Page 31 - Independent Schools Magazine
P. 31

                 Onwards and upwards:
Merchant Taylors’ School expands arti cial cricket nets
When space is at a premium, it pays to ensure that every inch is in full use. This seems especially true at independent schools – historic sites were not originally planned with modern sports needs in mind, yet providing state-of-the-art facilities is key in attracting and retaining students.
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Over the years, total-play has helped numerous leading schools transform anything from under- used facilities to over ow car parks and areas of waste ground into high-use facilities. General and cricket-based MUGAs are popular uses
of such space, as are synthetic track and  eld facilities that can be built on surprisingly little space. The company’s  agship ECB-approved non-turf cricket facilities are also regularly built on out-dated facilities or waste ground, with design and construction tailored to the unique demands of the site.
This was the case at Merchant Taylors’ School
in Middlesex where, following the construction
of a six lane, ECB-approved non-turf cricket practice system in 2016, the school re-appointed total-play to construct a smaller facility on the opposite side of the ground. The new project saw the construction of a new four-lane facility based on its tp365 system design on the site of old non-
turf practice nets, and an upgrade to the adjacent natural turf practice area with the installation of retractable netting.
Works commenced early in 2017 with the challenge of inclement weather not fazing
the groundwork team. The installation of a hardstanding haulage route to site ensured minimal disruption despite wind, rain and snow with total-play carrying out work at every stage, including the demolition and removal of the existing non-turf facility.
The new, four-lane facility was designed to mirror the speci cation of the original total-
play installation at the school. Bespoke features included a deeper sub base to account for clay within the onsite soil structure, extended run-ups to create a 40m long facility, fully carpeted with two-tone carpets to the lanes and single-tone in the run-up area. A synthetic changing area was
constructed to avoid contamination from the surrounding area a non-mow maintenance strip was installed to perimeter using concrete slabs and kerbs.
Richard Ayling, Grounds Manager at Merchant Taylors’ School, says of the new system: “It has been a great success along with the six lanes that total-play constructed the previous year. The weather was challenging during construction and patience was needed by all to make sure it was completed in a good and timely manner. The  nish of the nets coincided as planned with Middlesex CCC having the marquee on the grass nets. They used the arti cial nets for warm ups and, as with the previous block of nets, they found them very consistent in the way that they played. The two blocks of nets have given the school the facilities needed to progress and build on the success of the past year, notably our U17 side becoming national champions.”
For information on how total-play can help you transform an outdated facility or under-used space, head to
Surfaces that ‘make the grade’
Design - Construction - Maintenance - Refurbishment
From cricket to cricket-based MUGAs, track & field to winter sports: Synthetic & fine turf sports surfaces that ‘make the grade’
T: +44(0) 1604 864 575 E: W:
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