Club member Kevin Anrich said the temporary pitch built in 2012 was constructed with a clay surface and has deteriorated. A new one, he added, would help players avoid injury and create a competitive playing field.
“The surface is a soft surface,” he said. “In cricket, the ball can bounce before it comes to the batter, and that is why we need a surface that is hard. A better surface would be cement and grass.”
A cricket pitch is a 66-foot by 10-foot rectangular playing surface, typically of packed clay or soil. The pitch in Central Community Park is in the center field area of a baseball diamond in the northern portion of the park.
Anrich speculated that the clay was softening and the entire pitch was sinking because of pooling water.
On Jan. 8, Anrich and a group of his teammates went before the Mountain House Community Services District Board of Directors to request help building a new pitch.
He told the board it would cost about $7,813.40 to replace the pitch with a permanent pitch of concrete covered with synthetic turf.
General Manager Janice McClintock told the group the community didn’t have the money for such a project.
The group was advised to talk with the Parks, Recreation and Special Events Committee.
Anrich said Sunday that his group had met with the committee and its chairman, Jim Lamb, who suggested going back to the board to work something out with the general manager.
During a practice Sunday, Jan. 19, in Central Community Park, Anrich demonstrated the poor surface conditions on the existing pitch.
As he ran forward to bowl the ball at a batter, his foot sank a couple of inches into the sandy clay surface.
He said a proper cricket pitch would have a hard surface and not give way during play. Since the pitch began to deteriorate, he said, three players have injured their ankles while throwing the ball.
In addition to risking injury, the group has had to switch to a ball similar to a tennis ball that is able to bounce on the clay surface, in place of a hard, leather-covered cricket ball.
“It makes a big difference,” Anrich said. “The leather ball can be curved, and the tennis ball can’t do it.”
So the players can practice on a hard surface, they have moved their weekly practices to a basketball court at Bethany School, 570 S. Escuela Drive. When they play a game against another club, they use a concrete-and-turf pitch in Tracy at Plasencia Fields on Krohn Road, off Corral Hollow Road and 11th Street.
Anrich said his club was willing to pay for the synthetic surface, at a cost of $2,500, but wanted community officials to authorize the new pitch and pour concrete. He plans to speak at the Feb. 12 board meeting and see what the directors say.
“We’re willing to split the cost,” he said. “We could split the whole project into phases. The city could do one phase and we could do the other phase.”
• Contact Denise Ellen Rizzo at 830-4225 or email@example.com.