Saturday, May 27, 2006

Super Sopper stopper

Saturday was a frustrating day for fans at Edgbaston, with the heavens opening just five minutes before the scheduled start of play and no action possible until 4.45pm.
Such was the state of the outfield at lunchtime that most of the boys in the press box were plotting an early getaway but, just a few hours later, the field of play had been rendered immaculate.

For that, we have to thank the miracle that is the Super Sopper. The inventor, Gordon Withnall, came up with the idea in 1974 while trudging around a waterlogged golf course in his native Australia. The first motorised machines followed in 1979, following a special order from the MCG.

The most powerful Super Sopper model is the Whale, which the manufacturers claim can pick up and pump away more than 7,000 gallons of water per hour. It comes equipped with a 25hp petrol engine and a 66 gallon holding tank. But perhaps the most impressive statistic is that, despite its size and bulk, the Whale exerts actual surface pressure of only 5 to 6 pounds per square inch, meaning no damage is done to the ground.

So there you go - everything you ever wanted to know about the Super Sopper but were too afraid to ask...