Melbourne Cricket Ground - Portable Cricket Pitches
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Portable Cricket Pitches

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The stumps go in the MCG pitch on 2006 Boxing Day.The MCG is one of Australia’s greatest assets.

It is also one of this country’s biggest and most popular stadiums and an extremely busy venue accommodating cricket, Australian football, rugby, soccer, concerts and other major functions on its natural turf arena.

The volume and variety of events played at the MCG requires a versatile surface that enables the stadium to switch from one sport to another in a short period of time.

The MCG has developed perhaps one of the finest turf maintenance systems in the world. It has led the field in a range of turf management techniques designed to develop a playing surface which can be used efficiently and meets competition demands.

The 1992 reconstruction of the oval utilising a revolutionary sand-based profile boosted drainage capacity and introduced a more durable turf cover so that more events could be scheduled at the MCG.

More recently, however, the MCG pioneered the world’s first successful portable cricket pitch technology, involving a lightweight steel frame, pitch construction method and installation machinery that makes the installation, removal and performance of the portable pitch system workable.

The revolutionary system, which involves growing and nurturing cricket pitches off-site and “dropping” them into the centre of the arena at the start of the cricket season, enabled the MCG to produce a FIFA-standard soccer pitch for Olympic football at the ground just 10 days after the 2000 AFL Grand Final.

The absence of cricket pitches from the centre in the winter months provides a safer playing surface for AFL players and allows events such as international soccer and Bledisloe Cup rugby to be played on a world-class surface.

An example of this flexibility came in December 1999 when an AFL exhibition match between Carlton and Collingwood was staged just 24 hours after the conclusion of the Boxing Day Test.

The new wicket area covers 700 square metres and sits on a giant concrete rectangle. At 28 metres in width, it is only slightly narrower than the traditional wicket table, which was 30 metres wide.

The key benefit from the new technology is that it allows for more mature grass and root systems to develop, untouched by sand or other debris from the football season.

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