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Mennaye Manicure – Part II
As previously announced, during the summer the Mennaye Field at Penzance has undergone a manicure to a level never experienced before.
On the 1st July an update of works undertaken, and progress made, was given, after firstly looking back to problems experienced at times in the past.
The ground, as many will know, has suffered in wet weather conditions generally over the years, and especially so these past couple of seasons. Note the images below.
These two images, one from the 1960s and one from just over a year ago, provide examples of how bad it can and has been.
Starting from May, thanks to the generosity of Dicky Evans, a considerable programme of work has been undertaken by sports ground contractor WR Sandow Ltd of Hayle, along with support given by club personnel.
Firstly, the top inch or so of the field surface was removed to enable initial levelling to take place, and then drainage work began, with channels excavated every 3 metres across the whole length of the field.
Stone was laid in the bottom of the channels and black drainage pipes then placed in each across the width of the field. A sand mix covered the black pipes which were linked to a bigger brown plastic carrier pipe that ran the length of the field on the main grandstand side to an outlet in the old Western National corner of the ground. The next steps undertaken included spreading sand over the whole field, taking the old posts down and then working the sand into into the surface.
Now, continuing the story of progress from the 1st July, that is the date the seeding took place, attention then immediately turned to irrigation.
It was expected that signs of new grass would be seen in a week or so, and after just six days that expectation proved right – a time perhaps for The Move’s 1967 hit single ‘I Can See the Grass Grow’ to be played!
Sowing the grass and irrigation soon underway.
The first signs of grass! Six days after sowing – and ten days after sowing.
Pigeons that reside in the main grandstand inevitably took the opportunity to feed and put on a little weight, but that was before the arrival of ‘Herbie’ the Hawk, who proved immediately effective.
Herbie, at rest and in action!
Almost incredibly, on the 20th July the field had to be cut for the first time. It resembled a green carpet.
Looking impressive following a first cut.
On the 22nd July the field had its second cut. Also, to back up the good work by ‘Herbie’ to keep the pigeons at bay, we saw the arrival of ‘Harry’!
A second cut and the arrival of ‘Harry’.
Following further cutting of the field, more progress on the 27th July saw it verti-drained. A change in the weather also brought regular rain, to for a short period lessen demand on the club’s own irrigation equipment.
Verti-draining – and a field image taken on the 31st July.
Into August, as the picture below shows the ground was looking fabulous, as it did through September. Our first home game is just under two weeks away, when new posts and a large screen (in the Newlyn gate corner) will hopefully be in place, plus there other improvements to view about the ground and changing rooms. All will be displayed in ‘Mennaye Manicure Part III’!
This project has been overseen by Jack Richards with support from Jan Rendall and Peter Joyce. (Photographs: Phil Westren)
By Phil Westren – 11th November 2020
he was a former rugby scrum half who captained both Saracens and Middlesex
the RFU have commendably created a digital ‘Wall of Remembrance’