The Groundsman

February 2016

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17 the Groundsman February 2016 Visit for more information and digital editions Many sports clubs have been left with variable degrees of damage following the floods that hit the North of the country in recent months. Cumbria was the first affected area and as regional pitch advisor for the North West, I've been supporting the Cumberland FA and the England & Wales Cricket Board (ECB) in offering advice to clubs. Over a two-week period, I visited 15 football and cricket grounds where damage ranged from pitches having a layer of silt with grass growing through, to multi-use sports facilities that have had to close and are facing repair bills costing up to £500,000. The aim of my visits was to offer practical advice to ensure that the clubs will be able to host sports matches this season (by mid-April for cricket clubs and up to August for football). Success will, of course, depend on a number of factors: the grounds need to dry out; weather conditions need to improve; and will adequate funding be available via the England and Wales Cricket Board, The Football Association and Sport England? Action Keswick FC has a first team pitch, which M Supporting flood-damaged clubs We present the first in a new series of turf care advice-led articles written by regional pitch advisors from the Grounds & Natural Turf Improvement Programme, which promotes best practice in groundsmaship at grassroots sports facilities By: Ian Mather-Brewster has been re-constructed within the last 10 years, and junior pitches located nearby. The club pavilion has already been flooded once (to approx 10 feet above pitch level) and the pitches have been flooded three times within the past three months. Some of the advice given to the club includes: • Ensure that the pitch area is clear from contamination; this will need to be checked with the local council/ environmental departments. • Remove all localised areas of debris from the pitch (such as stones, silt and sticks). This can be removed using a small digger, laying boards where needed to limit the damage to the soil structure. The club has begun this process and it should continue until all the debris has been removed from the pitch and the surrounding area. • When the debris has been removed, the pitch surface will still have a layer of silt; this was measured on my visit at 25-50mm. This layer needs to be removed, which can be achieved by using a tractor-mounted turf planer until the layers of silt and grass are removed down to the sandy soil. The pitch will then require a full renovation. Results Most of the sites visited are maintained by volunteers and the amazing thing that comes across time after time is their commitment to get their teams back playing. The volunteers at Keswick FC have removed hundreds of tonnes of silt using a mini digger. Also, the volunteers' quick thinking saved the club's groundscare equipment, since they moved the machinery to high ground before the first flood. My support to these clubs/sites will continue until all the surfaces are cleared and fit for purpose. l All debris must be removed from the pitch and the surrounding area A full pitch renovation will be essential Supporting partners

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