Kent Cricket

Cancellations at Kent Cricket become a thing of the past thanks to secondary drainage by AMS

As we emerge from one of the wettest autumn and winters on record, the Head of Grounds at Kent Cricket is still reaping the rewards of secondary drainage work conducted by AMS Contracting at The Spitfire Ground, St Lawrence over four years ago. Adrian Llong explains how the combination of prolonged rainfall and a twelve-foot slope from one end of the ground to the other had previously resulted in loss of match times – thankfully now, a thing of the past!

The Spitfire Ground, St Lawrence is located a mile from the historic city of Canterbury and makes up one of two sites used Kent Cricket alongside The County Ground, Beckenham. Adrian has been at the club for 10 years, and Head of Grounds for the last five. “Undoubtedly the biggest challenge we have is managing the slope. With any amount of rainfall, we’d see this running across the square and under the covers, no matter how much aeration work we conducted. Getting in touch with AMS Contracting to see what they could do to combat this was one of the best decisions we’ve made.”

“AMS came recommended by a contact at Brighton Football Club. I met with AMS’ Ashley Strange who explained sand-banding secondary drainage and how this would link up to the primary system we already had in place. The consultation process was straightforward and the job itself was completed with equal ease and efficiency.”

The work, conducted in October 2019 consisted of a pass with the Topdrain to remove soil and backfill the trenches with sand, improving surface porosity and accelerating the downward movement of moisture. Effective on a range of sports turf surfaces, sand-banding can enhance drainage and significantly improve results from in-season aeration and scarification in a single pass.

“The team we’re polite and respectful of where they were and the job that needed doing in the window that was available. We were delighted with the results at the time, and four years on, we can still clearly see the benefits.” Since the visit, Adrian and the team have conducted a programme of regular aeration, scarification and wetting agent applications on the outfields which has kept the ground free draining.

“The amount of rainfall that large areas of the UK has seen at the end of 2023/early 2024 is unprecedented. This is an important issue for many grounds across the game, with grounds teams across the country working tirelessly against the elements, this is an important step for The Spitfire Ground.” Adrian concludes, “In the past we were losing days of cricket due to the outfield staying wet, ultimately losing all-important revenue and match time. Thankfully those days appear to be behind us and we can look forward to an exciting season of cricket.”

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