Serving the small town of Menai Bridge, the local cricket club has a willing team of volunteers led by Keith Hughes. Keith is a secondary school teacher; at any other time, he is the volunteer groundsman at the club. Our square is on a slight slope, so water tends to drain reasonably well. The square, when constructed, was laid on a stone and gravel base then built up with soil and loam.
We have, in the past, had a problem with low clay content in our profile which we have been rectifying over the years by using Boughton County loam. The ground is one of the smaller cricket fields in North Wales and can get a bit flooded, but this is mostly in the winter, and we do get quite a few gale force winds, given our location.
Pitch preparation begins about two weeks before that strip is required though, sometimes, the weather will have a say in how the preparations goes. We may also give each strip a small feed of fertiliser just to give them a little boost prior to cutting/rolling etc.
Our pitches are assessed for PQS by our pitch advisor on a rolling programme of visits year on year. Each ground in North Wales will be assessed and a full report produced for the club, with advice on any actions needed. Soil samples will be taken and sent for analysis and a report sent back regarding its chemical make-up and advising on what fertilising and feeding regime needs to be followed to improve its condition.
With our double bay artificial net area, we roll with a light roller throughout the season to compact the surface. At the end of season, we lift the nets and weed kill the surrounds. We have called in the installers, ClubTurf, to lift the matting and re-level the base. During the winter we brush and vacuum-blow the net area to keep it clear of debris.
We endeavour to keep cutting the outfield during the winter at a height of about 25mm and sometimes cut it with a ride-on -mower collecting the grass as we go along. We spend a lot of time in the autumn collecting fallen leaves as we have a large number of hardwood trees surrounding the boundary edge. These have, though, been thinned out to allow more light to get to the outfield.
We have had more of a problem with moss this past winter, especially on the outfield. We used a local contractor to spray the outfield. We did this in conjunction with the local football club and rugby club who had their fields sprayed at the same time. This allowed us to keep the cost down.
We allow the community to use our cricket field for a variety of events beside cricket. For example, we have hosted a rounders tournament and various charity fundraising days. We have also hosted a wedding, which was something a bit different in that they spent three days erecting marquees, and then only had one day in which to take it down because we had to get it ready for our fixture on the Saturday!