The last thing that players want on game day is for rain to stop play. As well as rain, other types of weather may interrupt the game, but what can be done to anticipate them?
As with most outdoor sports, the weather has a big impact on cricket. Having a better understanding of the weather and what to expect may help you make decisions that will get the game on. Rain is probably the biggest weather issue for cricket and the heavier it gets, the harder it is to manage. But cloud cover, sunshine and wind all have a bearing on the game, often affecting ground preparation or tactics during the game.
So, what can you do to help make those decisions to get the game on? There’s a combination of three things: an understanding of how the weather works, combined with the right information and a little local knowledge.
How does the weather work?
In summer, when rain is forecast, it’s important to know what type of rain is expected. You’ll need to know whether general rain is likely, in other words broad bands of rain that typically spread from the Atlantic or northwards out of France. Alternatively, predicted rain may fall as showers. Typically showers will either be fleeting but frequent as they blow through on the wind or they can be much heavier but more isolated as they build during the heat of the day.
For example, if you play your games near the coast and the wind is blowing off the sea, on a showery day you may well miss most of the showers compared to a ground further inland. On the other hand, when drizzly rain is expected, a ground near the sea is likely to be wetter and gloomier than the ground inland.
Similarly, there can be significant differences in weather either side of high ground. Nearby hills can offer protection from showers or help to break up low cloud depending on wind direction.
To make the most of your local knowledge and an understanding of how the weather works, you need to use all the weather information available to you. The Met Office website provides all you need. Here you can find forecasts for specific locations and a written forecast for five days ahead to help with game planning. You will also find frequently updated rainfall radar images and the zoom facility is really useful when playing a game. When general rain is forecast you can zoom out so you can track the progress of rain that is heading towards you.
On showery days, you can zoom in to get a feel for how the showers are developing and moving.
The Met Office mobile app is useful for planning next weekend’s game when you’re out and about, or for getting information during a game when access to the website isn’t possible. The app enables you to get detailed five-day forecasts for thousands of locations. For today and tomorrow, you can study the percentage probability of rain, temperature, wind, cloud and UV levels in hourly steps. For the following three days you can get the same information in three-hourly steps. Simply click on the small map icon near the top of the app to see the rainfall radar mentioned above.
This enables you to put a weather forecast for your ground on your club website. You can choose what to display, including rainfall radar and, best of all, it’s free.