Monday, 17 August 2015

Monday 17th August

Until now, few weeds had appeared on the square, but I started to notice more and more appearing and so last Monday it was time to give it a spray for the common weeds. I wasn't planning to cut the square until Thursday so that would give it time for the weedkiller to work. Sure enough within a couple of days I could see the effect of the weedkiller and I was happy to do the pre-weekend work on Thursday morning.

Heavy rail was predicted Thursday night and Friday and so the cover went on as soon as the work has been done.

Friday was really wet and the cover stopped a lot of water getting on the pitch. A couple of hour's work Saturday morning, firstly getting the water off the cover, then giving the pitch a cut and finally putting the lines in. Just as I was locking up the phone rang. The opposition had cancelled! This was really frustrating coming through at 10.30am. I wonder if they were hoping that we would call the game off due to a waterlogged pitch. The sun shone for the rest of the day which added to the disappointment.

Copmanthorpe Cricket Club is not just a cricket club. It is a recreational family sports club, with cricket as its focus. This was never in more evidence than yesterday which reminded us all why we run the club and spend the hours that we do getting the ground ready for cricket. 

Our Chairman, assistant groundsman and long time player was 60 on Saturday (another reason why we were so disappointed that the game on Saturday was called off). His family had organised a surprise cricket match with players from across John's playing days coming from across to the country to be involved.

As this was a surprise all of the pitch preparation had to be left until the Sunday morning when John was being kept well away from the ground. Another couple of hours work making the square look as good as I could and we were ready for the 12.00 o'clock surprise.

The pitch we needed to use was a bit wet, was was in good enough condition to get a could game on it.

It was a lovely day, with the weather being better than the predicted clouds. John was totally surprised and thoroughly enjoyed his day, as did the rest of us. Friendships were renewed and new ones made. Joel laid on a lovely BBQ and the children played together without any falling outs. It is lovely to see a new generation growing up.

The birthday boy after a fine innings. To add to his day he caught his son out!

Yesterday was why I spend the hours that I do on the ground. Thanks to Daz and Becky for organizing the day. John won't ever forget it.

Monday, 3 August 2015

Monday 3rd August

Last week was a challenging week for a cricket groundsman. The rain started in Copmanthorpe Sunday afternoon and continued on and off until Wednesday. Wednesday was a nice day until tea time when there was another heavy downpour. It would not have been so bad if we had roll-on covers, but with only having lay-flat covers it was not feasible to have them down at the start of the week. Surprisingly the square and outfield took the rain well and despite my worries by the start of the game on Saturday we had a new pitch to play on, but one that was still soft.

The game started in good weather but before long it was raining, the players came off and the covers went on. Then they came off and the players back on and half an hour later the whole sequence was repeated.

Tea was taken early, league rules consulted regularly, calculations made and agreed which eventually result in a much shortened game with all the complications of how many overs the team batting second needed in order for the team batting first to have a result ending in 'draw'.

Despite all of my concerns the pitch played well and not as much as I feared might have been done, was done.

There is a lot of cricket to be played at Copmanthorpe over the next month and I am beginning to run out of pitches. Usually I can manage with 5 perhaps 6 pitches but this year I will need to go on to pitch 7. So yesterday I started to prepare pitch 7 for the second team this coming Saturday and a friendly game on Sunday. We are hiring the ground out and this will bring in some useful funding.

This pitch has not been used for a few years and so there was a lot of thatch in it. Half way through scarifying it with the Combi-rake one of the bolts broke! 

Fortunately it didn't stop me finishing the scarifying, but it is off to the ironmongers in Tadcaster this morning to get a replacement bolt.

After a couple of hours hard graft, pitch 7 was starting to look good.

A lot more work will be needed on it this week, but with a reasonable weather forecast it should dry out well. 

The new sprinkler hose arrived earlier in the week which was a little ironic considering the weather. Hopefully it won't be too long before I need to use it.

The square is started to grow a few weeds so later in the week I will try and spray it. Despite spraying for worms a couple of weeks ago there were still plenty of worm casts on one of the old pitches. Perhaps it needs a little longer to take effect, but the damp worm casts cut stuck to the mower's rollers and adjust the cutting height.

With the sun out as I type, perhaps this will be a good week for a groundsman!