0 Keith Boyce with more Cricket advice

Keith Boyce on pre season preparation

by David Markham

Yorkshire Academy groundsman Keith Boyce can enjoy the dry spring weather knowing that his pre-season rolling was done weeks ago.

Keith, who looks after the highly acclaimed Academy headquarters at New Rover CC, north of Leeds, said: "It's been a marvellous spring. I managed to get all my rolling done in the first week in March - 25 hours of rolling on the main square.

I got to the situation where more rolling wouldn't do any good,so I stopped. I am confident that the pitches will play well with a nice pace and carry and I am looking forward to a good season. Already there have been plenty practice sessions for both the Academy players and New Rover, the Wetherby League club.

Keith has always been a big believer in pre-season rolling, a message he tries to get across to other clubs, "Several clubs phone me for advice. Unfortunately, there are some who haven't looked at their square since the previous cricket season ended in September. I cannot see anything other than a difficult season if they that haven't rolled their squares. You can imagine what grounds are going to be like if they haven't been rolled. You will get loose, crumbling pitches. They will play low and slow with the ball going through the top.

Some other clubs have rolled their pitch until it is too hard, and they have never thought to put any water on it. However, I would settle for that rather not rolling at all.

People will say it is all right for me to talk like that as a full-time groundsman, but I have been a part-time groundsman. The easiest way to look after a ground is to do it properly.

Don't put fertiliser on squares unless you water as well. If you apply fertiliser you must wash it in. Because squares are hard I recommend groundsmen to use a watering system when they are putting on fertiliser. It also makes the square look better. If the square needs feed, now is the time to apply it.

It is also a marvellous time to deal with weeds - they are something you need to get rid of in dry and warm weather. So, get your weed killing done.

Unusually, we are a bit short of rain this year. While we would welcome some, we don't really want wet pitches now. We don't want to delay the start of the season."

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