When it comes to a cricket pitch, there’s not much that Richie Woodmason, owner of Willow Turf Care, doesn’t know about them – whether it’s playing on them or maintaining them!
One thing he is certain of, is that when he needs a grass seed that is going to germinate quickly and deliver hard-wearing results capable of withstanding the demands of the modern season, he turns to Johnsons Sports Seed. Following his own extensive research, it’s Johnsons J Premier Wicket that ticks all the boxes for Richie, seeing it employed on 41 of the 42 renovations he completed last season.
After moving to Australia to play cricket, Richie became involved in the grounds maintenance at the Perth club, swiftly taking on the role of Head Groundsman. On his return to the UK, he then adopted a similar role at his home club before a return trip to Oz saw him gain further experience of management in warmer climes. Back again, and positions at Gloucestershire Country Cricket Club and Trent Bridge were held, alongside the establishment of Willow Turf Care – conducting end of season renovations for facilities in and around the Gloucestershire area.
It was during his time at Trent Bridge that Richie took it upon himself to conduct some trials to establish the germination of various mixtures and assess the performance of various cultivars. He explains, “When we were conducting repairs, I’d line up four or five different mixtures and then look at things like the speed of germination, coverage and plant strength, and found that in our attempts to get a wicket back in six or eight weeks, that J Premier Wicket repeatedly outperformed the others.”
This knowledge has served Richie well, since he went full time with Willow Turf Care in March 2021. “I was armed with my go-to grass seed and found that, as new clients came on board, they were happy to take my recommendation. I’m now Head Groundsman at seven clubs and use J Premier Wicket at all of these, along with the numerous other sites at which I’m contracted. It continues to offer brilliant wear tolerance, disease resistance and coped well with the challenges of the hot and dry weather last summer.”
J Premier Wicket is formulated from four top-rated perennial rye cultivars that deliver proven, reliable performance and outstanding camera appeal. “We used it on all of our 42 square renovations except one last year, with the other one also using seed from another DLF brand, and couldn’t fault the results.” He adds, “Time is becoming the most important commodity due to the expectations on county club grounds staff. This means that finding something that works well, and works quickly, is crucial. For me, the J Premier Wicket mix backed up with fantastic technical support from DLF’s Ian Barnett and priced as it is, makes it unrivalled.”
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