By the start of the 2015 cricket season, Headingley cricket ground, home of Yorkshire County Cricket Club, will be home to a brand new world class sports lighting installation. The brief was to meet specified lighting performance levels on the pitch whilst adhering to strict light control and planning regulations off the pitch, whilst at the same time, the solution had to be iconic in design.
In August 2014 Yorkshire CCC invited sealed bid tenders for the project. Abacus submitted their tender and came out on top winning the contract two months later. With unrivalled experience in sports lighting and a proven track record in cricket stadium lighting, Yorkshire CCC’s decision was influenced partly by its confidence in Abacus’ abilities. Trent Bridge, Lords, London’s Kia Oval, Edgbaston and Manuka Oval are some of the recent cricket projects which Abacus has successfully completed.
Headingley cricket ground required a lighting installation to be installed around the perimeter of the pre-existing stand structure. Abacus’ design teams took great care to ensure that the combination of floodlights, masts, headframe design and lighting design, would provide world class cricket lighting whilst remaining aesthetically pleasing and sympathetic to the local neighbourhood and Leeds skyline.
The lighting levels for televising this high level of cricket needed to be met without any light overspill onto neighbouring areas. This led to the selection of high performance Abacus Challenger 3 floodlights combined with louvre shields to provide the highest level of upward light and overspill control. These floodlights will be mounted onto four uniquely designed 11m headframes, which in turn are mounted onto 45m masts.
The location of the masts was an important factor as the available space between the stands and stadium boundary was limited, therefore fixed masts were chosen as the ideal solution. Working around the stadium layout, each foundation required distinct planning and installation considerations; resulting in four individually designed foundations to hold the masts.
Calling on their expertise in steelwork and previous successes in designing and creating one of a kind headframes, Abacus were able to manufacture a structure which when installed will be instantly recognisable as the symbol for Yorkshire. A uniquely designed white rose headframe will sit on top of each mast to hold the floodlights.
Fabrication of the masts began December 2014 with the shafts being manufactured in seven separate sections to be assembled once onsite. The top mast sections are angled in order to direct the headframes and floodlights to maximise the lighting.
Before delivery to Headingley, each mast and frame undergoes rigorous testing procedures to ensure high quality and longevity of the finished product. The Headingley masts are set to stand the test of time enabling Yorkshire CCC to train and play floodlit cricket for many years to come. In their component form, the headframes consist of 15 sections, each one fitting perfectly to the next to form the white rose of Yorkshire. Fully assembled, each headframe weighs approximately 555kg and carries 108 Challenger 3 floodlights.
Early January 2015 saw work begin on the foundations. Investigations were carried out on the ground conditions, the outcome of which necessitated reinforced concrete piles to be set into the bedrock up to a maximum depth of 11m, on top of which the main foundations would sit.
The first mast has been delivered to Headingley cricket ground ready for installation. The mast sections will be assembled onsite at ground level along with the headframe and floodlights. The first complete structure, weighing an impressive 26.5 tonne, will be lifted and installed on to the foundation using a 500 tonne crane. Over the coming weeks, installation of the following three structures will take place in preparation for testing and commissioning all in good time for the first floodlit match of the season.