RUFC - Millers Groundsman on the weather
Rotherham United groundsman, Jim Davison has had a nightmare few weeks due to the weather and he told David Beddows of The Advertiser that even Bill Corby, his predecessor, never had anything like this to deal with.
'This is the worst weather we've had for twenty-nine years,' Mr Davison said. 'Even the top clubs have had games called off. We've had day after day of minus temperatures, it's been horrendous. But there's nothing you can do about it.'
Don Valley Stadium hasn't hosted a game since 5th December and Jim says, like everyone else, they thought the game postponed against Dagenham and Redbridge before Christmas was just a blip. When they lifted the covers that protected the pitch, they stuck and they had to be literally ripped up. Luckily, there was no damage done and he was optimistic that the game against Darlington on Boxing Day would go ahead.
'I was sweeping snow off the pitch at 7 o'clock on Boxing Day,' Jim said, 'and area's of the pitch were fine but others were frozen.
'At Millmoor there was a section of the pitch around the eighteen-yard box at the Railway End that didn't get the sun, but the rest of the pitch was was fine. At Don Valley a section below the main stand is shielded from the winter sun plus there's the area that was affected by the U2 concert at the Clock End of the ground.'
Explaining why the game against Bournemouth was postponed last weekend, Jim said, 'When the surface temperature is lower than the ambient temperature you get problems. Until the air temperature exceeds it you can't get it to defrost.'
Speaking about the covers at Don Valley Jim said the problem there is that they aren't large enough to cover the whole playing area. But, even having full covers didn't stop Doncaster Rovers games being called off against Leicester City. 'It had frozen under the sheets,' Jim said about the Keepmoat pitch. 'Doncaster are thinking about doubling their covers, but that's a lot of money - you're talking about £18,000 for full pitch covers.'
Jim says that although he's been spending a lot of time at the Keepmoat, where the players train, there has also been a lot happening at Don Valley to try and get Tuesdays game, the re-arranged one with Darlington, on.