Keith Boyce (12/04/02)
By David Markham
After battling to cope with excessive rain for nearly three months, suddenly Keith Boyce's cricket pitch is too dry.
That is the verdict of the former Headingley Groundsman, who is now based at New Rover CC north of Leeds, which is the headquarters of the highly acclaimed Yorkshire Academy.
Keith Boyce said: "The weather has certainly taken a change for the better. Everything, the outfield and square has dried very quickly. I would think a good number of Groundsmen have been caught out.
I have been involved in ground preparation for more than 40 years and this is one of the driest spells I have known at this time of the year. I cannot remember squares being as dry as this in April.
The ground has dried out a little bit quicker than I wanted. It is dry enough to cut, but the weather is too cold for the grass to grow. Also, you cannot apply any fertiliser treatment unless you get the sprays out because it is too dry.
It is absolutely amazing. The weather started to dry up the week before Easter and we have now had about three weeks of dry weather.
I have been working on the outfield to get it flat. I also rolled the square until the ground became too dry, but I probably completed only half the rolling I needed to do. I have left a lot of grass on the square to protect it.
We just need the temperatures to get warmer. It might be all right in the sun, but the land temperatures are down. We cannot fertilise to encourage grass growth. We will let nature take its time.
The dry ground means we will get more cricket than normal in the early season because pitch damage is minimal as a result of matches being played. For instance, New Rover, who play in the Wetherby League had two practice matches on the first weekend in April and I am looking forward to the Academy's three day practice match at the end of the month."