Sunday, 26 July 2015

Sunday 26th July

Although it has been a while since I last published a 'blog' but this does not mean that things have been quiet at the Rec. 

The second team had a game last Saturday winning by 3 runs in a game that saw 400 runs scored on pitch 2. As the game went on the pitch became slower and lower which was a reflection that the pitch had become too dry. So on Tuesday the pitch was watered for several hours to give it a good soaking. John was able to give it a good roll and by yesterday the pitch was hard again but not too dry.

We use a sprinkler which only covers half of the pitch so every hour it needs to be moved to the other half of the pitch. This is a real bind if I am not working at the Rec, so I have ordered a sprinkler hose which should just about cover the length of the pitch.

The first team had a good game yesterday with almost 300 runs being hit. The pitch played well justifying the decision to water it. It should have been a relatively straight-forward win, but once again we very nearly managed to conjure up a loss. Thanks to some level-headed batting at the end the team won by 3 wickets. There was a short interval for rain which meant that both covers came on for a while.

I noticed last week that some worm casts were starting to appear so it was time to spray the square with a chemical to discourage the worms from appearing. This was done last Tuesday whilst watering pitch 2. Hopefully it will be well washed in later today.

For years I have been using a wheel barrow with a cracked plastic wheel and a patched-up body, so it was time for a new one. After much searching and some issues with my order getting lost, the new barrow arrived on Wednesday. 

With the weather forecast predicting rain by lunch, it was an early start this morning.

First job was to sweep the pitch after yesterday's game. It was encouraging to see that the repairs that I had done during the week had held up well. If I get the mix right and it dries properly, it really does set hard as the picture shows.

Then it was time to get some fertilizer on the square so that it will be washed in this afternoon.

The first team will play on pitch 4 next week so the next job this morning was to start preparing it. After cutting the grass down as low as I could it was time to do the really hard work of using the SISIS Combirake. This really does lift the matted grass up, but it takes a lot of effort. 

After raking and cutting 3 times along the length of the pitch and raking once across the pitch, it is now ready for rolling. To get it to this stage took almost 2 hours. There is more work to do on it during the week, in addition to rolling, but thankfully the hardest and most important part has been done. The weather forecast for the next two days it not good so it was important that this work was done this morning.

The new barrow was full of the grass that I had removed, most of it after the raking. It was nice to have to make only one trip to the area where we scatter the grass.

We have come across a company who will apply for grants on your behalf on a 'no grant, no fee' basis. I have spent a couple of hours filling in their initial form which they will use to assess whether we are likely to be successful with a grant application. If they think we are they will do the rest and charge us 10% of any grant they get for us. We have 2 projects in mind: mobile covers and an extension to the scorebox. We keep our fingers crossed that they will progress this for us.  

Tuesday, 14 July 2015

Tuesday 14th July

One happy Roy!

Saturday's heavy defeat to the top team in the division who were playing in division 2 last year whilst we were in division 4, has caused much discussion on the WhatsApp community. 

Much has been said about the practice facilities and the need for something better. As a club we mustn't forget where we have come from with our facilities in such a short time whilst still looking to the future. A few years ago we did not have a practice strip. This was created by extending the square into the outfield, digging out the turf as best we could and then replacing the soil with loam. Like the square it will never be as good as a pitch that has been properly laid, but it is better than nothing if members understand its limitations.

Who would have imagined when Copmanthorpe was is division 3 of the Vale League that one day we would be playing in division 3 (north) of the York Senior League and that 300-400 runs were regularly being scored on our pitches each week? In those days 50 was a good score at Copmanthorpe and the ball rarely got above knee height. Today fast bowlers get real bounce if they try hard enough and few balls skid along the ground.

Those of us who work on the ground are putting in an increasing number of hours each week to try and improve what we already have. Slowly we are managing to buy more and better equipment. We no longer have to buy equipment that is many years old. 

We hope that when Rec Centre 2 is built we will have proper practice facilities costing £20,000 for two nets, but that is a few years away as the money will come from the '106' money when 300 new houses are built in Copmanthorpe.

Until then we must make do with what we have or hire facilities elsewhere. If our practice strip is no longer needed it will make my life easier.

Monday, 13 July 2015

Monday 13th July - part 2

The new mower arrived at 2pm. It was too wet to give the grass a cut but we had an hour's instruction on how to use it.

Monday 13th July

Friday saw the usual preparations for the game on Saturday.

All of our efforts to keep the water off during the week paid dividends and by Saturday afternoon the pitch was quite hard and looking good.

The pitch played well with the occasional one keeping low. Sadly the first team came up against a strong opposition who rattled through our batting and so the game did not go the full 90 overs. At least that means less wear on the pitch and little to repair during the week.

The new outfield mower arrives this afternoon. Look out for pictures later today!

Thursday, 9 July 2015

Wednesday 8th July

Whilst the downpours have been good for the outfield which was so dry that the drainage channels were showing, the rain have played havoc with the preparation of pitch 2 which will be used on Saturday.

The cover went on Tuesday morning and by the afternoon it was covered in water.

This was the first chance to try our new petrol water pump which I had bought to help get the water off the covers (the end of the hose on the cover is being held down by the watering can!)

Joel and I spent some time trying different end attachments that I had made to cope with the small depth of water on the covers. Overall it was a great success.

In the evening a team took the cover off, rolled the pitch and put the cover back on as some rain was forecast for Wednesday.

The rain was forecast for early Wednesday afternoon and on this occasion the forecast was right. The rain was not heavy but sufficient for the covers to be in place. There was the possibility of some rain Wednesday evening, but not the heavy rain that came down around 7pm and lasted on and off for a couple of hours.

By Thursday morning the cover was covered in water.

Thankfully Joel was able to  remove the water, cover and roll the pitch in the morning. He tried a number of different hose nozzles on the pump and found the one that I first made to be the best, weighted down again by the watering can. In 20 minutes the water had been removed without the effort needed to use the BowDry.

This evening we are going to look at some wheeled covers that we have been offered at a very good price, so my next blog will give news on this and then on Monday there will be some pictures of our new bit of kit which is arriving Monday afternoon!

Wednesday, 1 July 2015

Wednesday 1st July

Can't wait! Not much groundwork will be done during the series.