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Genuinely maximise productivity with Kawasaki

Genuinely maximise productivity with Kawasaki

Genuinely maximise productivity with Kawasaki: Spring signals the start of the busiest period for your machines and Kawasaki has some top tips for minimising downtime and maximising productivity.

Coming out of winter storage and into the growing season, your machines will need to be functioning to their full capabilities. Martin Cook, Parts and Technical Manager at Kawasaki Engines, highlights key maintenance tasks to make sure your engine and machines perform at their absolute best this season.

Genuinely maximise productivity with Kawasaki

Having a mower Powered by Kawasaki will get you through the Spring growing season with minimal downtime and maximum productivity. Seen here is the FS730V.

First and foremost, remove the spark plugs and check the gap. Oil on a spark plug could be a sign of low compression. Don’t be tempted to clean the carbon deposits off the spark plugs, this can cause more problems than it’s worth for the price of a new spark plug. It is very important to get this right as misfiring or poor performing plugs can put stress on the engine.

The importance of performing overall checks on your machines cannot be underestimated and some have to be done more frequently than others. Engine oil level, loose or lost nuts and screws, fuel and oil leakage, battery electrolyte level and checking for a clear air intake screen are best done daily. Make sure you clean the air cleaner foam element every 25 hours and the spark plugs and air cleaner paper element every 100 hours or in preparation for Spring, whichever comes first.

While most of the checking and cleaning can be done by a workshop technician or competent landscaper, greenkeeper or groundsperson, there are some checks best performed by an authorised Kawasaki Engines Dealer. For example, changing engine oil and filter, cleaning the cylinder head fins and checking and adjusting the valve clearance.

If you didn’t drain the tank before storing the machine for winter, you are going to need to check the tank is clear of any water or debris. Ethanol attracts water and the engine could misfire if there is water in it. This should be easy enough to do as most engines have plastic, see-through tanks and the water will be sitting at the bottom. If in doubt, drain and refill.

Most ride-on mowers will have two oil reservoirs, one for hydrostatic oil and one for engine oil. Always check you are using the correct one when topping up. Some hydrostatic drives use the same oil as the engine. For those please check your machine’s operating manual.

One of the most important things you can do for the overall performance of your machine is to make sure the blades are sharp and balanced. All other aspects of the mower’s maintenance can be perfect, but if the blades are dull your engine has to work that much harder to deliver, and that has repercussions on the longevity of the engine’s life and fuel economy, as well as leading to recutting, affecting productivity.

One easy way to maintain your Kawasaki Engine’s reliability is by using only Kawasaki Genuine Parts. This can make all the difference between a reliable machine and one that is not. Using non-genuine parts means your machine is less likely to operate as productively or efficiently as it should. When you choose Kawasaki Genuine Parts you are assured of quality, reliability and compliance with original equipment specifications.

Most oil filters look the same on the outside, but inside a Kawasaki filter, a slotted alloy tube protects oil flow. A pressure-activate bypass valve prevents cold-start wear and maintains flow in case of blockages. Silicone valves, rubber seals and a heavy canister stand up to high temperatures and severe use. Kawasaki build provides a different level of engine protection, one you can count on.

Similarly, with Kawasaki air and oil filters, these are specifically designed with permeability that matches flow rates, operating pressures and temperatures of your Kawasaki engine – and most importantly, they fit exactly.

With machines heading into their busiest period, make sure you’re preparing them for peak performance. Time spent on routine preventative measures now, will mean any downtime is kept to a minimum and productivity at a maximum.

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Paul Cricket Club’s long serving groundsman

Paul Cricket Club’s long serving groundsman: Unsung hero, Steve Snell, has kept Paul Cricket Club’s pitch in top condition for nearly 60 years and has no plans of stopping any time soon.

Read the full article from The Falmouth Packet here

Paul Cricket Club's long serving groundsman

Paul Cricket Club’s long serving groundsman

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The life of a Dundee groundsman

The life of a Dundee groundsman: It’s no walk in the park being a groundsman at a Scottish football club when the dark winter hits.

