Reid Jones helps prepare the Somerset Cricket Club ahead of Cup Match in 2010. Tony Hemming, an ICC expert on grounds, said Somerset probably has the best club facility in Bermuda, but even that needs a makeover to help improve cricket in Bermuda. <em>*Photo by Kageaki Smith</em>
Reid Jones helps prepare the Somerset Cricket Club ahead of Cup Match in 2010. Tony Hemming, an ICC expert on grounds, said Somerset probably has the best club facility in Bermuda, but even that needs a makeover to help improve cricket in Bermuda. *Photo by Kageaki Smith

WEDNESDAY, MAY 2: Where is Ty Pennington when you need him?

The Extreme Home Makeover host would gladly be welcomed to help fix up Bermuda’s cricket facilities.

Tony Hemming, head ICC Curator at the Dubai Sports City and ICC Global Cricket Academy, estimates $200,000 per ground would do wonders to enhance the cricket experience in Bermuda.  

He designed the Cricket Academy in Dubai, which included the outfields, wickets and practice facilities.

Hemming was in Bermuda to conduct a curator’s course at the National Sports Centre this weekend and examine the various grounds.

He said about 20 people took part in Saturday’s session and 15 showed up for Sunday’s programme.

“It was a pretty good turnout.”

“Scientifically, we try to get rid of a lot of the myths. The problem is there is not a lot of documentation by the top groundsmen.

“They are worried about their peers criticizing them.

“We’re all working on different soils in different parts of the world. Characteristically, from one ground to another you might find different pitch behaviours, but that’s the beauty of the game.”

Reconstruction

Hemming said because most of the grounds are used for both cricket and football, that had to be taken into consideration.

“For the majority of the surfaces, it’s time for a reconstruction.”

He said most of the cricket pitches in Bermuda are about 40 years old, where the life expectancy of a high-class pitch — such as the Melbourne Cricket Club — would normally be from eight to 15 years.

He said that would obviously affect the play of the game.

“You get a pitch that’s hard enough to start with, and there’s good bounce and carry, but over a period of time there is an organic layer of soil that builds up on top. That causes a bit of sponge on the surface. You might have a groundsman who is very, very gifted and might be able to get enough out of that, but when you get to the 40-year mark, it’s probably a little bit late to try and get more out of it.”

He said the cost of setting up a new pitch would be around $9,000, depending on whether soil had to be imported; however, most venues would need other work done.

“In discussions with the curators, a rough ballpark estimate might be a couple hundred thousand per venue to improve the outfield, the wicket table.

“That might be the case of doing one field or two fields to start with and each year taking one field out of play and renewing every field for the future.”

When asked which of Bermuda’s grounds were the best, Hemming said: “If I look at the standard at Dubai Sports City or the Melbourne Cricket Club or Lord’s, then there’s only one — The National Cricket Stadium. Everything else is not anywhere near that standard.

He said the National Sports Centre had a “good sized ground. There was plenty of room to bring in temporary seating. You can make a really good carnival out of that having a venue for one day cricket, no worries.”

Hemming said the best of a bad lot of grounds was the Somerset Cricket Club.

“It had a really great look. The outfield looked reasonably flat and it looked to have a reasonable grass cover.”