Turf managers at Horsham Rural City Council are facing a battle against mother nature as they work to have the municipality’s cricket pitches available for the upcoming season.
HRCC staff curate City Oval all year round. They also prepare wickets at Dudley Cornell Park and Sunnyside Oval before clubs take over the regular maintenance tasks during the season.
Team leader Darrell Gunn said it was usual for turf wickets to be unavailable until November depending on weather conditions leading up to a season.
And while Sunnyside Oval and Dudley Cornell Park are in reasonable condition despite the weather, it’s a different story at City Oval where football finals were played.
“Saturated conditions for the Wimmera League grand final meant the centre of the ground was torn to shreds, so our team has been working hard to rectify that and have the wicket ready as soon as possible,” Mr Gunn said.
“The persistent wet weather in recent weeks has impacted the preparations that would normally happen at this time of the year.”
HRCC has been in discussions with the HCA and matches will be scheduled only at grounds with hard wickets until mid to late November. The season is due to start October 15.
In the meantime Mr Gunn and his team are hoping for warm and sunny weather so they can make up for lost time.
“Works include scarifying the wicket table in four different directions, top dressing the wicket table with Merri Creek soil and topping up low areas across the ground. Cross rolling of the whole wicket table evens out any little side humps and bumps,” Mr Gunn said.
“In addition to the levelling, we fertilise the whole wicket table to bring the couch out of dormancy.”
“Once the couch starts to grow well with warm sunny days we will start to mow the whole wicket table down to a height of 10mm, so the couch can grow horizontal and creep over any bare areas,” he said.