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.