Tales From the Old Pavilion

Our own Campbell Macleod and team have been hard at work around Newlandsfield over the last few months. Campbell has put together this report on the work goes into the ground, and meets a few furry friends along the way. Take it away Campbell…

Looking after the pitch

As you’ll see in the video above, the surface was in a poor state when we began our post-season work. Since then, around 150 hours of labour have gone into the surface. That involved applying 500 kilos of fertiliser, forking and seeding the bad patches, cutting the park approximately 40 times and removing a metric tonne of grass clippings. This is the result:

We aren’t finished yet, and we expect the surface to continue to improve. It will hopefully be fed again in August, and once more in October, to take us through the winter.

A couple of years ago, we were pleased to take possession of a Dennis grass-cutter. This is the industry standard, used at most senior grounds (though they usually have four machines cutting at the same time!) This cutter was purchased with the help of grant funding. It was a big deal for us and makes a big difference to the pitch.

With a little help from our friends…

We employ a company, Greentech, to carry out our end of season works. Their directors, Kevin Brunton and Hugh Murray, both visited the ground recently. We agreed that we would do the work towards the end of August this year. They will shockwave the pitch, to relieve compaction, and spread 60 tons of sand across the surface.

Hugh Murray’s relationship with Newlandsfield goes back around forty years. He was part of the first crew that we brought in to help with the pitch. In those days, the tip of the standard ‘V’ shape wear that you get in the goalmouths would reach the halfway line!

Our park nowadays is based on sand. While this is great for drainage in the winter, it can cause a problem with irrigation in the summer. At Newlandsfield we only have enough water pressure to run one sprinkler. The clip below shows our travelling sprinkler. This clever device has a wee turbine built into it, allowing the sprinkler to pull itself up the park. The jet of water covers about 1/3 of the width of the park. The sprinkler takes around 14 hours to travel the length of the field. The weight of the hose is issue, and we need to move it 3 or 4 times a day. With that in mind, I’m sure you can imagine how envious we are, when we see the automatic sprinkler popping up in senior football!

Fauna of Newlandsfield

Those with good eyesight will also have noticed a couple of white sheets on the bottom half of the pitch. This is where we are trying to repair damage caused by the fox, a nice wee guy, whom we affectionately something along the lines of ‘the shucking front’.

The foxes aren’t the only wildlife that we have at Newlandsfield. We found this little chap posing at the top of the terracing.

As I mentioned before, we collect a huge amount of grass clippings. Our compost heap is beyond the bottom fence, on the riverbank. The river Cart at Newlandsfield is home to mallard and gooseander ducks. A female mallard was proudly swimming up the river the other day with her six chicks in tow. We always have the company of a couple of robins. Wrens and wagtails are amongst our visitors. If you are really lucky, you will see a kingfisher sitting on a branch, looking at the river for its next meal. Around dusk you can watch the amazing acrobatics of the pipistrelle bats as they swoop down, at incredible speed, to snatch insects from the top of the water.

In addition to the playing surface, there is always plenty to do in a ground like ours. We recently brought in a 12yd skip that we filled to the gunnels with rubbish that has been building up over the last few years. We are presently painting and weeding. The pavilion needs attention inside and we have been cleaning and painting. Shortly, we’ll be tiling some of the floors too.