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Groundsman's diary: Happy New Year

No.2 Court under snow
by William Brierley
Monday 28 January 2013

AELTC groundsman Will writes regular blogs about the development of the courts throughout the year at Wimbledon...

A Happy New Year to you all and I hope you all had a lovely Christmas too. Here we are in 2013, all the build up and excitement for a double tournament year is behind us and we’re back to the norm. Of course apart from The Championships we’ll also be getting back our other tournaments, the national veterans and national juniors which had to be held elsewhere last year due to the Olympics. So it still won’t be quiet by any means.

December was a very wet but mild month, as was the trend for last year, and with the guys each taking holidays to go home and spend time with loved ones there really was a wind down feeling to the month. Still with the Christmas break coming up courts had to be mown and a preventative fungicide put down in case temperatures dropped or snow came. The four of us wanting to carry holiday over into this year also had to be in on the 27th and 28th, days the Club is open between Christmas and New Year. While the club is closed for all other purposes member may still come in and play on the indoor courts on the 25th and 26th of December and 1st of January. In the main though those days are relatively quiet.

Early on in the month a few of the members of the Groundstaff went to York Racecourse for the annual Institute of Groundsmen (I.O.G.) conference which also encompasses an awards evening. The last award to be presented that evening was a lifetime achievement award to our recently retired boss Eddie Seaward MBE. He had been in the industry for around 50 years, 23 of those years as Head Groundsman here. His work throught the industry was recognised and I’m sure he’ll still be keeping his hand in with the I.O.G.

So now we are here in the new year what will we be doing early on? Well already we have been mowing and have fertilized the courts, the mild weather has also allowed us to make up some batches of pre-germinated seed and seed some of the bare areas that did not fill in fully from renovations and get a head start on those filling in. This last weekend though the temperature has dropped and we have had snow this morning so work on the courts will have to stop for a while.

We have also spent time on the hard courts taking the frost covers off after the winter break and getting those available for the member to come out and play on. Our senior groundsman of the hard courts has rolled all the courts to re-compact the top layer from any heavy frost that managed to get through the covers. They have also been cleared of all the left over leaves that had fallen. Now for the rest of the month we’ll be hoping that the weather changes back to the dry and mild start we had to the month and then we’ll be able to get back onto the courts and start preparation for the year ahead. I’ll be giving you all the information on that that I can in the following months both through this blog and the twitter account.

As an extra side note I’d like to say that I will be running the Great North Run on 15th September and I have decided to run for charity. The charity I am running for is Perennial – The Gardeners’ Royal Benevolent Fund. Perennial is the national charity for those who work or have worked in horticulture and their spouses/partners when they face adversity or need.

You can learn more about them on their website http://www.perennial.org.uk/index.aspx and if you would like to donate to this cause please feel free at www.justgiving.com/wimbogroundsman. For those who do donate I’d like to thank you in advance and I’m sure all donations will be greatly appreciated.

So all it leaves me to say is that I hope you all have a great 2013 and stay with us throughout the year as we build up to The Championships.

To see what Will and the rest of the groundstaff are up to on a daily basis, follow @WimboGroundsman for updates and pictures.

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