Spin Wickets – Australian Test Camp in Darwin

In August of this year, the Australian Test Squad had a pre-tour camp in Darwin, Northern Territory at NT Cricket’s facility, Marrara Cricket Ground.

The site has two ovals, the main ground being the same dimensions as the Melbourne Cricket Ground, along with a number two ground approx. 3/4 the size. Along with two practice net facilities and one located across the road at TIO Stadium.

The videos below are the number two practice wickets and they were each prepared differently to try and reflect different days of the wicket in Bangladesh/Asian conditions in a test match. Three wickets in total, each pitch was 2.5 metres wide and with limited traditional rolling.

Pitch one is based on end of day three to day five. It has extended wear through the bowlers follow through and crease area. There was considerable natural variation and from one of the test hopeful spin bowlers was quoted as saying it was as close to Indian wickets as he had experienced.

Pitch two was sealed half way down and then artificial wear created to resemble the early stages of bowler follow through. This was to fall inline with late day one to day three pitch deterioration.

Pitch three was then prepared to standard of a first day wicket in the subcontinent/Asian conditions. With the added clippings etc. it probably played a little better than it should and the dusting wasn’t quite as effective with the clippings not allowing the clay to dust, rather continue to replicate Australian conditions of little jigsaw style pieces coming out. However the bounce and spin was still represented well.

Advertisements

Fletcher Park

Fletcher Park Vandalism & Recovery

Great to see the recovery only a few days later from Brett Fraser at Fletcher Park. Home to the Perth Cricket Club in Western Australia, Brett is a regular contributor to The Perfect Pitch. 24201185_10215301991207556_1204306440_o.jpg

Vandals attacked the square on Saturday night on November 25th, doing circle work with a bike. The pitch still being rock hard has limited the damage however it does cause some distress for the curator regardless.

Brett was able to make a full recovery for the weekend just gone presenting a belter where the runs flowed.

24271070_10215301991447562_1399216703_o.jpg

Cricket pitches are an easy target for reckless vandalism, with costs generally never recovered. Last year Brett also had a similar experience with the pitch being attacked with the star pickets that are used to rope off the square.

Again, he was able to rectify the damage and ensure the game goes on.

Backyard Belters

Welcome to The WCG – Backyard Belters

Welcome to our first edition of Ground’s in Focus supported by Gabba Sporting Goods. We venture to the suburbs of Sydney to the White Cricket Ground where this backyard cricket gem is located and has two main men running the show. We got in touch with one of them, Brendan Scott, to have a chat about how it all came about.

15128976_1683306601981982_7989887524609836542_o

TPP: So Brendan, tell us a bit about the WCG and how long has it been going and how it came about?

Brendan: This is our second year at the WCG. The truth is there are two of us behind what has become the WCG. Myself (Brendan) and my good mate Matt. It’s his house that we play at, he is responsible for all the curating and I look after the logistics such as team arrangements, itinerary, advertising etc. We both have loved cricket from a very early age, and always will. we both grew up in the Bankstown area in south western Sydney.

TPP: What is your average week like when preparing the WCG?

Brendan: Matt will cut and maintain the ground and I will be trying to work out the logistics of the day.

13450832_1606052016374108_6338800624192912268_n

With their club cricket days behind them, it hasn’t stopped the backyard cricket from being just as enjoyable. Their most recent test at the WCG is one of their most memorable. Brendan’s XI were rolled for the lowest total ever recorded at the WCG in a test match 19 in the first innings to be dead in the water, only to fight back and knock over Matt’s XI for 36.

Setting the home team 91 to win, Brendan’s XI shone with the ball to win by 41 runs. They had great inaugural T20 Competition Final where the match went down to the last ball. The beauty of the commitment to their backyard setup is all these matches can be viewed on their YouTube channel, WCG Backyard Cricket.

TPP: What are the key ingredients for making a wicket for you, do you experiment with your wicket and what is your ideal backyard pitch?

Brendan: Fertilizer and water straight after a match to begin the process, then constant water to allow the grass to grow, with light rolling on match day. We take the better safe than sorry approach to wicket preparation, looking for even surface & bounce but also has its own unique characteristics.

TPP: What’s your best piece of machinery and is there apiece equipment that you’d like to get to improve the quality of your surface and preparation?

