Groundstaff land BOCA success

Leicestershire CCC Head Groundsman Andy Ward collected a second trophy in five years for the high quality of the Fischer County Ground One-Day pitches.

Ward collected the honour in 2013 but this was the first time the award was presented at the black-tie Business of Cricket Awards (BOCAs) ceremony which has been recognising non-playing excellence in the professional game since 2006.

This time Ward was a joint winner with Nottinghamshire CCC Head Groundsman Steve Birks, with both clubs obtaining equal ratings for the quality of their Royal London One-Day Cup and NatWest T20 Blast pitches.

It was a positive reward after a busy season for Ward and his team of Simon Brown [Deputy Head Groundsman], Chris Skinner, Callum Lewin, Shane Sketchley [Assistant Groundsmen] and Fin Knockles [Apprentice Groundsman].

The Leicestershire CCC groundstaff prepared pitches for nine ICC Women’s World Cup matches including warm-ups as well as the 11 domestic white ball fixtures.

Ward said: “It’s nice to be recognised for our One-Day pitches, especially during a season where we produced more wickets for white ball matches than usual. I’d like to thank Simon, Chris, Callum, Shane and Fin for their continued hard work and support. We work well as a team and are already planning ahead for the new season.”

That work has commenced after Leicestershire CCC teamed up with Fineturf, a company that provides maintenance to wickets with a range of different services. 

Wickets four and five, which were predominantly used for the ICC Women’s World Cup and intra-squad friendly fixtures, have been dug out and relaid with dressing before being levelled out, so they are now ready to grow over the winter. 

It means that in the future, Leicestershire CCC players will be able to enjoy the new wickets that will have additional pace and bounce. 

Leicestershire CCC Deputy Head Groundsman Simon Brown said: “It’s been brilliant to team up with Fineturf as without their expertise and equipment this work would not have been possible. We strive to produce the best wickets we can and these improvements will not just be beneficial for next season, but for many years to come.”

* Everyone at Leicestershire CCC would also like to congratulate Andy and his team for winning the award and also take this opportunity to thank them for all of their hard work during the 2017 season. A lot of hours go into preparation and on covering the square on wet days and it is much appreciated.