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Cricket Nets - final stages and finished pics PDF Print E-mail
Written by David Soede   
Monday, 09 November 2009

Although these nets were finished and have been in use for over a year, I thought I would take a few pics of the final result, and upload a few of the last stage pics with some comments. A big thank you to all those who volunteered time and effort to help me - Chris Hogbin, Pete Sharman and Mark Harvey and Genki Hashimoto :)

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My idea was to use 3 x netting sections for the sides and top, joining the edging with wire which would be used to hang them from the 2 end posts. As you will see later there was too much sag and end tensioning stays had to be added along with middle posts. The process of threading the wire through the netting was like threading a knitting needle around and around and around . . . Pete Sharman and I spent the best part of 2 days sitting on the pitch threading the heavy-duty bird netting together. 

The bird netting cost $400 for a 100m roll and pulled out stretched to ~5m wide. The alternatives were to put up heaps more posts and gal mesh fencing (the normal council construction method) which is a lot more expensive and much harder on cricket balls, or a high-quality sports netting like indoor cricket netting - which was prohibitively more expensive, many thousands of dollars. I thought the bird netting would be a really good solution and so far has stood up really well to wear and tear - just the occasional hole created off a massive pull shot usually.

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After a few feet of threading we would pull the nets along the wire cable - we found the easiest method was to attach the wire to a post and put tension on with one hand whilst push-bunching the net along the wire in sections.

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Always good to have plenty of helpers - Zac is excited about "his" new nets :)

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Once the nets had been completely threaded I attached one end of the wires to one set of posts using a loop around the post and crossbar and back through a clamping u-bolt. It might look frail but is a strong method of attaching wire as the u-bolt only has to stop the wire slipping past itself as opposed to taking any strain.

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The other end of the wire was attached to a fence tensioner and the other post, and then tension increased by ratcheting the tensioner slowly. It was amazing how much tension the wire could take without breaking - I wore safety glasses just in case it snapped - but also how much the top of the 4m high posts would bend given the tension needed to reduce the sag in the nets.

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A side net needed to be joined - to do this and for minor repairs I used some black elastic cord and just threaded it through the netting in a zig-zag fashion. Unfortunately the elastic I bought was not UV stabilised so deteriorated after a year and I had to re-do the netting joins with something else. I used some spare stringline string for where the side netting met the back netting down the posts. It doesn't have any elasticity but at least it is UV stabilised and on-hand - hopefully the netting won't need elastic joining cord.

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And with a bit of tensioning and some quick tent peg joining of the side netting to the ground, we had functional cricket nets at last - well for pace bowling anyway, as you can tell the sag is severe! We just wanted to have a quick session, so Pete batted and I bowled the first ball in anger in the nets :)

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I'd always planned on hanging the nets and then if needed, adding tensionsing stays. As you can see, they were needed! I had some left over H4 treated timber sleepers and some quick-set cement from lining my dam, so this didn't really cost me any extra $$. I did have some post-hole diggers, but I also had a neighbour with an excavator and an auger bit which we'd used to line the dam together - far easier to call in a favour than dig four post holes by hand!

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The sleepers were 2.4m long so I cut them in half for 1.2m lengths.

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I used 4 x bags of quick-set cement per hole, with Pete tamping the cement down and adding water as we went. I used a gal tensioning device with large eyes on both ends and affixed the end to the in-ground post with a gal coach screw.

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By twisting the middle part you pull the eyes closer (it's threaded) and provide tension. To attach the tensioning stays you run them from the top of the post, after loosening the net tension so the posts are vertical, through the eye, get it as tight as possible by hand, then twist the wire around itself and secure with a u-bolt.

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It took a couple of goes to get the tensioning method right as the posts had bending ideas of their own. I ended up climbing a ladder, reducing the net tension to 0, and then leaning my weight on the top of the post out towards the tensioning stays, whilst Pete and Chris or Mark secured the tensioning stay. We then cranked the tensioning stay tension up until the post was really leaning outwards, then tensioned the nets until the post was close to vertical and the net was not sagging much.

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Clearly the further back you can run the tensioning stays - preferably until the stay angle is 45 degrees or so - the better, but I was precluded from doing so on one side due to the boundary location. With less horizontal component the tension had to be a lot higher to accomplish the same counter-tension to the net tension. For anyone else I suggest going at least as far back as the height of the post (4m) if you can.

