Wednesday, 3 March 2010

All hands to the pump

Bonanza preparations get a dry run!

“Breadcakes - check”
“Bacon - check”
“Sausages - check”
“Soup - check”
“Grill – check”
“Tents - check”
“Tables - check”
“Programmes -…getting there”

It’s Wednesday morning. In a few hours time England will play Egypt at Wembley in a friendly designed to prepare Fabio Capello’s men for the Algeria test that awaits them in South Africa.
In exactly three days time the thoroughness of our preparations for the Central Midlands League’s 7th Annual Bonanza Ground Hop will be put to the test when The Eastenders entertain Hutton Cranswick United at Low Farm.
At least now it looks as if we’ll actually have a Bonanza!

Yesterday I popped in at Low Farm to see how things were progressing. Talk about a transformation! It was a sight to behold and I don’t mean that of Hodgy, Ted, Mickey Bo and Tom stood round a pump like a scene from ‘Last Of The Summer Wine’.

The pitch – that only four days earlier had resembled a boating lake in parts - looked as playable as it has in weeks. Indeed, it was probably in better nick than it had been for the Church Warsop game a fortnight earlier.
Hodgy, unofficial foreman on the job, gave me a quick guided tour, highlighting the areas cleared and drained and explaining the jobs still to be done.

One of the more remarkable sights was the pond (above) that takes most of the water from the “Popular Side” of the ground. At the weekend this had been close to full and Hodgy had planted a stake to show the water level. After two days work the stake was left almost untouched by the wet stuff. That’s some movement of water.

At the far end of the field incisions were made along various points of the topsoil mound, removed when the car-park was laid. With a much-needed clear-out of the ditch that partitions both pitches, this also resulted in the drainage of a staggering amount of water.
With the forecast set fair, the plan is to allow a couple more days drainage before rolling the pitch on Friday and feeding some sharp sand into the troublesome goalmouths. Then it will simply be a case of standing back and letting the Hoppers in!

It's now Wednesday night.  Hodgy reports that since the pond photo was taken, it has now re-filled by about half again, showing how much water is still being taken from the pitch.  He also tells me that other little bits 'n' bobs around the ground have been added/tidied-up in preparation for Saturday.  And the forecast is still set fair.

Meanwhile, at Wembley England have come from behind to beat a decent looking Egypt side 3-1.  It's not only Fabio who is feeling rather content with his preparations this evening.

PS: I was never really into Bonanza - I preferred this lot...

See you Saturday.

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