Peter Elmy, one of the founders of Elmy Landscapes, who now employ Lawrence, explained that while they do discuss the ground’s wellbeing, the council does have a very large say on the whole.
“We discuss the maintenance of the ground, but this basically follows the council’s specification, although the Essex wicket (Chelmsford) does get a bit of extra care than the Colchester and East Essex wicket.”
Elmy believes that having a contract for ten years allows his company to be in a position to invest in good equipment and machinery.
“At the beginning of the contract we were able to invest in all-new equipment. The guys were given good pensions and obviously they have got a ten-year contract as well,” he said.
This was backed up by Edwards when asked about the length of Elmy’s contract:
“People can only benefit from that, they are in place for a number of years and it helps with forward planning, that is a good thing. It enables Elmy to invest in the right equipment going forward because they have the contract for a long period of time.”
If players and clubs sometimes take the hard work involved in producing a top class wicket for granted, there is little shortage of recognition from those working behind the scenes to make it all happen. Simon Lawrence recently gained another accolade when he was rewarded for his work by the PDQ League, with the umpires in that local league marking his pitches as the best in the division.
Furthermore, there is plenty of praise coming from Edwards, who commented, “He is probably one of the best groundsmen I know of in Essex. His heart is in it, and he gives it everything he’s got. He does very well, produces some fantastic stuff. He’s got the ground to be able to do it, the table is there, the clay content is there, the grass cover is there, but he manages it very well.”
In the end, enjoying a match on a first class bouncy wicket is truly an achievement for all the ‘players’ involved and one that shouldn’t be underestimated.
© Cricket World 2008