Brendan: Our little push mower, trims the pitch nicely and maintains a good level. A heavier roller would be ideal.

wcg2

TPP: What are issues you face currently such equipment or resources?

Brendan: Time. Work obviously takes up most of our time and it’s hard to get motivated after a 10 hour day.

TPP: How do you see backyard cricket progressing in the future, as it has previously had quite a following in places like New Zealand with proper competitions?

Brendan: I certainly hope so. everyone has their own unique backyard with unique rules, scoring areas, dismissals etc. would be great to form some sort of competition.

TPP: What type of balls are allowed in your match, are swing balls allowed to be re-taped, any special conditions with your venue?

Brendan: We use full and half taped tennis balls. Can’t be given out LBW if playing a stroke. If you hit the ball over the fence you’re just out, not 6 and out. Apart from that it’s pretty standard cricket.

THEWCG

TPP: Any tips for young fella that might that is looking to get his backyard cricket game up to your level?

Brendan: Our level? Thanks. Haha. I would say to express yourself. It’s your unique set up and that’s what makes this so exciting, seeing people’s different ideas and possibly implementing them as you go along. Would also highly encourage creating a YouTube channel to showcase your venue.

TPP: What’s the banter and environment like before, during and after? Does everyone pitch in to get things done, i.e. rain interruptions and the covers out?

Brendan: Yeah, the banter gets intense in the group chat which builds it up nicely. We have quite a multicultural group of friends so we have different dishes per event (Lebanese, Greek etc.) always a BBQ of some sort. Thankfully we haven’t had to rush out with the covers yet. touch wood.

13450030_1606054576373852_6766837495867578681_n

TPP: Is the sponsorship for show or are they legitimate?

Brendan: For show. The companies belong to some of the boys. More advertisement than anything else but gives the backyard that real life arena feel which is what we are going for.

TPP: Do you feel any pressure build up to the big day, expectations are high?

Brendan: Ummm, more an anxiousness to get out and beat your mate on the day, but when you’re in the middle and its game on it gets serious. Very serious. We are all super competitive but it always remains good natured. We don’t hold back with the ball either, a few blokes bowl serious heat which is great for those who used to play decent level cricket and miss the competitive side, the contest.

TPP: What’s the off season hold for you?

Brendan: Depression, haha. I coach a football (soccer) team and Matt loves his motorsport. If we’re not doing that, you’ll find us up the pub watching the Rugby league.

15202504_1683297031982939_8735679827713603137_n

TPP: Anything else that you might like to add, classic stories or innings?

Brendan: I’d actually like to congratulate and thank yourself on what you are doing to promote backyard cricket and cricket as a whole. Keep up the good work. also, anyone in the Sydney area keen to give us a run, get in contact with us.

Our pleasure Brendan and Matt, thanks for sharing your brilliant backyard venue with us. If you’d like to see more of the WCG or take them up on their offer of a backyard test match, check out their social media accounts;

YouTube – The WCG Backyard Cricket

Facebook – @TheWCGBackyardCricket

Instagram – @TheWCGBackyardCricket

 

Welcome to The Perfect Pitch

14713681_1175487005873093_3468688177851459725_n

Firstly, a massive thanks to all our contributors and supporters, the response to The Perfect Pitch has been fantastic and without you, we wouldn’t exist.

This website is still a work in progress, we aim to have a weekly updates of where we critique a venue, best pitches of the week etc. There will be an opportunity for you, our supporters to nominate a pitch or ground to review, whether it be your own club or a scenic venue that you think deserves exposure.

We are still working on documentation, a how to of pitch creation, not just for club grounds but backyards and then a look at first class and test and drop in style wickets.

We’re always looking for support to increase but also give back to our community and contributors, so if you have a cricket relevant product that you’d like us to promote, get in touch with us.

Thanks again,

 

Fresh Clippings with Josh Morris

In the Curator’s Corner with Josh Morris – Supported by Gabba Sporting Goods

The Perfect Pitch has regular contributors and we thought we’d take time out with one, Josh Morris from QLD. Growing up on the Sunshine Coast, Josh has been in Brisbane for 20 years and took a keen interest in the turf industry at a young age of 15. His first experience was when he attempted to do his school work experience at his local cricket club. At the last minute, the groundsman’s wife fell ill and he wasn’t able to attend. His placement officer however made a couple of phone calls and organised a different venue. That venue happened to the be the Gabba and the rest is history.

