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Limagrain MM stands the test of time at Glamorgan CCC

Glamorgan County Cricket Club head groundsman Robin Saxton believes that a range of Limagrain UK grass seed is helping the venue stand up to the demands of modern day sport and the constant scrutiny that pitches are under.
Sophia Gardens Cardiff, a 16,000-seater stadium, is the home of Glamorgan Cricket and an established venue for international cricket. In an average season, the venue will host four day championship games, T20 games, international and domestic fixtures and a mixture of local and corporate games. Robin estimates that there are approximately between 45-50 days of cricket played at the venue each year and this is in addition to pre-season concerts and events.
It is safe to say that Robin, who has been at Sophia Gardens since 2013, has his work cut out and that is without the increasing pressure grounds personnel are under, as he explains.
“Due to the demands of modern day sport and because of the TV cameras, pitches are always under scrutiny and it needs to be at its best at all times.
“Even the outfields used to be the square’s poor cousin not so long ago but that has all changed now. What you don’t want is a square that looks great and an outfield that looks patchy because it will be quickly noticed.”
For his outfields, Robin overseeded with Limagrain’s Action Replay which is a 100% Ryegrass hard-wearing mixture.
“The Action Replay is a winter sports mix, designed for the likes of football and rugby so we thought that this mixture would be ideal for the outfield,” he said. “It is wear and disease tolerant because it is a broad, robust seed.
“We first applied it last year and we had a fantastic take with it which excelled during a particularly hot summer. Since using Action Replay we have seen a lot less burn off and a lot less dry out on the outfield.”
When it comes to the 15 wickets and practice pitches on the square, MM50 has stood the test of time and has been used at Sophia Gardens for as long as Robin can remember.
“I’ve been here since 2013 and even before I arrived MM50 was being used,” he said. “It shows that myself and others before me have always had faith in the seed and deservedly so because we have tried other seeds against it in side-by-side trials. MM50 has always come up better, nothing has ever beaten it.”
MM50 is the ideal seed for cricket squares. This hard-wearing mix has rapid germination, a very fine leaved appearance, high shoot density and is tolerant to very close mowing, along with high disease resistance. All these attributes together produce a fantastic sward that has great colour all year round. It is also widely praised for its rapid recovery – something which Robin quickly noticed.
“MM50 is by far the best seed in terms of recovery. When trialled against the others, it has proven to be stronger, it has come through thicker and it is more wear tolerant. It has consistently outperformed other seeds we have trailed.
“You are left with a stronger plant that is going to take the activity across the square better than a slightly finer plant - which with a full calendar of cricket is a big bonus. With MM50 you just have the confidence in knowing that it will handle the stresses of four-day cricket where we can’t really water the square as much as we would like to.
“There has never been any reason to change the seed,” continued Robin. “In fact it has probably been the one constant product we have stuck with over the years – we may have changed the fertilisers, the chemistry and the biology but not the actual grass plant because it has always been a great base to work from.
“For me, the consistency of MM50 is the best feature. I don’t remember one year where we have had a batch that has not performed how we would like it to. It has got to the point that if something isn’t right then we look at things we might have done incorrectly because it is no doubt a mistake on our part rather than the seed because we know how good the MM50 is.”


 

Charterhouse appoint Cyril Johnston & Co as new dealers for Northern Ireland

Cyril Johnston & Co have become the latest pin in the dealer map of Charterhouse Turf Machinery. Operating from their Carryduff depot, they are now responsible for the sale and service of the Redexim range of products, for both natural and synthetic surfaces, in Northern Ireland.
Established over 60 years ago, Cyril Johnston stock a wide range of leading machinery for the amenity, golf and landscape sectors. With a team of over 40, they are well placed to offer professional support to a range of customers throughout Northern Ireland, the Isle of Man and a number of the border counties.
Commenting on their appointment, Sales Manager Brian Mitchell said, “We are over the moon to have been appointed as a Charterhouse dealer and to have added such a varied selection of equipment to our portfolio. The performance of the Redexim products is outstanding and, as such, we are expecting fantastic uptake with professional users in our area, both old and new.”
Northern Territory Manager for Charterhouse, Ian Lauder added, “Cyril Johnston is a well-respected dealer, with a reputation built on providing excellent customer service to a broad range of customers. With so many years of experience and knowledge under their belts, we look forward to working with them to offer a more localised service across this area.”
Charterhouse are currently planning a number of Synthetic Turf Open Days held across the region, in conjunction with Cyril Johnston, the details of which will be announced in due course.


 

Syn-Pro by SISIS thrives at Beaumont

A range of Syn-Pro equipment by SISIS is helping Cameron Flitten, head groundsman for De Montfort University at Beaumont Park, keep the synthetic surfaces in impeccable condition.
With the emergence of synthetic surfaces becoming more common over the years in a wide range of sports, the SISIS brand has continued to go from strength to strength with its impressive Syn-Pro portfolio. Today synthetic surfaces are playing such a large role in a groundsman’s overall responsibilities, many have turned to the reliable and efficient Syn-Pro range and Cameron is no exception.
Originally from New Zealand, Cameron’s career in sports turf started with an apprenticeship on a golf course before landing a role working on the cricket squares at Loughborough University and then progressing to being in charge of the rugby and football pitches.
Three years ago, he became the head groundsman for De Montfort University, which coincided with the university agreeing to lease the vast playing fields at Beaumont Park. The site received a multi-million pound investment and transformed the facilities into some of the best in the county. Along with seven other members of staff, Cameron maintains the wide array of sports surfaces at Beaumont Park which now includes two recently built all-weather 3G synthetic pitches.
To maintain these two pitches, Cameron chooses to use the Litamina 1200 and a combination of the Flexicomb fitted with straight and zigzag brushes.
The Litamina 1200 is a compact sweeper for efficient collection for unwanted debris from sand filled or rubber crumb synthetic surfaces. With its spiral design brush helping to stand up the pile and improve collection, and a large capacity mesh hopper collecting debris but allowing infill to be returned to the surface, the Litamina 1200 is ideal for helping to keep surfaces free of contamination and harmful debris.
Designed primarily for use on synthetic surfaces, the Flexicomb ensures even distribution of infill materials and lifts the pile. The adjustable setting ensures the effect of a rake, but with the softness of a brush, reducing the risk of damage to the fibres. The bristle sections are replaceable and the Flexicomb is designed for a long working life with minimal maintenance. For greater results, Cameron attaches either the zigzag or straight brush to the Flexicomb which helps to even out the rubber crumb.
“We use the Flexicomb with the zigzag or straight brush three times a week, especially now with the high usage the pitches get. It helps to de-compact all of the rubber, levels it all off and stands all of the grass fibres back up.
“The Litamina is an essential piece of equipment and this is used at least once a month, sometimes more if there are a lot of leaves on the surface. It is perfect for removing all of the rubbish and debris from the surface.
“These two pieces of equipment are all I need for my synthetic surface maintenance and you can always rely on them to do a brilliant job. I like that they are solidly built but I also like the simplicity of them. You can tell that SISIS have thought a lot about the groundsmen using them because they are easy to set-up and are generally very user-friendly. They also never break down either.”


 
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