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Groundstaff preparation for 2014 starts already

Leicestershire’s groundstaff have had another busy summer but are already looking ahead to the 2014 season.

The team, led by head groundsman Andy Ward, have been using a ‘drill and fill’ technique on another two wickets on the large Grace Road square.

The groundstaff use the method on two pitches at the end of every season, and have just completed the process on the 8th and 9th wickets.

Using the technique helps to give the square stability. In turn, that should allow the wickets to have more bounce and carry, as Ward explains.

He said: “The square is old and there are a number of different dressings on it. The top dressing underpins the rest of the square and once it is stable, it should help the carry of the pitch.

“Each wicket takes about a day to complete because there are about 1,000 holes. We drill holes out to seven inches and then fill them in to make it compact. It is hard work because it is physical.

“The square has 15 main pitches and with doing two a year, it is a bit of a long process. Then, once we have finished the square, we will go back round and do them all again.”

The Grace Road square and outfield, which recently underwent a complete reseeding in 2011, has again looked in fantastic shape throughout the summer.

The batsmen have enjoyed the conditions as there have been 22 centuries scored at Grace Road in all first-class and 40-over matches. Eight of those tons have come in seven YB40 fixtures.

Three of those came in one game against Somerset, where almost 650 runs came in a spectacular afternoon of cricket.

Ward said: “I can’t remember a season where more hundreds have been scored, particularly in one-day cricket. We had three in one game when Peter Trego, Josh Cobb and Greg Smith all scored them.”


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