Wednesday, February 24th, 2016

New Road Update From Head Groundsman Tim Packwood

New Road Update From Head Groundsman Tim Packwood

Worcestershire head groundsman Tim Packwood says the recent flooding will only have a marginal impact on the schedule facing himself and his hard-working team ahead of the opening County Championship match with Kent at New Road on April 10.

Packwood and his staff had been able to cut the square and outfield in between the first and second floods of the winter.

The players and coaches will practice at Kidderminster's Chester Road ground for a period on their return from the pre-season trip to Abu Dhabi in mid March.

But Packwood is confident there is sufficent time to prepare the wicket and outfield for the Kent clash.

Here he outlines the current position in a question and answer session with the Worcestershire CCC website.

Question: New Road has had it's second flood of the winter but I understand not a lot of damage has been done?

Tim Packwood: "If anything, all it has done is put us back two weeks. That's basically it. There are a couple of areas, like I said when we were talking a couple of weeks ago, that will need over-seeding.

"But a lot of those are towards the bottom end (Pavilion side) of the outfield which will be outside of the boundary for the first game against Kent anyway."

Question: I think you've said before that if the flood only lasts for two or three days, it doesn't have a significant impact?

Tim Packwood: "No, not really. It was just disappointing this time because we got everything cut, everything had been spiked, fertilised etc – and then the floodwater came on two days afterwards.

"Like I say, all it has basically done is knock us back two weeks where we were in preparation but we are still six-seven weeks away from the first game so there is still plenty of time there to prepare the first wicket and the outfield."

Question: Do you have to re-seed, spike and fertilise everything again after the flood?

Tim Packwood: "We will leave it now for a week and have a look because some of the fertiliser is probably going to have been moved (by the floods) although until the ground has dried out, I won't know for sure.

"But we won't do anymore spiking now because the main aim now is to get on the square once it is dry enough, hopefully by the middle of this week, and we can start to look to do a bit of pre-season rolling to firm stuff up.

"Then from next week we will look to cover the first wicket (for the Kent game) and a couple of pitches at the top end (Cathedral end) so that the lads can net on them when they come back from Kidderminster"

Question: Will the first wicket of the season be on the Cathedral side of the ground?

Tim Packwood: "We always go Cathedral side and the thinking on that is although the river is that end of the square, because we are on the flood plain, that is the higher part of the water table.

"The farther down towards the pavilion you go, we could take a reading now and you would probably have water less than an inch under the surface. In theory the water table should be lower the Cathedral side."

Question: The fact the players will be practicing at Kidderminster enables you to concentrate fully on ensuring everything goes smoothly at New Road after the floods?

Tim Packwood: "They are going to go to Kidderminster when they report back on March 20. Obviously we've got to send staff to Kidderminster to get things there into place but it just lets us concentrate on just getting work done in the middle here.

"We've got seven weeks now where we can concentrate on getting the pitch right, the outfield right and when the lads do come back, they will probably have a couple of net wickets on the edge of the main square."