Sport

They tear and he will repair

by
September 23, 2016

Groundskeeper Grant Baker has been working on this season’s pitch at Barrack Reserve ahead of the 2016/16 Cricket season.] Photo McIvor Times

HEATHCOTE Cricket Club pitch curator and club life member Grant Baker is confident the Barrack Reserve cricket pitch will be ready for the start of the new season next month.

Despite Heathcote District Football League players tearing up the pitch Baker believed he has repaired it to its former glory and it would be in good condition for the Heathcote Cricket Club to use when the season starts in early October.

‘‘It was pretty bad,’’ he said.

‘‘You look at it and you wonder how you’re going to get it right.’’

However, Baker said he usually only uses one pitch throughout the season and all things going well this season should be no different.

‘‘There’s usually fairly favourable reports about our pitch,’’ he said.

‘‘It’s hard to know how it will play now but I’ll keep rolling it and I’ll get it as good as I possibly can.’’

Baker said a black turf soil from out near Mia Mia — which was similar to the soil used on cricket pitches around Melbourne — had again been used for the pitch this year.

‘‘It does the job,’’ Mr Baker said.

The Heathcote Cricket Club’s cricket pitch has a long and illustrious history.

It was installed about 40 years ago thanks to the generosity of Heathcote and District community members who invested in the pitch.

Baker said townspeople accepted a deal to take their money back without interest, however some did not accept the funds when they were offered.

‘‘That’s typical of the people in Heathcote and district,’’ he said.

Once the pitch was installed the cricket club was fortunate enough to receive some expert curation from an experienced curator who had come to town from Melbourne — Stan Coulter.

‘‘He was an Englishman and cricket umpire who officiated games here and also took great pride in the state of the pitch.

‘‘He’d had several years looking after cricket pitches and was a great asset to the club.’’

Mr Baker took over pitch curation when Mr Coulter returned to Melbourne.

Several years later the club was lucky enough to attract former Junction Oval curator Ted Dunn to town, who then started looking after the pitch.

Baker said he took the time to look, listen and learn from Dunn while he was around.

‘‘It was fantastic to get a man of his experience to town,’’ Baker said.

Dunn stopped maintaining the pitch about 9 years ago and died two years ago.

‘‘I took on board all of his great teachings and have tried to carry on his legacy since his death,’’ Baker said.

‘‘It’s been terrific for a town our size to have had such great help for our cricket pitch.

‘‘The cricket pitch has to be prepared as best as the curator possibly can.

‘‘Of course the players must do their bit, but the pitch makes a difference.’’

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