SISIS Scarifiers Key At Merchant Taylors’

SISIS Scarifiers Key At Merchant Taylors’: Merchant Taylors’ School, based in Middlesex, have recently invested in a range of SISIS turf maintenance equipment to help maintain high standards at the school’s cricket facilities.

Academic prowess aside, at Merchant Taylors’ there is a huge emphasis on sport and the success of its sporting teams is testament to this. Cricket at Merchant Taylors’ is exceptionally strong and just last year the school won the national under 17’s cricket competition – which was an outstanding achievement for a day school.

SISIS Scarifiers Key At Merchant Taylors’

To date there are currently 17 competitive teams throughout the school who enjoy playing the game across 12 grass cricket squares, indoor and outdoor (all weather) nets, grass nets, and 3 bowling machines. Such is the quality of the cricket facilities that Middlesex County Cricket Club train regularly at the school and use it as a pre-season training camp. The Australian cricket team also trained at the school in preparation for their Ashes tours of 2013 and 2015.

“I think the work we do with Middlesex County Cricket Club, and the teams we have hosted, only benefits the school because of our need to be at the top of our game,” says grounds manager Richard Ayling. “If you are going to host these kind of top sportsmen you have to be in a position to provide the very best surfaces for them. They wouldn’t come here unless they were right and that is, I believe, a reflection on the work carried out by my team.”

Richard and his team of ten have exceptionally high standards and never rest on their laurels despite a hectic work schedule.

“I like to think that all of our sports surfaces are good but we are always striving for that bit more,” he says. “I have a great deputy in Scott Patterson who was the former head groundsman at the Oval and he has really pushed the cricket on.

“The twelve squares are used every Monday, Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday and we are actually one of the few schools that has started playing cricket throughout September whereas most schools would be moving to just rugby and football.”

As a result, Richard invested in a range of heavy duty SISIS scarifiers – two self-propelled Auto Rotorake MK.5’s and a tractor mounted Rotorake TM1000.

The SISIS Rotorake TM1000 is a tractor mounted heavy duty scarifier and linear aerator and is un-rivalled when it comes to removing and controlling thatch. It includes a collector box and floating unit to follow ground contours and its contra-rotating reel throws debris forward ensuring a clean, consistent groove resulting in an excellent finish when the time comes to scarify. With interchangeable blades and a quick, simple depth setting without tools, Richard has been quick to notice the benefits.

“The TM1000 is predominantly our main cricket scarifier and the ability to change blades is very convenient. With all of the cricket squares and grass nets there is a lot of scarifying to do and the TM1000 serves us incredibly well. It sits nicely behind our tractor, is a solid piece of machinery, collects well and does exactly what it says it will.”

Over recent years Richard has been a big fan of the Auto Rotorake MK.5 and the two new machines were brought in as direct replacements for two older machines. It is perfectly suited to a range of applications from sports field maintenance to synthetic turf maintenance, lawns and amenities. Its contra-rotating reel has specially designed tipped blades for clean, consistent cut and maximum thatch removal. Furthermore the Auto Rotorake MK.5 features a selection of seven different interchangeable reels which enables the machine to carry out a variety of maintenance tasks.

“The Auto Rotorake MK.5 is the perfect sized machine for us and we predominantly use it for cricket pitch preparation and also on the smaller school lawns for scarifying.

“We use the Brush Reel, Scarifying Reel, Verti-Cutter Reel and we like the Spring Tine Reel. We use this reel, not for scarifying, but more for standing up the grasses. It’s great for thinning the grass out, gently cleaning the surface and for a general tidy up on the wickets.”

“The staff use the Auto Rotorake MK.5’s a lot and I have the confidence to let them have their own say on preparations. Therefore, everyone has their own little quirks on how they like to do things and the Auto Rotorake MK.5 gives them the versatility to do so.”

For further information or a no obligation demonstration, please contact SISIS on 01332 824 777 or visit

Merchant Taylors’ Extend Dennis Fleet

Merchant Taylors’ Extend Dennis Fleet: Richard Ayling, grounds manager at Merchant Taylors’ School has purchased a G860 and a G30D cylinder mower to add to the existing Dennis fleet of two G860’s which the school already had.

Merchant Taylors’, one of the ‘Great Nine’ schools of England, has provided an outstanding education to boys since 1561. As well as boasting exceptional academic results year on year, sport is central to life at Merchant Taylors’.

Merchant Taylors’ Extend Dennis Fleet

There are over 80 acres of magnificent playing fields with an additional 200 acres of estates providing outstanding opportunities for a wide range of sports including rugby, football, hockey and cricket. The school is a regional centre for England hockey and also hosts a number of elite sporting teams such as Middlesex County Cricket Club, Saracens and Wasps rugby academies and has previously catered for the Australian and South African national cricket teams.

The presence of such sporting teams surely is testament to the quality of pitches produced and maintained by Richard and his team of ten. With exceptionally high standards to adhere to and a multitude of sports surfaces to maintain, it is vital that the team has the most reliable and best performing grounds maintenance equipment in their armoury.

Therefore, as a long term user of Dennis equipment, Richard was delighted when he had the opportunity to bring in a range of brand new Dennis machines as part of a complete fleet renewal.

The new Dennis G860 cylinder mower is lightweight at just 166kg; easy to manoeuvre and comfortable to operate. The handlebar console houses the controls for – throttle, parking brake, roller drive and cutting cylinder drive. The mower also features a large diameter front roller with an adjustable scraper which has been designed for a precise height of cut control, giving an excellent finish on every occasion.

The Dennis G860 also features an interchangeable cassette system to assist with a wide range of tasks which gives Richard the ability to use the G860 across more than one sports pitch.

“We use the G860’s across all of our winter pitches and they also do our squares in the summer. With cricket squares you need to get across them fairly quickly and these mowers allow us to do just that. As one person cuts the square another person follows behind with the Sorrel Roller and opens the top up slightly to allow a little bit of air movement. It works really well. It has cut our algae and other bits on the surface down and allows a bit more drainage through the surface.

Merchant Taylors’ Extend Dennis Fleet

“The option of having all of the different cassettes is great. We use the Verti-Cutter, the Brush, the 8-Bladed Cylinder and the Sorrel Roller – so we are building an armoury of attachments too.”

With over 30 acres of lawns and other grass areas to maintain, Richard completed his Dennis line-up with the purchase of a Dennis G30D cylinder mower. Designed and built following the same concept as the Dennis G860, the G30D incorporates a large-diameter eight bladed cutting cylinder to cater for a wide range of uses to leave a precise cut.

“At the moment we have two big lawns at the school and another large grass area. We use the G30D for this work but it is also a good back-up mower for the sports pitches.

“Previously we were using a 26” mower for the lawns and it had a fairly small grass box so we were forever emptying it. Since changing to the G30D we are saving a significant amount of time and we are getting an incredible finish and presentation – something that is extremely important here at the school.”

For further information or a no obligation demonstration, please contact Dennis 01332 824 777 or visit

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