In this third get to know the groundsman, we ask John Deeney eight questions, about life as a grassroots groundsman.
What’s your name and which club do you work at in what capacity?
Hello my name is John Deeney and I’m the groundsman at Fishlake Cricket Club, near Doncaster in South Yorkshire.
If you have one, what is your day job?
I’m retired now but previously I was a PE teacher at a nearby comprehensive school for 20 odd years. Before that I was a coal miner /colliery safety and training officer for 12 years, and a middle school teacher in Bradford for two years, after finishing my teacher training in Doncaster.
How did you become a Groundsman?
I started off my role as a groundsman when I moved to Fishlake in 1986. The then cricket ground was behind my house and I wanted my son to play cricket, we both signed up to play and I got involved helping to cut the grass on a friday.
What do you enjoy most about being a Groundsman?
The following year we (the club) purchased a field and set up at our current home one year after moving. So, in effect I got a brand new field to develop.
I really enjoy the work, when I was teaching it was great to get peace and tranquillity at the end of a hectic day and to play on tracks that we’d prepared.
What do you least like about being a Groundsman?
The bit I hate about the job is people being critical about the facilities. I have a mantra, no money, no criticism.
Like everybody I’ve produced poor tracks caught out by time restraints and poor weather or other commitments. But I produce the best I can with what I’ve got.
What’s your dream purchase in terms of kit to make your job easier?
If money was no object, I’d like a front loading bucket and hedge flail for my compact tractor. Anything to avoid a barrow and shovel or hedge clippers.
How much time do you spend at the ground?
I spend a lot of hours down at the club but I live locally and my wife is very understanding, l even turn up on a Saturday pre game to do the final pitch prep. I have only recently realised that I’m not actually a big fan of cricket, I only hang around if our team is batting.
I still play the odd game for the second team if they are struggling for players, but I get bored easily when we’re fielding. I do get help from some of the members, but they’re even older than me and cherry pick the jobs.
What’s training or learning gaps would you like to bridge?
I often get asked where I picked up my knowledge and to be fair I haven’t done many courses or read many books. But what I have done is chat to every groundsman at every ground I’ve visited and picked their brains, some diamonds among the rough.
I’ve always been prepared to listen to and follow new initiatives.
While you have a captive audience anything else you would like to say about being a Groundsman and the challenges this brings?
This site has been a god send thanks to everybody’s patience and knowledge.
If you enjoyed this why not take a look at our previous get to know the groundsman blog- https://turfcareblog.com/get-to-know-the-groundsman-david-sans/