Creating The Perfect Pitch

It is a fundamental principle that you cannot play good cricket on poor wickets.

With the rugby season behind us, the cricket season having recently commenced and the much-anticipated Cape Schools Cricket Week on our doorstep, a lot of careful and thoughtful work has gone into the preparation of the cricket pitches as well as the in- and outfields of Union’s Murray and Puttick fields these past months.

As the humble grass on which the season’s matches will be contested plays a critical role in determining the outcome of a match, Union thought it vital that the condition of the school’s turf satisfies players, coaches, spectators and administrators alike this season.

To ensure that everyone’s high expectations are met, Union delved into the depths of horticultural science to engineer the ground carefully to everyone’s satisfaction. This has been particularly difficult owing to the quality of water that has been available for use, with the salt content, in particular, providing the school with headaches.

Thanks to the generous support and immense efforts by numerous individuals, Union is happy to report that all the hard work is bearing fruit and that the turf should be pitch-perfect for Cape Schools Cricket Week, which kicks off on Friday, 20 September at Union.

The run-up to this festival has seen a lot go on behind the scenes at Union to ensure joy is brought to the cricket connoisseur.

The grass and soil were measured and analysed to make sure they are healthy and have the right amount of compaction and moisture.

A lot of attention was also focused on the school’s pitches, which received a complete once over – they were drilled, scarified, the old bully was taken out and fertiliser and top soil added. The pitches were then watered and nurtured back into shape.

All of this would not have been possible without:

• Mr Donald Kingwill (who knows all the intricacies of Union’s pitches) and his crew of groundsmen who have been mowing, cutting, compacting, watering and crushing bully day in and day out.

• Mr Petrus Botha of N1 Construction who has not only made his roller available for the purposes of compacting the pitches, but also very generously helped the school in transporting water to flood the pitches on a weekly basis.

• Mr Derek Light who donated 180 square metres of kikuyu grass to use where needed on the in- and outfields.

• Mr David Stern who assisted in sourcing new bully for the pitches and Mr Campbell Scott of Campbell Scott Machine Hire who made his tipper truck available to the school for the transport thereof.

• Mr John-Allen Biggs who provided invaluable advice and support.

• Mr William Coleman and Mr David Stern who facilitated the testing of the soil which enabled Union to fine-tune the preparation process. Mr Coleman also donated kelp fertiliser and Gyp-Flo.

• Mr Peter Brotherton who supplied fertiliser and manure.

At Union, we firmly believe that good pitches and immaculate fields promote the game and develop good cricketers.

We, therefore, hope that all the hard work and preparation these past couple of months will help our players, as well as those from visiting schools, give their best on the field.

We look forward to the season with much anticipation.