16833552_10154467279725914_527540796_o

TPP: Where do you work now, how long for and any further aspirations?

JM: I own and operate Turf Wicket Maintenance Services. The business started last year but it has been something we have been working towards for the last 5 years. We would love to see the business keep growing now and in to the future in south east Queensland. I believe as a curator your aspirations are to better the result from last week and it has been something I have always tried to do each and every week.

TPP: What happens in your average week?

 JM:  My average week usually starts on a Sunday. I go in to South Brisbane District Cricket club and clean up the three match wickets and put on the sumi soaker hoses on to get a head start for the week. These blocks are built on an old land fill site and take a lot of water to keep them going through the hot summers we have in Brisbane. Monday will usually be more water again at Souths and on the phone speaking to the two other clubs that we prepare grounds for about the weekends wickets and any feedback from umpires or home team captains.

Tuesday is travel day off to the Sunshine Coast at 4 am to be there by 6am. I have a meeting with my curator that I have preparing the wickets and fields. John Deacon has been with me for the last 6 months. He is a great bloke and curator to have working with me. He prepares a great wicket and follows the nutrition and water programs that I implement to a tee. Wednesday is in Brisbane at Souths to prepare for the there cricket requirements for the weekend. There usually is a trip to Pine Rivers Cricket Club on a Friday to check out the wicket that John has prepared and we usually catch up for a cold beer or two at this point once the work is always done.

TPP: What’s the key ingredients for making a wicket for you, do you change it up at all? And what’s your ideal wicket?

JM: I usually try and stick to a pretty tried and tested formula but it does very week to week due to weather and other factors. I do some time like to experiment during winter when you have a little more time on your hands to try something new.

 Consistency is key for me. If you block is pacey than have pace in your match wickets, if it turns or is slow than let it happen. Too many curators today just make flat batting friendly roads. I like to let the natural character of the wicket be at the for front and to also find an even balance between bat and ball.

My ideal wicket is flat, hard with an even coverage of grass that has something in it for everyone. Fast bowlers get something out of it with the new ball in the first session and then it flattens out to be a good batting wicket that takes some turn for the rest of the day.

 

TPP: What are issues you face currently, i.e. pests/diseases/lack of resources and equipment?

JM: Like most curators out there in club land it is always a fine line to make it all work. Money is usually tight with most clubs and there is always so much that you need/could do if the funds are there. We are currently having one of the driest summers in QLD that we have had in a long time so heat stress on turf and trying to keep water in the profile is a huge challenge.

16810413_10154467278895914_1510108963_o

 

TPP: Is there anything you’re looking to do specifically with your wickets over the next year?

JM: We have a few issues with root structure on our main block at Souths now and that is something that we are going to be working very hard on in the off season. It will be a big renovation with a deep tine aeration of the block and a laser top dress and then lots of root stimulant liquid as part of a maintenance program over the winter months. Hopefully that should stabilise the profile and give us a more consistent wicket for the next year.

TPP: What’s the off season hold for you?

JM: Off season what’s that? We have renovations of wickets as soon as the summer season finishes at Souths. We have a two week break before we start a jam-packed winter program at Caloundra and Pine Rivers Cricket Club. I need to make sure I have a holiday in there somewhere so the kids remember what I actually look like and so the wife doesn’t divorce me for never being at home.

 

TPP: You produce belters week in week out, does the standard of the competition reflect?

JM: Hopefully we produce the best surface we can week in week out. It Is then up to the players that play to get the most out of it.

TPP: Are you associated with a local club?

JM: Being a grounds contractor we are associated with a few clubs they are Caloundra Cricket Club, South Brisbane District Cricket Club and Pine Rivers Cricket Club. They are involved in all different associations

16810638_10154463658700914_428542354_o-1

 

TPP: If you could curate any ground in the world, where would it be and what’s the biggest match you’ve prepared for?

JM: I think it would have to be the home of cricket “LORDS”.  I have curated a few big matches in my time, last year we have had National Under 17’s Championship at Caloundra. I’ve prepared trial match wickets for QLD bulls vs Tasmania one dayers. Along with an IPL touring squad practice matches and Cricket Australia High Performance Unit against PNG.

