1 The 'Which style report' on Cricket mowers

The 'Which style' cricket wicket mower report

By Dave Saltman

Due to a large number of requests from our members, we have decided to start a 'Which' style analysis ofwhichtoro.jpg

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As a Groundsman I feel that it is important to assess the availability of machinery on the market. Decisions on purchase will depend on a variety of factors, and to that end choice will always be a matter of preference. We have decided not to include the Recommended Retail Price in this first 'Which' report, but we will in future reports. In discussion with the manufacturers, we will also allow an induction course on the use of the machines in future, something we whichallettshaver.jpgbest suited for cricket wicket preparation.

The next 'Which' report testing is about to get underway, and I would personally like to thank Clive and his staff for their efforts in bringing this report to print. Please find Clive's summary and all the machine reports below.

I'll try and cut this short. Cricket mowers on test.

It seems long ago now when I was asked by Pitchcare to assist with an idea to test cylinder mowers. We then had to decide on what surface we were going to test them out, and being a school we do not have too many golf greens or bowling greens though some like to think we have, so as we have 6 Cricket squares that seemed the obvious choice. It was decided that we would use each machine to bring the wicket from scratch, so that we could assess each machine fairly.

The criteria we have assessed each machine on are:

1) Setting up of the cutting unit not just in the shed area but also out on the field, why? well we all have to be mechanics outside sometimes.

2) Setting up of the height in the shed and again out in the field, critical when lowering down the cut height.

3) Fuel filling and how much fuel used. I must say that the manufacturers have done a great job, as no machine needed re-filling once it left the workshop area.

4) Daily maintenance checks, these are the checks listed in the Manual and some that we have ourselves to try and prevent machinery breakdown. We looked here at how long it takes and how straightforward the checks were to carry out.

5) Tight cutting at 8mm, we wanted to see the quality of the finish and cleanness of the cut.

6) Tight cutting at 3mm. As above.

7) Shading and appearance, we wanted to see the shading on the table, quite important in an ever more demanding industry.

8) Clipping collection, we wanted to know how much of the grass the machine cut, was actually collected.

9) Removal of the grass box, does it fall back out as you go 10 rounds with it or does it glide off nicely with no spillage?

10) Littering of the machine. Is the machine a litterbug or a tidy machine?

11) Rear roller clogging. In days gone by we were taking the back scrapers off has this system improved now or not?

12) Manoeuverability of the machine. With the advent of the OPC can you still swing them round on the spot or is it a corn circle to turn round.

13) Cleaning down of the machine. A job we all hate but it has to be done, is it any easier now?

14) In general was the machine easy to use? All my staff are good Groundsmen and I wanted to know how they found each machine, this is not the golden rule but merely a guide to say you could need a longer demo to get used to the machine, to give it a chance.

15) Did you like the Machine? I know it can be a personal choice, but a fair question.

-----------------------------------

I then asked each the assessing member of staff to give me what they thought was the pros and cons of each machine they assessed.

The Head Groundsman's view is an overall assessment of the machine, the things I look at when considering purchasing equipment are:

1) Time to set the machine up ready for use.

2) Time it takes to alter heights during the preparation of the wicket.

3) How long is the machines life expectancy.

4) How much are the parts.

5) How easy are the parts to get hold of.

6) What is the quality of the back up service?

7) Most importantly what is the quality of the cut.

8) Finally how much does the machine cost.

I have also given in places an overriding comment that seems to contradict the assessment; I have done this to give a more constructive opinion.

Overview of the findings

To start off we needed a benchmark by which to test the machines, we used a Ransomes Super Certes 51 with a shaver plate we based the cutting score as 40 for this machine. Height adjustment was set at 35 inside and 30 outside. Cut set-up was set at 40 and Manoeuverability was set at 40.

This did mean that all the machines on test had strong figures to compete against. Just to state the point our machine is an early Super Certes without an OPC. All the machines had a score of 40 and above on the quality of the cut, which is an excellent sign.

Some of the machines we assessed are "Greens Machines" so it was interesting to see how they performed and perform they did, one in the theatre of dreams one on the fringe and one at the village hall.

The renowned Cricket machines all performed well but then so did the machines more associated with Bowling Green work. What is the best machine? That's not for me or my staff to say outright but the decision of each individual?

So we have no winners, no losers, what we do have is a fair and honest assessment of the machines. Each machine was used 3 times. This was done to allow the staff to get used to them. On site training by the manufacturers was not permitted in this assessment, as the manual if any good, would tell us how to use the machine any way. All round we did not have a machine that we couldn't use or didn't cut the mustard so too speak.

In closing all I can say is that this has been an interesting trial for us to do and it has taught me even more so to look much closer at what I buy. I hope you find the results of interest and we now look forward to our next set of test machines, which I believe will be gang mowers. The results below are listed in alphabetical order.

