Happy Easter 🐣
Fellow groundsman welcome to the April blog we are going to hear from Luke Chapman the new groundsman at Steyning Cricket Club,he will give us his route to the season ,from pre season to match day.
I will provide some very basic guidance on pitch preparation at club level ,as very aware there’s a lot of new groundsman this season ,who l hope to assist.
Heres goes !
How long to prepare at wicket in April/May ?
All grounds differ but between 20/14 days but sure once temperatures above 15 c this could go down to 10/14days ,it’s a guide.
How to start off preparation ?
Cut the wicket down to around 10mm and thin out ,with a spring rake ,lawn-man or verticutter ,to the point you can see some soil amongst the grass .We are looking for a evenly grassed surface ,avoiding any impacting of the soil with any grass thinning equipment.
A few videos below to assist .
How much moisture needs to be in the soil profile ,prior to rolling?
Ideally we are looking for is 100mm(4inch) of moisture within the profile ,this is the ideal depth of moisture we are looking for prior to rolling,but check the forecast out first .
This can be gauged using a corer or knife or potato peeler to remove a section of soil(side of pitch).
if this isn’t so then we can add moisture via irrigation by giving it small amounts of water and time to soak in,these are good.
Allow water to soak in 12/24 hours and roll out 20/40 mins for the first few days ,as the soil dry reduce the height of cut and the amount of rolling .Soil should be moist ,not wet and putty like against the thumb.Often in April the soil is moist to depth ,so just some watering of the top inch or so ,is required to create a even depth of moisture to roll out.
As a very basic guide people roll a wicket 3/5 hours over the 7/10 day period .
A few days before the game reduce the height of cut to around 7 mm this will dry out the top and then on the day of marking out reduce down to match height of cut around 6/8mm(guide).
If we leave wickets at 6/8mm also we can create a bit more pace for the bowler so a bit of green ,as in the below picture isn’t a bad thing and it will recover better after usage ,if left a little longer.
Covering(flat sheets/domes) personally l don’t like the wicket getting wet via rain in the week up to the game ,as a minimum.
Maybe more questions than answers but hopefully with Steyning CC ,article below it will give some basic early season guidance.
Luke Chapman -Steyning Cricket Club
This is my first season taking over Steyning Cricket Club as there groundsman. One of my first problems I had taking over the ground was that I found the square had red thread disease. But with the right treatment and maintenance it can help cure the disease (often the disease can go away on its own).
18th March – 24th March
Whilst I was still waiting for my cylinder mower to return from its service, I was still using the rotary mower to cut the square. My aim was to start taking the height of cut on the square down gradually, without cutting more than 1/3 of the grass blade at one time.
The next day I finally received my cylinder mower which allowed me to give the square a cut at 24mm. This also allowed me to start with my pre season rolling. I started off with my cylinder mower to gradually build up to using the heavy roller for when the ground was ready. By the 24th of March the height of cut on the square is at 22mm.
25th March – 31st March
My aim by the end of this week is to use the heavy roller on the square. After numerous cutting/rolling with the cylinder mower and a slightly heavier pedestrian roller. By the end of the week I felt the ground was firm enough to be able to use the heavy roller on the square, this was then used starting off with just singles passes across the square. Height of cut by the end of the week was at 18mm.
1st April – 10th April
With the weather forecast showing some rain was around this was perfect timing as a fertiliser application was due. With everything starting grow again I used a weed and feed fertiliser 15-0-4. Building up to the first friendly at home on the 21st April, It was just a case of getting the height of cut down to square height of 12mm and getting as much rolling done as possible. By the end of this period I got some pitch markings down by squaring of the square.
11th April- 21st April
With 10 days to go before the first game of the season it was a case of starting to prep my first wicket. My first task was to cut the wicket down to 10mm. Once this was done I used the pedestrian scarifier to thin the grass out and remove as much lateral growth as possible. Gradually taking the height of cut down but making sure the wicket was down to match height of 4mm by day 8. Regular rolling was done throughout this process. Couldn’t believe the incredible weather we had for the game and also couldn’t believe how dry the pitch got by game day (I even debated watering it at one point).
Really interesting take on what’s happening at Steyning Cricket Club and thanks to Luke for your efforts and sure the ground is in great nick now with you in control.
Sussex Association of Cricket Groundsmen.
We are holding a mini clinic on the Thursday the 16th of May at Ansty CC,it will be a hands on evening with practical demonstrations on how to repair footbholes and how to deal with a wicket after usage.
£5 which includes a Hot Dog 🌭
Jobs for May
Pitch preparation and repairs.
Feeding the square as required .
Pitch repairs .
Keeping moisture levels up on the square and wickets to come .
Hope you all have a great Month and look forward to giving you a blog next Month on hybrid wickets ,which are due to be done at Hove and Blackstone this coming week.