Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Water Saving

Fantasy Bob has undying respect for the labours of doughty groundsmen throughout the cricketing world, on this and other planets where some of them originated.

He is therefore disturbed to learn that in certain areas of the UK, their task is about to become that bit more challenging. For large parts of the south and east of England are facing hosepipe bans in response to the lack of rainfall in those areas.  It has of course rained in Biblical quantities since these announcements but not enough to avert the strictures.  There is no statutory exemption for cricket clubs, or indeed other sports facilities, other than those which stage national and international fixtures. This means that cricket clubs need to secure a specific agreement to water their pitches from their water company.  Another administrative burden on clubs.

Grange Loan wetlands
(thanks to  DG's assistant Russell Weir for picture) 
Droughty groundsmen in the south-east may therefore allow a twitch of ironic amusement to play across their troubled visages as they look at the attached picture of the square at Grange Loan, HQ of go ahead Edinburgh cricket club Carlton, last Saturday following the overnight rainfall, which had followed a brief sunny interval of 30 mins in 2 days of incessant rain in Edinburgh. Remarkably, the Doughty Groundsman and his team got this small boating pond dried off and play became possible later in the day. Not for long though, as the rain returned to call an end to Carlton's cup tie early in the second innings. Match abandoned. Thus does nature laugh at the efforts of doughty groundsmen.  Sysiphus had it easy.

Droughty groundsmen on the other hand can turn to guidance from the ECB about how to conserve water in their work.  Alongside this guidance they might also wish to consider FB's specially prepared guidance notes for water conservation in cricket clubs:
  • Significant water savings can be made by not pouring cups of tea for junior players. They never drink them preferring to guzzle Coke or Irn Bru in hyperactivity generating quantities. Where tea is poured but left untouched it can be recycled from the mug onto the wicket.
  • The moisture loss by a fast bowler toiling up the hill against the wind is equivalent to the water content of a small monsoon. This moisture can be captured by encasing the bowler in polythene and letting condensation operate. It can then be stored and used. Care is required during this process to ensure that the player's face is not wholly covered in polythene, since the asphyxiation which follows not only limits their effectiveness as bowlers but also reduces the efficiency of the moisture capture.
  • Most clubs will have senior (not to say geriatric) players who stand under the shower for ages after each match.  They may claim that this has magical restorative powers on their aching limbs and muscles. This is a pretence, they find themselves the shower room and have simply forgotten why they came in. Their excessive use of water can be limited by rigging the shower up on the square - thus killing 2 birds with one stone. Clubs should seek advice on which shower gels are more likely to aid foothold repair.
  • Clubs should put student members in charge of tea preparation. They are congenitally incapable of understanding the concept of washing up and huge water savings are possible.
  • Use of the covers can reduce moisture lost from the square through evapotranspiration.  Members of the First XI fresh from enthusiastically celebrating momentous cup victories should no longer be discouraged from sleeping on the square overnight.  In doing so they will form a useful barrier to evapotranspiration.
FB wishes all groundsmen everywhere, Doughty and Droughty alike, the best of all possible summers.


  1. Tempted as we are to throw a brick through the television every time the drought is mentioned, perhaps we in Scotland should embrace our rain-sodden existence and capitalise on it. For example, Carlton could make efforts to attract wading birds to its wetlands, develop a Grange Loan visitor centre, possibly in conjunction with the RSPB. I'm sure grants must be available for such projects, as they seem to be for almost everything else.

    1. The executive authorities at Carlton are already pursuing ideas on these lines aimed at attracting wading outfielders.