The Groundsman

March 2015

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ASK THE EXPERT 18 the Groundsman March 2015 Visit for more information and digital editions ou joined Chesterfield cricket ground at Queens Park in 1932 when you were 16 Yes, I was employed there by Chesterfield Corporation (not the cricket club) and there was plenty of work on the pitch at that time - there were first and second teams, a Wednesday side and a Thursday police team. All those wickets needed preparation but they were marvellous years. Was there much difference in pitch and ground preparation between Derby and Chesterfield? I had a hand roller at Chesterfield and a motor roller at Derby. The one at Chesterfield was 15cwt. Two of us had to push it, though I did it alone sometimes and it certainly kept me fit. Derby hosted much more than cricket; there was the Derby Amateurs football club, five hockey teams and National Westminster Bank with different teams – it was a constant battle to keep the ground in a decent condition. All the teams wanted to play as late as they could to prolong their seasons and I was forever replacing divots and trying to keep the ground half decent. You moved to Derby in 1938, as head groundsman I was offered the job with no interview. It was a racecourse then as well. Mr Smedley, the race course manager, gave me decent money for working on it. Were there many differences between the two squares and the way they played? Chesterfield was much easier to manage. The thatch was better and the surrounds Y Walter's wonder years IOG Life Member 98-year-old Walter Goodyear reminisces on his career as groundsman at Queen's Park, Chesterfield and at Derbyshire County Cricket Club By: Steve Dolman were much nicer. The drainage at Derby was dreadful; the water went down a 7 inch pipe that stopped at the pavilion and whenever it rained, it used to back up and flood. There was never any money to sort it out back then. A few years ago they excavated the square and dug down around 10 inches. Once they had it dug out, they went for lunch and came back and it was full of water. The very high water table was always an issue until they spent some money on the drainage. I could take you to Derby now and show you where there's a well on the ground. It dates from the time before the Grandstand Hotel, when there was a farmhouse there. The well belonged to the farm and is covered with large slabs of concrete. Walter on the motor roller at Derby

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