Monday, 28 December 2015

Monday 28th December

It is now exactly a year since I started this blog and as the title of the blog is 'A year in the Life of an Amateur Cricket Groundsman' this will be the final blog.

Since my last blog I have tried to spike the square as often as possible, but with all of the rain that we have had it has only been possible to do it a few times.

At the beginning of November we had 60 tons of sand delivered with the intention of spreading it on the senior football pitch a few days later.

The picture (taken from one of the CCTV cameras) shows about one quarter of the sand still in the car park where it had to be tipped.

The rain over the weekend caused extensive flooding on the field.

Earlier in the week the footballers had asked if the grass could be cut!

Although it has not been possible to do much work on the ground there has still been lots to do. One major job has been to review the CCTV system which has had its problems, mainly caused by the squirrels chewing through some of the cables. We also took the opportunity to re-position some of the cameras and so now we have one camera pointing directly at the scorebox.

Deciding on how to upgrade our system has been a major challenge as the technology behind the cameras has changed so quickly. It looks like we are going to replace some of the cameras so that the images will be of sufficient quality that they can be used to prosecute offenders should that be necessary. All of this comes at a price but thankfully the Rec Centre pays for the CCTV system. One thing I have learnt is that different CCTV firms charge significantly different prices with some charging twice the price of others.

We also set the system up for remote viewing and playback. This worked well for 2 weeks and then stopped working. It has taken 4 weeks to sort it out with help from the equipment suppliers. Eventually it took a visit from the firm to sort it out. All that was needed was a minor change to the domain name. The engineer had no idea why it was needed but it least it is now working again.

Significant time has been spent over the last few months applying for grants for various projects and pieces of equipment. We decided to use a firm who help you complete the application forms on a 'no grant, no fee' basis. When setting out on these grant applications I had no idea how detailed the application forms were. Eventually we got one form off only to be told a few weeks later that the application was unsuccessful. The grant provider told us why and I decided that I would re-write the form focusing on what was missing from the original application and including detailed information from the Village Survey which had been commissioned a year or so ago.

An application to another provider had to be withdrawn as they had issues with the firm who was helping us complete the application and so many hours were put in to re-writing the form. If we are successful with this one at least we won't have to pay the adviser 10%!

Application forms have also been completed to two other providers (thankfully these forms were much shorter).

These applications have given to club an opportunity to focus on what we want to achieve in the next few years. We have found it difficult to recruit new members, both young and old and so we will spend time over the next few months deciding how we can address these concerns.

The fixtures for the next season have just been published. Initially we had a home fixture scheduled for 16th April! This caused great concern as we can't have the ground until 1st May due to the arrangement we have with the football club. We also usually find it impossible to prepare the square properly until late April. Thankfully common sense has prevailed and the league has made changes that should mean that we don't play at home for at least the first two weeks. It could be that I will be in Cyprus for the first home game so others will have to do the final pitch and square preparation.

Finally I thought that I would end my blogging with some good news. One of the grant applications has been successful - the one that was originally rejected (subject to submitting a couple of final documents) so we will soon have a scorebox extension and at last the opportunity to have all of our equipment in one place.

If all goes well with the another applications we will also have mobile covers and a new mower for the start of the season.

I hope that you have enjoyed following the trials and tribulations of an amateur cricket groundsman over the last year.

Happy New Year and goodbye!