 

TPP: Do you listen to music or the beat of the roller?

JM: I do both. My first roll of the day on the Mentay walk behind or ride on, I always listen to the sound of the motor and the hydro just to hear it hum. There is no better sound that a roller just ticking along in my book. Usually I crank up the music on my Spotify roller play list during the middle of the day roll just to keep the mind on the job.

TPP: What’s the best piece of machinery you have on hand?

JM: Depends which club I am at but at Caloundra or Pine Rivers. It would be the Mentay 2000, love those rollers. At Souths, it’s a tight call but it would be my Mowmaster wicket mower or my Mentay hydra-glide roller.

TPP: Favorite pattern to cut in?

JM: I have always like a north south stripe pattern that lines up with your block or a checker board cut. Bit of a traditionalist in that respect I pose.

TPP: Any tips for someone getting into the industry in your area?

JM: Use the resources available to you and make sure you look after yourself when working in the sun. too many young players don’t use proper sun protection and don’t drink enough fluid and end up getting pretty sick. We all know that we aren’t going to be millionaires working in this trade and we all want to go home safe and well at the end of each day. AND ASK PLENTY OF QUESTIONS when you get a chance to catch up with another curator from around your area.

TPP: If you work with a few blokes, do you have knock off beers and chat about your work, is it a good environment?

JM: We always have knock off beers each Friday when all the grounds are done and ready to go from the week. We keep it light and easy going at work with the crew. The banter is usually free flowing and we all have respect for what each person can do.

TPP: What’s it like in Caloundra with other curators, do you talk match and share ideas?

JM: I have made it known to other clubs that my door is always open and if there are curators are struggling with an issue with a wicket or a field that I am always here for a chat. There have been a few cups of coffee consumed this season by other groundsman in our work shop asking a few questions and I think that is great. No question is a dumb question was what I was always told as an apprentice and I think I have always tried to hold true to that. Keep up the great work with the website and Facebook page mate I love looking at the pictures of other grounds each week.

Check out his work at Turf Wicket Maintenances Services or Caloundra Cricket Club. Alternative keep an eye out on The Perfect Pitch for his weekly submissions

Special thanks to Gabba Sporting Goods for their continued support of The Perfect Pitch.

Pitches of the Week

Pitches of the Week supported by Mowmaster Turf Equipment

mowmaster

 

A variety of wickets made the cut this weekend with a couple that didn’t see any cricket at all with temperatures reaching the low to mid 40’s around the South Eastern states.

16650288_1462635857104452_1849505968_n-1

Marburg Mt Crosby Thunder Cricket Club, Ipswich QLD

Marino Nugter has contributed regularly over this season and his wickets continue to improve. Curating in QLD, here’s a little about the wicket he maintains;

Marburg Mustangs and Mt Crosby Sharks were two separate clubs but officially merged three years ago. Since the merger, they left grounds at Marburg and we now use two council fields at Tivoli Sporting Complex and  one field at Mt Crosby Weir. Marino Nugter, Kel Janke and Peter Johansson look after the wickets at Tivoli, which is shared with St Edmunds College. St Edmunds only use them for cricket for about 8 weeks on Saturday at the start of the school year and then Thunder seniors play on them rest of time.

The juniors then play on the Sunday. To keep wickets/blocks in good nick, Marino and Peter look after them as they don’t have a cricket groundsman at Edmunds. Before these three came along, the squares were uneven and sparse. In their first season, the wickets were still inconsistent bounce, low balls shooting through but with a lot of work going into them, they’re now close to flat. Bounce and carry has improved with the extra attention and rolling. Unfortunately no play on this belter with the matches called off on the Saturday and Sunday with temperatures in Ipswich reaching 40 and 43 degrees.

16710517_10154387576013583_461923063_o-1

Prince Alfred College, Adelaide SA

Daimon Jones sent in this quality school wicket from Adelaide. Along with Phil Penn, they look after the 1st XI wicket for Prince Alfred College. Daimon recently made the move to PAC a month ago to take up the position of Manager Grounds. This wicket saw an uneven contest against close rivals. Dismissing Pembroke for 90, it was easily chased down by PAC with loss of only two down. Coaches were happy with the pitch, commenting that it played well and offered turn to the spinners.

