Brighouse settle in at new complex
By David Markham
New co-groundsman Richard Robinson has every reason to prepare good pitches at Brighouse's new three-sport complex - he is the Bradford League club's leading batsman and has recently been appointed captain for next season.
Richard took over as groundsman at the smart new complex at the beginning of September with another league cricketer, Chris Cay. The new Brighouse complex comprises a large cricket pitch, two rugby league pitches and two bowling greens. It has been developed on the Bradford side of the town after Tesco bought their town centre ground, on which they have built a supermarket and a filling station. Tesco provided money to develop the new ground half a mile away as part of the purchase deal, and it is gradually coming into use.
Brighouse Rangers rugby league club began their Pennine League programme at the beginning of September and the bowling greens are expected to be in use by the end of the month. The cricket ground, which has a wide square with 24 pitches, will be ready for the start of next season.
Richard, who is one of the most experienced cricket groundsmen in West Yorkshire, said: "I am in the process of taking over from the contractors, Bernhard's of Wakefield, who have prepared the site. The contractors still have some levelling to do on the outfield - and the drains have sunk on the cricket and rugby pitches - so that problem will need to be dealt with before they leave site.
At the moment, I am doing the end of the season work on the bowling greens and the cricket squares. We had to get the grass down to a reasonable length because it was quite long. The cricket square has been and we will be seeding and top dressing later in the week. When that's finished, we will start spiking.
The bowling green has 70 per cent sand and 30 per cent top soil to help drainage. The club plays winter bowls under floodlights so the greens need to drain well. The bowlers will be playing on the bowling greens in the next couple of weeks, as soon as we have done the end of season work. The greens also have a computer operated irrigation system, which will be invaluable in dry weather like we have had this summer.
Our rugby league team played their first league match last Saturday but, of course, our cricket doesn't start until next spring. The square is twice as big as most squares. The plan is have Yorkshire second team playing here. The square has got a good depth of top soil. We have applied a top soil and loam with a heavy clay content because we need the pitches to be hard.
The main rugby league pitch has a sandy top soil to help it to drain while the second rugby pitch has a fibre sand base, which means that the divots should be easier to pick up. The Great Britain rugby league A team have been training on our pitch.
All the pitches are drained. It rained heavily the other day and there was no standing water so the ground seems to be draining well."
Richard will be working with Chris Cay, but he is going back to his native Australia this winter to be groundsman at South Melbourne Cricket Club. The two of them will continue to work at the Bradford Park Avenue ground, which is the Bradford-Leeds University's Centre of Excellence, where Brighouse have also played their matches while the new ground has been prepared.