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Scott reflects on unique first 6 months

Head Groundsman Scott Hawkins is eagerly awaiting preparing match pitches for Somerset County Cricket Club.

Scott was appointed by Somerset last autumn when Simon Lee left to join Hampshire, and has adapted quickly to the COVID-19 situation. Both the Cooper Associates County Ground and Taunton Vale are in fine working order and Hawkins has been busy producing pitches for the England back-to-training group.

He said: “I am really looking forward to the challenge of my first job as Head Groundsman at a county club because it has been my ambition since I first joined Essex on work experience.

“Every county groundsman around the country knows his pitches will come under close scrutiny from the ECB and perhaps that will be slightly more the case with ours for month or two.

“Simon Lee twice won groundsman of the year for his one-day pitches and I see no cause for concern. There are clear guidelines and my aim will be to produce wickets that provide a good contest between bat and ball, as well as ones Somerset can win games on.

“The ideal Championship pitch should offer pace and bounce on the first two days and then start to wear so the spinners come into their own. That is what I shall be working towards.”

In addition to his years with Essex and at Fenners, Hawkins spent a season working in Australian grade cricket and was more recently head groundsman at the renowned football and cricket centre in La Manga, Spain.

He spent two weeks working with Lee as a handover period when joining Somerset last November and up until recently has been operating single-handed, the other five members of the groundstaff having been furloughed.

As well as the square at the Cooper Associates County Ground, Hawkins is responsible for overseeing the pitches at Taunton Vale where Somerset second XI play.

“It is a unique situation, not knowing when the season will start,” he said. “All the dry weather would have been great if the matches had started on schedule, but as things stand it means a lot of watering.

“Fortunately, the club have invested heavily in a full irrigation system at the Cooper Associates County Ground and a lesser one at Taunton Vale.

“My first six months in the job have been unusual in that I still have to meet a lot of the staff and learn about the inner workings of the club. It has been more a question of maintenance than pitch preparation so far.

“We will be ready whenever the season starts and once the first ball has been bowled on one of my pitches I will feel more part of things. That is a nervous moment for any groundsman at the start of a season.

“I am confident the experience I have gained in Australia and Spain, was well as England, will help me make a success of the job.

“I know you can’t please everyone all the time, but I will be happy to talk to members, whatever their views, because I am a cricket fan myself.”

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