Pitch bounces into top spot

Graham Wicks at the Lilac Hill 1 cricket pitch.  Picture: Bruce Hunt         d435010
Graham Wicks at the Lilac Hill 1 cricket pitch. Picture: Bruce Hunt         d435010

The Midland-Guildford Cricket Club home ground, Lilac Hill 1, has been voted the premier cricket venue for the 2014-15 season, knocking Fremantle Cricket Club�s Stevens Reserve off its mantel.

The WACA Competitions Department collates umpire and captain�s reports for the season to determine the best pitch.

Top-ranked Lilac Hill 1 scored an average ranking of 8.71, while the Fremantle�s Stevens Reserve east was a close second at 8.68 and its west pitch with 8.59.

The top award is testament to the 200 days since Mr Wicks last had a day off and seven years in the job at Lilac Hill to bring it up to the standard it is today.

�For the past few years Lilac Hill has hung around in the top three so it�s nice to claim the top spot,� Mr Wicks said.

Lilac Hill is one of the only pitches left in the State that uses the classic WACA couch grass with the iconic characteristics associated with Perth cricket.

WACA couch is now unavailable and most venues now use wintergreen couch.

�It�s got that good bounce, good carry and while the ball is new there will always be plenty of opportunity for the bowlers,� Mr Wicks said.

�After 20 overs, batsmen who survive with a good technique can cash in a bit more.

�I think that�s how it should be played there are so many advantages to the batsmen in modern cricket with modern bats and flat pitches so it�s good to have a pitch that allows the bowlers something.�

Mr Wicks learned his craft at The Institute of Groundsmanship in England, which is affiliated with England�s top sporting bodies, including the English Cricket Board.