Paul Markham (06/04/02)
'Happy days are here again.' What a difference a fortnight makes at Bradford & Bingley Cricket Club!
I am writing on Saturday, April 6 after our second outdoor practice, the first having taken place on April 3, the weather has been that good.
Whenever I have had the time I have been rolling, rolling, rolling. I have been rolling across the line of play with the heavy main roller. I have also been rolling in both diagonals to even out consolidation.
At this time of the year rolling doesn't take place in the line of play because you don't want to crate any unnecessary 'ridging' which could happen if the ground was soft. Uneven bounce would be probable if this was the case.
So far I have done 30 hours of rolling, but I know there has got to be more. The ground is now firm enough on which to play cricket. That might not have been the case in previous years which indicates how dry the recent weather has been.
What we don't want to happen is for the ground to dry out too quickly and not get the four to five inches compaction that we need to create the pace and bounce in the wickets.
Both on the square and on the outfield, I am gradually lowering the height of the cut, down to 10mm for the square.
On the front of my Saxon mower I have a groomer. This is a reel with individual little verti blades. This spins round and when it is set to the height of the cut it combs the grass, standing it on end to reveal all the unwanted strands.
We want to separate the dead grass from the live grass and the groomer helps to do this. If we didn't do this, the wickets would have a spongy surface, thus creating a 'tennis ball' like bounce which would not be a true bounce.
The grass varieties I used last autumn were Belle Vue and Ritmo and they have produced excellent results so far. The square was top dressed with 'Kaloam' and this binds it beautifully.
Our Bradford League fixtures start on Saturday, April 20 with a second team match against Cleckheaton, but our main early season game is Yorkshire seconds against Derbyshire on Tuesday, May 7. So, let's hope for good weather.