Apperley Cricket Club hosted the first District Grounds Workshop, a new support network that the Gloucestershire Grounds Association is developing to help recreational grounds staff around the county.  The focus of the workshop centred around pitch preparation and square maintenance; a number of topics were covered from verticutting to rolling, from the height of cut to water management and everything in between.

18 grounds staff attended the workshop, which was delivered by County Pitch Advisor Eric Woodmason and Willow Turf Care Director and GGA committee member, Richie Woodmason, who is supporting Apperley for the 2024 season.  Also in attendance to support attendees, were County Pitch Advisors Jason Hobbs and Adam Stewart.  Delegates, who represented clubs from across the county, were introduced to the principles of verticutting to help eliminate Poa and horizontal growth, as well as promote vertical growth.  This can be done with a rake or a mechanical machine, whichever suits the club and its resources.  As well as talking about the importance of maintaining moisture at the correct levels in the square, Richie talked about the opportune moment to roll and the dangers of rolling at the wrong time and in the wrong conditions.

Eric Woodmason, Gloucestershire Grounds Association Chairman, commented,

“It was great to see such a good turn-out at this first District Workshop and it was a very enjoyable evening, with everyone very interested in the practical demonstrations and information. We look forward to more such workshops around the county.”

The delegates were also shown how to set the mower to the correct height and the perils of cutting too short.  Of course, each ground has its individual characteristics and the height of cut for one ground may not be suited for another, but, as a general rule of thumb, when starting to prepare a pitch work from high to low, with an agreed match play height being around 8mm.

There was a lot of useful information packed into a short space of time and it certainly allowed those in attendance to ask questions, network and more importantly understand that there is support across the county who are there to help.

Steve Silk, GCF,CEO, said

“For me, Groundstaff are the most important people in the game, that too often get overlooked. Their tireless voluntary work ensures we have a game and quite simply, without them, we don’t have cricket. If we can have an active Grounds Association that delivers high quality and relevant workshops, locally, that supports our workforce annually then we are doing what we can to ensure the quality of pitches remains high across Gloucestershire. I very much look forward to seeing more Workshops delivered across the county.”  

The Grounds Association is looking forward to hosting further workshops during the season around the county, which will look at a range of different issues recreational Groundstaff are faced with on a regular basis, whether that is repairing footholes, bringing a pitch back for use later in the season or understanding fertiliser.  If you would like to know more about the GGA, please contact Eric Woodmason via email at

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