This is how it looked last night and then this morning after it had been rolled it looked like this for a few hours - You can see how bad it was - the grass in the near foreground was how the are was when we first started to use it - clumps of grass with spaces in between, so bad that if you run on it you'd run the risk of twisting your ankle. You certainly couldn't bat on it. But as you can see in the image above the wicket area now is flat.So on close inspection the surrounding grass looks like this and this is what the whole area was like and this morning it looked like this - Quite some difference? The last picture shows the final stage for this year which I completed tonight. The final layer of earth was put down to complete the width - Approx 9' and the length is about 20'. So it'll be ideal to spin on to and pitch faster balls on a full length.
The image above shows how it is this evening. The seed sown and top dressed with old compost mixed with earth. We've just got to wait for the rain now and maybe give it a cut in late October and that's it done. I had a look over at the local pitch at The Rec tonight and the groundsman had done virtually the same thing on his wickets and my little wicket here looked no different to his, so it looks like I've got the timing right with regards all this prep for next year. The dew levels over night are increasingly moist and if I get time I may roll the wicket once more while the surface is soft and moist.
Longer term plans
In the longer term I'll work my way down the wicket towards the bowlers end gradually levelling the whole wicket. If I get time and it stays dry I may even work on extending it this year. The bloke who lives next door to me has a massive pile of clay in his back yard and currently it's dry and crumbly so I might ask him and fill two dustbins with seived fine clay ready for further development. With regards the football field where we cut the wicket over the summer we've not been on there at all for more than a month I reckon, because of the fact that the Paddock is within spitting distance of our house. I've been looking at the football field wicket and I'm contemplating cutting the wicket across the field 90 degrees to it's current direction next year if we use it. There's a couple of reasons for this - at the minute in the evening during the summer the sun is directly in your eyes if you're bowling or batting from the East end of the field. The other reason for changing the direction would be that the boundary down the pitch would be much shorter and might encourage Ben and Joe to play straight drives. This also works better for big swinging shots as the ball has to go so much further to get lost and it might mean we'd lose less balls?
Interestingly the football club has completely cleared the field of bushes, brambles and rough grass making the field so much more visible from the road. Might that be to discourage me from mowing it or allow people to keep an eye on it when they drive past it? We'll have to see how it goes but my main focus is to concentrate on the Paddock and get that ready for next summer.