Machine pleasantly surprises at British Airways

Lynn Hiltonin Cricket


By Lynn Hilton

Shortly after the appointment of Andy Richards as Head Groundsman at the British Airways Concorde Club in Middlesex, the annual STRI visit indicated excessive thatch and compaction on all the fine turf surfaces - bowling green, six grass tennis courts, two cricket squares.

To combat the problems, Andy purchased a SISIS ROTORAKE 600 in November 2001, a little late to start Autumn renovation, but nonetheless necessary. All the fine turf was scarified to a depth of just 15mm to ensure a good recovery. When the bowling season commenced, there was an immediate response from the bowlers who said that the green had never played better.


With a wide diversity of fine turf surfaces, Andy found the collection facility of the ROTORAKE 600 particularly attractive. To attempt a clean up of debris, having worked at the depth he required for consistent thatch removal, would have been impracticable without a box.

Another important feature was that the drive wheels are within the width of cut so that previously removed material is not smeared, should the conditions be wet. Andy also found that he could work close to the edge of the bowling green without the wheels running off.

Originally British Airways staff had the exclusive use of their club, but recently it has been possible for other local clubs to use the magnificent facilities on an occasional basis, allowing the club to be more self-sufficient. They do not restrict themselves to ball games - you will find all sorts of other activities going on at the Concorde Club, such as angling, classic cars and line dancing.

This year, for the first time, the sports ground has been used by the national teams of Scotland, Ireland, Canada, Fiji, Australia and Russia as their training base for the World 7-a-side Rugby tournament at nearby Twickenham, with very favorable comments. Larger SISIS machinery including Fibagroom, Variseeder, Quadraplay and Twinplay are used to maintain the outfield turf areas.

Is this the largest sports club in the UK, with a membership of 30,000?

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