In this special community blog we highlight the excellent work of square of the month winner , Chris Yorath. Chris was the random winner of our popular image competition over on our cricket groundsman facebook group- https://www.facebook.com/groups/717957209036259
Name and which club do you represent?
Chris Yorath, Redbourn CC (Herts)
What is your role at your club & how did you become a groundsman?
I’m now into my 7th year as groundsman, having been a former player & coach at Redbourn over the past 40 years. I had an opportunity to leave my job in banking, which coincided with the vacancy at Redbourn CC. I really wanted a complete change in direction!
What training or resources have put you in good stead on your journey as a groundsman?
Before I started, I completed what was then known as the IOG Level 1 Autumn Renovation & Winter Maintenance of the Cricket Square & Outfield course, followed by the Spring/Summer course a couple of years later. I was fortunate to have a mentor in David Doyle (Tring CC) for my first year, & my colleague, Geoff Bartlett (now Harpenden CC), was always around to discuss matters.
Jerry Dovey (Herts Grounds Association) has also been down in the past year to provide advice on our outfield, which had suffered in the drought of 2018 (Jerry, it is recovering well, thanks). I also visited Chris Wood’s You Tube Videos (NatWest Pitch Doctor) a lot!
What do you like most and least, as life as a groundsman?
Least – I haven’t been on a family summer holiday since I’ve taken on the job, which is all time consuming, especially during the summer months. It also rains on a Friday!
Most – I’m loving working outdoors, especially when the sun is beating down. It also keeps me active & it’s something where you can actively see the results of your labour.
What in your view makes for a good cricket pitch?
You want to see plenty of bounce and carry on a pitch. Mine tend to be on the side of batsman friendly (so our opening bowler tells me!), but ideally, you really want to see a fair balance between bat and ball.
What advice would you give to any year one groundsman, feeling out of their depth?
Don’t be afraid to seek advice, whether it be on social media (e.g., Cricket Groundsman UK Facebook, NatWest Pitch Doctor), your local County’s Grounds Association, or any other local groundsmen. Also, when you have the time, do the training courses available.
What’s your favourite bit of kit, and what’s on your wish list?
I like all my kit, but if I had to name one, it’s the Sisis Rotorake Mk4, for which I have the brush, verticutter & sorrel roller reels. It is a very versatile machine & it gets a lot of use! As for wish list, a new roller, as I currently have to transport our one roller between the club’s two grounds. We currently have a Poweroll converted S&P 32RD which does a fine job, but the club has been looking at the Poweroll 12, so fingers crossed!
What is the best bit of advice ever given?
“Forget everything you thought you knew as a cricketer & start your knowledge base again”
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