16593703_1848624372060093_1394421065_o

Trinity College, Gawler SA

Wilson Otto shared this beauty of a pitch is located at Trinity College, Gawler SA where Trinity College First XI took on Sacred Heart College First XI in a T20. SHC batted first posting 5/137 and then bowled Trinity out for 88 much to a surprise as it was a batsmen’s paradise. This match was a tussle between two private schools looking to win the One Day State Knockout Tournament later this season.

16731791_10154302447597816_343815403_o-1

Merrylands Oval, Parramatta NSW

Brad Horn is the curator at Merrylands Oval which is one of the leading and most well kept decks in the Sydney Premier Cricket Competition. This pitch in particular was prepared for a Parramatta 1st XI match against Blacktown but was canceled due to the heat wave on the weekend. Brad will get the same pitch up for this weekend, with the match being reduced to a One Day game. Should be even better this week having a good base on it from last weeks preparation with scores in the high 200’s expected if the weather doesn’t intervene.

fletchpark

Fletcher Park, Perth WA

Brett Fraser did a cracking job to get Fletcher Park up and about for the recent two day fixture between Perth and Melville in 2nd XI WACA Grade Cricket. Last Saturday the pitch was vandalised with star pickets but was rectified and play commenced with Meville batting first to make a competitive 5 for 318.

The second week of play saw the weather intervene, Thursday and Friday copping 122mm of rain fall.  Fletcher Park and one other were the only two grounds not abandoned, with second day starting three hours late. There were some delaying tactics from Perth with concerned raised about with a wet area in the outfield. Needing 319 off 55 overs but were bowled out with three overs left in the day.

Posting Pictures to The Perfect Pitch

bambam.png

Thanks for liking The Perfect Pitch. Please consider the following when submitting/sharing pictures;

*Pictures unless otherwise stated maybe used for promotions, memes, timeline and/or profile pics along with being shared on our instagram and twitter accounts www.twitter.com/iamcricketpitch and www.instagram.com/theperfectcricketpitch/

Due to the influx of pictures now being sent in pictures that are direct messaged or emailed to theperfectpitch@perfectcricketpitch.com will take priority. Following the below will increase your chances of your images being shared;

When posting a picture of a cricket pitch (ground or backyard), try to provide the following;

–  A good centre shot of pitch that is preferably landscape if it’s your first time contributing for that pitch or with additional pictures of the venue

– Get the whole length of the pitch in the shot ie don’t cut either end off, standing roughly where an umpire would/slight back from, normally givesa good result-  Provide information on the venue, ie venue name, state/city/town/suburb, team, league/grade,

– Provide information on the pitch ie grass coverage, how it plays, type of couch, cracks up, dusty, knowledge of the clay profile etc.

– Curator information ie if it contracted out to a business like Program Maintence, Pitchcraft, Green Options or curator employed by the club or club volunteers.

– Result information ie scores from the match if possible.

On other things;

– Wall posts are great but if you able to message in your picture instead (particularly with multiple shots), we’ll schedule it in so we can space a good amount of time in between shares so that your pictures gets decent coverage and not forgotten behind more recent wall posts.

– Posts don’t have to be limited to pictures of your wicket blocks, if you’ve got an amazing old roller or piece of machinery, a unique feature at your ground or a certain way you prepare your wicket, roll out covers, etc. send it in.

– Feel free to comment/email any other suggestions

– If the quality of the image shared is not great, we may use it in a gallery share with other submissions of similar quality.

– All posts will be attributed to person sharing unless requested otherwise

*We do not claim copyright over pictures submitted, we will do our best to credit the said image when originally shared.

IF YOU DO NOT WANT YOUR PICTURE/S SHARED DO NOT SEND THEM IN, IF YOU WOULD LIKE YOUR PICTURES REMOVED, PLEASE CONTACT US VIA DIRECT MESSAGING OR EMAIL AND WE WILL REMOVE THEM, IF THERE IS AN ISSUE WITH COPYRIGHT OR A PICTURE IS NOT CREDITED CORRECTLY PLEASE CONTACT US SO THAT IT CAN BE RESOLVED.