Dutch cricket acquired its eighth turf square last weekend with the launch of the new facility at Hermes-DVS’s Sportpark Harga complex in Schiedam.
Local council plans forced Hermes’s cricketers to move their main ground several years ago, and the club has now realised its dream of becoming the seventh venue in the Netherlands to boast a grass wicket (the Salland club in Deventer is the only ground to enjoy the luxury of two turf squares).
One of the country’s oldest clubs, Hermes currently play in the Hoofdklasse (second division), having been relegated from the top flight in 2017, but after finishing top of the table this season will be hoping for a speedy return to the Topklasse once promotion and relegation are again in play.
The square, which provides six pitches, has been laid by local environmental contractors Irado, who will also maintain it during the season, although the preparation for matches will be looked after by long-serving New Zealand-born former Hermes professional Gavin McRae, who has been associated with the club for a quarter of a century, assisted by other club members.
The Hermes pitches will mean that three of the ten Hoofdklasse clubs – the others being Kampong Utrecht and Salland – will be playing on turf, while there are four such squares in the Topklasse: Hermes’s Schiedam neighbours Excelsior’ 20, VOC Rotterdam, Voorburg and VRA Amsterdam.
Further down the line, it’s possible to imagine Sportpark Harga becoming the Netherlands’ next officially-sanctioned ODI venue.
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