Winter care at Wasps and Rosslyn Park
While money was found for some end of season renovations at Loftus road, the training ground went without any at all. Although there was no seeding, fertilising or sand dressing carried out, the pitches recovered reasonably well with some regular careful maintenance, with the exception of wear areas, such as scrum lines, throw lines and goal mouths. These areas were not touched and have had to be reinforced and built up with 'fibre sand' to keep some sort of level.
Although the pitches were not renovated this season, there had been much improvement made in recent years, with nearly five hundred tonnes of sand being worked into four of the football and rugby pitches over the last five years. There has not been the money available to install a new drainage system across all the pitches, so the decision was made to improve the natural drainage over a period of time. The training ground sits on 'heavy' London Clay, when it rains the ground floods with ease, and makes it impossible to carry out remedial works, although as Simon points out, it doesn't seem to stop the teams from playing.
The pitches have not seen fertiliser for 12 months, but did not seem to be suffering colour wise although the sward had thinned considerably. The level of equipment at the venue is basic, a small Ford compact tractor, transfer wheel marker, Sisis slitter and a set of harrows. All the other necessary equipment is brought in on trailers when required. Simon uses a Ransomes 350D, to cut the pitches at the ground for the football at 11/4" (30mm), and a Ransomes 951 Rotary mower to cut the surrounds and the rugby pitches. Unfortunately the Ransomes 350D can not be adjusted to the rugby playing height of 2" (50mm), which means that two machines have to be transported from the Sportsturf yard 35miles away at Sutton United FC.
One interesting point to make is that the training ground is built over the top of an ancient Anglo Saxon burial ground, this permits the ground staff to dig down only to the depth of a spade spit, planning permission has to be sought from the local planning committee every time new sockets are installed at a greater depth.
Another point is the amazing harmony shown between the Rugby and the Football club using shared facilities. The clubs have now shared the clubhouse and facilities for over a year and both sets of players train in tandem at the ground albeit on their own pitches. It has helped the two clubs to share training techniques, diet etc which were vastly different.
Grass population was high and the root growth was comfortably down to ten inches (250mm), the pitch at Rosslyn Park is used extensively for games and training, and also suffers from some shade problems along the south wing with a bank of trees on two sides of the venue. The pitch renovations consisted of 80 tonnes of specified drainage sand worked into the surface and down the vertidrain holes. The vertidrain managing to get down to a depth of
Fourteen 25kg bags of rye mix seed were over sown on the pitch using a Gill seeder and 300kg's of outfield 9.7.7 pre seed fertiliser spread evenly using a pedestrian cyclone spreader. During the summer months the pitch was maintained at a cutting height of 2" (50mm) similar to its playing season.
Rosslyn Park were once one of the strongest rugby clubs in the country, but with the advent of professional rugby, Rosslyn Park remained with an amateur status, hence the demise of their league status.