Keith Porter, head groundsman at Leigh Sports Village in Greater Manchester, has added to his fleet of Dennis mowers by purchasing four G860 cylinder mowers and four PRO 34R rotary mowers.
Leigh Sports Village certainly lives up to its name by comprising of a main stadium pitch – a Desso Hybrid GrassMaster, three additional soil based sand ameliorated pitches with primary and secondary drainage and irrigation; and two full size, three seven-a-side and a 5-a-side floodlit 4G synthetic pitches. The village also features an indoor sports centre and a swimming pool.
It is home to a number of professional sports teams including rugby league side Leigh Centurions and Manchester United FC U23’s, U19’s and most recently the ladies team. It is also used by local teams and organisations such as Leigh East Amateur Rugby Club, Leigh Athletic FC, Team Elite Football Academy, Pro Football Academy and various age groups of Leigh United FC and Hindley Green Juniors.
Keith has been the head groundsman at this impressive facility for nearly eleven years and in that time has excelled in improving the quality of the playing surfaces.
To cut and prepare the pitches for match days he has long relied on the Dennis G860 cylinder mower. However, with games coming thick and fast, and armed with some rather ageing rotary mowers, Keith felt the time was right to add to his Dennis armoury.
“Quite often, we will have back-to-back games and have three games in a week – so we need good equipment for a quick turn-around,” he said. “Our old rotaries were about four years old and had become unreliable. I’ve used lots of Dennis machines in my time and they have always been incredibly reliable so we decided to look at their new rotary mower.
“We had a PRO 34R on a demonstration and were really impressed with it so we decided to go ahead and purchase four. It was also the ideal opportunity to bring in more G860’s because they have always given us great results.
“They are both light machines compared to competitors, so they are lighter on the pitch and therefore there is not as much compaction.”
The new Dennis PRO 34R is a 34” (860mm) rotary mower which has been designed to help groundsmen achieve an aesthetically pleasing appearance and desired playing surface. It is ideal for sports pitches and lawns producing the enviable ‘Dennis Stripes’ while a powerful vacuum flow collects debris quickly and efficiently. The angle of the cutting deck and twin blades can be easily adjusted using a single ‘click adjuster’ ensuring the mower is suitable for changing conditions and meeting groundsmen’s requirements.
Keith believes the two mowers perfectly complement one another and that both play a vital role in his maintenance programme.
“We use the G860’s to cut the pitches for match preparation and then the day after the games the rotaries are used to clean up and present the pitches in time for the next game,” he said. “The rotaries keep it free from debris and nicely stripes them up – in fact, the presentation on the PRO 34R is very comparable to a cylinder mower.
“The rotaries also save us so much time because before we had the PRO 34R’s we used to have six rotary mowers out there at one time but now we just have four which do the job in a faster time. This is because there are two blades as opposed to one and a wider cut. A quick turnaround is essential here especially if you are going from rugby to football.
For a number of years now the Dennis G860 has been the number one choice for groundsmen like Keith. Lightweight at just 166kg; it is easy to manoeuvre and comfortable to operate. The handlebar console houses the controls for – throttle, parking brake, roller drive and cutting cylinder drive. The mower also features a large diameter front roller with an adjustable scraper which has been designed for a precise height of cut control, giving an excellent finish on every occasion. The Dennis G860 also features an interchangeable cassette system to assist with a wide range of tasks.
“What I like about Dennis as a company is that they are very interested in your opinion,” Keith continued. “They are always asking you about your experience with their mowers and ask if they could make any improvements. They then go away and genuinely listen.
“It just adds to the overall package and everything about the company is great. The mowers are British made, they have been around for a long, long time, they put a lot of thought into the machinery based on industry feedback and their main priority is their customer.”