Kind regards, Clive Liddiard.

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Machine Assessments

Manufacturer: Allett

Model: Shaver

Does the machine come with a parts book:Yes

Onsite assessment sheet

Is the manual easy to understand? Yes

Please score the ease in which the daily maintenance checks can be carried out (score out of 50). 45

Please score the following procedures by ease using a point scale of 1-50.

Procedure

In Shed area

Out in the field

Setting up of the cutting unit.

42

42

Setting up of the height.

40

40

Fuel filling.

40

Not required

Independent Cylinder Mower

Assessment

Please score the following procedures by ease using a point scale of 1-50.

Procedure

Performance rating

Tight Mowing to 8mm (quality of cut).

40

Close cutting to final wicket height (3mm)(quality of cut).

43

Shading and appearance of turf after cutting.

40

Clippings collection.

30

Removal of grass box.

36

Littering of machine.

42

Rear roller clogging with debris.

43

Manoeuverability of the machine.

47

Cleaning down of the machine.

41

Please answer the following questions using a point scale of 1-50.

Was the machine easy to use? 45

Did you like the machine? 35

What are the pros in your view of this machine?Manoeuvres well, Gives a very good cut.

What are the cons of this machine? Box is on the small side, OPC control is uncomfortable to use.

Name and Position and date of testing. James Duffield, Groundsman, 02/05/03.

Head Groundsman's view:

The collection of clippings on the Allett seemed to be the one area of concern.

It needs to be pointed out that a lot of these machines are used on Golf Greens as well and that can reflect the size of the box due to weight etc. Overall The Allett performed it's work very well and cut to the standards required. Preparation in the shed is minimal and the cut held in well.

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Manufacturer:Dennis

Model:G560 Sport

Does the machine come with a parts book. Yes

Onsite assessment sheet

Is the manual easy to understand? Yes

Please score the ease in which the daily maintenance checks can be carried out (score out of 50). 45

Please score the following procedures by ease using a point scale of 1-50.

Procedure

In Shed area

Out in the field

Setting up of the cutting unit.

40

35

Setting up of the height.

39

39

Fuel filling.

40

Not required

Independent Cylinder Mower Assessment

Please score the following procedures by ease using a point scale of 1-50.

Procedure

Performance rating

Tight Mowing to 8mm (quality of cut).

40

Close cutting to final wicket height (3mm)(quality of cut).

37

Shading and appearance of turf after cutting .

38

Clippings collection.

37

Removal of grass box.

36

Littering of machine.

35

Rear roller clogging with debris.

45

Manoeuverability of the Machine.

44

Cleaning down of the machine.

41

Please answer the following questions using a point scale of 1-50.

Was the machine easy to use? 37

Did you like the machine? 39

What are the pros in your view of this machine? It handled very well.

What are the cons of this machine? Different spanners required for set up, Clippings spilling out of box.

Name and Position and date of testing. Dan Whitby , Deputy Head Groundsman 28/04/03

Head Groundsman's View:

The multi tool set up of this machine is by far its worst feature, it becomes even worse when out on the ground.

From a cutting point of view the 560 worked very well.

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Manufacturer:Dennis

Model:FT510

Does the machine come with a parts book:Yes

Onsite assessment sheet

Is the manual easy to understand? Yes

Please score the ease in which the daily maintenance checks can be carried out (score out of 50). 42

Please score the following procedures by ease using a point scale of 1-50.

Procedure

In Shed area

Out in the field

Setting up of the cutting unit.

43

35

Setting up of the height.

45

45

Fuel filling.

38

Not Required

Independent Cylinder Mower Assessment

Please score the following procedures by ease using a point scale of 1-50.

Procedure

Performance rating

Tight Mowing to 8mm (quality of cut).

45

Close cutting to final wicket height (3mm)(quality of cut).

47

Shading and appearance of turf after cutting.

43

Clippings collection.

48

Removal of grass box.

40

Littering of machine.

43

Rear roller clogging with debris.

45

Manoeuverability of the Machine.

40

Cleaning down of the machine.

43

Please answer the following questions using a point scale of 1-50.

Was the machine easy to use? 43

Did you like the machine? 44

What are the pros in your view of this machine?Good drive system, Quite easy to set up.

What are the cons of this machine?Blade adjustment needs getting used to and ideally needs to be set up on the bench.

Name and Position and the date of testing. James Duffield, Groundsman 28/04/03

Head Groundsman's View :

Cassette machines have now been with us for a while and this one just shows how much better they have become.

Shed time was good and quality of the cut was well within the required standard.

