July sees the start of The Championships at Wimbledon, another one of our major sporting events of the year.
The tournament runs from July 3rd – 16th, is the oldest tennis tournament in the world, and is regarded by many as the most prestigious. It has been held at the All England Lawn Tennis Club (AELTC) in Wimbledon, London, since 1877 and played on outdoor natural grass courts.
Neil Stubley, the head groundsman at Wimbledon has been working for the All England Lawn Tennis Club for more than 20 years after first joining as a groundsman in 1995.
Now the head of courts and horticulture, it is Mr Stubley’s job to ensure Wimbledon’s world-famous grass courts are kept in perfect condition.
Mowing the courts at Wimbledon, courtesy of Neil Stubley
And while the Championships may only last two weeks, the courts need to be back open for members just two days after the tournament has finished.
The prestigious playing surfaces - that comprise 40-plus grass courts - take a full year to recover from the rigours of the summer’s tournament and club matches. The renovation of the courts begins in earnest come August and September, when courts will start to be taken out of play and renovated.
This usually see the courts fraise mowed, sterilised and overseeded. From the start of April the grass is then taken down a millimetre a week from its winter height of 13mm to its playing height of 8mm, ready for when the courts open to members in mid-May.
During the Championships Neil will enlist some additional staff to help maintain the courts during the busy fortnight. I’d like to congratulate him and wish that Neil and all his staff have a memorable tournament and the weather is kind and in their favour.
1st day of the Test at Lord's. Photo provided by Karl McDermott
As for the cricket, Karl McDermott and his staff were kept busy hosting the Second Ashes Test with some large scores being attained at the hallowed ground. Unfortunately, the batting conditions seemed to favour the Australians and allowed them to go two up in the series.
Now all eyes were on the third test at Headingley under the stewardship of the new head groundsman, Richard Robinson, who has been helped with the preparation of the wicket by former HG Andy Fogarty.
Wih the game wrapping up yesterday, it seems fair to say that all pundits agreed that they succeeded in producing an absolute belter of a surface, creating a fast-paced game, that saw England come out on top keeping the Ashes alive. Huge congratulations Richard!
Headingley's third Ashes Test Pitch
There is an interesting article on the appointment of Richard on Headingley’s website that is well worth a read.