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The Straight Hitting Groundsman

by TurfCareBlog

Just thought I’d put a light hearted twist on village cricket! I’ve tried to give everyone a laugh with the intention of bighting everyone’s day as we struggle on, it’s not my intention to upset anyone!

I hope you have a little chuckle as you read this, your/our health is far more important than grass! And remember it’s just grass!!

It will be nice to keep the field looking nice without the players chewing it up, and especially that batsman that takes his Guard and then tries to see if he can dig to Australia while marking it! Now as anyone that knows me, I’m not one for moaning, but what pis**s me off with our team and I’m pretty sure it’s the same at most clubs now a days, is this stupid football warm up they do! They’ve watched international/county player’s do it, and that it must be an essential part of getting loose, but what they don’t understand is that professional cricketers have had a cricket ball in their hands and been practicing every day of the week up to match day! Most of our lot haven’t even seen one all week, never mind got hold of one!

 Instead you see them doing sliding tackles into each other with spikes on! You can see the older members grimacing as the lads go through the air thinking there something of a cross between Jean Claude Van Dam and Vinnie Jones at about knee height on our opening bowling attack!! We’ve been quite lucky as we’ve only had one player go to hospital before the game for stitches! and I’m sure once the season commences the first warm up game will be a sum what entertaining!

Now the lads say this is good for moral and I don’t disagree with this as it seems like fun at the time! But I’ve been at the ground since Six. I’ve about pulled out one of my own testicles trying to get the sheets and covers off the square on my own from the deluge we had last night, I’ve manged to get the game on! The outfield is wet but still looks good until after this warm up! It now looks like a hard-fought game at Twickenham back in the 1960’s!!!

Now the sheets that I’ve managed to get to the boundary rope are a little untidy, and I could do with some assistance to get them folded up. But now for some reason the players are surprisingly not that interested in helping you do this task, you might get three of them come over to assist you, but usually they wearing cricket spikes! They aren’t as daft as they look village cricketers, some would say geniuses! They know it’s impossible to help with this task without the appropriate foot wear! This buys them some time and now they can’t be accused of not trying to help me as they go back to the changing room and select players that are wearing trainers!

cricket ground

Just a quick question? is it just my pet hate or is it a groundsman thing nationally? You know when you’ve had a good morning up at the ground and the pitch looks immaculate, the outfield has been double cut, the crease lines are perfect and you stand back to take a picture of your work to keep for future wa*k bank material! (or send to a friend that’s undecided whether to play for the team next year).Now I have a little bit of ocd (some would say MASSIVE) when it comes to everything looking perfect when the players and umpires turn up, so the stumps that I have put into the pitch with precise precision and I’ve  been to both ends several times to make sure there perfectly aligned, and without me getting a laser level look absolutely perfect!

 Then I’m sure you know what happens next!! Some player usually from the opposing team grabs them, rips them out and uses them for warm up! So the wickets that have the main sponsor of the club down both sides are now currently been used as goal posts for the 2019 FA cup final! I don’t know why this annoys me so much but honestly it so does! I’ve thought about taking them out just before game starts, I’ve even put four old ones in the away changing room, but NO, they want to use the ones that I’ve put in with loving care!! I’d be interested to know if it’s just me that finds this kind of irritating?

Last year, (and I can honestly say I thought it was a good idea at the time) was when we purchased THE THIKEST boundary rope they could get! Now this looks absolutely fantastic when everything is cut, and the rope that is a brilliant white stands out in the summer sun shine! IT’S A PAIN IN THE AR*E!! moving the bloody thing to cut and move back reminds me of when I had to help my sister move house! I remember that day as I sat on the bottom of her third floor flat stair case trying to get my breath back thinking I’m never doing this again! Moving the bloody thing when time is limited is the exact same feeling! So, I only move it once a week, or hopefully you don’t get an under 11’s game, so you can bring the boundary right in! Trust me, if you have loads of room off where your boundary rope sits buy one and/or your built like a caveman, If not stick to the old painted method! You will thank me later.

Talking about under 11’s, I had a mid-week one last year. Now I can’t remember which team it was but I was sat watching the first few overs before I went back to work, and I honestly have never seen anything like it! I understand that fielders have to mark where they stand but someone needs to be telling them, how and where to do it! this one lad, and you could see he was somewhat of a stand out player in that age group, decided to mark where he was fielding! He was at cover and obviously he thought he was sum what of a Jonty Rhodes and started to drag his foot across the brand-new pitch I was getting ready for the first team on Saturday! (RIGHT ON A LENGTH)! Well I can honestly say I did extremely well not to swear! I was very proud of my actions as I walked on to the field of play and advised the players and coaches of this mistake this young budding cricketer had made! Feeling quite proud as I did not lose my sh*t I went back to work!

 On my return after work the parents were packing up to leave the ground, so I had a little wonder over to see if the information I had passed on to everyone had been a success! What greeted me in the gully area could only be described as a small meteor impact, and it’s a miracle everyone at the ground survived this explosion looking at the size of the crater it had left!! You have to love kids’ cricket!

Good luck everyone and stay safe! Remember it’s just grass! and you certainly don’t want the chairman or tea ladies cutting it if you’re not well enough to do so!

James (Folkton & Flixton CC)

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chrisjohnson12017 March 27, 2020 - 1:01 pm

A good entertaining read and we all have tales to tell. Perhaps age has weathered me to stop getting annoyed and possibly I’ve managed to get more guys to help when I really need it.

Gordon Gill March 27, 2020 - 1:13 pm

Certainly appreciate the boundary rope. In 2002 I joined Bath, they had the dreaded rope, must have been at least 50mm. This got cut down into much smaller manageable lengths until it mysteriously seemed to disappear after about three years.
I left in 2014 only to return in 2018, first thing I found, the boundary rope was back as big as ever. Main difference this time, I had two assistants to reel it in first thing Monday mornings along with a proper portable reel to wind it on and store.
Certainly know about kids scratch marks, unlike you I probably did cut loose and I have certainly had group meetings with club coaches on the square informing them of what I think.
No wonder we are grumpy

groundsman620467822 March 27, 2020 - 1:24 pm

We put our flags last year for a disabled eleven ,l came in the next day and they brought the boundary in by a mile ,almost killed me getting it back out .

KEVIN SPRINGALL March 27, 2020 - 5:14 pm

Haha had to double take, I thought I may have written that as it sounds so familiar!!!

rob heath March 28, 2020 - 10:04 am

And I just thought it was me!

groundsman620467822 March 28, 2020 - 10:44 am

And me Rob

John sheridan March 28, 2020 - 10:56 am

Yes I can relate to much of this I think the raking of the ground with spikes when taking guard should be banned by the ecb as this damages the ground so much.I have always thought a line could be marked from the centre stump to the popping crease,this would not only prevent the need to rake the ground but assist the umpires with lbw decisions.

groundsman620467822 March 28, 2020 - 11:13 am

John -spot on.

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