Frustration with cricket bowlers scratching out their run-up marks on prestigious council sports fields has prompted Citywide Operations Supervisors Sam Sweeney & Andrew Lefebvre to rethink a simple approach to better turf management.
Sweeney and Lefebvre – who manage multiple open space contracts including sports fields for Cardinia Shire and Bayside Melbourne councils – sensed their customers were also noticing their fields being increasingly over-scuffed.
“We understand this is an age-old pastime and – many fans would argue – simply a part of the game: bowlers marking their run-up positions by digging in their heels or scratching out marks with their spikes,” Sweeney said.
“But it certainly creates more work for us as we have to constantly re-turf the marks or fill them with sand to restore levels and preserve Council’s asset. So we thought, ‘Why not use bowling markers?’
“We asked a few umpires about this and they told us most associations don’t supply them with markers. Unless the umpire has some himself, the cricketers have no other choice but to mark out multiple run-ups for themselves.”
Other umpires approached by Citywide said if they had markers they would ensure bowlers used them and not scuff up the turf.
The issue prompted Sweeney and Lefebvre to consider supplying cricketing associations with batches of markers, distributed free of charge as part of a Citywide community sport initiative, to encourage bowlers to use them and avoid further scarring of oval turf surfaces.
Bernard Healy, president of the South East Cricket Umpires Association says he was instantly impressed with the idea.
“Any time we can help the ground curators we will. They do a great job week in, week out and Citywide should be applauded for coming up with the idea of giving umpires and clubs bowling markers. Cricket is the real winner here.”
The bowling markers are currently in production and will be distributed to cricket associations throughout Victoria, NSW, ACT and southeast Queensland as the season progresses.