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#Groundsweek- John Wells

Thu 23 March 2023

#Groundsweek- John Wells

John Wells is currently a Volunteer Groundsman for Ramsey Colts FD.

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John spent 36 (and a 1/3rd) years, in the Royal Air Force as an Aircraft Technician and supervisor, fixing Jets and Helicopters.

He became more involved at his Cricket Club in East Anglia; Ramsey C.C Huntingdonshire Cricket League and later became heavily involved in Grounds maintenance; starting as a complete novice and is now a full-time volunteer grounds-person.

“The Grounds maintenance at my Club back then (2013) was purely as an ‘interest’ as a weekend cricketer. But I could see the importance of the playing conditions and when or if a playing surface was ‘true’; had good bounce and carry for the bowlers as well as maintaining a competitive interest in the game itself for the players”

Personal Development

Alongside my primary employment, we spent hours on grounds maintenance and preparations. Stephen the Chair and I decided to expand our knowledge and with extracurricular personal development we sought some professional courses. We found Mr Melvin Pooley; an accredited tutor in outdoor grass sports and playing surface maintenance; as the training provider; in the sports of Cricket and Football. Mel’ worked out of March Town C.C. (MTCC) and his business equipment was stored alongside the groundsman’s’ equipment there. MTCC locally known as being one-of-the-better County out-grounds for Cambridgeshire Cricket Club.

Mel taught us both; Autumn Cricket Pitch and Outfield Renovation in a one-day course held at MTCC in Sep 2014 and using the square as practical working; demonstrations we learned skills and techniques essential to preparing cricket surfaces.   We passed the exam with flying colours and recognition by Lantra Awards duly arrived in the postal system.

We put the training to good use at Ramsey CC. The outfield and square at Ramsey benefitted enormously, dividends were soon apparent the ground and wickets; looked to be playing ‘truer’; with less uneven bounce and the square looked a picture too after 3 full years of Autumn Renovations. So in March 2015 I took and sat the: Lantra: Spring and Summer Pitch Preparations and Maintenance course; again with Mel’ at MTCC.

Ramsey Colts Football Development

He was approached to assist at Ramsey Colts Football Development (RCFD) as they needed extra pair of hand on groundwork.

“Notwithstanding being already ‘busy’, and doing the ‘usual RAF done-thing’, you volunteer or rather us elder folk do!”

1 day a week he assists his co-volunteers; Craig Golightly, Craig’s father Keith and a fellow long serving ‘lead’ at the Ground; Mr John Edwards.

“It is a mammoth task; we both need a full day there when the grass is growing strongly to stay on top of the pitch cutting and ongoing maintenance to repair damage from matches general play, spectator traffic ‘high wear’ areas, and the never-ending rabbit scrapes and pest damage; by crows, rooks and even worse – the dreaded; chafer grubs.  The high standard of the Football pitches at RCFD is down to their initial laying by FA Accredited grounds professionals and funded via the Trustees. But the high standards on the ground are maintained by the 4 volunteers and Coordinator: Mr Martin Muir, together with the other RCFD Trustees.

The 12 mix of sizes; Colts Football pitches cover a huge area and alongside which the Fens and associated ditches need regular cutting back. Here’s a picture taken last year of the ongoing task utilising the Landowners [Lord De Ramsey -Estates] land, and RCFD Trustees machinery as well as the Clubs Kioti and Flail mower and Aeration machinery.

This last autumn the RCFD Trustees took delivery of Sports&Turf from British Sugar plc in an artic-lorry load at the ground; to use as a dressing to a full-sized adult pitch inside the entrance gate of the Colts ground. This dressing has enhanced the general appearance of the pitch massively, as well as bringing benefits to the existing grassed areas through its feed and fertilising effects. The trustees and grounds volunteers are extremely pleased with the benefits this should bring to a pitch that remains a work-in-progress bringing it up to FA Standards.  The TOPSOIL can only benefit use as we move forwards on the task.

We thank British Sugar Ltd for their support to RCFD.”


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