Sunday, 28 June 2015

Sunday 28th June

It is always satisfying when your labour brings its rewards.

On the allotment the first vegetables of the season are now cropping.

On the cricket field pitch number 5 has had over 1000 runs scored on it, with nearly 400 runs in the game yesterday, but it still came in for criticism from some of the opposition.

We left the covers on overnight Friday, more by luck than planning as we tried twice to take them off on Friday but had second thoughts. It was just as well as there was some heavy rain on Friday evening despite a forecast which said there would be no rain.

The cover once again did its job and the pitch was hard once the cover was removed Saturday morning. Having had three games on that pitch it is time to repair it and leave it until next season.

The pitch was badly worn through foot holes at both ends.

An hour later the ends were as good as new.

The Carnival game is planned for Thursday evening. This is going on pitch number 8. We haven't used 7 & 8 for a number of years now as they are the closest to the railway line, but each end of season we treat them as if we had, so it is time to start using both of them. 

Preparing the pitch has given me a chance to get rid of all the thatch which has built up over the years, which is another reason for playing games on them. We are hiring the ground out in August and that game will go on number 7.

Updated Monday 29th:

Managed to cut the square, and pitches 5,7 and the practice pitch this afternoon - all looking good in the sun!

Sunday, 21 June 2015

Sunday 21st June

Managing a cricket square and looking after an allotment can be a challenge at times, but the allotment doesn't look too bad at this stage although I have been chasing my tail at times. The butternut squash and a few more more leeks are still to go in but the first early potatoes are about to be lifted and the early carrots are almost there.

My request for help with getting some sawdust fell on deaf ears so I ordered some off the internet. A bale of sawdust arrived swiftly which was just as well as it was needed yesterday.

After the successful trial of the water pump last week, the club is now the proud owner of a 1" petrol water pump, which should do the job a lot quicker.


The rain before and during the home game yesterday left the pitch and square in a bit of a mess, but thankfully it was all superficial.

After a brush-up and cut this afternoon it looks a lot better.

The square is also beginning to look a little tired so with some rain forecast I also put on an application of some fertilizer to boost the growth and make it look a little more green.

Umpiring yesterday was an interesting experience. I always thought that the two umpires would work as a team, quietly talking to one another out of hearing of the players, helping one another make the right decisions. Yesterday, I was shouted at by my 'colleague' whilst still at square leg, telling me in no uncertain terms that I could not allow a run as the batsman had not played a shot. I am always happy to take advice when umpiring but when it is given in an appropriate way. It was a pity that he did not take my advice when I was trying to quietly attract his attention that a delivery was above the waist!

The next 3 weeks will see my attention turn away from being a groundsman to volunteering at the York Community production of In Fog and falling Snow at the NRM.

As George Hudson sets forth on his journey to build the great East Coast rail network at any cost, the people who build it, along with investors and passengers are caught up in the reckless extravagance of his great adventure.  The cost is high for all involved.  As they place their bets on the future and the wheel of fortune rolls from the station towards the dark night, only the driver’s daughter sees the danger ahead.
Told by a cast of over 200, audiences will move through the National Railway Museum’s collections and end up in a new purpose built theatre.

This is something that will be unique and probably never repeated. It is on for 14 nights, with 500 tickets per night and they are almost sold out. Do consider coming and watching it. You will not be disappointed.

Monday, 15 June 2015

Monday 15th June

Why is it that some batsmen need to make a 'mark' that is almost as long as a broom handle?

It clearly didn't do this batsman any good as few of the opposition on Saturday made any runs.

The foot hole caused by one of our bowlers was not too bad and was soon repaired this morning.

With the rain yesterday and the soaking the ground got on Friday night, it was a good time to repair pitch 3 and the SISIS Rotorake was the bit of kit to use.

It soon put some deep slits into the surface and with a light sprinkling of grass seed and a top dressing of loam, the job was soon done.

This evening Roy has cut the outfield and I have cut the square, tidied up the pitch from Saturday and cut the practice strip ready for tomorrow.

The Cubs were playing outside, a tennis match was going on and lots of people were turning up for a blood donation session in the Sports Hall.

With the evening sun it was a lovely place to be.

Sunday, 14 June 2015

Sunday 14th June

Last Friday I left John and Roy to put the covers on and spent the day at Harlow Carr learning to weave with willow.

The result was quite pleasing:

The forecast for the weekend was poor with what appeared to be little chance of play on Saturday. I went through the motions of preparing the square and pitch on Thursday thinking that there was no chance of any play.

Overnight rain on Friday left a lot of water on the cover, but the rest of the square took it well with hardly any surface water.

At 9 o'clock, with rain still in the air, John and I set about removing the water from the covers. Having had the petrol generator repaired this was the first time to properly test out the water pump. After changing the suction hose, it worked and we were able to remove much of the water without using the BowDry.

The half inch hose is a little too small to remove the water rapidly but now I know that this method of water removal works, I will buy a 1" water pump.

The rain stopped mid morning and by 1.30pm the outfield was dry and having given the pitch a quick cut and roll all was set for a game of cricket.

As the afternoon went on the weather improved with the sun coming out around 4pm.

The pitch received good comments with something in it for batsmen and bowlers if they found the right spot.

