Let me introduce myself, I'm Andy Peirson - Ground Co-ordinator for Kent County Cricket Club. I have been in my current position January 2009; my previous role was as Head Groundsman at KCCC Beckenham, a position I held for seven years.
I work in an industry that happens to be in the public eye, and I wouldn`t work anywhere else. I love my job and don`t worry about the hours or the commitment it takes to carry out my job, if I didn`t love what I do then I`d be in the wrong job. It does have its ups and downs - the ups are gaining awards at ECB dinners, and the downs are having your pitch reported, and the hurtful comments made behind your back. But I`ve got a thick skin, and four pins and a rope to keep people away from me and my pitches.
A typical match day starts at about 5:30am - yep you are reading correctly; this is when I check the weather forecast for the day before I leave home. I reach the ground, along with the rest of my team about 7:00am. The reason for this is to ensure that all the covers are off the net area, square and all the playing surfaces are cut and practice nets and throw down nets are up before the players arrive. This allows the players full run of the ground without interruptions.
Once a match has started, we have already been at work for four hours, so if the weather is fine then it`s time for some breakfast and a cup of tea. I stay and watch between 80 and 90 percent of every day's play on a fine clear day, but on a dull day when rain is forecast I`m on the side of the pitch all day, only leaving it to check the weather. If it does rain or the players come off for poor light we are instructed to cover the pitch; when rain is the reason for a stop in play then I decide on how many covers go on, we only put everything on if heavy or prolonged rain is forecast. As for removing covers and the restart of play, it is up to the umpires, I don`t have any say and all I can do is advise on how long it will take to remove all the water and sheets - then the umpires will decide if the ground is safe for play to restart or even start.
On a non-match day we start work at 8:00am and our workload changes depending on whether the players are in training or playing away. If the players are in then we prep whatever they require. The players don't just turn up, they have a training schedule which is set by the coaching staff and I get a copy at the beginning of every month.
Once I have set the work for the day I concentrate on pitch preparation. If we are getting ready for a match, we start prepping pitches 10 to 14 days away from the fixtures, but this can be hampered if we have bad weather or a busy fixture schedule and we are also producing net pitches and repairing old pitches on the net area and square. Pitches aren't picked randomly; I produce a plan during the winter which I then run past the coaching staff so we can then discuss any changes they wish to make to suit our team.
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