Case studies – Climate

Avoid playing cricket on a sticky wicket

In order to effectively prepare for a longer cricket season, teams have to start training earlier which has often meant travelling to sunnier, warmer countries. This is expensive and training on a hard South African wicket isn’t ideal preparation for a damp start to the season in the UK. Equally, training indoors in the UK does not provide the ideal conditions either.

Challenge
The landscape of modern day cricket is ever changing as the sport aims to ensure it best serves supporters and TV spectators alike. The emergence of different formats of the game means the seasons are longer – starting earlier and finishing later, which is of course not necessarily conducive to the British weather.

Polygon, a global leader in Temporary Climate Solutions was contacted by Surrey County Cricket Club to provide a solution to the condensation building up and dripping onto a new wicket being created for pre-season training at the Kia Oval. Lee Fortis, the groundsman needed the tented area to be free of condensation to allow the team to create the perfect playing surface in English conditions for pre-season.

Working collaboratively with the groundsman and his team throughout the project, Polygon’s expert technicians discussed the options available to achieve the necessary conditions.

The First step
Polygon’s first observation was to install the heaters on the outside of the marquee and feed warm dry air into the space on a total loss basis. As a result no additional moisture was being added into the space. The task then was to work with the residual condensation from warm to cold ambients and the moisture release from the ground.

Polygon installed a desiccant dehumidifier with flexible ducting and a remote monitoring system. On the first trial the dehumidifier sat outside the marquee and ducted in working on a total loss basis. Ambient air was warmed and dried before entering the marquee via flexible ducting. The desiccant dehumidifier delivered the correct amount of dry air for the area and worked in conjunction with the clients heaters.

The Second step
Stage two saw the dehumidifier installed on the inside of the marquee on a recirculation basis. The dehumidifier supplied warm dry air at one end of the area and drew in cool damp air directly into the dehumidifier. The moisture removed was discharged into the atmosphere via a flexible duct. The heaters thermostats were lowered to 10⁰C and the amount of fuel usage dropped significantly. By moving the dehumidifier inside and working on a recirculation basis, Polygon were able to create dew points lower than the ambient conditions. By holding the dew point lower, there was no evidence of any condensation inside the marquee.

Surrey Director of Cricket Alec Stewart said: “As we were using a marquee for the first time, I was expecting to give the programme seven or seven and a half out of ten. However, using the expertise of our Head Groundsman Lee Fortis, along with the help of Polygon’s dehumidifier, I was very very pleased to be able to give it nine and a half out of ten!”

 

Benefits
• A collaborative approach has created a replicable benchmark standard for all tented practise areas
• Polygon’s approach has negated the need for expensive overseas travel pre-season
• The engineered solution reduced the need for the heaters, minimising fuel costs
• Players are now able to practice all year round on the game day wicket.