The Groundsman

May 2015

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IOG BEST PRACTICE 23 the Groundsman May 2015 Visit www.iog.org for more information and digital editions "Basically, I've learned as I've gone along – there really is no substitute for hands-on experience because every ground and every pitch is unique, and I would say it took me three to four years to get to properly know the pitch." Noting that expectations (of players, club officials and spectators, as well as grounds staff) have certainly risen in recent years, "no doubt also 'encouraged' by the fact that every ball is videoed and can be scrutinised", Tim emphasises how he and his team are continually striving to do the best they can. "We are never going to able to accommodate international cricket [New Road has a crowd capacity of 5,500] so we aspire to be the best venue in the country for non-Test and one-day international matches." He continues: "Not only have we helped out as volunteers at other grounds (Edgbaston, Swalec and the Millennium Stadium, for example) on our days off to gain a better understanding of how other groundsmen do things, but we also trial aspects of best practice from among the network of grounds teams throughout the country, to determine if alternative methods can be successfully applied at New Road. We also try to keep up to date with technology developments; for instance, with Seegrow grow lights, by using a range of Headland Amenity products and, in line with ECB rolling guidelines, four seasons ago we invested in an AT soil moisture kit to help indicate when we should roll. That said, sometimes you have to roll even when the soil temperature and water content isn't ideal at this time of the year." In addition, the club has a good working relationship with PDS – the contractor carries out major maintenance tasks at the ground and supplies the grass mixtures used; a mix of fescues, bent and creeping red fescue on the outfield (35 per cent Conrad, 35 per cent Rossinante, 25 per cent Wagner, 5 per cent Highland Browntop Bent) and 100 per cent rye on the square (20 per cent Dickens, 25 per cent Dylan, 25 per cent Ligala, 30 per cent Conrad). "We need grass that is best suited to growing on a flood plain as well as being suitable for cricket, and we've used these mixes for some time…If it works, why change it?" Tim also highlights that maintaining good working relationships is critical to success, not only via regular communication with the club's officers such as chief executive David Leatherdale and director of cricket, Steve Rhodes, but also among his own team members: "Their passion for the job is demonstrated by their desire to constantly improve," says Tim, "and, clearly, also by their actions on the ground, especially when we're under water". l Included in the machinery at the disposal of Tim Packwood and his team at Worcestershire County Cricket Club are: • Three Toro Greenmaster 1000 mowers, a Ransomes Super Certes, Dennis FT 24 inch, Toro ReelMaster 5400-D, Allett 36 and 42 inch mowers, two Honda rotary mowers and a Tecma finishing mower • Toro Workman 3300-D utility vehicle, Poweroll County, Auto Roller, a Graden scarifier, a Groundsman spiker, SISIS Hydromain and seeder, SISIS brush and rake, a Blotter, a Junior Blotter, a WaterHog and a Kubota B7100 tractor. Machinery Matters My favourite holiday destination: Costa Adeje, Tenerife My favourite meal: Mixed grill My interests outside of work: My children and watching Aston Villa The most challenging part of my career: 2007 summer flood and 2014 season after the winter floods Who I most admire in, or out, of the industry and why: My wife Emily. She is understanding about the hours I work yet manages to still do a full-time job as well as raise our children and keep a tidy house The best piece of advice I can give to IOG members: Always challenge yourself in whatever you do and never put off until tomorrow something that can be done today. Facts and Favourites i The New Road ground being prepared for the new season Worcestershire CCC's Saeed Ajmal (centre) with the club's grounds team, from left: Ashley Hill, Martin Watts, Steve Gravnall, Tim Packwood, Luke Weston and Arthur Jones

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