New Lincoln facilities a thrill for turf staff

The new Lincoln No

Lynn McConnell
The new Lincoln No. 3 ground at Lincoln University
The new Lincoln No. 3 ground at Lincoln University
Photograph © CricInfo
Just when High Performance Centre turf manager Karl Johnson thought he might have had a quieter summer than last year's hectic season at Lincoln University, he has gained a new ground and a new nets complex.
But Johnson is excited by the challenge ahead of him and his turf team.
New Zealand Cricket's High Performance Centre gained agreement from Lincoln University to develop an area alongside Lincoln Green, the first cricket ground developed at the University for cricket, earlier this year, and sowing of the pitch block was done on May 17.
The site of the block is on the rugby ground area of the university, and one rugby ground remains and Johnson said the grounds did not encroach on one another.
"That was very late to be sowing grass under normal Canterbury conditions.
"I'm pretty rapt with how it has developed because we have had one of our harshest winters for a long time," he said.
A frost cloth was used to aid the germination of the grass.
And in the construction of the pitch block, a new product Lok Sand was used. It had special fibres which kept the block stabilised under rolling.
The rolling of the block had just started and irrigation had still to be developed on the ground but its construction was scheduled.
While the ground will host the first match of the ICC Under-19 World Cup, Johnson expected to be able to play a game on the ground in December.
A total of six hectares of grounds are now under Johnson's care at the HPC.
He said the new practice facilities should be up and ready for the World Cup and should be sown by the end of September.
Some service buildings on the site of the practice area still have to be demolished before work on the pitches can begin.
Johnson is especially excited by the inclusion of a research area for pitch studies in the new complex.
"It will be a service available to the whole cricket industry. The better we can improve wickets, the better it will be for cricket," he said.