Founded in 1895, Prestatyn Cricket Club in North Wales has had a dramatic history, and over the last 20 years Dennis mowers have helped restore the club’s pitch to a standard named the best in the Bridging Finance Solutions Liverpool & District Cricket Competition in 2011.
In 1990, the area was hit by the Towyn floods which forced more than 2000 people to be evacuated from their homes when the sea defences failed. As part of the clean-up, waste water including sewage and other debris was pumped onto the local-authority owned pitch from the surrounding properties, killing the grass.
“The square had to be completely rebuilt and the outfield renovated, and it took five years to recover,” explains Head Groundsman Tony Young. “However, we had a lot of help from Peter Marron of Old Trafford and it was an opportunity to improve the way that the square was looked after. We have seen significant improvements as a result.”
Part of the process was to replace the old mower with a Dennis FT510, which has an industry-leading cassette system allowing the same machine to be used for cutting and a range of key maintenance operations. Prestatyn Cricket Club specified a nine blade cylinder, a scarifier, a verticut reel and brush for the FT510, which has a working width of 510mm (20in) for a high level of productivity.
“Because we are close to the sea and the sandhills, we get a lot of seeds blown in, so verticutting is an important operation to take undesirable grasses out, and we use this cassette at least once a month. It was a big step up from our previous mower but offers great results once you get used to it.”
The FT510 was replaced on a like-for-like basis in 2004, and Tony comments that both mowers proved extremely durable and reliable despite a high workload.
“There are 13 strips on the senior square and we also like juniors to play on turf rather than artificial strips, so one mower was cutting two squares and preparing the wickets,” he explains.
“This year we have added a dedicated fine turf mower, the Razor Ultra, with the help of an ECB grant.”
The superbly balanced mower gives a particularly fine finish with its 11-blade cylinder, and features a tungsten tipped groomer and Weile roller. It is powered by a Honda Q9 engine for quiet, low vibration operation.
Tony adds: “We now use the two mowers together to be more efficient and the Razor Ultra gives a brilliant quality of cut. We have never had such a good surface and it is achieved so easily by using the two machines in combination.”
The club has a strong community feel and the committee is keen to encourage junior participation in an area where little cricket is played by youngsters, visiting schools and offering juniors top quality playing conditions.
Tony maintains a good relationship with local dealer Major Owen, and comments that Dennis was also very helpful when he was setting up and getting to know the mowers.
“We don’t buy many mowers but we keep in touch with what other clubs are doing and we can see that Dennis is favoured by the better ones. Similarly, other local clubs have followed our lead with the FT510 and I would expect the Razor Ultra to be very popular too. From our experience I would certainly recommend it.”