Having prepared wickets in the North East of England since 1978, there is no person better qualified than David Measor to look after the world's most northerly test ground!
David joined the then brand new Riverside Stadium in 1995, the year Durham became a first class cricket county, and took over as head groundsman in 1999.
It saw its first one day international in 2000 and first test match against Zimbabwe in 2003. But it is this year it truly comes of age as a world class venue by hosting an Ashes match in August.
"I remember being very nervous but excited at the same time on the morning of that first test match," said David Measor. "But it was always the goal for this ground - to get it onto the test match circuit.
"Now we have the Australians coming later in the summer and we will be looking to prepare a cracking pitch. There is currently a lot of grass on it and it had a light rake out at the beginning of the season with a slight reseeding."
When it comes to the type of seed he uses David has for the last ten years stuck exclusively with Barenbrug's BAR EXTREME supplied by local distributor Turfcare Specialist Ltd.
"We are probably, on average, two or three degrees colder in Durham than in the south of the country," said David. "It takes longer for it to warm up in the Spring and gets colder quicker in the Autumn - so there are challenges for us at both ends of the season.
"In my time as a groundsman I have chopped and changed ryegrasses many a time but for me BAR EXTREME ticks all the boxes. It tolerates the colder conditions, has an excellent root system, can take very close mowing, stands up well to the pounding it gets and has good recovery which is always welcome, especially after a five day test match."
Added Barenbrug Research & Development Manager, David Greenshields; "At Barenbrug we invest heavily to make sure we offer people like David the best possible mix to cope with the job in hand. Now that his ground is going to host an Ashes Test Match it speaks volumes as to what he and his team have achieved, particularly given the challenging climate he has to contend with.
"BAR EXTREME is an exceptional blend of fine-leafed perennial ryegrasses, ideal for the rigours of cricket wicket maintenance. Bargold has been the mainstay of the mixture throughout the time David has used the product. It has been setting the standard for dwarf ryes for well over a decade, and even now is rated #1 in the BSP/STRI Turfgrass Seed booklet for close mowing. More recently we have introduced Barsignum to the mix: it has the highest score - 8.5 - for 'visual merit' of any grass variety in the UK, which cannot be a bad thing when the TV cameras arrive!"
"But whether you are head groundsman at a test match venue or looking after your local team's ground BAR EXTREME will give you top quality results."
Added Allan Morton from Turfcare; "We have been working with David for many years and are proud to have played a part in getting the Riverside to where it is today and look forward to continue to work with him in the future.
"The results he has achieved are phenomenal and we are also looking forward to the Ashes match which is the pinnacle for any cricket ground."