Hailsham Cricket Club
Welcome to the second part of this January’s blog ,in this part we hear from Hailsham Cricket Club grounds manager on how they have over-Wintered and l will run through a few keys tasks to be considered on the squares for this Month.
Hailsham Cricket Club Groundsman Blog (Sept 18/ Jan19)
September 2018: We spent most of the month trying to persuade the club to stop arranging extra fixtures and also finding the hours to get some much needed water on to the table at the two grounds. This year we decided to mirror everything we do at the club’s home ground to what we do at our new second ground.We also welcomed Lewis Williams from ROOTS gardening and grounds maintenance onto the working party, he brought with him experience ,expertise and equipment.
October 6th 2018: Wow!! what a long day that was, we started early at the Recreation ground and at this point were enthusiastic and looking forward to the task in hand. We started off by cutting the grass to the shortest level it had been for weeks. Lewis then started up his scarifier, it sounded like a tractor and was twice maybe three times the size of our one. He went both ways over the wicket and tore it to shreds. I’ve got to be honest with you and say i was a little worried that we would never see grass again. Although the rubbish that was coming off the wicket, proves it was long over due. We then blew out all the scarified lines and swept the table clear of any lying debris before we started spreading the seed. By this point there was a team of six working on the task and it didn’t take to long to seed and spread the Surrey(boughton) loam. For the first time we used a drag mat, which was a great help and enables us to be sure the seed was evenly spread. four hours later and we were completed and then realised we needed to travel to Roebuck Park to replicate the whole process. Luck for us Roebuck(picture below )only has six tracks and took nowhere near as long. Then, like it was ordered for a set time, the skies opened and a much needed 2 hours of rain fell on the freshly prepared tables.
October 27th 2018: The mild and dry weather may have been lovely for all the members but the grass was struggling and we were struggling to find volunteers and time to get the hose out. With this halting the growing process Lewis purchased some germination sheet for both grounds. These had never been seen at the club before and caused a bit of a stir, we applied them to the main areas in need of growth (The ends and odd patches).
November 5th 2018: We were very fortunate to receive a grant from Hailsham Town Council to spend on the management of the outfield, that they maintain. We spent this on a lime dressing, based on there recommendation and then earth quaking the field in November. This apparently helps with the growth and strength of the grass.
November 9th 2018: The germination sheets were removed at both grounds and we gave the table a much needed cut to level of the grass and assess the amount of growth. We were really pleased with the impact the sheets had on the targeted patches and meant the table was in a much stronger position than two weeks prior, we took of four buckets at the Recreation Ground and two buckets at Roebuck Park.
November 17th 2018: The conditions were right and a window had appeared in Lewis’s busy timetable for us to aerate both tables. He brought over a fine looking machine and soon had it working up and down the table. This beast was brilliant and saved a lot of back breaking on older models, we had previously used. The squares were also cut again at this point with lots of grass cut off, before a winter feed was spread.
December 24th 2018: What better to do on Christmas eve than sarel roll the table at the Recreation Ground, that is what Alex and Rob got up to. This is painful, back and calf breaking work but the ground was perfectly ready for such action. Also enabled us to get in a little CV before the festive drinks and food!!
sarel roller(above )
January 2nd 2019: Cant believe how mild it still is and how much the grass is growing, another two boxes taken off the table and it is really firm under foot.
January jobs: Another fertiliser to go down around the middle of the month, mowers going in for the winter service and starting to look at stock for March/April pre season jobs.
Keys tasks for Jan/February
Temperature allowing ,avoiding cold and frosty spells.
Cut squares( around 18-22mm) to meet growth, we are cutting once every two weeks.
Feed squares if warm and grass is growing, avoid application in or around frosts(details on label/bag)
By late January get in a last spiking to the squares, avoid doing into February and beyond.
Machinery start up and servicing.
Stock requirements and research prior to early season feeding, seeding etc.
If you have a machine with brush units ,brush the square to clean up debris/dead surface grass leaf’s etc, prior to the start of increased activity in mowing and pre season rolling.
If it goes cold and you haven’t feed for a month or so consider testing your soil for it nutrient content of macro(phosphorus/potassium)and micro nutrients ,this will then help you decide what ratios of fertiliser is needed for the coming year. Your fertiliser representative should be willing to assist you in this, also ask for a p.h to be tested.
A couple of companies that offer independent testing below.
AGM Groundsman raffle-Henfield were the lucky winner of a bag of grass seed , supplied generously by Brian Fletcher
Thanks ROB from Hailsham for taking the time to diary your tasks at
Sussex Association of cricket groundsmen
Just a heads up on the Saturday of the 16th of March we are putting together a training day ,it will be comprehensive and will cover ,pre season rolling,squaring the corners,pitch preparation and repairs and much more.
Details to follow.
As this blog is realised the grass is now frozen so my best advice is to wait till the hard frosts have gone then look to do something on the square/outfields ,there’s always something in the right conditions to do ,the season is fast approaching🌱
Have a great month
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