Our field of dreams started to become a small reality and out of our minds and onto paper with our first blueprints. Once the plan was laid out, the most important part of the project was to locate a proper size of land to accommodate an internationally-sized cricket ground with up to 80 meters of boundary around the main pitch. When our site evaluation team was reviewing possible locales they set a mandate to find a location that is easily accessible from all of the Niagara Region’s major highways. The location needed to be convenient for local players as well as those from all across Canada and from the neighboring state of New York, USA.
After careful review of all available locations in Niagara Region, a highly suitable site of 24 acres was allocated right in the heart of Niagara Region to build the NCC.
There was significant work to be done on the land before the official ground-breaking could commence. As a result the NCC group solicited proposals from several land grading and landscaping contractors to do this clean up. The NCC selected a major land grading company to start and complete the initial land grading project.
Excessive rainfall during the 2011 spring season made the farm-filed lot impossible to bring any heavy grading equipment on to the site. For example, even a light tractor to disc the land or cut bushes couldn’t be arranged due to precipitation causing the ground to soften.
The rainfall continued throughout May 2011. To provide perspective on how bad the rain was, the entire spring season was lost by most contractors for all of their projects due to the record rainfall. The Province of Ontario’s precipitation levels during the Spring 2011 season was more than any of the past 40 years. As a result no further land work could commence as the field remained incredibly soft due to precipitation.
The sun finally began to shine by mid-June and the field started to harden with the first extended dry patch of weather. NCC’s land grading contractors worked day and night to disc the entire 16 acres of land twice and cleared up all vegetation and debris from the future cricket ground site.
Heavy duty D6 Bulldozers graded the entire field and made it look like a turtle back. Also, as a result of the hard work by all NCC contractors and volunteers, a pair of Astro Turf pitches were ready be installed on the land. With the help of consultants from Cambridge, 2 Atsro Turf pitches were installed – 120 X 15 ft. for the main pitch and 45 X 15 ft. for the batting cage. The batting cage was installed and completed shortly after the pitches were ready.
The first net and batting cage practices at the NCC while staff waited to seed the cricket ground and weather remained hot and dry. With the facility starting to take shape the NCC now has one of the best Astro Turf practice pitch, cage and net settings in the province.
Hydro seeding contractors finally were able to seed the oval cricket ground. Special Rye Grass seeds that are both low mow and drought tolerant was used for the ground. The ground’s grass started to blossom within 3 short weeks. By the end of September the grass was covering approximately 80 percent of the playing area.
Hydro seeding contractors advised the entire 16 acre lot – the whole cricket ground and surrounding areas will be full of grass by spring 2012.
The NCC – the only international cricket ground in the Niagara Region is complete and picture perfect! Now the NCC planning team is evaluating potential additions to further develop the ground and surrounding areas.