the land.
The club was renamed Allscott Sports and Social Club with their rules reviewed, amended and approved. The club successfully applied to become a Community Amateur Sports Club (CASC), which allowed them to open up membership and get 80% off the rates bill.
The facilities on site include bowls, cricket and football, and there is a vibrant members golf section, plus many other sports. The CASC status gave the club the opportunity to expand in all sections by attracting new members.
Schools were visited, and sports partnerships set up to get youngsters involved and playing sport.
In 2008, the cricket 1st XI won the Shropshire League Div 1 and were promoted to the Shropshire Premier League. At every opportunity the club continued to improve the quality of the grounds by investing in new machinery and increasing the level of input into the maintenance of their facilities.
The club had been fund raising to achieve their aim of moving the cricket table further away from the nearby road. This will allow them to enlarge the outfield to give them a longer boundary. Enter the cows to speed up the process!
The club sought the services of their local ECB advisor to inspect the damage and to come up with a programme of work to both repair the damage and, at the same time, look at the opportunity of moving the square.
It culminated in the club receiving a sum of money from their insurers that was put towards repairing and renovating the square, along with repairs to the outfield.
The work was put out to tender, with local firm and neighbours, ALS Contracts, winning the bid to undertake the repairs, working to the specification drawn up.
The work centred on koroing off the vegetation from the square, earthquaking in three directions to break up the hard compacted clay layer, and then breaking up the existing loam to a depth of 60mm using a Blec stone burrier.
The broken up loam material from one half of the square was excavated and stored. It was then a case of koroing off the vegetation from the outfield to form the new square extension, removing topsoil to a depth of 60mm and refilling with the stored clay material.
The soil was uniformly worked into the whole new square area, consolidating in layers and forming levels, to accommodate a further 40 tonnes of new Boughton County loam. The reconstructed square was then overseeded with MM50 dwarf rye grass seed.
As for the affected area on the outfield, it was initially verti-drained, with some heave, to raise up hoof marks, and allowed to settle for a week. It was then scarifed using a Sisis Veemo to remove surface debris, topdressed with 140 tonnes of sand, overseeded three ways with MM29 (20 bags), verti-drained again, before finally being dragbrushed.
The club are pleased with the outcome of the work. They expect the square to be a bit slow and low to begin with, especially next season, but know that this is a big step forward towards better playing facilities. Having a larger boundary will help to attract better players to the club which, in turn, should see a move up the leagues to a better standard of play.
All in all, it has been a fortuitous and successful year for Allscott Cricket Club. Let's hope that the neighbouring cows do not come back and trample the brand new square!