Worcestershire CCC will be using a hybrid wicket in competitive action for the first time tomorrow when the Seconds take on Derbyshire in a Trophy encounter at Blackfinch New Road.
The pitch combines natural turf grass with soft polyethylene yarn – a system which has also been used to improve the quality of golf tees, goal areas and tennis courts.
Similar surfaces have been successfully used in the net area at the County’s headquarters for the past couple of years and received the thumbs up from players.
Now a hybrid wicket laid on the fringe of the main square on the Cathedral side of the ground a couple of months ago will be trialled in the 50 over clash tomorrow.
Worcestershire CEO Matt Rawnsley explained: “It will initially be used for Academy-Second team cricket. We had a decision as to whether ‘do we put it closer to the middle of the square or do we put it towards the edge’
“At the moment we’ve put it just off the first class pitches but it does mean we can play second team cricket on there, we can play Academy and women’s cricket on there, and it will also be a good net facility.
“If it works well, we will maybe look to put one in a more central location so we will see how it goes.”
The hybrid wicket will aid the County’s desire to play more cricket at Blackfinch New Road with 60 days action in various formats on the agenda this summer.
Mr Rawnsley said: “You need the capacity within the square to cope with that but that’s what we want to do. We want to play more cricket at Blackfinch New Road.
“We’ve got all the first team fixtures but we want to play more Second Team, Academy and Women’s cricket there.
“We’ve got a top Physical Disability Tournament, an England Under-19s tournament, so it’s a nice thing to be able to do.”
The initial hybrid net was laid in the net area during the latter part of 2017
Mr Rawnsley said: “We’ve had one on trial the last couple of years and the lads have really enjoyed practicing on that in the net area so we’ve taken that one net all the way across now.
“The benefits of these wickets is that they last longer. You get far more of a truer response from the wicket and you get more days of practice out of them.
“We are yet to see in a summer what that kind of ratio is, how many more days that you get out of practice facilities.
“But I know that out of a normal wicket you might get a 10-day-two week period but we got close to four-five weeks out of one of those wickets last year and the guys really enjoyed batting and bowling on them because it was a good surface.”