Pitch Rolling – from the presentation given by Martin Ford and Len Smith



This is an attempt to briefly summarise the excellent presentation givin to the CAG by Martin and Len on Weds 24/Feb – which itself  was a summary of research done at Cranfield. ( You can link to this report in the Information page of this website).


My impression is that the major practical points to remember are :-


(1)   You cannot compress liquids, so there’s no point in rolling when the playing area is soaked.

(2)   The ideal time to roll is after a couple of days with no rain and reasonable temperatures (10 deg C). A good test is to push a knife blade into the wicket, if it comes out clean then its OK to roll.

(3)   Pre-season rolling is a good idea, it’s probably best to go straight on with your usual roller rather than build up with lighter ones. (Which is not what the research paper says). Roll a “Union Jack” pattern.

(4)   As long as you’ve chosen a good time to roll the compression of the surface happens quite quickly (4 passes of the roller) – so there’s no point in doing more – wait a couple more days or until you think further drying has been achieved before rolling again.

(5)   One of the major factors in getting water out of the surface is healthy grass with a good area of leaf (the grass pumps water out through the leaves by transpiration) . So, probably contrary to what most of us do, it’s recommended to leave the grass on the new wicket as long as possible right up to the day or so before play. This has the additional advantage that cutting it to playing length late gives that white/straw colour that cricketers expect, even if the cut is not particularly short.

(6)   If you are lucky enough to be able to buy a new roller choose one with large diameter – this minimises horizontal pressure – which can worsen any layering defects within the surface (root breaks etc).

(7)   Although not directly associated with rolling, Martin and Len stressed the danger of changing loam on a pitch as many do not mix and have different expansion properties when wet -  which can cause all sorts of layering problems.



Dave Twiney 26/Feb/2010