This week, the Bushrangers are training at Wesley College’s immaculate cricket facility in Glen Waverley, 19km southeast of Melbourne.
turfmate caught up with the assistant coach from Cricket Victoria, Trent Woodhill and Wesley’s head groundsman, Rob Savedra, to chat to them about the events of the week.
Victoria have been coming to train at Wesley for 11 years, although this is Trent’s first year with them and he says he is “amazed at how good the facilities are”.
“I have been the assistant coach for the Melbourne Stars for the last two years and I have worked with Greg Shippard in the IPL in India for four or five years. I am from Sydney originally and moved down from Victoria this year to take on this role,” says Trent.
|Rob Savedra (pictured above); Trent Woodhill (pictured at top of page.)|
“Wesley is world class. It is the perfect place to come and get a taste of outdoor cricket based on the distance from the city centre and in terms of what’s on offer here.
“We have been able to use two wickets, the outfield is just pristine, it’s flat, it’s in good nick and the pitch has been really good for this time of the year in Melbourne.
“It is really easy for the modern day professional to be critical of venues because the players are used to everything being so high class, but this is comparable with the MCG.
“So to have the players feel like they can execute their skills well, it is a good precursor to the season.”
Rob Savedra and his team, inclusive of Craig Johnson, Dean Campbell and Peter Vasic are the men behind the stunning surface at Wesley.
Rob says that they are very lucky that their wicket table doesn’t have winter traffic on it.
“We have soccer running east-west both sides of the table, so we can start preparation in the middle of winter without having any footy traffic on it, which is a luxury.
“It is more like a traditional English setting where the wicket table is sacred and that no one is allowed to be on it.
“So, that saves our turf wicket so we can start preparing it early and get it up to scratch.
“One year that the Bushrangers played in the Champions Trophy in South Africa they flew out in the first week in September, so we have actually had the wicket up and they’ve played on it at the end of August, which is a luxury to get a wicket up in August in Melbourne.
“We do most of the work at the end of the cricket season knowing that they’re going to come early.
“We do a full renovation on the other wicket table and this Vic wicket is usually just used for seven or eight games and then we move to number two, three or four for the rest of the season.
“The high side wicket, which is what they get for the rest of the year to avoid any seepage under the covers or things like that, is always perfect during the season. Then during winter we might clean it up, pull any weeds out, we put a pre-emergent herbicide down, so it doesn’t get infested with any weeds and just juice it up with fertiliser, so it is as healthy as possible in the middle of winter.
“The wicket table is roped off for the whole winter so the soccer players don’t go putting stop marks or anything like that in it. Then we start cross rolling it at the start of August and get out any ripples that may have occurred, so it is nice and flat, because these guys will exploit any little thing that they can find with the wicket because they are just that accurate.
“It is good to have them here early as our first boys will be on it next week, so they start very early preparation too on a wicket that is ready to go.”
When asked how it feels to have their surface compared to the MCG by an elite coach, Rob humbly says that they’ve still “got a long way to go”.
“Although it is flattering we can present the place like this and that they are making runs.”
He also says that the support of the college is invaluable as they are the ones that allow the event to continue; despite the fact Rob and his team have to devote a large portion of their time preparing for it.
Article courtesy of turfmate – www.turfmate.com.au