THE CURTAIN is set to be raised on a summer of cricket at New Road on Friday after club chiefs expressed their optimism the ground would be ready despite being underwater for four days a fortnight ago.
Head groundsman Tim Packwood and his team have been hard at work in the past two weeks to ensure the ground is ready for the visit of Nottinghamshire for the Specsavers County Championship Division One encounter on Friday.
The outfield and square is making a rapid recovery after it was engulfed by flood waters for a four-day period a fortnight ago.
The county have brought in a couple of large drying fans – loaned to them by Rugby-based firm Bernhard and Co – to speed up the drying process and the signs are optimistic.
“The water has now been off the ground for about 10 days. Nothing could really happen for the initial three or four days from our point of view because it is better to let the ground dry out,” said Packwood.
“Since then the team have been out there clearing the debris and with the main objective to try to get the wicket to dry out.
“Because of the warmth of the weather and the water that was on the ground, we had ended up with 50 millimetres of grass on the square and 45 millimetres on the outfield.
“By the time we start the game on Friday, the outfield needs to be down at least 15 millimetres, maybe even as low as 12 millimetres, and the square needs also to be down to 15 millimetres.
“Bernhard and Co have lent us two of their turf breeze fans that we have had blowing out on the square. They are designed for football stadiums where they have shade issues from overhanging stands just to aid air flow and the grass healthy.
“We have used them to help dry out the top of the square a little bit before we cut it but also, in the process of preparing the wicket, when we’ve put the roller over it and drawn moisture up to the top, we’ve used the fans to aid with the drying.
“We’d like to say a very big thank-you for being loaned the fans because to actually buy one would cost in the region of £10,000 and we’ve got them on a loan agreement for two weeks.”
RGS Worcester is on stand-by to host the game but the respected groundsman predicted only a torrential thunderstorm would cast doubt on the four-day clash against Nottinghamshire being played at New Road.
“We’d already had the wicket covered for about two and a half weeks before the flood water came and it only remained on that particular pitch for only four to four and a half days,” he added.