Norfolk Softball League solves its field problem

Mon 7 May 2012

Norfolk Softball AssociationA lot of British softball and baseball diamonds have been rendered unplayable in recent weeks because of the incessant rain.  But the Norfolk Softball League, based in Fakenham, with both fastpitch and slowpitch games on the schedule, went out and did something about it.

Norfolk Softball League Chair Mark House said, “Like many clubs that play regularly on turf, overuse inevitably leads to soil compaction, especially around the main batting, pitching and fielding areas.  This in turn means that when it rains the water no longer drains and instead leaves large muddy puddles that make the diamond effectively useless.  The Great British Summer we have enjoyed so far this year meant that we had to do something fast -- but what?”

Limited knowledge

The first problem that the Norfolk League had to contend with is that the knowledge base in the UK on field construction is fairly limited. “The big fear,” Mark House said, “was that if we didn't know what we were doing we could end up with something far, far worse.  But in the end, a combination of internet research and advice from our friends at RAF Lakenheath gave us the confidence to dig.”

Over 40 tonnes of soil were extracted from the main pitch at Fakenham High School before layers of redgra and brickdust were carefully added, levelled and compacted by volunteers over a three-day period.

End result

“The end result certainly makes the hard work worthwhile,” Mark House declared. “We now have a beautiful playing surface that with careful maintenance should ensure play for many years, regardless of anything thrown at it by the British summer.”

The field improvements, paid for out of league funds, are part of a continual development programme at Fakenham designed to ensure that growth continues by meeting the needs and expectations of members.

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