Thursday, 24 September 2015

Thursday 24th September

After a long, often challenging summer, the 'copmanthorpegroundsman' decided it was time for a holiday. Somewhere warm where the is no chance of any rain. This does the job!

Paphos, Cyprus 31degrees!

Thursday, 10 September 2015

Thursday 10th September

And so to bed! Well that is what has been happening to the square this week.

On Sunday morning a team of around a dozen (mainly the usual faces) fenced off the square and took the sight screens apart, putting the screens in the garage for protection over the winter. Removing them from the top of the frame is always a challenge and something that we need to find a safer way of doing next year.

A couple of hours and the job was done.

The contractors were booked for Thursday so on Monday morning the square was cut as low as possible, in both directions. This really helps with the scarifying and top dressing. A lot of grass came off.

The markers for the pitches needed to come out and the post hole covers for the practice nets removed. These fit rather too tightly in the sockets and when they get wet the wood expands making it difficult to remove them. Fortunately on this occasion they all came out without leaving the wooden 'stems' in the sockets.

This year I thought that I would spike the square before the topsoil was applied in the hope that some of the loam would drop into the holes rather than just lying on top. I was surprised how hard the square was in places as the tines barely went into the ground. 

To be honest I am not sure how successful this was, but at least I tried something different.

Today the contractors were there early: 8 am not 8.30 am. Better early than late. Firstly the square was scarified (small tractor driven), then fertilized, seeded and finally 3 tons of Ongar loam applied. I thought they had stopped using Ongar and were going to use Super Essex, but apparently they had received a supply of Ongar. I have always been pleased with it so I had no concerns about using it. After 3 hours the job was done.

With rain predicted for Saturday morning there will be no need to get the sprinkler on to germinate the seed.

Whilst the contractors did their work I stored away 10 bags of the loam for repairing pitches next year and took the clock down so that it is not damaged by footballs.

For the next month or so there is little work that can be done on the square so it is time for a holiday. When I am back it will be time to start spiking the square as frequently as possible.

'A Year in the Life of an Amateur Cricket Groundsman' will soon be over, but I reckon that there will be at least one more post!

Friday, 4 September 2015

Friday 4th September

The last few weeks have been a real challenge for the amateur groundsman, thanks to the weather.

There has been rain most days which has meant that the covers have been regularly on and off. Being lay flat covers this means that each time the covers come off, the water has to be removed, which can take up to an hour.

The wet conditions has also meant that despite spraying twice in the last few weeks, the worms have been abundant. The wet worm casts stick to the roller on the mower which means that the cutting height is changed as you mow! The casts are also unsightly and gives the appearance of an unloved square.

Despite the weather we have only had to cancel one game and that was on the Bank Holiday Monday. We managed to get a game on the Saturday when the second team scored nearly 200 runs and then bowled the opposition out for around 120. I understand that, as expected, the slower bowling kept low at times, but the square couldn't have played that badly looking at runs scored.

The covers went back on after the game but the heavy rain on Sunday meant that there was standing water on the square on Monday morning and some water had got under the covers so the game was called off at 8.30 am. It turned out to be a wise decision as it didn't stop raining for the rest of the day and very few games were played in the York Senior League.

The covers went back on again on Tuesday afternoon and didn't come off again until this morning. There was a lot of water on the covers so the pump was used to get it off, using the BowDry just to finish off. I was grateful for John's help here.

Just a little water had got under the cover and so the pitch was in good shape. After a cut and roll it was looking good.

The game this Saturday is our last home game so the contractors have been booked to do the end of season work next Thursday. It is best that the grass is as short as possible for them to do their work so the square has been cut quite short. After the game I will get it even shorter. The pitch markers also need to be removed so that the scarifier doesn't destroy them.

You know that that season is about to end when the football pitches are marked out on the outfield. This is always done in the week before our last game. Last year the footballers felt that their main pitch was not as wide as it could have been. This year it has been made as wide as possible, but in my onion too close to an immovable object. I do question the safety of this.

The new mower was not cutting the outfield quite as good as it should have been as a result of the cylinders not being as close to the bottom blade as they should be. Yesterday I had a go at setting them properly and it turned out to be a relatively easy job. The three cylinders at the front are easy to get at, but the two at the back are such that you have to get under the mower to get at them. Roy cut the outfield after they were re-set and it was cutting much better.