Mike Davies: “The the grass does not stop growing.”
ALTHOUGH the whole country remains apart, members of our cricket club and local community pull together to maintain the upkeep of the hub of our village. Mike Davies, head groundsman of ECRC and his team, have been working hard to maintain the field with the hope that the community will see some village cricket towards the back end of the summer.
“The thing to understand is that the grass does not stop growing. I have been looking after the ground as if we were going to be playing cricket, so nothing had really changed,” Mike said.
Last week the English Cricket Board (ECB) announced that no professional cricket will be played until July 1st at the earliest, but questions remain unanswered in regard to the 2020 season for village cricket.
Mike explained: “The amount of work has now decreased, because obviously I am not preparing the tracks for the fixtures at weekend, or the junior fixtures mid-week.
“Between February and March is what we call the ‘pre-season’, as we are due to start mid-April, and all the work on the ground remained the same during these couple of months. We were just preparing the ground to get back up to scratch from the winter to be in peak condition to play cricket on.
“It is only now the ‘season’ has started, or should have started, that my workload has levelled off, because I am no longer preparing tracks. We are simply just keeping on top of the square and the outfield in hope that somewhere down the line there will be cricket.
“Maybe there will not be any cricket this season, but the ground has got to be in a condition ready to start if we were given the green light in July or August.”
The ECB realised a statement will details surrounding the maintenance of grounds in the recreational game. It highlighted that it is fine for individuals to work on pitches as long as they adhered to the government guidelines.
Stringent social distancing has been introduced in a further attempt to reduce the spread of the Coronavirus but as most of the groundwork naturally means being physically distant from others, the ECB advised that ‘individuals need to be particularly mindful of those points where you are not.’
Mike said: “Our ground is looking great; it is just a shame we cannot use it for the purpose intended. Personally, I do not think we will see any cricket this season.
“I think with social distancing and having the clubhouse, the changing rooms and toilet facilities open, I cannot see how we would be able to do so. That is unless the ECB give specific advice on a particular way it could be done.”
Another worry for groundsman across the county is of course the turnaround time needed to prepare the field once the season recommences.
“I would suggest most clubs, including Edgworth, would need two to three weeks to simply get tracks ready. The outer field would be ready almost immediately, but it would be the tracks that need work and therefore we would need sufficient time.”
Members of the club have continued to support our organisation whilst we remain in lockdown and we have seen an outstanding 220 social members pay their annual membership, in addition to over 90 juniors and 30 senior cricketers which will help the cash flow of the club during these difficult times.
Last summer a buzz for cricket was created as England clinched the World Cup Title beating New Zealand in the final at Lord’s. This excitement alongside the new and improved clubhouse hoped to entice new members to join the club and get involved in cricket here at Edgworth.
Mike Davies explained: “There are two ways to look at it. It could be that some people might miss the cricket window quite simply because football may start again in August.
“On the other hand, because everybody has been starved of sport, I think as soon as the doors open and we can put on junior coaching, junior nets and hopefully junior matches on, we might pick up some new people.
“We just do not yet know which sports will be allowed to start up first. Golf for example, naturally involves social distancing and you tend not to be close to one another. Whereas cricket is a team game where you are in close proximity with others.”
In April this year our club also saw the completion of the new outdoor netting facility, which was funded by a grant from Viridor, a non-for-profit organisation that provides funding for community projects across the country. The run up for the nets will now be extended, meaning that they can be used for socially distant one to one coaching in the near future.