Bowls season begins at Wollaton

James Kimmingsin Bowls

With the Bowls season starting last month, we spoke to David Sans from Wollaton Sports Association about the work he has put in since joining the club back in 2020 in order to produce the best possible green. He tells us about the preparation work, taking on responsibility, and the impact of covid all within.

David had previously worked at Edmonton Sports Club in North London for over twenty years before moving up to Long Eaton in 2019. Since then, he has been determined to implement his experience to better the green: "I joined the Association just to do the cricket greens, which then progressed to football and, by November, I was then in charge of the whole club including the bowls green."

He then told us about the changes he has made to certain aspects of green management: "The club had been cutting at about six millimetres, whereas at my last job in London the greens were cut at five millimetres. So, I went with five and you can really notice the difference in speed."

He has taken on the responsibility of the new job with open arms: "In my previous job down South (from June 1996 all the way through to October 2017), I was always the assistant. Now, I feel like I am more in charge and I do the orders and other managerial activities. I feel more pressure, but everyone is happy."

When asked about the preparation and how long it takes, the answer it seems is the preparation never stops: "We normally do all the spiking in winter then, around September time, we start renovations. We try and cut it once a month at ten millimetres - if it is dry enough. Then, come February time, I will put a fertiliser feed on it to give it a kick. During March I will do a preseason scarifying, and this is when I take the height down from ten millimetres to five millimetres, so it is ready for the season to start mid-April. We will give it another feed if required, just so the green is looking its best for when play starts."

David's first renovation work was in 2021 and he gave us an insight: "We went for it as I only wanted to do it once - so we gave it a thorough scarify to get rid of all the dead grass. I had to do all the top dressing spreading by hand over one weekend - because we do not have the machinery here. I had 160 bags in the first year and 120 bags in 2022. After the first renovation in 2021, we got into the season, it played so much better. At the end of 2022, I scarfied again and it came up so much better which was reassuring."

He highlighted the problem of having a smaller team: "This winter we have not done anywhere near the amount that I wanted to spike, as we are a small team and I had to have a few weeks off with an injury. Unfortunately, sometimes these things happen - it is part of the job. Thankfully, it was only the spiking which I missed."

David outlined how he has been supported by the Association at Wollaton through both self-funding and outsourced grants since he joined: "This year we have managed to get a new cylinder for one of the mowers and we have managed to buy equipment due to grants from The Football Foundation. In terms of the funding, I have never been let down here".

The reaction among members of the bowls club about the work being done has seemed positive, David said: "The year before I joined was Covid and the greens didn't get a lot of attention. From what I hear now, the speed and the evenness of the green has improved dramatically which I believe is down to the consistent attention and maintenance."

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