Once upon a village ground, is a blog by the Grounds team at Dormansland CC in Sussex and as there last blog is a real funny grassroots read.
There were high hopes, the team was available for the approaching big day. On Tuesday 22nd September the evening was spent cutting the square down tight. As a precaution the water was put on overnight in readiness for the arrival of the SACG scarifier on the coming Friday the 25th. It had been booked for months along with the loam, fertiliser, and seed.
My wife organised for the traditional lunch time hot pasty. Early start planned for the Friday for a final shave of the square before Richard (Dial services) arrives with the machine. What could go wrong!
Well it had tipped it down most of Thursday. The team sat in the pavilion Friday morning looking at the wet square and ticking off the number of passes we might get done, if ever we got out there. It got so bad that at one time, as there was no convenient target, we were reduced to taking the p… out of each other instead of the chairman. How bad is that. To be fair he did try and keep up, but there is no substitute for experience.
Eventually, sometime after lunch we were able to start. Very slow progress with the scarifier with two plodders with leaf blowers behind also the ARR4 with a brush following. It meant stopping to clean and clear the scarifier at the end of each pass. Late afternoon and it was decided that we would have to do with two completed passes, would not have got that if Richard had not generously put back the collection of scarifier for an hour.
We pushed on the best we could to get the seed and loam down. It was as good as dark by the time the loam was spread and we had a very tired team. It was necessary to touch up some areas a few weeks later around the edge, that we obviously missed with seed but we put that down to lack of daylight at the time! We are happy enough with the way it has taken and is growing well.
A bag of 6-3-9 was spread a week later (29th). As this is written (late January) only a few worm casts have appeared. The square was verticut on 12th November and a trim using a cheap rotary bought and kept just for that purpose. A feed was given (one bag) the second week in November as it was looking a bit yellow and there was red thread making an appearance. The process was repeated 2nd week in December which effectively was the last time we could get near the square with machinery.
The outfield is still more of a swamp than a bog despite the mole draining we had done at the end of the season.
We have plans to attack the outfield which suffers terribly from moss in quite large areas, this was despite manually raking large areas by hand last season. It would be nice to rip the outfield up and reseed but finances prohibit that at the moment, so it will be bags of lawn sand which we were able to obtain as surplus stock.
The square is due for another feed as the red thread is still there, but will have to wait until conditions improve a bit. It’s a bit long on the lower edge but that is the lesser of two evils as trying to cut it would cause more damage than it is worth. The square itself is relatively firm which does provoke some impatiently tempting ideas but best not. There is time yet.
For the first time in two decades and more we have sent two mowers for a service and sharpen. We can service our machines pretty much and have fitted new cylinders and blades in the past, but it will be nice to have them properly done for a change.
Boring it may be but it is ditch clearing and hedge and tree work, it is pleasant in the summer to have some woodland but it does need maintenance. The recent winds brought a large birch down which fortunately fell away from the ground. UK power networks weren’t very happy about the power lines though! We also have a tree surgeon coming to take the top out of another so a socially distanced work party may be required at some point.
Following our recent burglary, the football club up the road has now been raided and their field mower stolen, so there are now frequent visits to the ground. My wife has stated to accompany me as she feels I spend to long “staring wistfully” towards the square on my ‘security checks’. We can but dream………
Never mind the season will come again. Best wishes to you all.
Once upon a village ground, by Stuart Hellier (aka grumpy)
There’s me. aka grumpy (probably others but not to my face)
Graham Henley. aka Sleepy
Steve Potterton aka Dopey
Peter Grant aka Big Ears (and dog)
Jim Blair aka The Boy. Also called No 5 as that is his position in the pecking order notwithstanding he is the club chairman
If you enjoyed that and want to see another entertaining blog by them, check this out- https://turfcareblog.com/the-time-team-dormansland-cricket-club/