--------------------------------

Manufacturer:Jacobsen

Model:Greens King 522A

Does the machine come with a parts book. Yes

Onsite assessment sheet

Is the manual easy to understand? Yes

Please score the ease in which the daily maintenance checks can be carried out (score out of 50). 40

Please score the following procedures by ease using a point scale of 1-50.

Procedure

In Shed area

Out in the field

Setting up of the cutting unit.

40

40

Setting up of the height.

35

35

Fuel filling.

45

Not required

Independent Cylinder Mower Assessment

Please score the following procedures by ease using a point scale of 1-50.

Procedure

Performance rating

Tight Mowing to 8mm (quality of cut) .

45

Close cutting to final wicket height. (3mm)(quality of cut).

45

Shading and appearance of turf after cutting.

42

Clippings collection.

45

Removal of grass box .

35

Littering of machine .

38

Rear roller clogging with debris .

35

Manoeuverability of the Machine

30

Cleaning down of the machine

40

Please answer the following questions using a point scale of 1-50.

Was the machine easy to use? 35

Did you like the machine? 20

What are the pros in your view of this machine?Clean cut at all heights

What are the cons of this machine? Hard to manoeuvre, OPC is awkward to use.

Name and Position and the date of testing. James Duffield, Groundsman 02/05/03

Head Groundsman's View:

The Jacobsen certainly looks impressive and the quality of the cut on greens is very well known. It has to be said though that whilst it did cut very well on the cricket square it was deemed very awkward to use. I am sure however that this could be overcome in time and constant usage.

--------------------------------

Manufacturer:John Deere

Model:220B

Does the machine come with a parts book. NO (They are available to purchase if required)

Onsite assessment sheet

Is the manual easy to understand? Yes

Please score the ease in which the daily maintenance checks can be carried out (score out of 50). 40

Please score the following procedures by ease using a point scale of 1-50.

Procedure

In Shed area

Out in the field

Setting up of the cutting unit.

42

45

Setting up of the height.

38

38

Fuel filling.

40

Not required

Independent Cylinder MowerAssessment

Please score the following procedures by ease using a point scale of 1-50.

Procedure

Performance rating

Tight Mowing to 8mm (quality of cut).

43

Close cutting to final wicket height (3mm)(quality of cut).

42

Shading and appearance of turf after cutting.

40

Clippings collection.

40

Removal of grass box.

43

Littering of machine.

40

Rear roller clogging with debris.

40

Manoeuverability of the Machine.

35

Cleaning down of the machine.

35

Please answer the following questions using a point scale of 1-50.

Was the machine easy to use? 37

Did you like the machine? 45

What are the pros in your view of this machine? Groomer is a very good design, machine produces a good finish.

What are the cons of this machine? Can be awkward to manoeuvre.

Name and Position and the date of testing. Martin Hall, Groundsman, 30/04/03

Head Groundsman's view:

This machine certainly looks the part up against some of the others. The setting up and preparation of the machine for use was slightly longer than I would have liked but this is most likely to be down to not knowing the machine inside out.

All round cutting was very good with the standards being maintained well. Manoeuverability was the only area of any real of concern.

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Manufacturer:Lloyds

Model:Paladin

Does the machine come with a parts book? Yes

Onsite assessment sheet

Is the manual easy to understand? Yes

Please score the ease in which the daily maintenance checks can be carried out (score out of 50). 45

Please score the following procedures by ease using a point scale of 1-50.

Procedure

In Shed area

Out in the field

Setting up of the cutting unit.

35

30

Setting up of the height .

50

50

Fuel filling.

40

Not required

Independent Cylinder Mower Assessment

Please score the following procedures by ease using a point scale of 1-50.

Procedure

Performance rating

Tight Mowing to 8mm (quality of cut) .

44

Close cutting to final wicket height (3mm)(quality of cut).

45

Shading and appearance of turf after cutting.

35

Clippings collection .

43

Removal of grass box .

45

Littering of machine .

38

Rear roller clogging with debris .

35

Manoeuverability of the Machine .

50

Cleaning down of the machine.

45

Please answer the following questions using a point scale of 1-50.

Was the machine easy to use? 45

Did you like the machine? 45

What are the pros in your view of this machine? Very easy to manoeuvre, Good finish at final height, Good idea having the key switch, OPC is one of the best.

What are the cons of this machine?Blade set up takes time to get used to.

Name and Position complete with the date of testing. James Duffield, Groundsman , 24/04/03

Head Groundsman's view:

The paladin has been well known on the cricket front for many years and holds a very good reputation. Throughout the testing of the machine the time spent setting it up ready for work was well within the time I would normally expect. To set a Paladin on the cut just takes time to get used to and this should never detract from a machine that performs its work without fuss.

Overall the machine looks basic but the performance is far better than the first impression. The Paladin produced the wickets to the standard we use and it did it with ease.

