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Ground Report

There was one remarkable match at Cowbridge in 2017 when the 1st XI was set 302 to win by Gorseinon and achieved its target with the loss of just one wicket. It would be no exaggeration to say that Hugh Williams had judged the balance of watering, rolling and worrying to absolute perfection.

Indeed, the Athletic Ground's pitches played well all year with just the one being of somewhat lower quality than we had come to expect.

The regime of regularly scarifying the whole square to put stress on the Poa Annua strain of grass (more commonly known as annual meadow grass) has been a huge success.

Ridding the square of the stalky, leafy Poa Annua by overseeding with a seed mix called MM29 has proved key. This latter mix, formulated from a hard-wearing blend of finer, denser perennial ryegrass, fescue and bent grass species, sends down deep roots while the Poa’s roots are shallow, resulting in often fatal stress being caused to the unwanted plant in hotter, drier summer conditions.

The result has helped produce a firmer playing surface and a "top layer" measuring six or more inches (150mm +) deep. The firmer this "top" gets, the better the ball bounce and carry.

Another lesson learnt has been our need to go lightly with the heavy roller.

Beyond the boundary, the entrance gates were re-furbished, re-hung and dedicated (see report, page 27 ) and now we are turning attention to the possibility of re-landscaping at the A48 by-pass end of the ground.

The notion is to plant an ornamental hedge running from the pavilion to behind the Tennis Club’s mound while losing both the wild, selfseeded sycamores and over-large conifers. The fixed metal screen will go too and a new seating platform built in its place. If we can manage to get this project funded and completed within a decade it will be and look fantastic.

Then we’ll need to buy a tractor . . . but there really is no limit to how much we could spend.

In the meantime, we must thank Hugh and Jamie Millar for providing pitches of a uniformly high standard week in, week out.