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British-made Mastenbroek drainage trencher is 'pitch perfect'

Play will be resumed faster than ever before after rainfall at Gloucestershire County Cricket Club’s (GCCC) Nevil Road, Bristol, ground thanks to a £500,000 contract to install new drainage. The outfield improvement works involved the installation of more than 4km of drainage, including main, collector, lateral and rootzone slit drains, a combined duct/surface water ACO drain around the perimeter of the stands and associated surface cultivation and levelling to existing grade at the site.



Covering an area of some 1.9 ha of established outfield, the site is surrounded by the main stadium, with fixed stands on two sides and further buildings situated around the remaining boundaries. The recently completed works ensure that GCCC will start the 2009 season with one of the best grounds in the cricket calendar with improvements to the existing storm water infrastructure, the construction of a new soakaway and the installation of an automatic pop-up irrigation sprinkler system.

The works have been carried out to designs drawn up by consultant Turftrax Ground Management Systems (TGMS). TGMS determined that the outfield has a natural soil base consisting mainly of shale and mudstone with occasional limestone and sandstone bands, the underlying geology of the site being clay. Historically, heavy rainfall tended to create a temporary water table that could reach the surface in periods of prolonged wet weather, causing waterlogging and hampering play.

The new drainage will spell an end to all that, and the ECB-funded scheme is designed to ensure a minimum of 30mm/hour along with a return to play within one hour of suspension. TGMS’s solution to these exacting requirements was to combine deeper drains with surface water drains to effect rapid removal of surface water. This has been complemented by a rootzone carpet to maintain firm conditions under foot even during rainfall events.

The main drainage works have been carried out by White Horse Contractors (WHC), the Abingdon, Oxfordshire-based contractor, which specialises in sportsturf drainage projects at football, golf and cricket venues. The company has a fleet of 13 major items of Mastenbroek specialist drainage equipment. With 52 years’ experience in land drainage, WHC currently sees no let-up in these specialised areas of contracting.

WHC used a Mastenbroek 10/12D, designed primarily for sports field and golf course drainage, at the Bristol site. Identical machines have gained an unrivalled reputation on drainage works in similar applications, along with the installation of irrigation and under pitch heating pipes.

The 10/12D is one of an extensive range of chain trenchers and plows for agricultural and sports field drainage applications from the Mastenbroek stable. Starting with 97kW rated machines capable of excavating trenches with depths of 250mm to 1.8m and widths of 120-400mm, the line-up rises up the power scale to 328kW, where digging depth and width are 1.8-5m and 320-800mm, respectively.

With a digging depth range of between 0.25m - 1.4m, the 10/12D is ideal for excavating trenches at widths of between 120mm - 370mm where laser level accuracy on challenging terrain is essential. At the GCCC Bristol site, WHC’s machine installed more than 3.6km of lateral drains and 294m of ring drains without faltering, despite plummeting temperatures and snow-covered ground threatening productivity.

“The Mastenbroek lived up to its reputation,” says Philip Matchwick, WHC’s Plant Manager. “It has been the backbone of all work carried out on premiership football pitches installing drainage, irrigation and under pitch heating pipes on White Horse contracts throughout the world.”

The 10/12D features a heavy duty pivoting undercarriage, independent hydrostatic track drive, an operator’s position giving good all-round vision, hydraulic conveyor and spoil lifting chute and noise reduction measures. The 10/12D is also versatile; remove the conveyor and this machine may be used for drainage in orchards, or on small agricultural and civil engineering jobs for gas, water pipe and cable ducts in grass verges and across fields.

WHC also used one of its Mastenbroek CT12 crawler trucks at the Bristol site. Used for backfilling trenches for drainage and other pipeline applications, in their standard form these machines have an engine rated at 164kW (220hp) and weigh in at 17 tonnes. The CT12 has a large 15 tonne hopper capacity, independent variable hydrostatic track drive and a 180-degree swing, hydraulically slewable, front-mounted conveyor discharge assembly. The CT12 can be adapted to suit individual requirements, for example to facilitate side loading or automatic back loading of granular fill.

“The two machines are entirely complementary in applications such as this,” says Matchwick. Their excellent productivity ensured that the final pieces of turf could be laid at the county ground, as planned, at the end of February, putting into place the final stage of preparation for the start of the season.