Draining ‘the swamp’

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Victoria Park, the home ground of Stratford Cricket Club in Taranaki, New Zealand, suffered from such poor drainage it was dubbed ‘the Stratford swamp’ by the club’s rivals.

When last year’s first-round matches had to be played away due to the poor conditions, Stratford Cricket Club’s chairperson Chris Drummond took his frustrations to the Stratford District Council and the club and council agreed to work together to fix the drainage. The council also decided to take the opportunity to move the wicket over five metres so that it would sit squarely between two rugby fields.

Wellington-based turf specialists, Mexted Performance Sports Surfaces, was contracted to install a 160mm diameter collector drain across the whole length of the field, which soon revealed the full extent of the drainage issue as water poured into the new trench from the saturated subsoils. Mexteds then installed six 110mm laterals across the wicket at five metre centres.

With drainage in place, Mexteds built a new wicket for the cricket club after removing the old surface. Beginning with a 100mm layer of AP65 basecourse, followed by 20mm of top course, the wicket was built using Patumahoe clay and laser levelled, then seeded and fertilised.

Neil Cooper, Stratford District Council’s Parks and Property Asset Manager, says he appreciated Mexteds’ high standard of work.

“It’s looking really good, and I must say I was very impressed with the professionalism [of Mexteds]. The guys were very tidy from an operational perspective and minimised any damage to the reserve. I couldn’t be any happier with the way the whole thing went.”

The cricket club will now manage the irrigation and grow-in, and hopes to be playing on the new wicket in January.