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SAPCA Award Finalists in Focus: CLS Sports at Oundle School

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05 July 2017

The SAPCA Award for Excellence was launched in 2015 to celebrate exceptional achievements by SAPCA members.
The first SAPCA Award was presented during the SAPCA Conference in February 2016 – and earlier this year, SIS Pitches beat nine other finalists to win the second edition of the prize.
Over the coming weeks, we will highlight the ten projects which made it to the 2016 final list – starting with one of the most ambitious projects entered for the award.

Oundle – School of Excellence
Sports pitch contractor CLS Sports won the tender to transform the outdoor sporting provision at the historic Oundle School, Northamptonshire – the third largest independent boarding school in England.
The work, which took a year to complete, was carried out in three phases.
First, a new drainage system was installed to an existing hockey pitch in order to fix a flooding issue, which had caused the ground to become saturated and undulations to appear in the pitch.
Phase two involved the construction of two 10-bay cricket training nets – one with synthetic wickets supplied by Notts Sport and the other with natural grass lanes. The facility was built to meet ECB standards, with the 10 synthetic lanes having different make-ups to create varying wicket speeds.
The final phase involved the construction of two new full-sized hockey pitches, alongside the existing, refurbished pitch.

Pitch Perfect

When the project was sent in to the SAPCA Award panel it was the cricket facility which caught the attention of the judges.
Practice facilities as large as the 20-lane net are rarely witnessed in first class cricket – so to have one at an educational institution is remarkable.
Former England batsman John Crawley, who now heads Oundle School's cricket programme, describes the facility as "one of the best of its kind in the world".
"We had a number of grass nets previously, but the problem we had was that they were constantly in use – and would become pretty worn over the course of the school term", Crawley said.
"And if there was rain, they’d obviously get wet pretty quickly. The new training facility gives us an opportunity to rotate everyone around all the lanes – and whatever the weather, we can get some cricket in.
“Three of the lanes are a bit slower, to allow spin, and we've got three lanes for medium pace. At the other end there are three lanes designed for quick bowling. That means that we can have different uses out of them – for example, we can have the younger cricketers in the quick lane, where the ball comes on a bit better".
Stephen Miller, CLS Sports' contracts director, added that the complex project included a number of challenges.
"The Oundle project represents our diverse range of skills and expertise in constructing world class sporting facilities”, he said.
"We took an adaptive and phased approach to ensure the highest standards were achieved in very challenging conditions. A bespoke drainage system was required to overcome the extremely soft ground conditions and specialist machinery and methods were utilised to enable the construction to progress through the winter weather.

"We're extremely proud of what has been achieved and hope the school and its pupils enjoy the facilities for many years to come".

For more information on Cleveland Land Services (Guisborough) Ltd, please click [here]

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