The Groundsman

June 2016

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Visit for more information and digital editions 16 the Groundsman June 2016 hough relatively minor in county cricket terms, Hertfordshire has one of the largest leagues in the country with 28 divisions accommodating competitive cricket from 1st XI standard at Premier league level through regional divisions and extending to 5th teams. That's over 270 teams and more than 100 clubs. Problem The clubs' quality of facilities varies, and as clubs move through promotion and relegation there was a need to develop a structure that would help ensure facilities met the required criteria, especially as clubs progress to higher levels. Solution The league, county board, County Grounds Association (CGA), county pitch adviser and umpires association got together to form a League Support Programme to identify under- performing grounds and assist in raising the standard of pitches and facilities. Starting this season, the aim is to achieve effective monitoring and reporting of pitches, outfields and allied facilities, and once any shortcomings are identified, instigate actions to support the clubs (or their 'providers', ie local authorities or schools) to make those improvements. Once the concept had been accepted and funding secured (from the league and the county board), the process was agreed, and it has been my pleasure to facilitate and act as the lead in this, under the auspices T Getting together for all-round improvements The pitches and facilities at cricket clubs in Hertfordshire will benefit greatly from a newly-created League Support programme By: Andrew Clarke of the Grounds & Natural Turf Improvement Programme. Umpires are critical to the programme's success since they mark the pitches and facilities objectively utilising the ECB marking system as a base, with additional criteria requested by the league and board with particular regard to match day requirements at senior level. The umpires, who will provide the hard evidence that will lead to action, underwent a series of 'training' sessions. The umpires' marks are collated and any suggested actions will be activated at either mid-season or at the end of the season, or immediately if a 'spike' as a one-off is noted. The CGA collates the marks/reporting cards and instigates contact with the club/provider through either the county pitch adviser or via a senior professional groundsman. The CGA's aim is to provide the correct advice and guidance plus access to other The aim of the League Support Programme is to boost the standard of cricket pitches in Hertfordshire

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