Barrow Voice -
First Publised 1975
3,000 copies published quarterly and delivered FREE to all households in Barrow upon Soar

Pitch Perfect

By the time you read this, the local cricket season should be progressing through this summer’s fixtures, I hope! Due to the unseasonal cold, wet weather in April, the first two games for Barrow Town were cancelled. The playing pitch and the outfield, despite looking immaculate, were just too saturated.

I took the opportunity, on a warm May morning just before the first match, to have a chat with the groundsman, who was busy tramping up and down the wicket pushing his trusty mower when I arrived. My first question was to ask how he keeps the ground looking like a luxurious, green, well-fitted carpet. John (Upton) explained that it’s a bit like winter digging on an allotment; good preparation at the end of a season dictates how the ground will look for the next.

So, after the last match of the season the dead grass or “thatch” is raked out of the wickets, then the ground is scarified, followed by “grooving” for sowing the new seed, 80kgs of it. This is followed by a top dressing with cricket loam. As the grass begins to grow it will be cut regularly until it stops growing, usually in December, then fed with fertiliser over the winter.

Preparation for the new season begins in March by mowing and rolling the wickets. I was amazed to learn that work on the outfield has been constant over the winter months, on average winters have been less severe, at least for the last decade, Since the onset of spring 2018, the grass has been growing at the startling rate of two inches a week, hence it needed mowing three times a week! Such dedication and hard work has fabulous results: the ground looks perfect. Is it any wonder that this venue is chosen by Leicestershire for representative games? Also, last season, 2017, the ground was awarded top marks for the outfield and was second in the county for “the square”. There’s certainly more to a game of cricket than bowling or batting a ball!

I can certainly recommend a visit to the Nottingham Road ground: it’s a great place to while away a few hours on a Saturday afternoon and only a short walk, up the hill on the right, from the Fishpool Way roundabout. Take a picnic; you can usually buy a cuppa at teatime or a drink from the bar. There’s a match, weather permitting, on most Saturdays from the end of April to mid-September. “Owzat!”

Ginnie Willcocks