The Strangest Two Months so Far……..
My name is Scott Bryan and I work for Nene Park trust in Castor, Peterborough. I was previously Deputy Grounds Manager at Uppingham school, Rutland. I have been in the industry for over 10 years now and have achieved many qualifications along the way including Level 3 in sports turf Management.
I am currently working 40 hours a week but as in our industry I often go above and beyond these hours. The grounds I’m in charge of is a 12-acre site with football and cricket the main sports.
So, I’m two months into my new position managing a sports ground, just myself and the odd volunteer when they can lend a hand. Obviously, it has been a remarkable two months with the wettest February on record to now watering the square as and when I can. Then we have the current UK lockdown.
I’m very lucky at the moment to be able to carry on for now and try and maintain the areas, so they don’t go wild and lose all the current hard work. I have learnt so much about what can be done on the grounds with basic machines and equipment. Learning how essential the timing of cultural practises is and sometimes the pitches need to rest and let nature take over.
Cricket at Nene Park
Also, not everything can happen at once, things will happen in time. I have managed to turn the 14-strip cricket square around by regular granular feeds every 4 weeks and hand picking the weeds out.
The cricket square is a 14 strip Ongar loam square. I wasn’t in charge when the renovations took place in the autumn, but going forward I will be.
1) I like to use between 7-10 bags per strip of loam at renovations dependant, on wear and how heavy/deep we can scarify.
2) We apply around 50-60 grams per square metre of dwarf perennial ryegrass.
The cricket outfield has been very neglected over the years with lots of moss and weeds. I have already shockwaved the outfield in the first few weeks in the job to relieve the compaction and allow the rootzone to breathe easier and assist water down.
The square has now been cut down to 20mm for the upcoming season, if it happens this year. I will take it down to 15mm for the season as I’m currently cutting with a rotary cutting unit.
Now the season has been put on hold, I have since seeded and top dressed the ends that hadn’t germinated after the autumn renovations.
For a sports ground that was left for 4 years unattended its finally starting to look like sport should be played on it and no grazing animals in sight(above picture)
Football at Nene Park
The football pitches were well looked after in previous years before they were neglected for the best part of 4 years. The rootzone is a good sand soil mix with a good sand top dressing applied over the years and scarified in spring time (end of season). Followed up by disc seeding and top dressing.
I have regularly cut the pitches from a height of 70mm and finally got it down to 30mm. The sward has thickened up well and have since overseeded the first team pitch. Due to budget I will do little bits as and when I can. I’m hoping to purchase some new machinery and equipment for 2021.
It’s Good to Talk
The most important thing at the moment is everybody’s physical and their mental health, I get home and my wife is in the corner a nervous wreck from the boys being at home. I think it’s important and I have personally struggled with this over the years and I’m now not ashamed to admit it.
Working as a ground’s person can be a very isolated job at times, with the current situation we all find ourselves in is very worrying for us all. One thing it has a big impact on is mental health, nobody should find themselves with no one to be able to talk too.
As grounds people we are good at sticking together and helping each other out, always has been one big team and we are stronger going forward. Please don’t suffer alone