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‘Rain stopped play’ is a common phrase in UK sport, and cricket in particular is a sport subject to the effects of weather and climate. In a new study funded by the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB), Cranfield University will be using science to assess the impact of climate on cricket.
The ‘Sustainable Cricket Project’ aims to improve the management of natural resources such as water, carbon (energy and fuels), chemicals and minerals (soils) in the sport, by benchmarking natural resource consumption. The project will also investigate how the prediction of future UK climate might affect cricket in England and Wales, and the potential for reducing the carbon footprint of the sport.
Water shortages in the summer of 2006 and the heavy summer flooding in 2007 and 2008 caused devastation to cricket clubs across England and Wales.
Bruce Cruse, National Funding and Facilities Manager at the ECB said: “ECB is delighted to work with Cranfield University on this important project. ECB sees the recommendations and data coming from this work forming future policy and educating our sport through a rapidly changing and complex sporting environment. ECB is committed to understanding risk but mitigating future costs that burden our club network. The evidence of previous work such as the rolling research shows the benefits of partnering such project with Cranfield."
Dr Iain James, Head of Cranfield’s Centre for Sports Surface Technology, said: “I’m delighted that we are continuing our partnership of working with the ECB to help clubs increase the quality and sustainability of their facilities. By planning now we can help clubs to reduce the impact of any future flooding and water shortages and to help them reduce their impact on the environment.”
He added: “We have already started to work with the ECB to support their sustainability programme: the ECB-Cranfield Guidelines for Rolling in Cricket[i] have now been downloaded by over 2000 cricket clubs worldwide and provide guidance on how to prepare pitches much more efficiently, without losing pitch quality. In this research we calculated that there was the potential to save three-quarters of a million work hours and the carbon footprint of 42 households – just from more effective pitch rolling. We hope that this new project will identify further savings.”
Ultimately, the project will provide a range of advice on best practice in sustainability in cricket to clubs of all levels within the game to help them improve their management of their water and carbon footprints.