1 It’s the end of the world as we know it ...

DaveSaltman-Aug09.jpgAccording to the ancient Mayan people, 2012 is said to be the year that the world will come to an abrupt end, with natural disasters, worldwide death and absolute destruction of the planet. Well, the Mayans gave up prophesising after 2012, so that's how it's been interpreted since.

So, here we are, at the halfway mark of the year and, thankfully, I have nothing so worrying to report. Just the usual global recession, warring nations, famine and the UK climate to contend with then!

As I write this foreword, the European Football Championships are in full flow and the football has been, for the most part, pretty good. For me, the interest is always in how the surfaces perform. Few of the playing surfaces have stood out, and there have been complaints about one or two of the surfaces from some of the teams. Surely it isn't that hard, in this day and age, to get pitches right in June, even in Ukraine and Poland? One could almost be forgiven for thinking that football's governing bodies want to show natural grass in a bad light, so that synthetics can come to the fore?

That said, the English Football League Chairmen have voted against the re-introduction of synthetic surfaces following a period of consultation with fans, players and the turfcare industry. This comes as a major relief for us groundsmen, as well as the majority of professional players who would never choose playing on a synthetic surface ahead of natural grass.

I am also hearing lots of positive noises that the World Cup, to be played in Russia in 2018, will also be played on natural grass. With the technology, knowledge and experience available, Qatar should also be able to host their World Cup on turf, too. Why this should ever be an issue is beyond me, but then the reason why the money men who voted for Qatar - that great football nation - to host a World Cup of Football in one of the hottest countries on the planet, also beggars belief.

Back here in the UK, this summer's weather continues to try us and, whilst not being quite the 'Mayan' catastrophe predicted, has played havoc with many of the cricket, bowls, tennis and golfing fixtures. There has been major disruption to televised sport, including the Test series against the West Indies, The Aegon Tennis Championship at Queen's, and the start of the Twenty20 tournament.

Just ten weeks ago, the forecasters were predicting another hot summer like 1976; now they are suggesting it will be 'mostly wet'! At least some of the water companies have seen sense, because at least three of them have now lifted their hosepipe bans.

Still, the warm weather, combined with the rainfall, has helped grass (as well as weeds) produce an explosion of growth and, as long as the ground conditions are suitable, there's plenty of grass to go at. Whilst the summer sports guys have had a torrid time, the winter sports guys have, by and large, enjoyed near perfect germination and establishment weather. We just need a few drier weeks to encourage roots to go down to depth.

By the time you get to read this, we'll be just a few days away from our open day at Pitchcare towers. It's to celebrate our tenth annivesary that we reached last autumn, as well as to say thank you to all our members and customers. We do hope that you'll be able to join us as there are lots of educational demonstrations, food and tours around our facility.

Please register in advance for the chance to win some great prizes, receive a goody bag and allow us to cater for you. Full details are on the website, but you'll have to be quick now to get in!

As this issue is published, Eddie Seaward will be in the middle of overseeing his final All England Tennis Championships at Wimbledon, and the 2012 Olympics will be just a few weeks away - yet another challenge for Eddie in his final year (see our cover story). We wish him well.

Who knows, we may even be celebrating England winning the European Championships, with Mr Hodgson becoming a firm favourite with all England fans ... well, I can dream, can't I?

Cheers
Dave Saltman

Footnote: Obviously, with reference to the last comment, this was prepared and published when Dave was having a moment of blind faith patriotism. His dream continues......Editor

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