Work begins on improving the pitches for next season
The 2017/18 campaign may still be going on, but work has already begun on getting the Sundorne Castle Training Ground ready for next season.
The training ground became home to the squad at the start of this season and after nearly a year in operation it is time for remedial work to begin on the pitches.
As with any new venture there have been a couple of difficulties and one of these was the drainage of the surfaces during the very wet and cold winter months.
In order to improve this for next season the club has once again invested heavily in the pitches with improved drainage put in.
ShrewsWeb caught up with Head Groundsman Dave Saltman, of Maxwell Amenity LTD, to discuss the work that is taking place.
“We’re just trying to supplement what we started 18-months ago”, said Dave.
“We had a wet winter, certainly through December, January, and February, which showed up the weaknesses we’ve got here, so the lads are now putting in gravel banding, which is a more belt and braces attempt to help the pitches stay dry through next winter.
“We’re still dealing with the natural soils that are here, so it’s never going to be a sand pitch or training ground, but within the parameters of our revenue and budget we are trying to make them as free draining as possible.
“We lost quite a few days in the end, maybe 23/24 days, where they couldn’t train here and then had to go and use the stadium or had to go and use artificial surfaces elsewhere, and that’s not ideal, so within a budget we are to improve them again so that next season they are better than they have been this year.”
It is hoped that the drainage work will help matters during the winter months, but there is also good news for the grass in the summer months with a new pop-up irrigation system being put in place, as Dave explains.
“We’ve had travelling sprinklers here that we worked off the main pipe down the right hand side of the field, but we have been working hard to get pop-up irrigation”, Saltman said.
“We managed to get the pipework and electrics installed before the gravel banding started, so I’d like to thank the irrigations guys for giving up last weekend to get that pipework installed, and they will be back after all our work’s done to install the heads, and we are actually going to have some new heads put in at the Meadow too, so I’m chuffed to bits.”
The work at the training ground had to start this week in order for it to be ready for next pre-season and Saltman will now be accommodating the players on the main stadium pitch in the build-up to Wembley.
“After the victory on Sunday the players are now camping up at the stadium for the next week and a half”, said Dave.
“I think they’ve had a couple of days off, but as of tomorrow (Thursday) we’ve got the full squad training up at the stadium now, so we will be maintaining it every day.
“We aerated it after Sunday with the pitch invasion and the game, and we are cutting it shorter and shorter, so it will be much akin to what Wembley’s going to be like and hopefully we can provide the perfect training conditions in advance of the game a week on Sunday.”