Read the full article from The Courier here

The life of a Dundee groundsman

The life of a Dundee groundsman

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Groundsman sleeps out on pitch

Groundsman sleeps out on pitch: Chorley’s groundsman Ben Kay worked hard to make his team’s pitch playable, sleeping on the pitch under a heated tent.

Read the full article from The Daily Mail here

Groundsman sleeps out on pitch

Groundsman sleeps out on pitch

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FC Lorient groundsman dies

FC Lorient groundsman dies: A man working as a groundsman for Ligue 1 side FC Lorient has reportedly died after a floodlight bar on the stadium fell on him in a freak accident.

Read the full article from The Daily Mail here

FC Lorient groundsman dies

FC Lorient groundsman dies

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Sheep take over groundsman duties

Sheep take over groundsman duties: Although it’s hard to find many silver linings in the heavy clouds pressing down on us at the moment, one positive part of lockdown is the natural world taking back what’s been nabbed by humanity.

Whether it’s herds of wild goats taking over Llandudno, or deer roaming the estates of East London. Now, an enterprising decision to get sheep cutting the grass at a Welsh rugby club is the latest in animal-based good news that should brighten up your day, at least a little.

Sheep take over groundsman duties

Sheep take over groundsman duties

The BBC reports that the flock of sheep in question have been moved onto a Welsh rugby pitch during the lockdown. Brecon Rugby Club decided that, while sports fixtures are on hold during the coronavirus crisis, it would be a great idea to rent their pitch to the club’s chairman Paul Amphlett. Amphlett is also a shepherd and has a flock of sheep who need ground for grazing. So not only will Amphlett paying to rent the pitch serve to drum up some well needed dosh during the club’s fallow period, it also helps save on the maintenance fees for the pitch. He told the BBC” “the club needed to find a way to make and save some money during lockdown, I said I’d pay rent if they let me graze my sheep on the pitch.” He continued: “this in turn allowed us to keep our 73-year-old groundsman safely tucked away and also saved us some money on fertiliser.”

But how’re they actually doing on the job? The club’s coach Andy Powell said, “the sheep are doing a good job, the grass is nice and green and healthy.”

Amphlett, who’s come out of retirement as a paramedic to work on the frontline during the coronavirus crisis, is relieved to have his beasts cared for while he’s on duty. He told the BBC, “they need to be looked after because if they roll onto their backs they often can’t get back up.” I mean in fairness to the sheep, that’s inclined to happen to any of us at the best of times.

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Foxes keep groundsman busy

Foxes keep groundsman busy: A brush with the local fox population is keeping Leeds Rhinos’ groundsman Ryan Golding busy during the coronavirus crisis.

Most of Rhinos’ 150 employees have been placed on furlough, a form of paid leave, but Golding is among a handful still working – and vulpine pitch invaders are giving him plenty to do.

Foxes keep groundsman busy

Foxes keep groundsman busy

“They are a nightmare,” Golding said of the four-legged hooligans.

“They live near the railway track, in all the bushes there.

“On a night, when they are scavenging for food, they come into the stadium and they always dig in the same place on the pitch.

“They are digging bones into the pitch – I am finding bones all the time.”

The urban foxes are sometimes spotted on the terraces after games, which is one reason why cleaning crews are brought in so quickly following the final whistle.

Golding hopes fencing will deter the pests and noted: “It’s a unique problem, with it being an inner-city stadium.

“You

wouldn’t have a problem like that on an industrial site, it’s just another thing we have to deal with.”

On the other hand, the foxes do keep Emerald Headingley’s pigeons – another traditional groundsman’s enemy – at bay.

“They are stalking around the pitch on a night, waiting for the pigeons to land,” Golding reported.

“There are feathers everywhere! On a morning I have to go around picking pigeon carcasses up.

“It is like a war zone, but they don’t go near our feed, fertilizers or chemicals, which is good.”

Even without the foxes, Golding has his hands full restoring the pitch to its usual glory following unprecedented rainfall last winter.

“My assistants have been furloughed, so it’s just me,” he said.

“I am having to look after all the stadium and all of Kirkstall [Rhinos’ training base] on my own.

