New Home for Anthony
By Laurence Gale MSc
On a recent trip to Yorkshire I took the opportunity to call in on Anthony Asquith, or AA as he is affectionately known on our Pitchcare website. Anthony, former Head Groundsman at Chapel Allerton Tennis Club, has begun a new career working for Yorkshire CCC at their new Academy sports ground at Weetwood. The site provides 18 cricket pitches for play.
Anthony has three key playing areas to look after, two squares and one newly constructed net area. The main square consists of a 125mm Ongar loam profile. The net areas provide 14 practice wickets which have been constructed on a gravel raft, blinding layer and 125mm of Ongar loam. The second square has recently been Koroed off and replaced with 50mm of Ongar loam.
Anthony implements a 10-14 day preparation regime which usually consists of the following operations:-
Cutting to identify wicket
Brushing and raking
During preparations watering is done to saturation point using hoses. Depending on the weather, the covers will be put on the pitch to control the moisture level. Flat covers will be used to slow down the rate of drying.
Anthony likes to keep ahead of things and gets the pitch ready a day before it is required. He tries to use a new strip each time for Academy games and, if the weather and wear and tear is favourable, he will re-use the pitch for another 2-3 other games.
After care, once the pitch has been used, centres around cleaning and repairing, flooding up again, sarrel rolling, overseeding and fertilising. If the results of these repairs go well the pitch could be reused in 5-6 weeks time.
Most of the pitches on the ground are less than a year old and are prone to cracking due to the undeveloped root structure in place, therefore Anthony has to ensure they do not dry out too quickly.
The mowing regime for the squares sees Anthony cutting 3-4 times a week at 12mm reducing the height of cut to 2-3 mm for matches. With regard to rolling, and depending on soil conditions, he will roll between 2-5 hours during his preparation programme to achieve maximum binding strength. Weight is not the crucial factor for Anthony (however, it is important) but it's the width and diameter of the roller (contact area on the surface) that is important.
I am sure Anthony is going to be kept very busy in his new home. Like many Pitchcare members I would like to wish him all the best for the future, and will be keeping a watchful eye on how the ground develops in the coming years.