A groundsman whose day job is as a financial adviser could be expected to know value for money when he sees it. So Michael Rinaldi is delighted with the new Dennis FT510 in which Haverhill Cricket Club has invested.
Michael has spent his spare time tending the turf at Haverhill, on the Essex/Cambridgeshire border, for the past 20 years. The 150 year-old club has benefited from a Lottery Grant in recent times to build a new pavilion, and it is a popular facility in the market town.
"We now have four teams and more than 100 youngsters playing at the club on a regular basis," says Michael. "We want to put Haverhill and cricket on the map for youngsters - we are in a good location and want to make cricket a sport for the youth of today."
To produce pitches which will encourage the stars of the future, Michael recently reviewed his turf care regime. He was using three mowers - one to cut the cricket square, another for wicket preparation and a third for the final wicket cut.
"The previous mowers were so hard to adjust and took such a long time to set up that it was easier to have three machines set to different heights than to waste time changing the settings," he explains. "But I wanted to save space in our tiny shed and to have one mower to do all the work."
A Dennis FT510 was recommended to Michael by the greenkeeper of a local golf club, but his keen financial sense was almost a stumbling block: "Dennis has a very good reputation in the industry, being British made and highly reliable. But we always thought it would be out of reach price wise. Our dealer Ben Burgess made it affordable with an excellent finance option and it actually wasn't as much as we thought it would be!"
Michael was determined to do his homework however: "We looked at all the mowers on the market but Dennis could not be beaten."
With a 510mm (20in) cut, the FT510 has a fully variable drive and a three-part steel geared differential roller for easy turning. It can also be specified with nine different cassette options, a feature which Michael finds particularly useful.
He explains: "It takes a matter of seconds to swap the attachments over. They are such a Godsend - they are simple to use and save me a lot of time. I also use the FT510 to scarify and brush. I've gone from three machines to do one job to a single mower with a hundred and one uses! The machine is so simple, changing the height of cut with the click adjuster system is excellent."
Dennis has addressed vibration issues across its range of mowers, and Michael comments, "I haven't noticed any vibration in the handlebars. It's a pleasure to use."
He says that he would warmly recommend the Dennis FT510 to other groundsmen, adding: "This is such a good quality mower, I would definitely buy another, when we need one, if at all. I reckon this mower will last forever!"