CRICKET RENOVATION TEAM TAKE 75 WICKETS
By Carol Dutton
Alan Kettleborough, former head groundsman and cricket coach at Worksop College whose coaching continues alongside a pitch advisory role for both the English and Yorkshire Cricket Boards, says that the biggest problems facing groundsmen of club pitches are lack of time and equipment. "Consequently it's not unusual to find that the main problems are located in the top inch of a cricket square which usually contains a layer of thatch," he maintains.
An advocate of the Koro Topmaker, as a means of removing the problem in a fast and economical way, Alan contacted Mike Seward of Seward Turf Maintenance, (who operates the machine), in July 2002.
"The Koro Topmaker was developed in Holland where they play football all year round giving virtually no time for pitch renovation," Alan explains. "It not only has the capacity to skim the surface, but can also re-level it, and sports pitches can be back in play in a very short period of time."
Mike Seward skimmed 100mms from five 10ft wickets at the old square at Manchester Grammar School, last July, leaving Alan to re-lay with a suitable cricket loam and re-seed with an STRI recommended mixture of two dwarf ryegrasses pre-treated with liquid seaweed. The team returned this summer to repeat the performance on the school's remaining five wickets.
Rotherham Town CC, whose 11 wickets were renovated in early autumn last year, used them throughout a full season of Yorkshire League cricket in 2003, while Barnbry Dun CC, playing in the Doncaster League, played a single game this year on one of the six wickets which had to be completely renovated on the old Pilkington (of Pilkington Glass) recreation ground. This pitch had not seen the game for six years, since the closure of the famous glass company.
Kimberley CC, Nottinghamshire's Premier League team are hoping to play on their eight renovated wickets next year, while Bridlington, following an inspection by Yorkshire Cricket Board couldn't find a contractor to renovate their 16 wickets, despite having secured an English Cricket Board upgrade grant. The Seward team, in their largest job to date, tackled the contract by removing an average of 150mms over the total area of the square. 180 tonnes of cricket loam was applied to a depth of three to four inches, to bring the surface back to a level 35mms above that of the outfield.
Warmsworth CC, just off the A1 at the Rotherham junction, is a small village club that has just won promotion to South Yorkshire League's first division. Their eight (now renovated) wickets were on a sloping pitch with undulations. "We've made a flat slope," says Alan. Wickersley CC., one of South Yorkshire League's top village clubs has also had eight wickets renovated this year, as has Attenborough, which was the renovation team's final job.
For further information on the services of Seward Turf Maintenance, contact the company on Tel: 01904 765949 or visit their website at:- www.sewardturf.com