Lord's stays in control with Dennis The world famous Lord's Cricket Ground dates back to 1787, and in those early days the wicket would be prepared by letting sheep graze on it before a match. Today more sophisticated methods are employed, and the latest machines acquired by Marylebone Cricket Club, the ground's owner, are precision mowers made by Dennis.
Local dealer RT Machinery (RTM) has recently supplied two Premier 36in (91cm) pedestrian mowers to MCC. These have been modified at the Dennis factory to meet the specific demands of the Lord's groundstaff, showing the company's flexibility and expertise.
MCC's Head Groundsman, Mick Hunt, chose the Premiers after having been impressed by a Dennis FT510 delivered to the Club by RTM in 2004. Part of the FT range, this 51cm (20in) machine accepts quick-change cassettes for different ground care tasks. Lord's specified the unit with a tungsten tipped verti-cutter attachment and a heavy duty nylon multi-brush unit for preparation and renovation works.
The Premier is a dedicated cylinder mower, designed for excellent balance and manoeuvrability. To meet the exacting standards demanded by 'the home of cricket', Dennis engineers have adapted the machines for high-speed cutting and enhanced mobility. An extra-smooth rear roller has been fitted and the handlebars have been adapted, increasing ground clearance and making tight turns easier. This will enable the ground to maintain the highest standards of presentation, with a traditionally crisp, striped finish.
The Premier has a 6-bladed opposed spiral cutting reel, giving 100 cuts/metre (90 cuts/yard). Lord's has selected manual gearbox versions of the machines to allow for fixed constant speed, precision cut and marking. This is unusual as the hydrostatic option is often the first choice for optimum control. They also chose petrol-engined units for optimum power and response to the throttle control. Dennis can also fit a diesel power unit, and this flexibility shows its ability to meet specific customer requirements.
Lord's is acknowledged as having the best outfield in the world, as befits the game's most celebrated ground, and the Dennis machines are helping to ensure these high standards are maintained. Head Groundsman Mick Hunt says, "Dennis and RTM have been extremely accommodating in customising the Dennis machines to meet our specific requirements."
Ian Howard, Managing Director of Dennis, is delighted that Lord's has been able to buy British designed and built equipment to maintain its world-class standards. "Lord's recognises that machinery has to be selected carefully if the highest quality is to be achieved. Our investment in skilled staff and modern manufacturing techniques has enabled us to tailor equipment to their specific requirements, and few other manufacturers could have done this."