Bradford Bull's Bully Wigan to Defeat
The super League rugby cup final turned out to be a bit of a one sided affair.
The game was being played at Old Trafford again this year and a good game was expected.
I began my build up to the game on the Monday of that week. A lot of rain overnight had stood the grass up nicely. We walked the bays putting back any divots we may have missed. I replaced a little bit of turf in
Tuesday rained all day, we had a good inch of rainfall.
Wednesday we cut the pitch lengthways taking off a fair amount. It looked and felt great. The team won away in Greece so it was a good day.
I had a nice visitor from Japan in the afternoon. He was the stadium manager at one of the venues for next years world cup out there. He had a walk on and a look around at all my kit and was well impressed. I told him to make sure that he enjoys it while it is on, like Euro 96 we waited years for it and then it was gone in a blink of an eye.
We marked out the pitch on the Friday. Brian Cartwright the Groundsman from South Leeds stadium called into see us. He always goes wherever the rugby league go. He has been a Groundsman for more years than he cares to remember and a good one at that. He was explaining all the usage that his pitch gets. Rugby, football, hockey, athletics' and his season goes on for eleven months of the year. His love of the job is there for all to see, like most of us, MAD, no other word for it.In the afternoon Steve Braddock and his assistant Paul Burgess called in to have a look. They could not get over all the sunshine that was flooding down on Manchester, many more days like this will get us a bad name!
I took them over to our new training ground at Carrington. They were suitably impressed and invited Keith Porter my number two and I down to the Arsenal for a future look.
Saturday dawned dull but dry. It remained dry the whole day I am pleased to report. My main priority today is to keep people off the pitch for as long as possible.These rugby people are different from the normal lot. They were so polite and protective of my pitch and understood my concerns.
The pre- match entertainment was all the fun of the theatre. Singing girl bands, dancers and the group Steps for good measure. The rugby anthem of Jerusalem was sung to perfection and the game was upon us.I cannot watch, I sat in the stand facing away, side wards on to the pitch. I know its daft but I cannot help it. We went on at half time and it was doing brilliantly. No really big divots but a fair share of scuffs and scrapes.
The second half was not five minutes old when the first and only big divot of the night came out. It was situated in my worse corner, the Southwest. Four players all together and up it came, (so I am told, I was not really looking.)
The big crowd was fantastic to watch, the passion and noise was great. A record crowd was announced of just over 60,000 people. Can you believe that 60,000.After all was done they presented the trophy and did a lap of honour. Bradford had won and won well. Wigan did not seem to be at the races. I got home at 10 o clock just in time to see the game highlighted on the news.
It was another dry warm day when I arrived at 7.30am. This is my day; this is where, if I can, I turn it around. Rugby posts down and out of the stadium. Football posts in and up, with nets on as well tied up ready for Wednesday. We began to cut lengthways with the two Allett Buffalo cylinder mowers.
One of my staff followed behind the mowers with our tractor driven Multi- core. Once finished, four of us including myself walked shoulder-to-shoulder one bay at a time, divoting. This to me is the most important job. Feeling with your feet as well as looking with your eye's, you make your way slowly up and down the pitch. This is done until every divot is replaced or re-turfed, as in the case of the biggest one. Another job is to wash out the rugby lines. We use a pressure jet to wet the grass and then gently but firmly we brush out the paint with soft hand brushes.This is a long job but one that needs doing properly.
Finally we strung out and marked back in the football lines. Once dry I ran the irrigation system just to give the divots and my new bit of turf a drink.All those jobs complete in one day is very satisfying I must say, the best part of the whole job is to look back at it just before going home.
I had treated all my staff to a full breakfast that morning, now as they left for home at gone four in the afternoon I just hoped they would stay awake long enough to eat their dinners?We had done well, another event staged-the surface repaired and now another game to look forward to this week. Oh and then………..Deportivo La Coruna rang to say that they wished to train on Tuesday night at 8PM.
Ah well it keeps me out of mischief!
Yours Looking Forward to Wednesday