April, And Spring Has Sprung
Well finally Spring has sprung here in Essex and indeed for pretty much everyone around the UK. Scotland having 21C one day last week when I was basking in 10C wasn’t great though!
The grass is fully alive and kicking now and with soil temperatures starting to rise (mine is up to 10C at 4 inch depth) the rate of growth is quickening. The height of cut can be brought right down to season lengths now which most people vary between 8 and 15mm.
Verticutting is very important to remove lateral growth and any unwanted material and helps promote a nice consistent surface on your pitches when prepared, but make sure your blades don’t touch the soil surface.
Covers: Canvasses back on, hoses complete and all geka blanking caps are connected where appropriate. It’s a good idea to have spares in your shed in case they disappear which some of mine seem to over the winter and season. Flat sheets are clean and you have the ground pegs ready to use.
Bowdry (if you have one): Check it is intact with a good sponge and roller is oiled and wheels turn freely and that all important rubber bung is present.
Your pitch mower: Check it is set up to the correct height, the roller is level and blades nicely sharpened to ensure a consistent even cut.
I had my first friendly matches, middle practices and net sessions this weekend so pitch prep is up and running and tomorrow I’ll see how the batsman trenches are looking this season.
It seems the younger the player the bigger the trench they need to dig whereas most of the pros that play at a couple of my grounds simply make a small stud line on each stump which proves a trench isn’t required!
Wicket-keepers are getting in on the act too as for some reason the stumps aren’t a big enough guide to where they need to stand!
Example of a wicketkeepers damage from a match last season:
The first pitches prepared were very thankful for last week’s warmer temperatures to help dry them out although the weather decided to rain for an hour and a half on Saturday morning just to keep us on our toes!
Where possible I always allow a few extra days prep in March/early April to give the pitch some extra time to dry a bit deeper to try and alleviate that April slowness of pitch.
To visually see pitch preparation have a look at the Natwest Pitch Doctor videos on this page for the best tips on getting your pitches prepared effectively:-
So we are up and running so fingers crossed the weather is kind to us groundsman so we can provide the pitches we all strive to produce for our clubs and be rightly proud of.
© Cricket World 2015