---------------------------

Manufacturer:Lloyds

Model:TG

Does the machine come with a parts book. Yes

Onsite assessment sheet

Is the manual easy to understand? Yes

Please score the ease in which the daily maintenance checks can be carried out (score out of 50). 40

Please score the following procedures by ease using a point scale of 1-50.

Procedure

In Shed area

Out in the field

Setting up of the cutting unit.

35

30

Setting up of the height .

40

40

Fuel filling.

40

Not required

Independent Cylinder Mower Assessment

Please score the following procedures by ease using a point scale of 1-50.

Procedure

Performance rating

Tight Mowing to 8mm (quality of cut) .

40

Close cutting to final wicket height. (3mm)(quality of cut).

40

Shading and appearance of turf after cutting.

35

Clippings collection .

43

Removal of grass box .

42

Littering of machine .

37

Rear roller clogging with debris .

35

Manoeuverability of the Machine .

48

Cleaning down of the machine.

35

Please answer the following questions using a point scale of 1-50.

Was the machine easy to use? 40

Did you like the machine? 40

What are the pros in your view of this machine?Easy to maintain.

What are the cons of this machine? Blade can get some getting used to .

Name and Position and the date of testing. James Duffield, Groundsman , 29/04/03.

Head Groundsman's View:

Pretty much the same as the Lloyds Paladin. The only difference is the duel set up of height, which allows for very precise cutting, though this is not normally a requirement in Cricket.

Whilst the TG has not done as well as I would expect, I feel it would perform very well on a fine turf area.

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Manufacturer:Ransomes

Model:Super Certes 51

Does the machine come with a parts book? Yes

Onsite assessment sheet

Is the manual easy to understand? Yes

Please score the ease in which the daily maintenance checks can be carried out (score out of 50). 43

Please score the following procedures by ease using a point scale of 1-50.

Procedure

In Shed area

Out in the field

Setting up of the cutting unit.

43

45

Setting up of the height.

37

33

Fuel filling.

40

Not required

Independent Cylinder Mower Assessment

Please score the following procedures by ease using a point scale of 1-50.

Procedure

Performance rating

Tight Mowing to 8mm (quality of cut).

43

Close cutting to final wicket height (3mm)(quality of cut).

44

Shading and appearance of turf after cutting.

43

Clippings collection.

47

Removal of grass box.

45

Littering of machine.

43

Rear roller clogging with debris.

40

Manoeuverability of the Machine.

43

Cleaning down of the machine.

45

Please answer the following questions using a point scale of 1-50.

Was the machine easy to use? 44

Did you like the machine? 35

What are the pros in your view of this machine? Compact machine making it very easy to use, Cuts well in the wet.

What are the cons of this machine? The OPC was uncomfortable when used for a long time.

Name and Position and the date of testing. Martin Hall, Groundsman 02/05/03 .

Head Groundsman's View:

The Super Certes has now been with us for many years and still holds its own very well, on the whole the Super Certes worked well and the cut was well within the parameters we set. Problems were found with the OPC system used and fatigue was an issue with extensive usage.

The Super Certes still has a complicated system to adjust the height especially when out at the Cricket table.

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Manufacturer:Toro

Model:Greensmaster 1000

Does the machine come with a parts book. No

Onsite assessment sheet

Is the manual easy to understand? Yes

Please score the ease in which the daily maintenance checks can be carried out (score out of 50). 45

Please score the following procedures by ease using a point scale of 1-50.

Procedure

In Shed area

Out in the field

Setting up of the cutting unit.

48

48

Setting up of the height .

40

40

Fuel filling.

45

Not Required

Independent Cylinder Mower Assessment

Please score the following procedures by ease using a point scale of 1-50.

Procedure

Performance rating

Tight Mowing to 8mm (quality of cut) .

45

Close cutting to final wicket height (3mm)(quality of cut).

49

Shading and appearance of turf after cutting.

45

Clippings collection .

48

Removal of grass box .

48

Littering of machine .

50

Rear roller clogging with debris .

50

Manoeuverability of the Machine .

35

Cleaning down of the machine.

40

Please answer the following questions using a point scale of 1-50.

Was the machine easy to use? 40

Did you like the machine? 45

What are the pros in your view of this machine? Excellent cutting quality, Easy blade adjustment . Grass collection was exceptional.

What are the cons of this machine?Hard to manoeuvre.

Name and Position and the date of testing. Clive Liddiard, Head Groundsman . 27/04/03.

Head Groundsman's View:

The set up of the Toro is quick and straight forward with blade adjustment done in seconds adjusting the height is fairy easy though with a bit of practice will soon have this licked. In the shed time is minimal and outside adjustment is fairly straightforward too.

Manoeuverability is not the Toro's strongest area.

Here ends the Pitchcare 'Which syle report' for Cricket wicket mowers 2003

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