As the Olympic ceremony came to a close on the 12th August, hundreds of people who were instrumental in making London 2012 such a resounding success will have drawn a sigh of relief, but for Lord’s, the home of cricket and its owner Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC), the hard work was still in progress, as they had less than two weeks to prepare the famous cricket ground, who had hosted the Olympic Archery event, for one of its most important test matches, England vs South Africa.
As the crowds cheered the Republic of Korea’s impressive bag of three gold medals and a bronze in the archery, the grounds team at Lord’s and three specialist sportsturf companies were poised to start work, removing the stands and lifting the patches of damaged turf from the outfield before laying the specially grown new turf. The job presented a huge challenge as the new turf had to evenly match the levels of the existing sward to ensure a consistently true outfield, or would risk the wrath of two international teams.
Lincolnshire firm County Turf had grown the turf specifically to match the MCC’s requirements. County’s Operations Director, Chris Medley, imposed a rigorous routine of watering and mowing, before the turf was harvested to a precise depth measurement, ready to lay into the gaps that had been left in the outfield. Sportsturf contractors and cricket specialists, Steven Pask Contractors, project managed the job and had the task of carefully removing all of the damaged turf from the outfield, whilst ensuring an even depth remained, in preparation for Derbyshire based company Talbot Farm Landscapes, who had the task of installing the new turf.
It was imperative that the three companies worked together to an accuracy of millimetres, to ensure that the new turf would blend in seamlessly to the existing outfield turf.
Steven Pask said: “It was a huge undertaking to prepare a prestigious ground like Lord’s for a major event in such a short space of time and everyone worked together tirelessly to make it happen. Thanks must go to the grounds staff at Lord’s and Talbot’s, and County Turf and their Operations Director Chris Medley, whose tremendous input was invaluable. Not only was their turf top quality, Chris remained at Lord’s with us for the whole week, lending his support and considerable expertise.”
Overall, one third of the entire outfield was replaced in less than a week, creating a new even surface, which was ready for play and was given the seal of approval by the teams and signed off by the match referee.
Only thirteen days after the Olympic Archery event, Lord’s staged one of the finest test matches in history. The world’s top two teams South Africa and England played some magical cricket in glorious sunshine, which saw a victorious South Africa raise the Test Mace, but there’s no doubt that for everyone who had been a part of the meticulous planning and preparations ahead of the event it was a resounding victory for all.
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