The recent Dennis and SISIS Cricket Groundsman’s Seminar recorded its highest ever attendance with an impressive 260 delegates making their way to Gloucestershire County Cricket Club all looking to refresh and enhance their education on a variety of topics.
The seminar, which was supported by Gloucester Cricket Board, Boughton Loam, CricketWorld.com, Limagrain UK, Lister Wilder, Stuart Canvas Products and Poweroll, brought together a wide range of cricket groundsmen from grass roots, local and county clubs, and international test venues. It was also reported that the event recorded the largest ever amount of attendees from groundsmen working within schools and colleges.
All sharing the same goal of ultimately enhancing their education and improving their cricket facilities, the seminar was a fantastic opportunity to meet like-minded individuals, learn best practices and share and gain knowledge from some of the top names in cricket groundsmanship.
Following an introduction by Dennis and SISIS area sales manager Robert Jack and Will Brown CEO of Gloucestershire CCC; Richard Dawson, a cricket coach at Gloucestershire CCC, drew upon his first-hand experience to deliver a presentation entitled ‘What does a bowler look for in a pitch?’ Bob Hampshire, from the Gloucestershire Association of Cricket Officials then proceeded to offer a slightly different perspective in his presentation – ‘What does an umpire look for in a pitch?’
Delegates made the most of a refreshment break to mull over the morning’s insightful presentations before Chris Wood, ECB pitch consultant, offered a wealth of knowledge through his presentation ‘Spinning Pitches’. Sean Williams, head groundsman at Gloucestershire CCC, then invited all attendees onto the immaculate pitch where he and Chris discussed ‘Pre-Season Practice Pitch Inspections’.
Following a complimentary lunch, which also offered some fantastic networking opportunities, Barry Glynn, a former cricket groundsman, detailed his honest and extremely humorous thoughts concerning the ‘Frustrations of a Cricket Groundsman’.
Martin Ford, ECB fine turf manager, then proceeded to offer some very helpful tips in his ‘Spring Renovation on a Budget’ presentation before the day concluded with a questions & answers session.
It was the perfect way to finish the record breaking seminar and all delegates got the opportunity to ask questions to a number of head groundsmen such as Karl McDermott (Hampshire), Vic Demain (Durham), Sean Williams (Gloucs), and Simon Lee (Somerset).
Commenting on the successful seminar, Chris Wood said, “It’s been a fantastic day, one of the highest attendances I’ve ever encountered, and it was an absolute pleasure to conduct a presentation in front of them. They are all practicing cricket groundsmen around the country and without them we wouldn’t have a game. Today has given them a chance to come to a county and international ground and gain expertise from some of the best in the industry.”
Simon Lee, head groundsmen at Somerset CCC, revealed that being at the top doesn’t necessarily mean that you ever stop learning: “It’s been great to catch up with people that I know and also it has been interesting to hear from the speakers. At the end of the day you’re always trying to gleam information out of people to use at your own ground so it’s been really good to soak up all the information.”
Echoing Simon’s thoughts was Karl McDermott, head groundsman at Hampshire CCC, who said: “We all have the same issues and the same problems, be it from volunteer level up to our level, so just to stand in the same room and chat to the guys and pick each other’s brains has been great. To have 260 groundsmen in one place is fantastic for the industry – this really is the go-to event for cricket seminars.”
Steward Ward, horticultural & sports turf specialist, certainly found the day worthwhile: “I’ve listened to a number of great speakers today and have found it extremely useful. The information has been relevant for lower levels all the way to the top so it’s been a really good day and I’m pleased I came.”
Nigel Pearce, a groundsman at Lechlade Cricket Club, attended the seminar along with his chairman and revealed that it was beneficial for the both of them: “For me it was great to catch up with a number of fellow groundsmen who I already knew and it was good to meet new ones as well. It was also really interesting listening to speakers like Chris Wood and having the opportunity to go out and look at the square here. My chairman also came along with me today and I’m really pleased because he has learnt a lot about what I do and received an insight into the issues I may encounter on a day-to-day basis.”