Wanderers Cricket Club
Our new wicket - development history

Wanderers Cricket club is very proud to announce that their new turf wicket facility will host its first "official" match on Saturday October 7th, 2000.

The opening of this wicket facility will fulfil many former and present members' dreams and aspirations over many years with innumerable hours of volunteer labour & machinery hours being expended to get the wicket to this condition.

Actual work on the wicket commenced on the Queen's Birthday weekend in June 1999, when the first sod was removed from the ground. The removal of the soil from the wicket block area took approximately 1.5 days with the removed soil being placed just off the boundary on the western side of the ground. This was later shaped into three spectator mounds.

Over the ensuing weekends, the drainage, sand, gravel and wicket soil was added and then levelled. The area was the cordoned off when the seed was applied. At this stage, pop-up irrigation was installed around the wicket, across the spectator mounds and in front of the clubhouse and training nets.

Many anxious days passed until the first shoots of grass appeared and then with a flourish the rest came through to the relief of all those involved. As the "Pyramid Couch" took hold it became apparent that the wicket soil contained a lot of weeds and these were quickly removed by large working bees of members.

While all this was happening, the field that the new wicket block is on (Gill No.2) was closed down and the juniors were unable to utilise the astro-turf wicket still in place beside the new turf wicket. The Clubhouse canteen suffered financially while this was happening but by January 2000, we felt that the grass was well enough established to once again allow the juniors back on to their astro-turf.

A very, very "wet season" had set in on the region and cricket suffered as most fields in the region were badly affected by the deluges received. It also meant mixed blessings for the new wicket, we welcomed the great grass growth bought about by this weather but the downside was that we were unable to control the weed growth that had re-appeared. So, as the 1999 - 2000 season came to a close we had a wicket that had great grass growth but also a wicket with a large weed problem. Again, working bees were employed to rid the wicket of the major weeds.

The astro-turf wicket was removed but left a large gaping hole full of water from the wet season. This was filled with sand just before the outfield was graded. Here we struck a few major hurdles as the old astro-turf wicket area was still saturated and the machinery was getting bogged. However, the grader had spread approximately 350 tonnes of sand after attempting to level the outfield and another mound was built on the southern boundary utilising the excess clay soil scrapped from the surface of the outfield. We now felt that we were in the final phases of the development of the field. A lot of water was applied to the outfield to stimulate grass growth through the sand top dressing although we were still having difficulty with the old astro-turf area. It was decided to "turf' this area, another working bee was arranged and this was done with the turf being rolled into the soft area. Slowly this has now dried out.

Continuos rolling of the wicket will be done in the lead up to the first match with groundsman / curator Craig Hallett overseeing the final stages. The club has now purchased a wicket mower, a ride-on mower and roller along with the associated spreaders, sprays etc.

We have come a long way in 15 months after the first sod was removed. The club is very grateful to all those who assisted in any way be it by the loan of machinery, discounted or donated goods, the use of your labour or just moral support. It should be noted that without the backing of the Club's Executive & Committee in this project, it could not have occurred. Also, we must acknowledge the initial grant of $10,000.00 for machinery purchases received from the Queensland Government's "Gaming Machine Community Benefit Fund" which became the catalyst to commence work on this project.
The photo above appeared in the "Twin Cities Independent News" on September 15, 1999 - three months after we had commenced building the turf wicket. As you can see, we were still waiting for the 'Pyramid' grass to take from seed. Our clubhouse & training nets can be seen in the background.