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MAVO
Posted 28 Aug 2009
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Posts: 160

Hi Guys,writing this on the eve of last league game of yet another season that has gone so quick!
Wanted to know how fellow groundsmen around country have got on in their leagues in regards to pitchmarks?and how their wickets have played?
Mine started off well and for most of season was averaging over 18/20,even had a 20 for one game!
Have had two lowish,slow wickets where one was marked 14,so mark has since come down!.
Think i took a bit too much grass off both and it was wet in july so that maybe the answer,we won the games though!.
I actually batted on both and they weren't too bad,but its up to the umpire at the end of the day!
The umpires do get a good view and are meant to be neutral,so who else can do it?
Be nice to hear other peoples stories of the season and their comments on the pitch marking scheme in their league.
Cheers Mavo
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Minormorris64
Posted 29 Aug 2009
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What goes around, comes around

Lucky you, last league game, we play today and then another 3 weeks after that and a friendly on the 26th Sept. !
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barry glynn
Posted 29 Aug 2009
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What do I do? I just cut the grass.

The thing is, without wishing to be disrespectfull but how many umpires in club cricket at the highest level, ECB premier, have actually played the game?
Even cricketers who have played the game tend to know jack about it. a batter will think a flat road is a good track as long as he gets runs. A bowler will think it good if it does things when he just puts his fingers straight down the seam and lets go of it.

You're lucky if you actually get to know your marks. In Surrey, they dont let you know unless its been marked down as poor. personally, I think you know what a strip was like if you play or watch a game on your strip, you dont need to see any marks by someone who probably wouldnt know a good strip if it jumped up and bit him somewhere tender.
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MAVO
Posted 30 Aug 2009
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Posts: 160

Fair comment Barry,i think its good to get marks for wickets though as hopefully it will bring the standards up across the league.As a groundsman i always want the best track i can produce giving conditions!!it makes for a better game i think.
Thats unfortunate Minormorris,i actually wish we had a few more fixtures...its a long winter!
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barry glynn
Posted 30 Aug 2009
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What do I do? I just cut the grass.

Yes Mavo, I suppose all feedback is worth something. I think your point about "given conditions" is well made though. How many players/umpires actually think about what the weather has been like during the days leading up to the game?
The one I like the best is "cor, its green isnt it?" when its been hissing down all week and they say it in a manner which suggests they cant understand why it is green. Or "its going through the top" when 2 balls out of 600 in a match stop and jump up.


Still even though Im running out of wickets I wish the seaason could go on
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Paul Jackson
Posted 30 Aug 2009
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First on the field, Last to leave it.

It all boils down to it's only opinion, either umpires or players. It's not solid facts !!!
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GRG
Posted 30 Aug 2009
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Umpires have a sheet of criteria to follow when marking pitches.
You do not have the same umpires every week so marks will vary because of that and ground conditions can change weekly so the marks will be different again.
Over the season you will have an average. You will know why you had very good marks or very poor ones. The average will be a fair indicator of where your pitch is.
It would appear that could be a problem to some, i cannot understand why. Please enlighten me.
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barry glynn
Posted 31 Aug 2009
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What do I do? I just cut the grass.

No problem with recieving feedback of any kind but in Surrey you do not get the marks, they only speak to you if you have consistent bad marks, very helpfull.

However, I was just questioning the validity at times personally, thats all
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jontaylor
Posted 31 Aug 2009
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I don't know about Surrey, but up here in Lincs the umpires mark the ground on the scoresheet that the captain has to send in to the league. It makes it very simple to find out the marks.
Do Surrey umpires send their own reports in? I can;t see ours doing that!
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barry glynn
Posted 31 Aug 2009
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What do I do? I just cut the grass.

Jon
They send the scores in to the league, I dont get to see them. If you get some connsistenntly bad marks, thhe league gets in touch with you, that hasnt happened to me this season.

I do have dounts about their worth but I would like to see them to see what they say.
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jlawrence
Posted 1 Sep 2009
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Of course there's no bounce, bend your back and put some bloody effort in.

i actually wish they'd publish the marks more often. I have found that if i ask they're people are happy to let you see your marks at any time.
I rarely get to see the games on my tracks so have to rely on feedback from players and a few other - and we all know how accurate that can be. So getting them marked (roughly to a standard) seems a useful idea to me.
My tracks have been the opposite to everyone else's as they have actually improved through out the season. Doubt this is reflected in the marks though as the firsts have hardly played at home in the 2nd half.
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Neil Dixon
Posted 1 Sep 2009
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At least the marks must give some feedback on the playable condition of each pitch, something, that those involved can use as a benchmark for future seasons.

