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If I had a pound for everyone who assumed that winter means a quiet few months for all of us involved in the grassroots game, I could buy a lifetime supply of cricket teas.
The truth is, as I tussle with a cricket book chapter, those in club cricket are planning for the 2019 season and beyond. A key consideration will be ground improvements and acquiring or upgrading cricket covers to give the best chance of getting games on.
We had a belter of a summer – with one club I know using their cricket covers as sunscreens – but it won’t sadly always be as dry so I’ve teamed up with total-play to offer advice on options for cricket clubs across the UK.
The Climate Cover system is the lightest, strongest, breathable flat sheet cover, exclusive to total-play, that Test match grounds, counties, cricket clubs and schools all take advantage of.
Weight and durability are considerations for ground staff in protecting pitches and ensuring cricket matches aren’t ruined. Cricket covers need to be able to withstand all that the British weather throws at them while being portable and made in such a way that air and light can reach the grass below to keep it healthy.
With Climate Cover, there is the peace of mind of it being breathable, 100% waterproof, strong yet light enough to easily handle during games.
It comes into its own though when used for extended periods in between games, protecting and preparing pitches, encouraging the grass plant underneath. It comes with the considerable thumbs-up of a three-year guarantee so confident are the manufacturers that it can deliver on all fronts.
Rain Cover cricket flat sheets
Alongside the premium offering from total-play, those in charge of cricket ground maintenance can consider budget alternatives that are 100% waterproof. Rain Cover is an excellent compromise with the durable polyethylene material allowing for rain protection the night before or during games.
It can be a trusty go-to cricket cover during the year and, with reinforced edges and handles, is tough enough to stand up to frequent use for many games over numerous seasons. Notably, though the Rain Cover is a budget cricket cover, it is semi-translucent thus sunlight can get through to sustain and nourish the grass.
Those that have bought the Rain Cover include Harrow School, Rydal Penrhos School and also Vic DeMain, Head Groundsman at Durham CCC who believes they were a sound investment: ’The Rain Covers have proved strong and lightweight, easy to manoeuvre and maintain. Easy to hook onto mobile covers, and have strong handles.’
Last but not least in this groundsmanship hat-trick is the Total Growth Cover (TGC) that gives both enhanced seed germination and also frost protection. It’s a smart way to encourage growth on natural surf surfaces, acting as a layer of insulation and raising the temperature of the ground.
Mobile cricket covers
My tours around Yorkshire clubs reveal much about how each community looks after their cricket pitches. Mobile cricket covers are more common than they used to be and the Rain Defender Mobile Pitch Covers range takes manoeuvrability into account by being light for those sudden downpours and only requiring a single person to keep the wicket dry.
Dome mobile pitch covers tick all of the boxes for cricket clubs. At 4m wide and available in 7.3m and 8m long versions, coverage of pitches is not an issue and the 10-year structural steel guarantee is added insurance. In addition, an option to place a logo on the cricket covers and make money back through sponsors is something more clubs perhaps ought to be doing.
As you’d expect, there is no one-size-fits-all solution for cricket clubs. Selecting cricket covers will depend on many things; not least the geography of the ground where a sloped gradient might suit a Climate Cover better as water can run under mobile wheeled covers. That being said, some clubs employ a combination of using both mobile covers with flatsheets.
Anthony Burton, total-play’s Product Development Manager said: “We understand there is no ‘one size fits all’ solution for a cricket club, our approach is to develop an understanding of the client and their site to create a ’system’ which is both affordable and useable.”
He added: “Clubs often have limited manpower and budgets, so its important that any investment made, is in a system that is both suitable and durable. We have developed a range of covers and accessories to compliment each other in providing a bespoke solution.”
Buying cricket covers is one of many costs for a cricket club but it’s an investment that can determine if fixtures are protected. Now is the time to be looking ahead, assessing if your club’s cricket covers need an upgrade and seeking out funding opportunities.
Get your funding support
The good news is that there are always pots of funding that cricket clubs can apply for to buy cricket covers, particularly given it’s an obvious way to help participation and encourage more games to be played.
Within cricket, clubs are well advised to link up with their county’s Cricket Development Manager and county board to keep updated on the ever-changing landscape of grassroots sport funding.
Awards for All (Big Lottery) is a well-known national example and gives £300 to £10,000 across a range of criteria – including equipment so cricket covers would be included in that.
Awards for All has these funding priorities:
- Bring people together and build strong relationships in and across communities
- Improve the places and spaces that matter to communities
- Enable more people to fulfil their potential by working to address issues at the earliest possible stage
Whatever the size of your club and its means, cricket covers will continue to play an important part in safeguarding the number of matches that take place each season. If you’re considering a change for next season, total-play could well be the answer.
Contact total-play for cricket covers advice
If you want to talk through anything you’ve read in this sponsored article and get advice for your club then you can get in touch with Anthony Burton via email or call on 01604 864575.
Alternatively, if you’d prefer to browse their Cricket Ground Shop, there are plenty of practical solutions to aid groundsmanship.
**This is a sponsored article on behalf of Total Play – if the mood takes you, click to read Cricket Yorkshire’s policy on sponsored content.**