It is time to say goodbye to an old friend. Just like a true friend that is always there for you, never lets you down and asks for nothing in return - well except for some food and the occasional water. Yes, pitch number 1 needs putting to bed!
It has had 3 games played on it with over 600 runs scored and 200 overs bowled. It has held up well and there is not a great deal of repair work to be done.
Over the years you get to know your pitches: how much water to give them and when, how many games to play on them, what repair work is likely to be needed. Number 1 is my favourite pitch and the one I will always turn to when in need.
Machinery is just the same. You know the feel and sounds of a machine: it tells you when all is well and when its not. A machine is almost human: its talks to you - you just have to learn its language.
Talking of friends it was really good to see friends from Rugby at the game on Saturday. I will be thinking of you both over the next few weeks but was glad to hear the good news so far.
With number 1 'put to bed', it was time to prepare 'number 3' today. The weather for the week is not that good and with 3 days out for me this week, I needed to crack on.
First thing was to mark out the width of the pitch so that I cut to the correct width. There are markers in the ground but you can't easily see them from a distance and it is easy to cut too wide.
A few passes with the mower and the pitch started to appear.
Before we could afford to buy a SISIS Combirake we made our own diy hand pushed scarifier. The problem with the SISIS scarifier is that the handle is quite long and I find it hard to get the pressure on the tines.
The diy one was made by welding together a metal frame, fixing a couple of lawn rakes to the frame, adding wheels and a handle from an old lawnmower. The handles are lower so it is a lot easier to push and get the right pressure on it. The disadvantage is that the tines are further apart, but that is not a big issue.
The one piece of essential equipment as far as I am concerned is a pushed scarifier. If you can't afford to buy one, make one. It makes a world of difference when preparing a pitch.
The tines lift up the long stands of grass and really thin out the grass.
The next picture shows the amount of grass that was removed after scarifying just once and keeping the mower blades at the same height.
With a little more scarifying and lowering the blades a little, the pitch is as I want it to be 6 days before the next game.
Over the next few days the pitch will be rolled and cut regularly. It may need covering if the weather turns out to be as wet as predicted.
Roy is back from Australia so welcome home to him and no longer will I need to cut the outfield twice a week. That is a great relief!