Regular mowing of the outfield and square at Midhurst Cricket Club in West Sussex has been carried out by a pair of Allett machines almost exclusively since 2005, when the machines first arrived at the club.
Dedicated to wicket preparations is an Allett C24 model, with interchangeable cartridge heads for mowing and brushing, while the outfield is tended by a 42in Allett Regal mower with trailed seat.
Although the two machines are now in their fifth year at the club, head groundsman, Peter Glass, has been doing the job somewhat longer. Taking on the role "part-time" in 1997, he currently spends up to 15 hours a week working at the ground, which is located within Cowdray Park adjacent to the ruins of an early Tudor mansion.
In addition to his capabilities as a groundsman, Peter's experience as a professional fund-raiser has proved invaluable to Midhurst Cricket Club. Gained as director of operations for Cranstoun - an independent charity which assists with the treatment, rehabilitation and support of those affected by drug and alcohol use - Peter's expertise has helped generate more than £95,000 for the club over the past 12 years.
One of the resulting benefits was the ability to purchase the two new Allett mowers, replacing ageing machines which, in Peter's words, had seen far better days.
"Midhurst Cricket Club has always received good support from local Allett dealer, Seymour and Lisle, and I've long been an Allett fan," he commented. "The first machine to arrive was the Regal which is I use twice a week during the season to cut the outfield."
Having considered various options for a new pedestrian fine-turf mower, Peter settled on the Allett C24 plus two interchangeable cartridge heads - a 10-bladed cutting cylinder
complete with turf groomer and a powered rotary brush. Other cartridges available for the C24 are a six-bladed cutting cylinder, a scarifier, slitter, sorrel roller and verticutter.
"Buying a machine with interchangeable heads made more financial sense than buying a dedicated mower," explained Peter. "Not only can the C24 be used to cut grass and carry out turf maintenance, but if we ever need to replace the cutting head, the cost will be a lot less than buying a complete new machine."
Used at a height of 3mm when preparing wickets, the C24 offers a cutting height range from 1.5mm to 19mm, suitable for virtually any fine turf requirement. "Although I'm more than happy with the two existing cartridge attachments, it would be nice at some time to add a sorrel roller for mechanised aeration of the root zone," concluded Peter. "That said, I cannot fault either machine, the finish they produce or their ease of setting-up and use. The money raised by the club was very well spent."
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