ECB and YCB: Groundsmen’s work is ‘essential’

The England and Wales Cricket Board and Yorkshire Cricket Board have deemed the work of groundsmen and women essential
While virtually all other cricket activities have been stopped, Rod Heyhoe, secretary of the Yorkshire branch of the Institute of Groundsmanship (IOG), has been reading through a five-page document from the ECB. “It is pretty self explanatory,” said the 74-year-old Lightcliffe Cricket Club legend.
“Originally we were just working (and still are) to government guidelines in terms of being six feet apart if you were working with someone else, but now our work has been considered essential in terms of doing things like cutting the grass, fertilising and watering. We don’t know when, or even if, there will be cricket in 2020 but as groundsmen, we need to be ready if and when we do get the go-ahead.”
The ECB’s advice to groundsmen is to get into the habit of cleaning their machines thoroughly immediately after use. They advise that kennel disinfectants are a cheap and effective way of doing this, before wiping the equipment down with blue roll. Mowing should take place regularly, with the turf ideally being maintained at no more than 25mm or one inch.
Growth regulators can be used to reduce the speed of grass growth and hence reduce the frequency of cutting, but that this should only be done by a qualified person. Watering should also ideally continue to prevent wilting or surface cracking, while fertilisation is necessary to maintain the grass.
However, the ECB advise that nitrogen input should be reduced by something like a third to half of normal rates in order to control excess top growth and limit the likelihood of disease.
Meanwhile, verticutting of the squares and aeration of the outfields is considered important but only if government guidelines can be kept to.

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