“It is challenging, but it’s quite enjoyable – it is taking me back to when I was younger, getting my hands dirty.

“It is very negative circumstances, but it is what it is – there’s people dying, so you can’t really moan.”

The last few months have been tough for Rhinos’ ground crew who, as well as looking after Headingley, had to cope with flooding at Kirkstall.

Golding recalled: “We had a record three months of rainfall – around 300-350 millimetres.

“That is a hell of a lot – and it wasn’t necessarily the weather, it was the timing.

“We always seemed to get downpours the night before games and the morning of.

“We weren’t really getting any luck and the game where it turned was the double-header [when Headingley staged Rhinos’ Betfred Super League opener against Hull immediately after Castleford Tigers had faced Toronto Wolfpack].

“We had a lot more rain than expected after the first game.

“I had two choices, to leave it as it is and have a slow surface, or take it on the chin and make it a fast one.”

Rhinos scored 154 points in their three home games after the loss to Hull and Golding added: “People say it looks like a beach, but it plays really well.

“That’s something I had to discuss with the management team, Rich [Agar, Rhinos’ coach] and Kev [Sinfield, director of rugby].

“I am not bothered what people say if it allows us to play fast rugby and get two points.

“That’s what we did, we applied sand quite regularly to make a fast, stable surface to enable the players to gain purchase – rather than it turning into a mudbath.”

The break has allowed Golding time to work on the pitch, but – with no clear indication when rugby will resume – he explained: “I don’t want to throw everything into recovery yet.

“It’s a bit like a finely-tuned athlete, you don’t want to hand it all the supplements and everything it requires now because it’s going to keep needing that.

“It is a sand-based surface so it drains very quickly and leaches nutrients very quickly, so I have to be careful with what I am applying.”

Life won’t get any less hectic for Golding – and his team – when the season eventually resumes.

Midweek matches are likely as Super League clubs race to make up for lost time, but Golding has no concerns over having to prepare the ground for multiple games in a short space of time.

He stressed: “I don’t see it as a bad thing.

“You get some groundsmen who are very much ‘keep off the pitch’, but I wouldn’t have a job if it wasn’t for the sport so let’s get as many games on as we can and get back to enjoying sport.”

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Tribute to groundsman Reg Lomas

Tribute to groundsman Reg Lomas: Reg Lomas, former head groundsman at Stratford and Cheltenham racecourses, has died at the age of 88.

Lomas was awarded an MBE in 2002 for his work within racing and had a race run at Ludlow in his honour in October 2005, the Reg Lomas Lifetime In Racing Handicap Chase.

Tribute to groundsman Reg Lomas

Tribute to groundsman Reg Lomas

“He was a great friend of mine and I worked with him for many years,” said Philip Arkwright, former clerk of the course at Cheltenham.

“I grabbed him when he retired from Stratford, having been there for a long time, and he came to Cheltenham until I retired in 2000. He was a remarkable groundsman.”

After leaving the racecourse, Arkwright nominated Lomas for an MBE to show his appreciation and paid tribute to his practical ability.

He said: “I put him up for an MBE shortly after I retired on account of his groundwork, and he was awarded it in 2002.

“He was very knowledgeable and that wasn’t born out of scientific knowledge, but of practical years looking at turf and dealing with different types of it.

“He was a groundsman even when I was hunter-chasing back in the mid-1960s, so he did it for a good 50 years. He was bloody good at his job.”

Lomas, who is survived by wife Elizabeth, retired in June 2001 at the age of 69, but remained an active participant in the sport alongside trainer Jonjo O’Neill.

“When Reg retired Jonjo made quite a lot of use of him,” said Arkwright. “He knew him very well and used his brain a lot. They were huge mates and lived within half a mile of each other.”

Arkwright added: “From the moment I retired in 2000 we spoke on nearly every Saturday. He was a delightful man.”

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Groundsman recognised at seminar

Groundsman recognised at seminar: Westbury & District Cricket Club’s groundsman, Gordon Gill, was invited to join top groundsmen from across the country to speak about his experience at a seminar held last month. 

