Everyone’s for Dennis
While Dennis mowers grace top level sports stadia right across the globe, they also have a place on the most humble English village cricket ground such as the picturesque one at East Horsley in Surrey.
In a way, in would be unthinkable for the local club there to have anything but a Dennis given that the the origins of that company’s great mowing tradition started just a few miles down the road in Guildford almost 100 years ago. East Horsley also happens to be just a stone’s throw from Lister Wilder’s Ockham depot, so it was no surprise that the dealership very quickly fielded the enquiry from veteran player cum groundsman Tim Drake.
“We were using an old mower that we had had for a long while so it was time to get a new one and keep the old one as a back-up,” says Tim. “I had a look at the options and talked to a friend who is an experienced groundsman in Devon. I also look at some videos online, and Dennis was the one we chose.
“I felt that a dedicated machine was preferable over a cassette based one and there was also the fact that the Dennis dealership of Lister Wilder has its local depot in the village. That was a fluke but very much a positive factor.”
Tim also liked the Dennis association with the area. The company started in 1901 as Raymond & John Dennis, manufacturing motorised tricyles in Guildford. By the time of the First World War, it was producing cars, lorries, vans, buses and fire engines, and in 1922 announced the Dennis lawn mower. Innovation was a characteristic from the very start – Dennis was the first motor mower to include a differential in the rear roller, allowing it to be turned without marking the grass.
Today, the Dennis Razor Ultra 560 purchased by East Horsley Cricket Club is as manoeuvrable as ever. It has been developed to specifically meet the demands of cricket pitches as well as golf greens, tees and bowling greens. The machine has a 560mm (22”) cutting width, an 11-bladed cutting cylinder to ensure a fine finish and an ultra-short wheelbase for undulating surfaces.
Other features include a low-noise and low-vibration Honda Q9 engine, tungsten tipped groomer, compact handle design for extra manoeuvrability and stub-free transport wheels for easy transport from site to site. Tim particularly likes the ‘no tools required’ click height adjusters. “It’s a very useful feature because it allows me to make an easy adjustment between cutting a wicket and then going on to cut the whole square,” says Tim, who shares the groundcare duties with a full time groundsman who works also for neighbouring Horsley and Send Cricket Club.
The Dennis has, he says, been well worth the investment. “Two things you need for a club like ours are the roller and the mower, so you don’t want to skimp on those. If you can afford it, those are the places to spend your money. We took delivery last April and, in a restricted season, it has delivered a a terrific cut and has been otherwise flawless. Richard Ifould (Lister Wilder’s Area Sales Manager) made the whole ordering and delivery process very smooth and came along to show me how to use it. There have been no issues since.”
The Dennis has a big job to do to help East Horsley CC maintain its reputation as one of the most successful sides in Division 1 of the the Surrey Downs League, which it has won three times in the past five years. The club also has a second XI playing in the league on Saturdays plus a team in the Village Cricket League (Surrey) on Sundays. The club is part of the wider family-focused Horsley Sports Cub which has facilities for both cricket and tennis.