Blackpool hope for new wickets

David Markhamin Cricket

Blackpool C.C. hope to start relaying wickets

By David Markham

It has been a busy season at Blackpool CC with three county matches on top of a hectic club campaign with senior and junior teams using the Stanley Park ground most days a week.

Blackpool staged a Lancashire second team three-day match early in the season and then they had a Norwich Union League one-day match on Sunday, July 14 before hosting a four-day county championship match against Somerset in the last week in August.

Well, it was supposed to last four days but it was all over just before lunch on the third day with 40 wickets having fallen as Lancashire beat Somerset by 336 runs after the visitors were bowled out for 71 runs in their second innings.

Howard Mayor, full-time Groundsman at Blackpool for 15 years, said: "The championship strip had not been played on this season and preparations began 15 days before the match, gradually cutting it, stripping out the grass and rolling it. We had fine weather for ten days before the match and the pitch had also been covered.

The only guidance I got from Lancashire was they did not want any green on it, which meant there was no feed on it for sometime beforehand. Normally we would feed it for 21 days, but Lancashire wanted no green on the pitch.

The wickets are old and, in the perfect world, we would re-lay them, but they cost between £3,000 and £4,000 a strip to re-lay and we can't afford it. If Blackpool were a full-time county ground you would do it. For instance, the square at Old Trafford has been re-laid twice in the last 15 years.

Having said that, we might get away with re-laying one strip later this year or next year and Lancashire might pay for it. They have done that at other out sourced grounds at Southport, Lytham and Liverpool in recent years.

We use a Lloyds Paladin for mowing the square and a 36ins Ransomes mastiff for the outfield - it takes five and a half hours to cut the outfield.

We have a one and a half ton water ballast roller. At the start of the season we use a one-ton roller and then we raise it to one and a half tons.

We have two scarifiers, a Sisis and a Bluebird, but we are hoping to replace the Bluebird and buy a flail type which we can use for re-seeding and helps us to get rid of thatch. We are also hoping to do some drainage work during the winter - because we get puddles at the north end of the ground.

We are a busy club with first second team matches on Saturdays and Sundays and junior cricket five days a week at the height of the season."

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