Wet Weather and Dry Wickets
By Steve Rouse, Head Groundsman, Warwickshire County Cricket Club
Our Test and international matches are over for the current season; we`ve still got our First class fixtures, Sunday league games and some schools matches.
I`ve been pleased at the way the wickets have played this year - they`ve been good batting wickets, despite the fact that this summer`s weather has been awful. A lot of rain, I can`t remember one game when we haven`t been pulling the covers on at sometime.
Ironically, using the covers has caused problems for the square because we`re required to cover 20 feet either side of the wicket during interruptions for First class matches. Despite all of the rain the square has started to dry out, and it`s cracking up quite a lot.
We have a couple of Sunday matches coming up on consecutive weekends, and I am preparing both wickets now. I`ll cover them up and flood the rest of the square. Then I`ll roll to try to get some water back into the wickets to moisten them up.
The outfield this season has been absolutely magnificent. At the moment we`re cutting plenty of grass. We fed with a Sportsworld 25:0:0 slow release fertiliser and it`s responded well.
On the square itself we are doing our usual ongoing repairs, filling in footholes and tapping them down ready for rolling. There has been some re-seeding with a soil/seed mix, which I`m pleased to say has been very successful in bringing the wickets back into play.
Our end of season is September 12th, and we`re already preparing for getting on to the square after that date. We will be over-seeding with a new mix which is 100% rye consisting 50% Ace and 50% Mercy. Then we`ll top dress with a mix of Surrey and Ongar loam to help bind the top.
It`s been a testing time with the weather but, overall, we`ve had a very successful season. And we`ve got plenty of work to look forward to before the next one - it will be here before we know it!