Matthew was once a student at Hartpury University and College completing a National Diploma in Horticulture before being offered a position on the grounds team in 2002. He now oversees three divisions which consists of a grounds team, a sports turf team, and a construction team.
The eight sports pitches, which are split equally between rugby and football, require a lot of attention as Matthew explained.
“They are arguably the most demanding surfaces because of the amount they are used,” he said. “During the week we find ourselves preparing the pitches for university and college teams, which still must be high spec because they are in the top divisions, but then it gets to the weekend, and we have premiership fixtures for the women’s teams or championship rugby games for men. In these situations, we are very much aware that we are preparing pitches for the paying public and that the games will be streamed online around the world for all to see. It is a lot of work, and we need reliable machinery.”
It is for this reason that Matthew decided to upgrade his previous cylinder mowers to four Dennis G860’s.
Relied upon at world class stadia and major tournaments, the Dennis G860 is one of the most renowned cylinder mowers in the grounds management industry. Lightweight at just 166kg it is incredibly easy to manoeuvre and comfortable to operate. The handlebar console houses the controls for the throttle, parking brake, roller drive and cutting cylinder drive.
The mower features a large diameter front roller with an adjustable scraper which has been designed for a precise height of cut control, giving an excellent finish on every occasion. The Dennis G860 also features an interchangeable cassette system to assist with a wide range of tasks such as including scarifying, verticutting, brushing, spiking, and slitting.
“Once we trialled the Dennis G860’s, we just had to have them,” continued Matthew. “They are lot more robust, more sturdy, easier to use and more manageable. For me the usability is one of its best features – they are ergonomically excellent, and everything is in the right place in terms of controls. It does a brilliant job every time and it isn’t complicated. I think there are quite a few machines out there that are perhaps over engineered. Dennis keeps it simple and straight to the point.
“The G860’s present the pitch brilliantly and they provide a more defined stripe than other mowers we have used.”
Matthew and his team use the Dennis G860’s on both the rugby and football pitches approximately three times a week. With such a busy schedule, time is of the essence and Matthew has noticed that the Dennis G860’s have helped in this respect.
“We seem to cover the same area more quickly with the Dennis G860’s. Previously we were only able to single cut and would never have enough time in the day to double cut, whereas we can do that now.
“We’ve had the Dennis G860’s for a couple of years now and nothing ever goes wrong with them. They are incredibly reliable.”