We caught up with Paul Tatton, Chairman of the LCF’s Groundsperson's Association on his advice for cricket clubs in Lancashire on ground maintenance in January.
First of all, I would like to wish the readers a very happy new year.
I understand that we’re close to having over 1,000 views of my updates which is very encouraging from my point of view and I hope it is of use to clubs up and down the county.
January is usually a good time to aerate the square, but with this wet autumn and winter weather, I would suggest a different routine. There is no point in aerating wet pitches as this will make holes for water to sit, just like test tubes and defeats the object of the exercise, which as the name suggests is to get oxygen to lower root level.
I suggest not to areate Mendip lome pitches no later than end February and other lome pitches which are more clay content no later than early February.
If we don’t get a dry spell in spring it is paramount that holes will have time to close or we could be playing on cricket pitches with variable bounce. So it’s the golden rule, only when conditions allow. A good sharp frost this month could be of great benefit.
This is prevalent at this time of the year due to the amount of water in the ground. This is a shallow-rooted reed grass which will show in small dark clumps. If and when conditions are dry, this should scarify out and should not be a problem.
There has been a lot of discussion recent around the standard of pitch surfaces that are required to improve consistency and bounce. It is vital that clubs all around the county produce stand standard pitches if we are to continue to produce Lancashire and ultimately England cricketers.
It is vital that funds are available to finance a club’s facilities which includes machinery, nets, wicket maintenance and looking after the outfield. As well as funding, knowledge is crucial in helping club’s produce good pitches.
For your info
I would also like to make you aware that I will be running a basic groundsman course at Westhoughton Cricket Club on Saturday 24 March. More information will be provided in due course.