Cricket playing surface specialist total-play Ltd has noticed a marked rise in the number of non-turf match pitches it has been commissioned to design and install.
The trend has seen clients ranging from village and league clubs through to schools, local authorities and other organisations opt to install what is a versatile, cost-effective addition to their facilities.
Business Development Manager, James Coney, says: "The rise in non-turf match pitch installations at venues playing every level of cricket can be put down to a number of factors. Weather has a lot to do with it – the recent wet summers have heightened the desire for an alternative to natural wickets, to help reduce the risk of matches being abandoned.
"The growing popularity of the LastManStands T20 format, which is played on a non-turf match pitch, is also a key factor, as it enables clubs to attract new members who may be unable to commit the time required to play the traditional game.
"The financial benefits are also something that clubs are quickly recognising. Many village sides don’t have the budget to maintain a natural square to match standard, so a low-maintenance non-turf match pitch provides the ideal solution. Other clients are making extra use of their non-turf match pitches by investing in mobile batting cages; providing them with a high quality facility for both practice and match-play.”
Whilst the majority of installations have used total-play’s flagship, ECB-approved tp365 non-turf system, the company has also installed pitches to meet clients’ specific requirements. James says:
"tp365 has been designed to enable the batsman to practise the correct techniques, giving them the ability to play on the up, off the front foot and with confidence to play off the back foot. Our surface also encourages spin, which is essential for slow bowlers, both young and old. Whether being used for match play or practice, it offers a safe and consistent pitch with the correct pace and bounce to promote every aspect of the modern game - so it’s little wonder many clubs have chosen this solution.
"However, for clients where tp365 was out of reach sue to budgetary constraints, we have designed pitches based on other surfaces from our range. Whilst these do not carry ECB approval in their own right, our status as an ECB Non-Turf Pitch (NTP) Code of Practice installer means they can rest assured their new pitch will be installed to meet all criteria of the ECB’s Code of Practice for the Design and Installation of Non-Turf Cricket Facilities."
Clients for which total-play has recently installed non-turf match pitches include the Royal Parks, Cleeve CC, Wilcot CC and Bristol’s Netham Park, to name just a few. Clubs wishing to join their ranks by installing a state-of-the-art non-turf match pitch facility should consider applying for a Sport England grant to help toward their investment, as James explains:
"Clubs looking to install non-turf match pitches should definitely consider applying for a Sport England small grant to help financially. However, they will need to tie their application to a coaching programme, as the grant will also need to pay for coaching hours and the purchase of related equipment; with the overall aim being to increase participation whilst retaining existing members."
For further information on total-play’s non-turf match pitch systems visit www.total-play.co.uk. For an informal chat about how total-play could help your club reap the benefits of a new match pitch – and advice on securing funding - call 01604 864575.
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