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Although a lot better, it still was a bit difficult to bowl any slow spin balls with plenty of loop, due to the sag. I had messed up the calculations on sag, thinking it would be a function of the distance (span) squared and weight of the netting, but finally I checked with a couple of engineers and discovered the formula was a function of span cubed not squared - hence a sag of ~3 feet when I had thought 6 inches would be the amount!

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So I got another 3 gal posts and dug the post holes by hand this time. I used the same PVC sleeving as I had done with the post holes in the pitch, and poured a few more bags of quick-set cement. I finished by the light of the moon and ride-on mower as I was keen to finish before the boys came over the next day.

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With some strength and balancing technique, Chris Gray and I, and Pete Sharman and Mark Harvey, carefully manoeuvred the posts into the halfway holes. 

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I was then able to lift the net wires up by looping some more wire over the halfway crossar and with the same fence tensioning devices as I'd used for the net wires. This meant the height of the middle of the net wire was now the same as the ends - actually a bit higher - and the sag at the quarter and 3/4 lengths was only a few inches. With the middle of the net now > 3m high loopy spin and slower balls could be bowled no problem.

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The was still a bit of sag going across the top net, and although this didn't affect the bowling, it meant leaves and sticks would fall and blow onto the top net and build up in the middle.

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My solution was to run a new wire lengthways down the middle of the top net, and lift it up nice and high at the halfway crossbar. This gave the top net a high peak instead of sag, like a tent, and meant any leaves or sticks would blow off or slide off onto the ground. It made the net look really good as well in my opinion.

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I finally got around to finishing the bottom of the nets as well. Initially I had only done the half near the batsman and left the half near the bowler loose - it would move around a bit so we would secure it with tent pegs. I always intended doing the same to the back half as the batsman's half, it was just getting the time. The way I secured the nets was to staple them to lengths of H4 treated pine, then use tent pegs to secure the timber to the ground. I had some more of those treated pine posts lying around spare, so trimmed 45-45-90 degree triangle cross sectional lengths off it with a circular saw. I drilled holes facing a few directions in the ends and middle for the tent pegs. The 45 degree part of the triangle would face the inside of the net so if the ball was hit along the ground it would deflect it up the net and mean the net could absorb the impact much easier than compared to a ball hitting it at right angles.Kind of like this:

X
X
X
X|\
X|  \
X|    \/\
X|   /  \                        
X|_/__\                       _________________________________
    /                              |                               pitch                                    |
   /

Where the "X" indicates netting stapled to the vertical part of the timber, and the tent peg goes down at a skew angle to resist up-pulling when the net absorbs ball impact.

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When I paint the batting crease in I paint in "centre" so we don't have to constantly chalk or scuff the pitch when batting. I put a bit of paint where the stumps go for centre as well, to ensure the batting crease "centre" is correct :)

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A couple of spectators enjoying a typical arvo net session, but it won't be long before they are in the nets themselves! 

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There it is then - all done finally!!

Total costs were approximately:

  • $200 for the bobcat preparation (and a wasted carton of beer for the excavator ruining the original preparation - lesson learned!)
  • $3,000 for the concrete pitch. I could have saved $500 to $1,000 here by not using blue metal for the base first, and I think edge beams were un-necessary, and the bowler wings are really an optional extra (but they are nice to have)
  • $1,200 for the synthetic turf (again I had an extra 10 metres for the bowlers wings whereas really 22 or 23 metres is adequate) and contact adhesive. This was from Advanced Polymer Technology (ph (03) 9794-9888 or PO Box 4260 Dandenong VIC 3175)
  • $400 for the heavy duty bird netting from CRT (8-10 Ourimbah St, Ourimbah NSW 2258 | PH: 02-43621301)
  • $300 for the posts, wire and various connectors and tensioners from BJ Howse Metaland at Lisarow.
  • $200 for the quick-set cement and H4 treated timber posts and runners (timber at the bottom of the nets) - I had these already but still paid for them.
  • $150 hire for the turf cutter
  • $200 for bobcat levelling - when I brought the sides up level with the pitch using some on-site clay soil and trucked in top soil dress ($200).

Last Updated ( Saturday, 26 February 2011 )
 
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