Mid season tips to watch out for
By Keith Boyce
Yorkshire Academy Groundsman Keith Boyce has challenged his fellow Groundsmen to ask themselves some critical questions about the state of their pitches at the halfway stage of the season.
The former Headingley Groundsman is based at New Rover CC, just off the Leeds Ring Road, five miles north of the city, a busy ground that stages Yorkshire Academy matches in midweek and at weekends as well as being the home of New Rover, who play in the Wetherby League.
Writing in the Wetherby Groundsman, the newsletter of the Wetherby League Grounds Association, Keith says: "By mid-season you should know how your pitches are playing. Ask yourself several questions and be honest and critical with your assessments.
Is your soil strong enough and capable of withstanding the impact of a cricket ball when rolled and dried out?
Do you pitches tend to play slow with low bounce?
Does the ball carry to the wicketkeeper at a reasonable height?
Are you satisfied with your pitch and renovation work?
Are moss, weeds or worms causing you a problem?
The early season weather was perfect and it gave us all the opportunity to give our squares plenty of pre-season rolling.
I gave my square above average rolling and now it looks and feels better than it has done for the last couple of years.
Pitch preparation is also much easier. Rake, cut short, apply a good spray of water and a brisk roll and it is ready for 350 overs.
Even after wet weekends the pitch surfaces have only been bruised. This is easily rolled out and is certainly not the 'taking lumps out' type of surface, which you get on a wet, unconsolidated pitch.
Be aware of the problems regarding shallow rooting, annual meadow grass. If left unchecked it will establish a dense layer of roots. Consequently, this makes batting hazardous especially when the seam of the ball grips the dry layer, propelling it forward. This results in a ridge being formed and causes the ball to bounce erratically."