Remarkable transformation of Hampshire’s Ageas Bowl Nursery ground

Hampshire Cricket’s new head groundsman Simon Lee may not be able to turn the Biblical water into wine, but since his arrival from Taunton he’s overseen a remarkable transformation of the Ageas Bowl Nursery Ground.

Thursday, 25th June 2020, 11:50 am
Updated Thursday, 25th June 2020, 11:51 am
After - how the Nursery Ground looks now at The Ageas Bowl

In little more than a calendar month, the entire outfield has been ripped up, regraded and reseeded – and is almost ready for the England and West Indies squads to train on ahead of the upcoming first Test on July 8.

Laid over 20 years ago, the Nursery outfield had been showing significant signs of wear and tear, with specific problems with the drainage.

In mid-May, and in conjunction with contractors Southern Ground Care of Hedge End, Lee and his deputy Tom Cowley removed an 18mm layer of thatch (which was affecting the drainage) before scarifying and spiking the ground to create a bed for fresh seed to fall and be brushed into.

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Before - how the Nursery Ground at The Ageas Bowl looked a few weeks ago.

‘We watered the outfield five times over a 24-hour period, with the sprinklers doing a full 360 degree sweep so the entire ground was covered,’ Cowley explained.

‘We kept up that watering for three weeks and before some natural rain fell we applied some fertiliser to help push the grass growth on again.

‘Depending on the weather, we will continue to water the outfield through the night just once, the same as the main ground.’