He was joined by Vic Demain (head groundsman at  Durham CCC), Karl McDermott (head groundsman at  MCC/Lords), Sean Williams (head groundsman at Gloucestershire CCC) and former Australian test batsman Marcus North at Durham CCC.

Groundsman recognised at seminar

Groundsman recognised at seminar

 Gordon spent two days at Durham County Cricket Club speaking to both paid and volunteer groundsmen from clubs all over the country about the experience he has gained over the years at Westbury & District Cricket Club, Bath Cricket Club and as an ECB pitch advisor. 

Gordon Gill said, “It was a very informative and enjoyable experience, it was great to share a platform with head groundsmen from prestigious stadiums such as Lords, Twickenham and Murrayfield  as well as from top venues such as Gloucestershire CCC and Durham CCC. 

“A very big thank you should go to Dennis/Sisis for sponsoring this annual event to get grassroots cricket groundsmen together to share their experience and knowledge.”

The club said, “As a club we are proud to know that Gordon is up there with the best groundsmen in the country and it is a pleasure for ex-players and current players to have played/play on pitches that Gordon has produced. If anyone has any questions about maintenance of a pitch and would like to learn, please do not hesitate to contact the club at www.westburyanddistrict cc.co.uk.”

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S&B groundsman passes away

S&B groundsman passes away: The name Peter Dury will probably mean little to the current generation of Southport & Birkdale’s players or supporters.

Yet between 1961 and 1965 Dury, who died last month, built a reputation as the finest groundsman in the club’s history.

S&B groundsman passes away

S&B groundsman passes away

Moreover in a working life spanning half a century Dury carved out an impressive career in the sports and landscape industry as an inventor, pioneer of performance standards and a high-quality manager of playing facilities.

In 1961 S&B were still reeling from the sudden death of their groundsman Bert Ball
the previous June. The committee took the bold step to appoint 26-year-old Dury, who had previously been employed by the Derby Parks Department.

As a youngster Peter had been on Nottinghamshire’s ground staff and had even appeared in some second XI matches. He was also a qualified coach but it was as a groundsman that he made an immediate impact at Trafalgar Road.

County cricketers spoke of the excellence of Dury’s wickets and S&B’s historian, the late Ken Porter, wrote of him: “His keen love of the game, motivated by his sense of industry, ensured that the wicket and outfield reached a standard never previously attained. He never spared himself in ensuring that only the best was good enough”.

Dury also played some cricket on the pitches he had prepared.

He was a useful spin bowler and gifted batsman, although his groundsman’s duties largely restricted his appearances to Sunday games.

Nevertheless he scored a century against Crawfords in June 1964 before going out during the tea interval to prepare the wicket for the second innings of the match.

In 1964 Dury was one of only eight men in the country to be awarded the National Diploma of the National Association of Groundsmen.

This was the first of a myriad of awards which he was to earn in the years that followed.

He left S&B in 1965 to take up a more lucrative appointment as site supervisor for the Parks Department of Nuneaton Council and from there his career really took off.

Dury was recognised as a specialist in synthetic turf pitch and playground surfaces, and equally as a leading expert in natural turf pitch construction across the world. His talents were recognised in 2002 when he received an Honorary Doctorate Degree from the University of Essex.

In addition he received a life-time achievement award from the Institute of Groundsmanship the following year, when he also received the National Playing Fields Association President’s award.

He received the ECB Award for services to cricket in 2010 and two years later Peter was presented with an MBE for services to groundsmanship.

In 2018 Peter became the only person ever to receive a second lifetime’s achievement award from the Institute of Groundsmanship.

John McPartlin, who first met Peter when just 12 years old, recalls: “He was a lovely man and patiently put up with a few of us haunting the ground every day in the school holidays, following him around and asking him questions.

“At 11am we would all go and have a cup of tea with Peter and sitting around the old battered table he shared his sandwiches and cricketing knowledge, and without realising it, we would all be drawn into the hinterland of knowledge and tradition which makes cricket such a wonderful game.”

Peter is survived by his wife, Brenda and three sons.

His funeral will take place at 1pm on February 10 at Wilford Hill, Crematorium, Nottingham.

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