It’s hard to get your head in the game if you are stuffed with the challenges of playing cricket in the winter weather. Surprisingly, cricket clubs have a massively efficient way of handling this natural constraint. For some people, this may seem like a mystery. In reality, it’s a matter of excellent management and well-timed maintenance strategies that make it possible in real life.
In a perfect cricket match, the weather is sunny and the ball bounces in the verdant and uniform grass of the pitch area. During winter, it is more difficult to imagine a finer form of game play. But the most enthusiastic of cricket players and equally determined ground maintenance staff members can assure you that the game goes on even with the presence of winter. Even with the best snow blowers on the market though, they still have to go through a handful of preparations to ensure that the field is still suitable to play on even they’ve cleared the snow on the ground.
How Cricket Clubs Prepare their Fields for Winter
1. Extra attention is required.
In general, the ground maintenance staff in charge of maintaining the cricket pitch is extra attentive during winter season. If there is one time in the grass maintenance calendar where they will be expected to do more or overtime work, it will have to be during winter season. Winter season problems, when left unattended, snowball into bigger problems that are much harder to deal with and can interrupt with the game schedules.
2. Overcompensation measures are done during spring.
This is an open secret in the industry of cricket club grass maintenance. The bulk of the magic work done on the pitch happens during spring. This is the time where they maximize the growth and resilience of the grass mixture. They can choose to over-seed and prepare for contingencies that will inevitably happen due to natural wear and tear and sensitivity of grass to frost and other elements of winter. The gradual rolling, scarification, and other processes that are done in early maintenance work before the winter season comes in all help in making for a sturdier cricket patch that can withstand even the coldest of winters.
3. Handle frost issues with light rolling.
One of the top damages that happen to grass is when it gets exposed to too much frost. And usually, the remedy is to have habitual and frequent light rolling activities on the affected areas to break the frost and prevent it from wreaking havoc on the grass. If it’s not thoroughly invasive, ground maintenance staff members watch out of frost round the clock and do the rolling activity as soon as the schedule allows. Of the many areas afflicted by winter, it is the windless areas that suffer the most from frost problem and will often need a light roller handy.
4. Stick to a maintenance schedule.
A rigorous and almost religious adherence to a fixed schedule ensures that there are no things that fall through the crack. It makes sure that all bases are covered. There are a lot of activities varying in intensity depending on season and weather conditions. For winter, the schedule is more frequent although other activities like aeration and intense root growth fertilization are not entirely feasible given the limits of the weather.
5. Supercharge grass and root growth.
One of the best ways to prevent the grass from getting destroyed is making sure it has taken deep root on the soil and the growth remains aggressive for all season. This is usually done with the help of regularly applied nitrogen fertilizer and pre-seeding operations. The aggressive growth will compensate for whatever natural damage frost can bring to some of the grass. The ground maintenance staff members will just have to be extra alert to fill in the gaps in the patch, if any. This requires a sharp eye to inspect the terrain regularly.
6. Remove thatch and foreign materials immediately.
The big challenge during winter is that unremoved thatch and foreign materials tend to worsen the quality of the playing area more quickly. The risk of leaving something on the field is higher considering the difficulty of being meticulous while working in this kind of weather. Foreign materials need to be removed immediately in order to maintain the pristine condition of the cricket pitch.
7. Frost protection technologies are being explored by some groups.
More tech savvy and cutting edge cricket club maintenance staff employ the use of frost protecting technologies through chemical injections to the soil. This is somehow experimental and are still undergoing trials before entering the scene as a mainstream option for winter season cricket pitch management.
Cricket clubs do not combat winter per se, but they spend a lot of time in maintaining the grass and making it as resilient as humanely possible. With these admirable efforts, the game can certainly go on and cricket fans will always have a fun day whether the sun is up or not.