Tesco provides new ground for sports club
By David Markham
One of the biggest sporting complexes in West Yorkshire is taking shape at Brighouse.
The sports club that hosts cricket, rugby league and crown green bowls are losing their ground near the town centre. It has been bought by supermarket giant Tesco, who have provided them with a new ground half a mile down the road.
The new complex will have a cricket square with 24 strips, two rugby pitches and two bowling greens, a clubhouse with four rugby changing rooms, two cricket changing rooms and a large function room. The club will move into their new premises in mid-January.
The scheme has been co-ordinated by Jonathan Smith, an ECB pitches supervisor in Yorkshire. He has been the link between the contractors, Bernhard's from Wakefield and the club.
He said: "It was rough pasture land that was earmarked for development three or four years ago. The potential of the complex is absolutely fantastic.
We had to get the right level for the cricket field due to the demands of the Environmental Agency because the area is subject to flooding. We have made a channel behind the pavilion and this runs into the car park.
The land was also surveyed to make sure there were no mines underneath and geological surveys were carried out. We pegged out the site, stockpiled the top soil, cut and filled the sub soil to achieve the right level and then drained the land.
We laid 24 wickets on three different squares. Eight wickets in the middle of the square were made to certain specifications for first team and representative cricket. Then we have eight wickets on either side of that for a slightly lower standard of cricket.
We are looking at playing cricket on the square in the spring of 2004. We have had problems with the weather. First, it was very dry and then it was wet and cold. The grass cover is not much of a problem. We have got until next year to get things right. Now, it is a question of letting the land settle. It has got to bed in. It will take 12 months to do that.
There are two rugby league pitches, one, 110 metres by 60 metres, to cater for county and Pennine League Premier Division matches, the other, 100 metres by 50 metres, slightly smaller for training. Just as with the cricket pitches, we had to get the level right, lay the subsoil and top soil and then drain it and lay on 600 tons of sand.
The rugby pitches are draining well - we haven't got a puddle on it despite recent rain. The contractors will provide as good a pitch as possible, but we need to guard against compaction.
We might be able to play on the rugby pitches next April or May although we might be able to play earlier on the main pitch.
The water and electricity boards held us up and we had weeds coming through because the top dressing wasn't sterilised, but we will deal with that in the spring.The club are concerned because the surface on the two bowling greens is poor. The bowlers were originally going to play on the new green in the spring, but the work didn't start until later than expected. Seeding didn't take place until August so the bowlers won't be able to play until August or September next year."