The Groundsman

July 2014

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ary Barwell is no different to many other groundsmen in that his is a constant quest to produce a playing surface that is the best he can achieve under any and all circumstances. But as we all know, the weather – particularly heavy rain – often puts a damper on that desire. But Gary, "like hundreds of groundsmen the length and breadth of the country", he says, carries on and it is a diligence that saw him, as head groundsman at Edgbaston, crowned as the 2013 IOG Professional Cricket Groundsman of the Year. I visited Edgbaston, the home of Warwickshire County Cricket Club, the day after a one-day International between England and Sri Lanka. The match went on until late into the night, then Gary's work began – and it continued into the day of my visit when the rain was falling. G Excellence at Edgbaston The diligence and expertise of Edgbaston's Gary Barwell earned him the title of 2013 IOG Professional Cricket Groundsman of the Year – despite the weather By: Colin Hoskins And the rain continued to fall as he and his team set about the preparations to host another game within 48 hours. Last month was the wettest June since records began, with double the average rain. This follows April being the wettest recorded since 1910. "When you get so much rain, you often can't even get the blotter onto the pitch," says Gary, "because the 'pads' would be waterlogged by the time we got across to the wicket." He continues: "Heavy rain is certainly the scourge of the game, and even though four years ago we saw £600,000 invested in a remodelled outfield, when you have a month's rain in a week it really doesn't matter what drainage you have. That said, the pitch is so much better now, and it is getting better every year, with the turf sitting on four inches of sand beneath which we have lateral gravel band drains at 0.8m centres. The pitch is surrounded by land drains; the outfield drains at 33mm per hour. Gary and his team utilise a range of equipment, including two Autorollers, Allett shaver, Allett C34 verticutter, Allet Buffalo mower for the square, Allett 36inch for the outfield, John Deere Gator and tractor, and a vertidrainer. All equipment is replaced on a three- /five-year cycle. Machinery List IOG BEST PRACTICE 29 the Groundsman July 2014 Visit www.iog.org for more information and digital editions t

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