I get no such marks from School Cricket so have to rely on my own judgement ,that of the Cricket Pro and teaching staff, at least the umpires will be neutral.
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Philmort
Posted 2 Sep 2009
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Pitch marks in the West of England Premier have been published three times at monthly intervals with the final one to come soon. All now done via the Umpires' website and the League has to wait for them to be passed on. The work is done by the volunteer Umpires' rep and the volunteer League rep who both have day jobs.
The scheme is only in its second year and on the whole the umpires' marks have shown general trends on most grounds, towards good, poor or average pitches. The criteria were adjusted this year in our League to give more weighting to 'bounce and carry' as lack of this is seen as the main concern for good cricket. There remains the issue of lateral movement which may be due to the ball more than the pitch and will always exist with a new, hard ball and a quality bowler who may be a former 1st class player. More discussions will continue as umpires have varying backgrounds and experience, rather like groundsmen, actually!
My main observations from this season's marks are that the majority of grounds had much better marks than last year for the first half of the season after particularly good pre-season preparation conditions and a lot of folk following the Cranfield guidelines and not over-rolling. Marks understandably began to dip on grounds which are most prone to difficulty in keeping pitches dry during heavy rainfall perioods such as we had in July.
Ongoing discussions will take place to try to ensure consistent interpretation of the criteria for marking and to adjust the criteria as seen fit in the light of the first two years. These have been set by two groundsmen in discussion with 2 pitch advisors, Martin Ford of the ECB and the Development Committee Chairman in consultation with umpires. Perhaps some other Leagues have not broadened their base sufficiently in setting their criteria and marking?
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roon
Posted 3 Sep 2009
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Our pitches are marked by the visiting captain. This may not appear to be ideal and be open to bias, but is not often unfairly marked. Our grounds committee is pretty sharp anyway and are well aware of the quirks of losing captains.
Although I need to know when the pitch is good (in other people's opinion), it is even more important to know when it is not. I cannot improve our pitches if I live in my own opinionated world in which I would probably make excuses for myself.
However, if a major issue arose at our ground, I would only listen to another groundsman - volunteer, like myself, or professional - for advice. Players, even experienced ones, seem to come from the school of "Boycott with his key". They're no help to me.
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wicketdevil
Posted 3 Sep 2009 Last edited: 3 Sep 2009
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Can you just is the longest sentence in the world !!!!!!!

Our pitches are marked by every player, umpire,coach,teacher et al, and in my 9 years here there as only been one bad track that had dried out too quickly guess which pitch came up in my appraisal mind you i've never seen anyones eyes glaze over so quickly when i started to explain about keeping the covers on for too long and the weather conditions. So one out of 600 not bad. WD
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Shedley
Posted 3 Sep 2009
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When I use to prepare pitches many years ago I always asked the winning captain for his interpretation of how the pitch performed! Funnily enough I never had a complaint in 10 yrs?

Seriously though I do here a lot of occasions when "that umpire always marks us down" or "they (the opposition) marked our pitch down so we marked their pitch the same"!

I feel the best people to judge a cricket pitch are the wicket keepers, who I feel are the best positioned and qualified to do so.
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jlawrence
Posted 3 Sep 2009
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Of course there's no bounce, bend your back and put some bloody effort in.

pftc, likewise if I hear of a problem with one of the tracks the first person I try to speak to is the keeper.
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jontaylor
Posted 3 Sep 2009
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I've just got hold of our ground markings which are done by the umpires. I was interested having seen the start of this post to see whether the marks this year reflect the work we've done at our ground compared with last year.
We have concentrated on improving our outfield this year. It's been professionally weed-killed for the first time since I've been at the club (10 years +) and we've been using our Saxon triple whenever the council cut was not good enough.
We started from a good position - having averaged about 8.5/10 last year, but I'm very pleased that this year's marks have gone up, giving us an average of just under 9.5/10 (from 17 games played with two still to go).
I have my doubts about the actual figures - we've got seven 10/10 scores and I know that the ground is far from perfect. But for me the very important factor is that I know our quality has improved and the umpires scores reflect that.
It's also interesting that in what has often been said to be a poor summer a ground with no regular use of covers has started 17/18 Saturday league fixtures and only one of those had to be abandoned through persistant rain (on a day that not a single game in the league reached a conclusion).
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GRG
Posted 3 Sep 2009
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If you hear of a problem JL !!! How good is your hearing ?

