Thursday, October 16th, 2014

State Of New Road Is Testimony To Work Of Packwood And County Groundstaff

State Of New Road Is Testimony To Work Of Packwood And County Groundstaff

The excellent state of the New Road square and outfield right up to the end of a memorable season was testament to the sterling work carried out by head groundsman Tim Packwood and his staff after the horrendous winter floods six months earlier.

Surrey Director of Cricket Alec Stewart paid compliment to the condition of the netting area and the ground itself after the final home match of the campaign which saw the county seal a return to Division One of the LV = County Championship.

Packwood admitted he had doubts as to whether the season could get underway at Worcestershire's headquarters after more than 10 feet of water covered the square seven weeks before the scheduled first home fixture with Kent on April 13.

But those fears were allayed, the pitch played perfectly well and only a few bare and sandy areas on the edge of the outfield were evidence of the floods which had engulfed the ground three times during the winter.

Now a dry and warm September has enabled Packwood and his staff to scarrify, spike, seed and top dress the ground and give the grass the best chance to establish itself before any potential floods this winter.

Packwood said: " A lot of people commented on the state of the ground, not just locally. When Alec Stewart came with Surrey, he said how well the nets had played and the ground itself looked as if a game hadn't been played on it.

"To take those comments on board, gives the (groundstaff) team a real lift having been in the situation we were in March with the first game only a few weeks away and the state the outfield was in.

"The season seems to have gone really quick but it is not until you look at photographs you suddenly realise 'did the ground look as bad as that?'

"I'll be the first to admit I didn't think we would ever play the first two games here. But to get the first two games on and to get the ground into the state it was is testament to all the staff.

"The square had some grass on, and being a groundsman I'm going to be very picky and say it wasn't how I wanted it, but at least we were able to get a wicket out.

"The major concern was always the outfield, with there being as much sand on it as there was, and players sliding on it to stop a ball.

"There were a few nerves with the first wicket because normally in your match preparation you will cut the wicket out 14-16 days days in advance, and thin the grass out.

"I was a little bit apprehensive but (umpire) Ian Gould was very complimentary, saying what a good job we had done to get the ground into the state it was."

Packwood and his team were able to take advantage of the fixture schedule to ensure work on reseeding the square was completed as quickly as possible at the end of the season.

He said: "The fixture schedule this season has fitted in really well. We've had good preparation leading up to quite a few of the games but we've also had times when there has been 9-14 days break between games.

"So everytime we've finished on a wicket, we've got onto to it straight away, over-seeded it, top-dressed it and before we started the last round of games in September, we over-seeded at least 12 of the wickets.

"Hence that is why the square looked so good at the end of the season all the work was actually completed on the 17th September.

"We don't rush things but try to do them as quickly as we can so it gives us that head start of making the most of the warmer temperatures and trying to get the grass as well established as we can before the floods come in.

"It's all been scarrified, spiked, seeded and top dressed."