Stuart Vause, head groundsman at Castleford Tigers RLFC, claims that his Dennis PRO 34R rotary mower has helped him make huge improvements to both the main pitch and also the training pitch.
In the five years that Stuart has been the head groundsman at his beloved Castleford Tigers, the pitch at The Mend-A-Hose Jungle Stadium has vastly improved – so much so, that Stuart has picked up the Professional Rugby Football League Grounds Team of the Year award twice in three years.
Stuart’s expertise coupled with the support and investment from the club has made this all possible. When he first arrived at the club, he inherited only an old mower designed for golf fairways which he used alongside his own personal equipment.
“The club has realised that if you want a good pitch then you have to have the correct equipment,” said Stuart. “We’ve spent quite a bit of money now, not just on equipment but on fertilisers, top-dressings and other products, and it has really made a difference.”
In terms of the machinery, the club’s first major purchase three years ago was a Dennis G860 cylinder mower. After reporting fantastic results from the G860, Stuart decided to continue with the Dennis brand and has since purchased a Dennis PRO 34R rotary mower.
“I needed a mower which would serve a few purposes,” said Stuart. “Recently, I have decided to put a lot more focus on the training pitch so I wanted a mower that would provide a fantastic finish but one that would also assist with other tasks such as cleaning up both pitches after use. The PRO 34R seemed to tick all the boxes.”
The Dennis PRO 34R is a 34″ (860mm) rotary mower which has been designed to help groundsmen achieve an aesthetically pleasing appearance and desired playing surface. It is ideal for sports pitches and lawns producing the enviable ‘Dennis Stripes’ while a powerful vacuum flow collects debris quickly and efficiently.
The angle of the cutting deck and twin blades can be easily adjusted using a single ‘click adjuster’ ensuring the mower is suitable for changing conditions and meeting groundsmen’s requirements.
“The PRO 34R is my main mower for the training pitch and I’m now in a routine where I’m cutting regularly with it,” he said. “In the past twelve months since I’ve been using it, the sward has really thickened and the surface has significantly improved. The finish is so good – it is just like a cylinder mower and the quality of cut is the best I’ve ever seen on a rotary mower. You can also cut and collect with it in the wet which is a big benefit.
“On the stadium pitch, I use both the G860 and the PRO 34R,” continued Stuart. “I will cut with the G860 and then use the PRO 34R to clean the pitch up after the games. It literally picks everything up and it is surprising how much the grass box holds.
“It is an ideal mower, especially as it is just me here. It has a wide cutting deck and various speed settings so I can get the job done quickly which is great if I am up against time or the weather. I tend to use it on a speed setting of 4 but I can always slow it down slightly if I want to take a bit more time.
“The PRO 34R is also incredibly easy to use. There is no time-consuming setting up and you can adjust the height of cut in no time at all. Ultimately, it is an incredibly simple and effective machine which you can rely on.
“In some way I like to think that the playing surfaces have played a little part in the team’s success over the last few years and has helped them to play the way they want to play. We are also unbeaten at home this year and the win percentage has been high. Long may that continue!”
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