After a mild winter by English standards the first-class cricket season gets underway today. All groundstaff at the eighteen first-class counties will have been hard at work for months unbeknown to the regular cricket supporter. As to how? This includes a range of things such as large tent like structures used by the majority of first-class cricket counties that either stayed at home for pre-season or complemented their overseas preparation. This involves preparing pitches literally under cover, optimising usage and conditions that the teams will then utilise for pre-season practice whilst the temperatures are in and around zero outside.
This highlights the innovation, new thinking and enhanced skill levels required but clearly evident on today’s county circuit. The reality is that the pitches that we will all see cricket take place on the opening day of the season will have been around a month and longer in preparation. The season brings many challenges for the groundsman with competitions such as the Specsavers County Championship, Royal London One-Day Cup, T20 Blast back to back and that is not to mention any second eleven fixtures and pre-season friendlies that have been taking part over the last two to three weeks.
Today’s cricket groundsman work longer hours than ever before in a game constantly changing and evolving. They deserve our recognition and support for all they bring to the sport that makes the modern day game so interesting and entertaining.
We send all our cricket groundsman the professional and the volunteer our very best wishes for a successful and rain free 2017 cricket season from first-class county cricket to the thousands of grassroots clubs who will once again produce excellent cricket pitches with shoestring budgets and minimal equipment.
To all our cricket groundsman at the start of this new season, we ‘support you through the season’, respect you, and your efforts and hope that the sun shines on you and your pitches.