Hybrid cricket pitches show Goodwood is still leading the way

Goodwood is known for its innovation – though most would assume that is to do with various forms of horsepower.

Work is carried out to install the hybrid pitches - with Goodwood House in the background
Work is carried out to install the hybrid pitches - with Goodwood House in the background

However, in the early 1700s Goodwood and innovation would have focused on cricket. The Dukes of Richmond helped lead the development of the game and in 1727 created rules that are now the oldest set still in existence.

Meanwhile the 4th Duke was a prime move in the establishment of Lord’s Cricket ground and MCC, as a backer of Thomas Lord.

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Move on just short of 300 years to today and innovation arrives on the Goodwood cricket ground again with the creation of three hybrid pitches.

A close-up of one of the pitches

The pitches, which remain more than 95 per cent natural grass surfaces, have been installed by SISGrass, said to be the only company across the world capable of delivering this.

Hybrid pitches are well known in football and rugby stadiums but have only recently been developed for cricket.

The first hybrid cricket pitch was at the ECB Performance Centre at Loughborough University in 2017 followed in 2018 at Lord’s and The Oval.

Most, if not all, first-class counties now have hybrid pitches for matches and nets, along with their satellite grounds.

These hybrid pitches have now been sanctioned by the ECB for use in T20, The 100 and Royal London matches.

Goodwood CC say theirs is the first club ground in Sussex to have one. It is also one of the few club grounds across the UK to have this facility.

Goodwood CC have put in three hybrids, one either side of the square and the third near the middle. This will improve and increase net and training facilities, allow better pitches for T20 matches and give more flexibility for weekend and midweek games. Hybrids create longer-lasting pitches, with increased performance, giving the club more flexibility and allowing more netting on grass rather than artificial pitches.

The installation was completed in ideal conditions by the SISGrass team. They will come into use at some stage in May, though it is unlikely that players will notice any visible difference.

This is new technology and Goodwood CC along with their cricketing alliance partner Chichester Priory Park CC are delighted to be at the forefront of the development of the game, which will allow for increasing numbers of adults and juniors to enjoy their cricket.

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