CACG 2023 AGM Report
Chair - Simon Johnson email
Secretary - Robert Jobson email
Treasurer - Caroline Fry email
Committee Members -
Steve Fry, Jamie Stevens County Pitch Advisors
Gerald Sleeman, Richard Budge & James Franklin.
The 'Del Codd' Groundskeeper of the Year Award
Tony Greaves - North Cornwall (Bude) CC
Presentation to follow in due course.
Presentation by Phil Jeggo - GMA's South of England Cricket Pitch Advisor
Pre-Season Rolling (Duration - 16:42)
CACG Chairman’s Report 2023
Despite the severe drought conditions which ended with a hosepipe ban, the groundskeepers of Cornish cricket pitches should be proud of the pitches they produced in 2022.
There were no complaints regarding pitches and any issues were dealt with by the CGA and county pitch advisors.
The drought conditions did bring us some challenges with pitches becoming very dry and dusty and this led to a loss of bounce and carry for some, and they often turned more than usual.
With this fresh in our minds I would like to emphasise that with the general trend being hotter and drier summers, clubs should look to ensure they have sufficient ways to irrigate their squares and pitches and ample water to do this. We are officially still under a hose pipe ban now.
Some grounds we did visit were irrigating but with nowhere near enough water. It is worth getting a soil sampler(available on Amazon for approx £20) that can be inserted between pitches or on the crease to ensure the water has gone deep enough. A seep hose which is also easily purchased allows the water to slowly soak into the pitch and not run off the surface. The profile needs to be consistently wet to a depth so that rolling is beneficial. GMA Toolkit has further advice on watering pitches.
If water is difficult to get hold of, it is worth considering collecting rainfall from pavilion roofs and storing in a tank. There may be grants available for this.
There has been some discussion recently about the CGA getting rid of the equipment trailers. I totally understand the frustration but there really was no way that we could ensure these trailers to be towed around the county. The only county I know that still has a trailer scheme is Somerset, but this is towed by the county pitch advisor who also performs most of the tasks on-site. This was not a viable option for us.
We are quickly approaching the season and although earlier in the month it was recommended to stop pre-season rolling due to the cold weather, we should all now be on the way to consolidating our squares and starting to reduce the height of cut on our mowers for the square and outfields. Please don’t forget that the outfield needs looking after as well as our squares. Stay on top of the weeds by applying an application of selective herbicide using a qualified person. Selective herbicides are becoming more and more restricted with some local councils not allowing them to be used. It is therefore vital to fertilise outfields if at all possible. This will help to maintain healthy grass cover and aid recovery after drought periods.
Since the pandemic, we haven’t been as vocal as a committee as we used to be but please be assured that we are here to help you with any issues you have and if we don’t know the answer, we hopefully will know someone that does.
All the best for the coming season and if you have any questions at all regarding pitch maintenance or the CGA then please do not hesitate to contact us.
Hon Secretary Robert Jobson's CACG Report to the 2023 Cornwall Cricket League AGM on 15 February
A season of soaring costs and temperatures, culminating in a severe drought, made 2022 another challenging year for the volunteers who devote their time and effort to preparing, maintaining and renovating Cornwall’s cricket grounds.
Many if not most met this challenge thanks to the backing of clubs and patrons who opted to dig into their funds, and pockets, to ensure that ever-rising bills for the necessary machinery, fuel, water, fertiliser, seed and loam could be afforded.
With peace in Ukraine not in sight, climate change in the shape of extreme weather patterns set to stay, and grass growing almost non-stop through the winter, our costs alas are only going to go up and up, with fuel and fertiliser the biggest worries.
Meanwhile, on a more mundane note, the ECB’s criteria for pitch marks, which require panel umpires to pass judgement on the bounce, carry, seam and spin, continue to cause bemusement.
A simpler system, with marks out of 5 for pitch, square, outfield and facilities, might be more helpful and encouraging to groundskeepers. As an accredited ECB Premier League, we await a response from the ECB on that matter.
For the record 20 of the 22 grounds in the Cornwall League’s top two divisions achieved CACO pitch marks of more than 70% (the ECB pass mark), with the average score being 76%. Penzance, Redruth, Werrington, Paul and Helston were rated at above 80%.
During the season concerns were raised about excessive turn for spinners at Cape Cornwall. CACG chairman Simon Johnson and West pitch adviser Jamie Stevens were invited by St Just CC to make an inspection.
This gave all present a chance to discuss the fundamentals, in particular, the importance of phased pre-season light, medium and heavy rolling; the need for effective watering and covering of pitches during long, dry spells, to ensure water penetrates deeper into the soil; brushing pitches, and not cutting too low, to ensure a clean, debris-free, playable surface.
Elsewhere CACG pitch advisers, whose prime purpose is to support and encourage clubs to do the right things at the right time, have noted and appreciated the investment and skilled efforts being made on grounds such as Ludgvan, Paul, Mullion, Constantine and Gerrans in the West, and Bude, Roche, St Stephen and South Petherwin in the East- to name but a few.
Saltash St Stephens and Newquay are not so fortunate. They are having to contend with issues beyond their control, neither owning nor managing their fields and current sub-standard facilities jointly being used by other sports and activities, plus members of the public with dogs.
As a condition of promotion to Division 3 East, Saltash St Stephens has been required by the League to improve its square, outfield and changing rooms. East pitch adviser Steve Fry, assisted by contractor Paul Cotton, set that process in motion in October with a full renovation of the square. We wish Saltash St Stephens well in its endeavours.
Due to the extra costs of journeys, and time pressures, the CACG has not held any spring or autumn training courses in the last 12 months, but we did receive a mid-season visit from South of England cricket pitch adviser Phil Jeggo. He appeared at Mount Ambrose to give an evening workshop to groundskeepers on the art of repairing worn pitch ends.
As in previous years, the CACG has opted to hold its 2023 AGM on Zoom, with the assistance of Michael Weeks. It takes place on Tuesday, March 21, starting at 7.30 pm. All groundskeepers and club officials will be welcome to click on the link. Further details are to be circulated in due course.
Signed: Robert Jobson (CACG Hon Sec), February 10, 2023.