See you in a week or two.
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MAVO
Posted 3 Sep 2009
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Posts: 160

Thats pretty good marks jon taylor even if in your words the "ground far from perfect".Over the season the marks won't be far out if the pitch is good and consistent.Being a keeper i do get a very good look at pitches in our league,i would say this season most pitches on a whole have been better than last year,which should make for better cricket...Keep up good work Philmort and Bob in pushing the pitchmark scheme in the Wepl.
What i would like to see change in our league is the bloody Dukes ball back to Readers!i find it does too much, alot of the time after its gone past the bat,a nightmare if you are a keeper!....thats another story!
Thanks for your replies chaps
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wicketdevil
Posted 4 Sep 2009
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Can you just is the longest sentence in the world !!!!!!!

I'm with you MAVO on the readers balls for club/school cricket they are the best about and come from 5 miles from me so maybe a bit biased. The county dukes are very good but expensive the quality of there club balls is not the same and still expensive for what they are.
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jlawrence
Posted 4 Sep 2009 Last edited: 4 Sep 2009
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Of course there's no bounce, bend your back and put some bloody effort in.

MAVO, I agree. Although I only use the Dukes ball in some friendly games it's a nightmare to keep against. However, what the Dukes ball does seem to have done is make the game a more even contest of bat and ball - the bowlers seem to be taking more wickets with less runs being scored (though that might just be my impression).

The pitch marks (love 'em or loath 'em) do have the benefit that committees now see something back from what they spend (or don't as the case may be) on groundwork. Even without seeing massive changes in how a pitch plays, small improvements can be seen through the marks.

Bath: I surprised you don't hear some of the problems with my tracks when you're sat in the bar at your place. At times I clearly hear the shouts of "can't he make one that bounces just for once" from our 4th team ground .
It doesn't help matters when the 3rds finish their game, come in the bar and say; thanks these tracks keep getting better and better, keep up the good work. I can almost feel the annoyance of the firsts.
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pacman75cricket
Posted 4 Sep 2009
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Pitch Marks we have been playing in a village league & pitches have been pretty poor. Sure pitches are marked higher than should be & don't think league will do much as one club has had awful pitch for years apparently & nothing done, Marks done by umpires supplied by both teams.

Don't hold out much hope a for improvements at captains meeting chairman of league said groundsman should have no say whatsoever in whether a game is called off due to weather.

Re balls been using kookaburra in our league & these are very poor lose shine so quickly, would love to use dukes or readers again.
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jlawrence
Posted 4 Sep 2009
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Of course there's no bounce, bend your back and put some bloody effort in.

pacman, that's how it is in our league. The groundsman has no say in whether the game is called off or not - and that's the way it should be. Ninety nine times out of a hundred the groundsman will be consulted on whether to call a game off but he isn't the one responsible for the game (the umpires and captains are) so it shouldn't be his decision.
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OLDZIMMER
Posted 4 Sep 2009
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Same in our league, Captains make the decisions, However i tell the Captain wether its playable or not! I remind him its me that has to prepair/prepare pitch for next game. if they dont agree the umpires make the decision..
A polite word in their ear about injuries to players that we won't be held resposible does the trick.
But for the 2nd teams the umpires are not nuetral they are teams own. Had one last year wanted to play on a pitch that was unplayable,and the outfield was under water?
They needed the points to insure promotion. So was the the decision based on suitabilty and safety or points.

Was reported to the league and points awarded to the opposition and fined for calling the game off.
Luckily i took pictures on the day with my mobile camera and presented these at an appeal, we won the case.
So umpires are not always the best ones to make the decisions.
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pacman75cricket
Posted 4 Sep 2009
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Jon I understand that but chairman was basically saying that no input from the groundsman whatsoever. It was probably his attitude rather than what he said that annoyed me.

Anyway took over as captain halfway through season so captain/groundsman makes the decision.
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