A cricket club in Kent with both history and ambition is using a combination of Dennis and SISIS turf maintenance equipment in its aim of becoming a county cricket venue.
The Cheriton Road Ground in Folkestone has been staging cricket matches since Victorian times and for many years until 1991 was a regular venue for Kent matches. Two years ago responsibility for upkeep and development switched from the local council to the Cheriton Road Sportsground Trust.
Financial support from former Saga owner Roger De Haan meant a fresh start for the newly named Three Hills Sports Park, a huge upgrade in sports facilities and for the cricket club, a new pavilion and its own groundsman and equipment. It was a real springboard for getting back on to Kent’s home game itinerary.
Australian born Josh Bryen is now in his second season as the club’s groundsman and getting regular support and advice from key members of the Kent Cricket Board Groundsman’s Association, is an indication of how seriously the County regards the future of the Folkestone ground. The move to a higher status is already in motion with the staging of the Kent Second Eleven Twenty20 games later this season.
One of Josh’s first jobs last season was to assemble the correct set of turf maintenance machinery to nurture the impressive 25-strip square, re-laid as part of the redevelopment programme and the focal point for over 40 games a season.
The Trust gave him a machinery budget and he researched the market thoroughly, using the ECB advice document on equipment essentials for quality pitches at club cricket level as his template. His visit to a cricket seminar staged by Dennis and SISIS at the Essex Chelmsford ground last spring was what impressed him most and this was followed by pre-season demonstrations of their respective machines at the Folkestone ground.
Josh wanted to purchase a specific cricket wicket mower and chose the 22-inch Dennis Razor Ultra with 11-bladed cylinder to give a sharp, even cut. Three tractor-mounted machines from SISIS completed his armoury. For aeration work and scarifying he chose the multi-use Rotorake TM1000 with debris removing nylon brush, which Josh particularly finds useful ahead of cutting. For top-dressing he went for the Powaspred with rotating brush for even distribution, and for seeding, the Variseeder 1300 with studded seedbed roller.
“Buying all my cricket pitch maintenance equipment from a single source made good sense,” said Josh, who is also the club’s playing captain.
“One contact point for everything – help, advice, spares, servicing is a major benefit. Dennis and SISIS are more than just cricket-friendly – they really do know about the game and what is needed to get quality pitches.
“Now that the re-laid square is bedding down nicely and I’ve been using the new quartet of machines for a season and a bit, pitch quality is really on the move. Everyone that plays here, including the Trust, are really pleased. Being a wicket keeper I get a close-up of how a pitch is performing, and I can honestly say the machines we bought are making a telling difference.”
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