Creative curator sets fire to pitch, allowing club cricket game to go ahead

Footage shows players surrounding the pitch, as flames engulfed the soaked surface.

Images of a pitch in flames spread around the world from a tour match at St Lucia during the 1990 English tour of the West Indies.

The method has rarely been used outside of the Carribean, though in 2016, a Darwin curator set fire to the Asbuild Sporting Complex surface after the covers were removed before a storm rolled in, and again in 2017 when sprinklers were triggered prematurely.

Jean-Luke Desmarais, general manager of the visiting Melbourne University Cricket Club, said the use of fire to dry a pitch was unusual in Australia.

“It was a bit of a novelty, I suppose,” Desmarais said.

“It’s not something that happens here very often, in fact, no one in our club has seen it done before, which is why I think the video was spread around so fast.”

Desmarais said the players were excited to see the technique used because it allowed the game to commence as planned.

“If they hadn’t done this, it may not have dried enough for even the 2.30pm start that we had for the day.”

Melbourne University won the toss and elected to bat, saving their bowlers from running on a potentially damp wicket.

They had no trouble playing on the surface, as the away side clocked up 3-263 on the day’s play, with Isaiah Borgas reaching 156 not out.


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