Get to Know The Groundsman in this edition we ask Simon Dadge, ten questions on life as a grassroots volunteer groundsman.Simon is one of many volunteers that keep grassroots sport going and we plan to interview more in the coming months.
What’s your name and which club do you work at and in what capacity?
Simon Dadge – Horton House Cricket Club, Northampton. Volunteer groundsman outside of normal day job.
If you have one, what is your day job?
Currently a work-based tutor for Myerscough until 26th May 2021
1st June 2021 will be joining Premiership Lawn Care on their Sports Turf Division.
How did you become a Groundsman?
I’m a greenkeeper by trade having spent 12 years at Whittlebury Park GC and Collingtree Park GC. I’ve always played cricket and wanted to learn more. Luckily living in Northampton, I had access to the Head Groundsman at Northampton CCC so have been able to learn from Ray Bailey, David Bates, Paul Marshall and now Craig Harvey. Being able to help out on match days and spend several hours picking their brains have been a massive gain in my knowledge and understanding.
What do you enjoy most about being a Groundsman?
Working outside in the warm with lots of sunshine (not much to date in April 2021).
What do you least like about being a Groundsman?
All those grass/wicket experts that don’t have a clue on what it takes to create a cricket wicket. “It’s a bit green/dry/slow/low/uneven.” It’s rained all week and they expect the whitest/hardest deck on record. Just general ignorance of the trade.
What’s your dream purchase in terms of kit to make your job easier?
I would love a new 1.2m roller (Auto Roller or Power Roll, I’m not fussy). Our 85cm road roller was 15 years old when I bought it in 2001. So not having to do 5 passes per roll would defiantly help in PSR & wicket prep.
How much time do you spend at the ground?
The ground is known in our house as the “other woman”. My wife would say too much but I would say not enough. I am lucky to have a wife that understands cricket and what it takes not only to play the game but also in maintaining the ground. Her dad played cricket for the club, so she spent many a Saturday/Sunday afternoon in the 80’s on the boundary with a picnic and the inevitable pub visit on the way home from away matches.
What’s training or learning gaps would you like to bridge?
I’m fairly happy with my current knowledge and understanding although there is always room for improvement. Fertilisers (liquids/granular/organic/inorganic) and soils and how the 2 work together. Key to understanding how they can help improve your surfaces all round.
While you have a captive audience is there anything else you would like to say about being a Groundsman and the challenges this brings?
If anyone would like to gain more experience in an area I would suggest speaking to your local team. I wanted to learn more about football so got in contact with the Head Groundsman at Northampton Town FC (Paul Knowles) and explained my situation. I also had the same conversation with Andrew Miller the Head Groundsman at Northampton Saints RFC, so it’s always worth asking the question.
He was more than happy for me to come and help on match day to learn about what to do and what not to do at certain times. This has helped me not only in managing a goalkeeping area on our cricket outfield but with my day job in training groundsperson’s in the new Sportsturf Operative.
I often joke that my hands are not wands, and I can’t magic things out of thin air. I always suggest to younger groundsman/women and greenkeepers “control the controllable” anything outside of that you’ll beat yourself up worrying, should I have done this that or the other. From an education point we all makes mistakes the learning process is not to let them happen again.
If you wanted to read more get to know the groundsman type blogs, take a look at our archives – https://turfcareblog.com/?s=get+to+know+the+groundsman
Top blog Simon and great questions Brian. You pretty much nailed it and having played at Horton House in the 80’s you have a lovely place to do and show your Groundsmanship.
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