There was not much damage to the pitch  as not that many overs were bowled so there is little repair work to be done. However, pitch number 3 was finished with last weekend so tomorrow that will need repairing and 'putting to bed' for the rest of the season. Thanks to one of our players with large feet there is a big foot hole to repair! The batsmen have done a pretty good job making their 'mark' in a variety of methods so it will take a while to repair.

Monday, 8 June 2015

Monday 8th June

If you want to know how a pitch will play then ask the groundman. Well that's what they always say but last Saturday I got it completely wrong.

Copmanthorpe pitches never have much bounce for slow blowers and they usually get 'tired' as the game goes on, particularly if the pitch has been used before. The pitch on Saturday was having its third and last game played on it and after a dry week I thought that batting second would see the ball getting lower and slower. How wrong I say. There wasn't much in it for the slow bowlers throughout, but very few balls kept low. However the faster bowlers toiled all day on what was a very flat pitch with nearly 400 runs being scored and few wickets falling until the end of each innings when both teams were trying to pile on the runs. It was a pitch where you got yourself out.

The only downside was that the attitude of the opposition was disappointing at times. It was a real shame that they didn't follow league rules and bring an umpire with them.

Yesterday was the time to start preparing our third pitch of the season, number 5. This is in the lowest part of the square and suffers badly if we get heavy rain. As I type this it is raining! However, the weather forecast for the rest of the week is good but with some uncertainty for the weekend.

Anyone who thinks that to prepare a new pitch is just a case of cutting it with a mower until the grass is short is sadly mistaken.

Most of the effort goes into scarifying the pitch without the aid of any mechanical machinery.

The SISIS Combirake is ideal for scarifying but since we have had it I have found that the handle is too high for me. Little did I appreciate that the height of the handle could be adjusted. There is a bolt that can be removed or even adjusted.

With the bolt:

Without the bolt:

Unfortunately without the bolt the handle is too low, so today I fitted a different bolt with some washers that are easy to add or remove, and now the height is just right.

After 2 hours of work in the sun yesterday afternoon the pitch was starting to take shape.

After another hour this morning and a full barrow load of grass removed the pitch is not far off where it needs to be.

Having bought  mesh sightscreens to replace our old boarded screens I thought that the days of high winds blowing them over had gone. I was alarmed last Saturday to see the most exposed screen tilting off the ground with the front wheels about a foot off the ground. Thankfully it did not blow over as it could have caused injury to anyone passing and would certainly have damaged the screen. We were so concerned that we had to put stakes in the ground and rope the screen to the stakes to ensure that it did not blow over. This meant that the screen had to be in place for a right hand bowler bowling over the wickets. When I informed the opposition captain that any left hand bowler had to bowl at the other end of the ground where we could move the screen, he was not best pleased. Perhaps this set his mood for the day! We are going to have to work out a way of securing the screen on a windy day yet still allowing it to be moved depending on the action of the bowler.

The good news of the day is that I have just placed on order for a new outfield mower. Last Tuesday I went over to Hull to view a machine and the Rec Committee have agreed to purchase it. More details to follow once we have it, but it will be so much better than our old one.

Now it is time for a meeting about the CCTV at the Rec. We need some additional cameras and to enable remote viewing.

Monday, 1 June 2015

Monday 1st June

Last week was a fairly straightforward week, with the usual preparation for a weekend game.

The square and pitch was cut on Thursday as the weather was good and there was rain forecast for overnight Thursday and possibly on Friday as well. The covers went on at tea time on Thursday and it proved to be a wise decision. With some uncertainty about the weather until Saturday the covers were left on until Saturday morning.

Early Saturday 3 of the second team turned out to get the water off the covers and I gave the pitch a cut and roll whilst John marked the boundary and creases.

I was interested to see how the repairs to the pitch held up during the game on Saturday.

The game went the full 90 overs with nearly 300 runs scored and on Sunday it looked as if little cricket had been played on the pitch.

A quick roll on Sunday to 'nip' the surface in and little more will be needed before next Saturday, except for the usual cutting and rolling.

When our latest sight screen was delivered it came with a much shorter winding pole than the pole with our first screen and it was so short that it was difficult to reach to wind the mesh up and down. The firm we bought it off promised to replace it, but after a month of waiting I offered to go over to Leeds to pick a new one up from the manufacturers. My thanks to Andy and the use of Fastlane Displays' van for getting it on Friday.

Knowing that rain was coming Thursday night I added some fertilizer to pitch number 1 and then on Friday the soil was soft enough to allow some light forking to give me some holes to help with the reseeding. The worn areas were then topdressed and after the rain on Sunday, the repaired areas were rolled. The result was a fully repaired pitch which probably won't be used until next year.

As an experiment I have bought a water pump that can be attached to an electric drill, to see if we can remove the water off the covers without having to use the BowDry to remove it all. The good news is that it works, the bad news is that our petrol generator is leaking fuel like a sieve; another job for Kevin, our machine man, to have a look at, along with the doors for the roller where one of the hinges has broken. He will now have replaced all 3 hinges and it is a good job that the doors are fitted with 3 hinges or we would have been in a mess.

The weather forecast for today was again for rain later on so immediately after lunch the pitch and square was cut. Just as I was finishing the rain came and it hasn't stopped since. The pitch will take the rain and saves me the job. I always think that our square plays better when it is not too dry.

Thursday looks like a good day weather wise this week so after my stint at 'Come 4 Lunch' I hope to get on with preparations for saturday. Watch this space for how it all goes.