White Horse complete Shinfield Cricket Ground

After 133 years at the old cricket ground, Shinfield Cricket Club were handed the keys to their new community cricket ground and clubhouse. After being granted funding in a joint venture with the local council and the University of Reading the doors were shut on the old club house and the community have moved to this purpose-built facility.

In the resplendent sunshine and after one final cut of the outfield, the White Horse Contractors team handed over the keys to the ground to the extremely excited and grateful Shinfield Cricket Club and their club secretary. The creation of a high-quality ground is not only for the Cricket Club but shall be converted in the winter into two natural sportsturf football pitches.

The cricket ground marks a significant moment not only to the cricket club but also to the White Horse Contractors’ team. This was the first project awarded to the team following the acquisition by S&C Slatter Ltd in 2019 and represented the new start for the company. The cricket ground was built upon an old agricultural site where a housing development had been erected, centre of which is the new community sports field and clubhouse facilities.

The first challenge for the White Horse Contractors team was the COVID-19 pandemic at the start of the project. Once back on site the team worked collaboratively and conscientiously with the local community with exceptionally detailed planning and communication to minimize the disruption during the works. The White Horse Contractors team instructed all deliveries and construction work to give due consideration to the residential area the site was located within. The new sports ground is the centre piece for the new residents to be proud of.

The newly created plateau required high quality and consistent drainage. Initial work on the old agricultural site began with clearing fencing, spraying, and flailing followed by an earthworks operation. Over 4,000 mᶾ of subsoil was cut and filled across the site, before the topsoil was carefully respread across the now levelled plateau. The installation of the primary drainage was completed using our brand-new Mastenbroek 20/15 trencher fitted with GPS system, laying 80mm piping at 5m centres at 450mm depth laterally across the outfield, then backfilled. Perimeter ring drainage was installed at 600mm depth around the circumference of both the cricket outfield and the playing square. The ground was cleared of stones and debris using the stone burying and power harrow machines. Then the secondary drainage was installed at 500mm centres perpendicular to the primary drainage, to ensure optimal drainage performance for the sportsturf pitches.

Whilst the project endured the challenges presented by the worst of the British weather with numerous rain delays, the cricket square was constructed by importing a specialist cricket loam. This work was undertaken at the same time as the secondary drainage to maximise efficiency. The White Horse Contractors team designed and constructed the irrigation system required to maintain the quality of the wickets themselves. A mains water feed was installed into a new underground storage tank. The pump station ran 2 hand-watering points on the front edges of the square, to run hoses and sprinklers to aid manicuring the cricket wickets.

A very intensive manicuring schedule was undertaken to prepare the square in 12-months. Establishment works delivered by White Horse Contractors included renovations of the square, fertilizing, top dressing as well as verti-draining, all combining to create a true playing surface ready for the start of the new season.

After one final inspection by the White Horse Contractors team and a final cut of the outfield, the ground was officially handed over to the stewardship of the local council and Shinfield Cricket Club. The Manor Park community sports ground includes a clubhouse and gated car park which opened officially on Sunday 21st May with the first cricket match between Shinfield CC v University of Reading CC.

For more information call 01865 736272 or email whc@whitehorsecontractors.co.uk