Moving up a league in grounds maintenance

Eibhlin Murphyin Machinery & Mechanics

You can't but be impressed with the commitment, motivation and obvious enthusiasm of the committee, teams and members of the North Sunderland Football Club. It's a club that was highly active, way before its official formation date back in 1890 and yet today, continues with the same spirit and energy that reflects a winning formula.

North Sunderland Football Club (NSFC) is situated in the village of Seahouses, on the far North East coast of Northumberland, some 50 miles north of Newcastle Upon Tyne. It boasts a population of around 1900 people, and football plays a major role in local life.

Chairman of NSFC is Dave Moor, who says "I'm also, Secretary, Groundsman and general dogsbody," but he loves what he does.

"We have a very proactive committee of fifteen local members who I work alongside," commented Dave Moors, "in helping us to manage the club and find financial stability in a very rural community - and it's not that easy. Maintaining the pitches and grounds just got a lot easier, through a grant from the Football Foundation, who have helped us to update our grounds maintenance equipment that includes a new Iseki Compact Tractor and, a new Major CS Pro Mower. We acquired both of these pieces of machinery through our local dealer, Rickerbys, and they were instrumental in helping us to make the right choice for the long term. They knew exactly what we needed!"

The club's new Compact Tractor is an ISEKI TLE 3400 HR-TT, with a 38hp engine - they use it for all the maintenance and mowing work, keeping the playing and training pitches in perfect condition. Their new Major CS Pro Mower has significantly reduced the frequency of mowing passes that they used to have to operate, using their old cylinder mower. The cylinder mower struggled to handle anything over 34mm and therefore the pitches had to be mown every three days, which meant a significant level of labour input. Being a cylinder mower, it was also a high maintenance machine which increased operating expenditure and operational downtime.

"Now that we have our new mower, the Major CS Pro MJ65-150," added Dave, "we are cutting at an average of forty-two mil (42mm) during the summer non-playing period and it only requires a run over every five or six days - plus the forward speed is much faster with the Major and we can cover the ground in two-thirds of the time. The maintenance costs are virtually zero - and so we will be saving a lot of money for our operating budget. It's a gearbox drive to the rotors - so no belts to adjust or fail, it leaves a perfect striped finish without scalping and what's more it comes with a fully galvanised finish - so it's going to do a great job and last us a long time. Setting height of cut is easy and virtually the only thing we need to check - other than daily grease-points and gear-box oil levels, are the blades - and that's it! It's a really simple but effective machine.

The Major CS Pro has such minimal maintenance requirements that this will have significant financial benefit for us for a very long time. For anyone wanting to maintain their sports fields in the ideal condition and with a very similar finish to that of a cylinder mower, without the maintenance costs, the Major CS Pro is the absolute right choice - I can't fault it."

Apart from the main, 7000 sq m competition pitch at NSFC, there is also a 5000 sq m training ground and surrounding perimeter ground areas that require regular maintenance. The Major mower handles all types of grass length without struggling and so is ideal for maintaining multiple playing surfaces with minimal adjustment.

"We've got several league teams here at North Sunderland," added Dave. "With such a dedicated and enthusiastic team of local people who rely heavily on the game of football, we want to be sure that we can continue to give them every bit of support to succeed. The financial help we have had from the Football Foundation has been a blessing and has helped us to invest in the best quality machinery that otherwise we would never have been able to afford. This investment will last us for many years to come."