New outfield for Scarborough Cricket Club
By David Markham
Scarborough Cricket Club will start next season with a new outfield following a £20,000 renewal scheme.
It means that the attractive ground, which is used by Yorkshire for first class and one-day fixtures as well staging the famous festival, will be in top class condition for the start of the season.
Chief Executive Cecil Snell said the last time the outfield was re-turfed was some 130 years ago - in 1877-8.
He said: "The outfield was very tired. As well as renewing the outfield it was thought it right to level it at the same time."
Scarborough have also been gradually re-laying their square over the last three years. "There is one strip still to do," said Cecil Snell. "When we have done that all the tracks will have been re-laid. "All this work will make North Marine Road into one of the best grounds in the country. It will be in prime condition when Yorkshire come to Scarborough in July.
"We have 110 games of cricket on the square every season, but the intensity will be lower than that this time until the outfield has stabilised and club cricket may have to take a back seat."
The ECB provided 80 per cent of the cost of the outfield renewal with the remainder supplied by the club. Twenty eight clubs in Yorkshire have benefited from one of the ECB ground improvement schemes.
Ian Powell, Cricket Development Officer for the Yorkshire Cricket Board, who administered the scheme on behalf of the ECB, said the initial aim was getting rid of compaction on the outfield, which wasn't allowing the water to drain away adequately.
"We identified a slight unevenness on the outfield and we had a survey done by an ECB county pitch officer. He put together a report, which included short, medium and long-term recommendations. It was following this report that the ECB decided to approve their work.
"The report confirmed the unevenness and the compaction problems - the compaction would not allow the water to get through to the drains. The outfield was like a sponge because of the thatch. You literally bounced when you walked on the outfield.
"The project was started at the end of last season and the project manager was Mike Seward of York - his contracting firm did the work.
"The outfield was stripped to kill the moss and then rotovated to prepare the seed bed. The ground was then levelled and re-seeded using rye grass.
"The work was done in late September and early October. Unfortunately, all parties were not happy with the levelling of the outfield, but fraise mowing was undertaken by the contractor to rectify the problem. We took 5mm of grass off the surface, which left a fine, level surface, which has been re-seeded.
"In fact, overall, grass growth has been strong - we have got 95 per cent coverage and the compaction has been removed and the rain we have had over the winter has seeped through and the drains are working."
Mike Seward said: "We used a stone burier and a power harrow to break up the outfield. There was a lot of thatch and compaction.
"We have verti-drained and scarified the ground over the years, but it needed something more drastic this time."
To give the newly re-laid outfield time to settle down Scarborough have taken the precaution of making sure that the club's early season fixtures are played away from North Marine Road.