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.
"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."