Keith Boyce on Cricket (21/06/02)
By David Markham
The unsettled weather has posed problems for Keith Boyce in trying to keep pitches dry, but it has been great for growing grass on the outfield.
A forecast of unsettled weather encouraged the Yorkshire Academy Groundsman to apply fertiliser on the outfield, but it lasted longer than he anticipated.
Keith said: "They were saying a unsettled spell would last for a few days, but the weather got into a rut and it stayed unsettled and the grass grew more quickly than I thought.
"I had never fertilised an outfield for two years. You need a drop of rain to wash it in.
"So, I welcomed the rain. Conditions were ideal for growing grass and I used 14 25-kilo bags of fertiliser on the outfield working out in the rain. I felt a job well done and five weeks later the grass has grown tremendously.
"I always work with hand cutters and I walk eight miles 32 yards to cut the outfield by hand. I do that three times a week to keep on top of it and it looks well. It is nice to be able to be able to sit back and not worry about it.
"There is a lot more grass in the mossy areas and there is a good density of grass all round the outfield."
The New Rover CC ground five miles north of Leeds where the Academy have their headquarters is a hive of activity.
New Rover play in the Wetherby League at weekends and evening league matches during having a busy fixture list while the Academy also play matches during the week and at weekends as well as using the ground for practice.
Keith said: "We have continued with our fixture list. It's been a question of getting pitches dry. I like dry pitches. This has been a superb drying week.
"There was a difficult period for getting pitches dry, but we have not missed many matches.
"We had a bad storm on Friday (14-6-02) and it was at its worst for half an hour in the early evening. I used the water hog on the pitch and I got soaked. I then put my mobile covers on. It was very wet. Then I used the blanket and rolled the pitch first thing on Saturday morning and we ended up playing a second team match on the edge of the practice area.
"The following day we had a Yorkshire League match, Yorkshire Academy v Scarborough and the pitch had dried out by then.
"I always have practice pitches partly prepared in case the academy want to practice at short notice."