Sportsturf noted that the grounds at the Dulwich Sports Ground were very busy with cricket being played virtually every day and usually on 3-4 squares. The wickets on the Burbage & Hollies pitches had improved by 30-50 runs per match, but the Belair pitch looked tired by the end of the season with some low bounce, and the Nursery pitch had improved least and may need more work. The outfields had held up despite the major drought from July.
Winter renovations had been completed by the end of September, and the squares were ahead of schedule until the freeze in mid-March. A Football Foundation improvement grant was spent on verti-draining, fertiliser & seed on all football pitches, which should result in improved outfields.
The "house rules" for the use of the ground were discussed and agreed upon, including no use of sawdust on the square, squeegee drying rollers can be used on outfields but never on the square, bowlers should not use studs to mark run ups, and batsmen should not damage the pitch by making excessive marks on the crease.
Volunteer help from clubs was offered to Sportsturf if needed, and good communication between ground staff and skippers was emphasized as key to a successful summer.
The SCST (Southwark Community Sports Trust) has been making significant improvements to the sports ground over the autumn and early spring. Sportsturf and contractors were brought in to clean up the edges of the ground, including removing low-hanging tree branches and shrubs. The Hollies were particularly affected, with sleeper maintenance being used to maintain the western boundary. The SCST has also invested in renovating the artificial surfaces, including new surfaces for the outdoor nets and a new artificial pitch on the Hollies. The SCST equipment, including sight screens, covers, and scoreboards, has been checked and prepared for use. Drainage issues have been addressed throughout the whole ground
There was also a detailed discussion on preparations for the upcoming season.
The following is a summary of the key points discussed:
- The club has received money from Southwark Council to improve the outfield.
- The club is currently in the process of obtaining insurance for the upcoming season.
- The new bar manager, Neil, has been introduced.
- The club has received new cricket covers, which will be used for the first time this season.
- The club is looking for volunteers to help with the preparation of the cricket pitch.
- The club is in the process of planning a fundraising event in June.
- Prasanna volunteered to recruit volunteers for a task force activity at the Trust on 1st April from 11am-1pm. The list of jobs includes replacing tarpaulin on Cricket covers, applying hoses to all covers, checking cricket stumps, bails and flags, and checking that dressing rooms are ready for use.
- Last Man Stands cricket has requested three artificial pitches on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesday & Thursdays from 6-30pm in May and June.
- The club uses Open Play to record all fixtures and activities, with updates sent out every Monday and Friday. Simon Bannon publishes all matches on the TV screens on the veranda every Saturday and Sunday morning. Rahul Nair was introduced as a volunteer who will introduce social media information and good news stories.
- The club reinforced their policy on cancellations, with decisions being made by Friday of each week based on pitch readiness and weather forecasts. A final deadline of 10-30am on the day of the game was agreed upon for cancellations.
- Dressing room allocations: John Howard confirmed that the 2022 dressing room allocation would remain the same, with a separate dressing room for junior teams in the afternoon. Clubs were reminded to check their dressing rooms at the task force day and John planned to clean the showers and dressing rooms extensively over Easter. Jackie suggested setting up signs after Easter.
- Teas and catering: Teas for a match would now cost £120, with payment by cash or card. Dietary requirements should be notified to Jackie by mid-week. Jackie also included 20 over interval drinks and was happy to help with supper or BBQ options for some evenings. Nidhi and Jackie were exploring options for coffees/breakfast for junior cricket. The use of paper plates helped keep prices down.
- The opening of the Bar: The old artificial surfaces had been re-laid in the beer garden area, and new benches would be secured and taken to each of the four pitches. The picket fence would be painted and installed around Easter time, and the bar would receive a spring clean. New bar staff were being recruited to meet demand, and suggestions for improvement were welcome. Ploughmans CC had bought 150 recyclable cups, and John and Jackie welcomed ideas to improve the use of recyclable “glasses” for outdoor drinking.
- Date of next meeting: No further business was discussed, and JS suggested establishing a WhatsApp forum rather than scheduling another meeting. The possibility of a review at the end of the season was also mentioned.
Overall, the meeting covered a range of topics including fundraising, recruitment, and the upcoming cricket season.