0 New season, new square

Tim Clare, Head Groundsman at Allscott Cricket Club, details the work undertaken after cows invaded the ground and how a NatWest Cricket Force day fired member's enthusiasm

After a long hard winter, littered with prolonged periods of rain and then more recently freezing temperatures and heavy snow showers, April finally arrived. In my twenty years of looking after the ground at Allscott, I cannot remember a worse time weather-wise than the last twelve months.

Typical, as this has been a particularly busy time at the club. With the help of our insurance company and the expertise of our neighbours, ALS, the cricket square was completely relaid at the end of September. This was due to an untimely pitch invasion of around twenty stray cows last July.

It happened during one of the many wet spells we had last summer, which only served to magnify the amount of damage caused by our unwelcome guests. There's a lesson to be learned here for anyone out there who does not have insurance ... you never know what's around the corner!

Materials for the repairs on the square included twenty tonnes of Boughton Club loam and eight bags of MM22 wicket seed. Repairs to the outfield were also undertaken by deep aerating to lift up the hoof marks, scarification to create a seed bed, and then tw enty bags of MM50 outfield seed and 120 tonnes of sand was used to level out the playing area.

We added some Maxwell Premier Sports 9:7:7 winter fertiliser to the square at the end of December to help it through the winter months.

I began rolling the newly laid square in the second week in February, just with a rotary mower for the first couple of times, then with a small hand roller at the end of the first week in March. Then for the heavy roller! Not too heavy; ours is an old Bomag that weighs about 1.2 tonnes.

Now, you know what's coming... I managed about ten hours of rolling over four days, then it snowed, and then snowed some more and then, just for good measure, everything froze. The coldest March for fifty years someone quoted on the news!

Despite the weather, the square looks excellent and, hopefully, the weather will pick up from now on so we can complete the preparations for the new season.

NatWest Cricket Force

Allscott CC is no different to most cricket clubs around the country. We use the NatWest Cricket Force day to encourage cricket supporters, their friends and families to help by volunteering to undertake renovation work in the clubhouses and grounds before the season starts.

This year, we were assisted by our neighbours who repaired the square and outfield last autumn.

Our main tasks on the day included completing the handover from ALS. They completed the final touches on the square and applied the first application of Maxwell Advance 4:0:4 summer fertiliser. The outfield was cut using a Baroness LM285 five gang and the first
three wickets on the squares were cut out with a Baroness GM56 in preparation for the first games of the season.

The clubhouse veranda was repaired, the store sheds were tidied, mobile nets repaired and erected, covers and sight screens were put back together ready for the first game, and bacon butties were supplied for everyone who turned up on the day, and that included Dave Saltman and Laurence Gale!

I am looking forward to seeing how our square plays over the coming season, whilst the NatWest Cricket Force day has certainly fired everyone's enthusiasm.

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