The Groundsman

October 2014

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IOG BEST PRACTICE 27 the Groundsman October 2014 Visit for more information and digital editions While the States of Jersey's parks and gardens department carries out Jersey RFC's major renovations – which every year includes adding 60 tonnes of sand to the first team pitch – Myles Landick has a range of turf care equipment on hand for the day- to-day tasks: • Ransomes Mastiff pedestrian and Ransomes ride-on mowers • JCB compact tractor • Greensward solid tine aerator • Fertiliser applicator • Reversible chain harrows • Kombi line marker. Machinery List The subsequent installation of additional drainage on the pitch, inserted diagonally at 10m centres, has also helped avoid potential water retention issues, as does regular vertidraining. "I can only remember losing one first team game due to the weather," adds Myles. Team effort Notwithstanding such invaluable input from two very able grounds professionals, Myles also cites his volunteer helpers Mick Wherry (aged 64) and Tony Charles (75) as being indispensable in the production of high-class playing surfaces at the St Peter's ground, where the sward is kept at one inch high. "I really wouldn't be able to produce the pitches without their input," says Myles. "It really is a case of being a massive team effort." This has included club members and fans, he says, who on one occasion in winter 2012/13 when the first team pitch was covered with snow drifts up to six feet tall, came in and helped clear the snow so that the game could go ahead. "We also use the States of Jersey's parks and gardens department for our major renovations as well as some pitch maintenance throughout the season (including vertidraining/Shockwave treatment, plus selective spraying), and probation service teams regularly carry out strimming, sweeping and raking, for instance, around the site." A typical programme of maintenance (weather permitting) on the first team pitch would be: Monday – divoting; Tuesday – topping with the Ransomes ride-on rotary mower; Wednesday – aeration with solid tines; Thursday – cut pitch with the Ransomes Mastiff pedestrian mower; Friday – cut with Mastiff, string out and mark; Saturday – check pitch and put out flags and post pads. Myles' part-time role as groundsman is certainly full; in addition to pitch maintenance he is also charged with pitch allocation for training and matches, ensuring all floodlights are in place and working (mobile rigs for training; fixed lights on the first team pitch) and organising equipment servicing. In addition, on match days he arranges for signage and traffic flow, as well as the logistics of rubbish skips and catering vans plus liaising with the probation services supervisor. Continual use The pitches in his care endure high usage. The club has teams for vets, colts and teams for under-11 to under-18, in addition to its first and second teams. The main pitch is used two or three times a week for games, plus first team training midweek and academy games on Sunday mornings. Indeed, upwards of 450 children can be onsite on a Sunday. The other pitches are in use every evening plus have two or three games every weekend. Training also continues in the summer months as the club also has teams for touch rugby and sevens. "I like to band the main pitch so that it creates a good impression, for players and spectators," adds Myles enthusiastically. "We had a crowd of 4,500 here this year for a pre-season with Bath and everyone looks at the pitch, so presentation is key." Myles' determination to become a professional player will be a loss for groundsmanship, but hopefully not forever. But to make it in the top grade of the sport, one thing he knows he must curb is his obsession to replace a divot every time he comes out of a scrum! l Myles (right) says dad Steve is his rock We had a crowd of 4,500 here this year for a pre-season with Bath and everyone looks at the pitch, so presentation is key " " Myles contiunally tries for proffesional playing status

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