The first home game at New Road versus Northamptonshire is just two days away and head groundsman Tim Packwood and his hard-working staff are finalising preparations on the square and outfield.

Tim has been delighted that the County have escaped with a a flood free winter for the second time in three years.

Here he looks at how work has been progressing during the past few months and the plans for the forthcoming campaign in a Question And Answer session with the Worcestershire CCC website.


Question: You must be delighted to have had a flood free winter at New Road?

Tim Packwood: "Really delighted. It has made a real difference out in the middle. We've got a good covering of grass on the outfield.

"The square has got a decent covering and if anything I'm starting to complain a bit now because it is starting to crack at some of the wicket ends!

"We are actually having to water in April because it has been so dry, and because of the pre-season rolling we've carried out, which is normally unheard of."


Question: It must be nice to be able to concentrate on preparing the square rather than clearing away the debris that a flood brings?

Tim Packwood: "It is nice and we are raring to go now. It seems to have been a long wait for the first (home) game.

"We just want to get a wicket out there and having games of cricket because the players have been in for nets since the middle of March. It seems like an age."


Question: Does the fact there have been no flood affect the way the wickets behave?

Tim Packwood: "It can do. Once you get a flood, the silt tends to knock back the grass cover on there and we are normally over-seeding wickets.

"When we start cutting the first pitch out, we've normally got a layer of silt on there you have to try and remove as well.

"But we've had no flood and preparations for the first game have so far gone really well. We've got a good dense covering of grass on the wicket and are rolling that in at the moment.

"Then we will review it closer to the game and see if we do leave as much grass as there is on there now come match-day."


Question: At which end of the square will the first wicket be?

Tim Packwood: "We still start on the Cathedral side of the ground because, even though we haven't flooded, the river level is still pretty high, and that is the highest part of the ground and the water table is lowest there.

"The first four games we play in April and May – the one Championship game and three 50 over matches – will all be towards the Cathedral side of the ground.

"We plan that out in December. We stick with the plan myself and Steve Rodes have sat down and discussed in terms of looking at the wickets and we've had a little chat with Joe Leach about it as well."


Question: Are all the wickets and the games scheduled to be played on them mapped out for the entire season?

Tim Packwood: "Every wicket is mapped out for specific games. Everyone knows where we are playing throughout the summer and where each wicket needs to be in terms of its preparation.

"The only time it may change is if we have got back to back games and a wicket hasn't played as well as we would have liked it to have played.

"We may then look to switch that or if, during a game we have rain and we don't complete a full game, we might use that wicket for another match as well."


Question: But you know know where will play the last game versus Durham?

Tim Packwood: "That is correct but for the last round of games every County has to be on stand-by just in case they are on Sky Sports for that match.

"If we do get asked to play on Sky, that wicket for the last game will change.

"Also in the middle of the square, we have got one wicket that is not allocated any games at the moment in case we get a home quarter-final in the two white ball competitions, or semi-final in the 50 over competition, that is the wicket we will use.

"But apart from that, we know where every game is being played."