PORDUCING PITCHES: Clarence River curator Tony Blanch said he has produced a wicket that will last in the minor semi-final between Coutts and Tucabia.
PORDUCING PITCHES: Clarence River curator Tony Blanch said he has produced a wicket that will last in the minor semi-final between Coutts and Tucabia. Bill North

Curator positive wicket will hold up for two day’s play

CRICKET: Creating the perfect cricket pitch is an art form that not many in the cricket fraternity truly know to accomplish.

But after years of practice Clarence River Cricket Association curator Tony Blanch is pretty certain he has it down pat.

According to Blanch, Ellem Oval – which plays host to the Premier League minor semi-final between Coutts Crossing and Tucabia-Copmanhurst this weekend – has never looked better.

“Everything is just looking perfect,” Blanch said. “The track looks good, there is a tinge of green in the surface and a bit of moisture in it too.

“We have shut down all the water now until the game. She has had a good soaking this week and their should be enough moisture in the ground to hold it up.”

Despite the outfield being mowed low before the contest Blanch believes the outfield will still be soft enough to hold the ball up and provide a quality match.

“I don’t think the outfield will be lightning fast at all,” he said. “I think it might even hold up a bit. But it should only add to the contest of bat and ball.

“The oval is still prepared just the same as any other regular season game but you just put a bit more effort into the pitch to ensure it holds up for two consecutive day’s play.”

Blanch said he expects the ball to zip and seam around early on the first day but if the top order batsman get through the early session unscathed then the side batting first should be in for a good total.

“It does have a bit of a green top so there will be a bit in it for the bowlers early,” he said. “After that it should just plane out to be a decent batting track and hopefully produce something for the spinners late on Sunday.

“I am certain it will hold up for the two days and it should be a track that supports the batsmen.

“If they don’t score 300 it is their own fault.”

The curator also shared his prediction for the match suggesting Tucabia may just have the edge.

“I think it should be a good contest from both sides,” he said. “Coutts have been firing lately but Tucabia have a really strong side.

“I think I just give it to Tucabia because they have been here before a lot and know what it takes in finals.”



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