For many years Preston Nomads Cricket Club have always had a proud reputation of manicured grounds and playing surfaces at their home facility. Our new part time Head Groundsman, Curtis Ford, is looking forward to getting the season started and in the process meeting you all.
The Spen Cama Memorial Ground (SCMG) in Fulking West Sussex. From operating one glorious square in the early days to now boasting two premium grounds with a substantial clubhouse and changing rooms standing on guard. The North pitch was dug from swampy farmland and is now home for 1st and 2nd team cricket as well as hosting a number of non Nomad games through out the season. Indeed Sussex CCC utilize the facility for their 2nd Team matches. The South Square is now home to 3rd and 4th XI and the flourishing Junior vibe. That piece of land hasn’t lost any of its aching charm. With high noon sun eliminating the adjacent South Downs and perhaps wildlife adorning the outlying fields there isn’t a better place to play or indeed watch an enthralling game of cricket.
All of this outdoor real-estate has been lovingly tendered by the one and only Brian Sandalls, our former full time Head Groundsman. From early season lushness through the hardening of mid summer dry spells to autumn hues Brian, seemingly effortlessly, kept our grounds in tip top condition with match days pitches just ready for action. His tenure as our Head Groundsman ended last Autumn when he decided to move on the pastures new. I am sure all Nomads will have their own fond memories of Brian but I would like to use this opportunity to say a word or two. Brian, if you are reading,’it was an honor and privilege to witness first hand your hard work and dedication to the SCMG, many thanks for your time in answering some of my stupid questions about how this and that is done and what roller/rake/mower you were using. Much of your greatest work was unseen through many hours during the week and post season when preparation was underway. Week in week out Nomads and visitors would turn up on match day and go wow, look at that square, its gorgeous! Good luck where ever or what ever you choose to do in the future I am sure you will be a success. Meantime you have left some big shoes to fill here at the Nomads’ Cobo
Talking about the South Square we caught up with Curtis on Tuesday as he was in the process of getting things ready for the season opener Nomads 1st team v Weybridge friendly on Saturday 17th April (more to come on this fixture). After welcoming him to the Nomads I asked him to tell us a bit about himself. ‘hi I’m Curtis and have now been involved as Head Groundsman since January 2021, I have had 9 years experience and served my apprenticeship at Sussex CCC Hove including 6 months here at the Nomads. Last season I was working at the Nevill with Brighton CC (but we wont hold that against him) and I am looking forward to getting going’ ‘The North Square has been attacked by a leather jacket issue (fly lave) (the same as happened at Sussex CCC Hove) and we have the Sussex Head Groundsman come and inspect and give us some advice. We have now reseeded and put sand down to encourage growth before May, In addition its turning into a very dry spring which isn’t helpful at this time but hope to be ready for the 1st game of the season on 7th May’ The South Square was receiving plenty of attention with Curtis explaining ‘we feel this pitch will be ready to go (for the game against Weybridge) hopefully the track will be pretty hard but not sending balls around peoples ears! We are cutting the outfield today and it will be done again later in the week. I will be looking forward to seeing how it plays!’
Curtis appears to be a young and hardworking professional who wants to maintain those traditions of beautiful manicured lawns here at the SCMG and I am sure you will all join me in welcoming him to the Nomads family. Please make sure to go and say hi as he wants to meet you all.
Bowman says ‘please be aware that when you visit the SCMG for the 1st time this season the grounds will not appear as perfect as in previous years. Our leather jacket issue has taken its toll and it might take a while for the grass to fully recover. While Curtis and the ground crew are doing everything to relieve this issue, bearing in mind he is on a part time bases, its something for us all to think about. Now more than ever if any members who have any ground keeping expertise please come forward to volunteer to help at this crucial time’