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This week we spoke to Highgate CC, a diverse and welcoming club with a warm atmosphere, about their recent installation of a new hybrid pitch.

What is a hybrid pitch?

Hybrid pitches have been installed into main squares and practice pitches at County Cricket grounds since the 2019 season, including Lord’s, with the aim to help the pitches stay stronger for longer. Dr Iain James, who is leading on the project at ECB, gave us some more context:

“The Hybrid Pitch trial was established in 2021 and is designed to assess whether the benefits of stitched fibre-reinforced pitches (improved durability, consistent performance) observed in the professional game can be translated successfully to the recreational game, and what adaptations to grounds management are required. This is year one of a three-year trial of a number of hybrid pitches at different types of recreational club. The ECB will monitor how the pitch performs at Highgate CC and other participating clubs. This will help us to formulate guidance to help clubs decide whether this is a technology for them and how to manage hybrid pitches to maximise their lifecycle and benefit.”

How has the new hybrid pitch benefited Highgate CC?

Middlesex Cricket put Highgate forward for an ECB trial of a new hybrid pitch ahead of the 2021 season, which they were happy to accept. The club say that it has been interesting to use the hybrid this year, and that it has certainly lived up to its billing of increasing the playability. This has been important for Highgate in their geographical location, as there is only one main ground local to the club. Being able to get more cricket played at their home ground is therefore great for the club and their members. Alongside the benefits for both the ground staff and members, the players have found success in the pitch as well. The improved bounce and carry has meant that batters and bowlers are still enjoying an equal battle. There has also been a lot of local interest in the hybrid pitch, mainly from other clubs wanting to know more information about how it has worked. Having seen the results from Highgate’s season and how well the pitch has settled, many other clubs are considering installing one themselves.

What else happens at Highgate CC?

Highgate pride themselves on a friendly, welcome and relaxed atmosphere. There are six Saturday league sides and two Sunday teams who represent Highgate over the weekend, whilst during the week there is a midweek side and a large junior section playing their games at their ground. The club also enter the Middlesex Development League, U19 T20 Blast, and the Middlesex Youth Cup, increasing the opportunities for their young players to develop and progress. The Junior section has 360 children spread over 25 teams, as well as a girl’s section that started this season. In their first summer, the girls reached two County finals and one County semi-final. The club has a lovely clubhouse with bar and catering facilities and a Thai kitchen, where many members and parents spend their summer evenings.

What next?

If you are interested in more information about how to develop the facilities at your club, including enquiring about the possibility of installing a hybrid pitch, please contact [email protected].

We would like to thank the team at Highgate CC for their contribution and be sure to visit the club if you are in the area! You can find more information about the club on their website.

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