Pitch work at Lord's attracts All-Party group

Cricket ground plays host to parliamentary visit

Cricket venue Lord’s is set to cash in by opening for concerts. Using £25,000 drop-in wicket blocks, which head groundsman Mick Hunt will trial this summer, will mean the pitch can be used for events without being damaged. MPs have caught an early look at the £1.25 million transformation of the famous cricket ground. The All-Party Parliamentary Gardening & Horticulture Group (APGHG) visited Lord’s in London to see the relaid outfield and drop-in wickets. APGHG secretary Brian Donohoe said listening to MCC chief executive Roger Knight and head groundsman Mick Hunt’s presentation supported the idea the group should get out and see what is being achieved in horticulture. Hunt said better-draining turf and the possible use of drop-in pitches on the wicket mean more resistance to wear from eventgoers. He added that two of the drop-in blocks — which were laid on Lord’s nursery ground in one go in the Australian style — had not worked as well as the third, which was laid in five-centimetre layers. Problems included cracking, air pockets and lack of grass. The MCC will buy a £100,000 transporter to install blocks if the trials are successful. Contractor John Mallinson (Ormskirk), the MCC (as the client) and the MCC’s adviser the Sports Turf Research Institute won British Association of Landscape Industries prizes for the turf relaying.

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