East Molesey Cricket Club employs Greenside Up Grass to maintain its Memorial Cricket Ground at Mousley Hurst, where the season starts mid-April, with matches held nearly every night of the week and regular back-to-back matches at weekends.
“We’ve got staff on site at the Memorial Ground seven days a week,” Nick Marsh explains. “During the peak playing season we’re mowing the outfield and square at least three times a week, with wickets and creases cut, marked and rolled on a daily basis. We’re also kept busy during the off season, with autumn renovations, winter maintenance and pre-season preparations ensuring there’s always plenty for us to do.”
During the quieter off-season a strict regime of leaf removal, aeration, cutting and fertiliser and iron applications is maintained, but it’s the autumn renovation window which is particularly challenging.
As soon as the season ends, the entire square is cut to a height of 5mm before being graded in two directions to a depth of half an inch. The resulting debris is cleared with a ride-on brush before the wickets receive an additional cut. Each wicket end is then repaired by hand before the entire square is over-seeded with Germinal’s A5 Ultrafine Cricket, Tennis and Tees mixture (50% Escapade perennial ryegrass and 50% Cabrio ultrafine perennial ryegrass).
The outfield is also renovated yearly, with a disc seeder used to apply Germinal’s A28 seed mixture (a 3-way blend of an ultrafine perennial ryegrass, a chewings fescue and a slender creeping red fescue) in two directions after scarifying in two directions.
“We use A5 on the wickets because it’s the best rated cricket mixture according to the STRI’s data,” Nick continues, “and because it produces the desired effect: fast and reliable germination (even when sown late in the season), an aesthetically pleasing sward which recovers well, and a playing surface which is fine but robust enough to ensure I can produce enough wickets to keep all the club’s teams happy throughout the entire season.”
In addition to being used for annual renovations, A5 was also used when the square was previously stripped and resurfaced. According to the club’s chairman, that produced “the best wicket the ground has ever had”. And despite an exceedingly heavy fixture list since the first Covid-19 lockdown was eased, the square continued to produce some very good wickets right up until the end of the season.
“As soon as fresh seeds have reached stage two or three germination a Novatec Premium (15-3-20 +2% MgO +TE) feed is applied to give the new plants a kick and to help the entire sward thicken up into a denser covering,” Sandy Pentecost of Germinal interjects. “The new sward is then cut regularly during the winter with a rotary mower, which as well as removing any excessive growth also keeps grass blades standing upright and vacuums any fallen leaves.”
“Last year we didn’t overseed until November, but we still saw excellent rates of germination,” Nick reports. “That’s testament to the virility of the seedstock we get from Germinal, and to the quality of the Novatec fertilisers which provide a steady supply of nutrients for as long as 8 to 10 weeks.