This is part of the How to Run a Cricket Club series on PitchVision Academy
From new pavilions to preparing the pitch, facility management is a huge and highly specific topic for clubs. Maybe you are looking to build an entirely new ground, perhaps your ambition is to have better wickets on which to play, or maybe you are somewhere between extremes.
This article is designed to help you consider the basics of,
- day-to-day facilities
- new projects
Clubs vary greatly in the facilities available but most will have to manage at least some of the following:
- Square and outfield
- Pavilion/club house
- Nets (outdoor and indoor)
Day-to-day, the last two are fairly simple to manage. Club committee members will need to be aware of wear and tear and be able to make sure running repairs, painting and cleaning are done on a regular basis.
You also need to consider safety, especially if your ground is close to houses, roads or other areas where damage can be caused. If there is an unprotected risk, the club has a duty to prevent it with netting or ball stops.
Artificial pitches (either in nets or on a playing square) especially need to be checked as their performance over the years tends to deteriorate. You can extend their life with running repairs and remarking creases to stop the familiar wearing away at the popping crease.
Grass ricket squares, wickets and outfields need more care. Curation or groundsmanship is a skill and ideally you will have a professional curator to make sure the facilities are up to your required standard.
The minimum standard of the pitch should be to give a safe and consistent bounce, but many clubs also aim much higher looking for a dry pitch that allows for good carry, even bounce, some seam movement early in the match and turn for the spinners later.
The outfield should be as fast and as true as conditions allow.
A good groundsman will
- Roll the square and mow the outfield in preseason.
- Allocate pitches to matches to ensure even use across the square.
- Begin pitch preparation 5 days before a match by mowing a pitch and repairing any uneven areas.
- Water the pitch well in advance of the match.
- Ensure covers are used where needed but not excessively.
- Brush, mow, roll and mark the pitch on matchday.
- Repair footholes during and after the match.
- Repair the square at the end of the season.
In many cases it will be the club's job to provide the equipment for this from the roller down to the paint. If this is the case for you, make sure you have a checklist of supplies and maintenance.
New facility projects can be as grand as a whole new ground or as humble as laying an artificial pitch. However, they all require a lot of work from members.
First, appoint a project development sub-committee to plan and manage the project. This can include non-members if they have relevant skills and time to give.
The first job of this team is to realistically assess the project. Can it be completed with the time and budget available? Can it be maintained? Will it be used?
For example, building an specialised indoor net facility seems very attractive, but is expensive to build and maintain so you need to be clear where funding will come from before embarking on the project. In most cases you will find it is just not economical.
Assuming your feasibility study concludes you can go ahead, it's far beyond the scope of a short article like this to give you the support you need, but the areas you need to consider are,
- Planning permission
- Consultancy (for example architects or engineers)
- Compliance with governing body guidelines/rules
- Timing of constructions
- Review of new facilities