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Wow - What a start to 2018 - A message of support to groundsman from Wiltshire Cricket's Pitch Advisor, Richard Mosdell
Wow, what a start to the 2018 season we have had, with scenes like this being the norm for most, if not all, of us in February and March with continuous rain following in recent weeks. To say it has been a less than ideal start to preparations for the season ahead would be an obvious understatement and there is, after all, only so much tidying of the shed that can be done before we all start to get frustrated and more than a bit eager to get on with it.
We have now entered April and pre – season friendlies are looming large on the horizon for all of us. When the weather breaks, and it will at some stage, we will then be faced with players and captains making those inevitable enquiries of, ‘what are the chances’ with clubs also likely desperate for bar takings. This will bring the obvious pressure of ‘Get The Game On’ and we, the groundsperson, will then be expected to perform miracles. This will bring with it plenty of challenges; mostly time and money related. If, like most clubs , the groundsperson can only do evenings and weekends then what can be achieved and when will be vastly different to someone who has all day to get things done.
So there is an obvious, cautionary, message to be had. Too much too early can make things far worse later in the year. The temptation to ‘GET THE BIG ROLLER OUT’ too early will cause problems. Effectively , do what you would have done, the way you would have done it, given a favourable March. Don’t be tempted or pressed into skipping steps; if you are still rolling your whole square in the middle of May then so be it. Some things to remember would be:
- Let your square come to you.
- Take regular small cores to check moisture levels.
- Start light and move up to the heavy roller, and only when the conditions are right.
- Look out for disease issues and get them treated( by a professional). If you need to overseed any areas, then wait for soil temperatures to rise and stay consistent before you put that expensive seed down, and just watch it die.
So, the message is, DON’T PANIC. All things will come to pass. Have another coffee, or something stronger if you prefer. After the best part of 30 years doing this, the one thing I know is that it will come right - have faith. At times like these the rule book (if there is one) goes out of the window and our job becomes one of touch and feel and gut instinct, backed by experience. This for me makes it far more interesting, challenging and ultimately more rewarding. Seek help and advice if you need it, The ‘Wiltshire Cricket Grounds Association’, exists for that very purpose. We are here to advise, help, or even just listen if you need to blow off steam over a coffee and obviously some biscuits (preferably chocolate ones).
There is a wealth of knowledge available for you to tap into from any of us, don’t suffer in silence, the numbers are on the Wiltshire web site, so give us a call.
Here’s to a drier April and a good summer. Keep smiling.
Richard Mosdell, Wiltshire Cricket Pitch Advisor on behalf of the Wiltshire Cricket Grounds Association.