Flat Sheets Vs Roll on Pitch Covers
This blog explores the pros and cons of flat sheets vs roll on pitch covers for cricket clubs, based on my experience of using both for many years. We also did a poll to find out what clubs where actually using out there, further down the blog.
Why even cover?
The pros and cons below should outline this, but l’d also say having the ability of keeping wickets dry during wet spells and keep shaded during dry spells is a game changer. One major reason is if covering saves the game, you’re also bringing in much needed finance to the club and hopefully the covers pay for themselves. Also, if you’re playing and others can’t elsewhere another advantage for the team.
Whether you appreciate pitch marks or not or agree with the system, dry wickets get marked higher, a couple of wet wickets can really see your pitch marks dive.
Pro’s and Con’s
Con’s-Higher disease risk than domes, as moisture cannot escape which create a warm and damp environment.Perfect for disease formation if sheets are left down too long, so check regularly.
Pro’s- Can be used to keep moisture in a wicket or and stop if overly drying out and also encourages a green leaf, which helps with the pace of the pitch.
Con’s- Water runs off sheet and can make the edge of the adjoining pitches wet and cut up.
Pro’s- Often cheaper alternative to roll on covers.
Cons- Small holes can let water seep through onto the pitch, unless you know where they are and can be repaired. A coconut matt can assist soaking up moisture to some degree.
Pros- Can cover a larger area quicker than roll on covers.
Con’s- If you have poor surface levels water can build up on the sheet in any laying low areas, making it challenging to remove without a bowcom (squeegee/foam roller) type machine.
Con’s- Like roll on cover, susceptible to vandalism.
Con’s- Rain water can follow surface contours and go under sheets, but this is also the same with roll on covers.
Images below/above kindly supplied by our community.
Roll on Covers
Pro’s and con’s
Pro’s- When a pitch is covered the pitch still receives good air flow, allowing it to continue to dry out and prevent any disease risk.
Con’s- Take’s up a large area to store and can be vulnerable to vandalism.
Pro’s- Can be placed on by one person, more of a challenge for flat sheets.
Con’s-On a sloping square, water can travel across and under the domes.
Pro’s- Can be used to shade a pitch, to prevent it drying out too much between usages.
Con’s-Expensive to purchase per square metre compared to a sheet of the same size.
Pro’s- Roll on cover hoses, take rain water away from the square.
Poll results on our Facebook Cricket Groundsman (link to page https://www.facebook.com/groups/717957209036259 )
Are flat sheets or roll on covers better?
All depends on your circumstances if you’re a premier league club with limited finances and have to use a 30 ft width of covering the night before games, then a 30 ft flat sheet will cover all your needs. Wickets can sweat up and holes can allow water through, if you have any (coconut matt under the sheet may help) always a consideration with older sheets.
Ideally a club would have a set of roll-on covers for the pitch, with two side sheets to cover the minimum of 30ft required or even wider, depending on the standard of cricket.
Vandalism is a massive factor, for some clubs a set of roll-on covers left outside all summer isn’t possible, where as sheet can be folded up and played in doors between usages.
For some clubs a set of roll-on covers is fine and will keep most of rain off, for clubs with sloping squares the water is likely to puddle and creep under, so more sheets will be needed further up the slope.
There is no right answers as too many factors to consider and it is very site specific, but l hope this blog has still provided some useful information.
Brian on behalf of the TurfCareBlog community.
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I’ve used both at club level and higher. At club level the issue of lack of man power when wet on flat sheets during the week was extremely problematic. They are just too heavy. Also lack of knowledge from players stepping on them when fielding the ball at the boundary was a major factor in me ditching them, it just wasn’t worth it. I was fortunate in that I got them for free as they were discarded from were I worked at the time so no cost to my club.
At a higher level with appropriate man power flat sheets are invaluable in #getthegameon but at club level not worth the expense and extra workload in my opinion.
Good insight Dave thanks
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