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Kent County Cricket Club bowled over by Kubota UK and Lister Wilder partnership

A maiden partnership between Kubota UK and Lister Wilder has seen two of the leading players in the groundcare industry join forces to support Kent County Cricket Club.

The deal, announced at The Spitfire Ground, St Lawrence, in Canterbury, is Kubota UK’s fourth significant brand partnership in the professional sports arena. The company already supports Northampton Saints – one of the biggest clubs in English rugby, Andrew Hoy – the Olympic level equestrian rider and the Buildbase Suzuki British Superbikes Team. This latest announcement with Kent County Cricket Club is Kubota’s first advancement into professional cricket.

Karen Tipping, Kubota UK’s marketing manager, said: “Kent County Cricket Club is one of only 18 first-class county clubs in the country. The team plays top class county cricket with a culture that is committed to excellence and performing to first class standards. These are values that are also synonymous with the Kubota brand and our products and service offering, so supporting Kent Cricket is a fantastic match for our business.

“The partnership with Lister Wilder to support Kent County Cricket Club is all about continuing to raise the profile of the Kubota brand, whilst at the same time promoting their recently opened flagship depot in Ashford.

“This Depot has undergone significant investment over recent years, with this site supplying the local market with Kubota’s complete range of agriculture, groundcare and construction machinery solutions. We are delighted to be teaming up with our local dealer to support Kent County Cricket Club and hope this will enable us to reach a much wider audience.”

As part of the collaboration, Kubota’s market leading L5040 utility tractor has been donated to support Kent County Cricket Club’s groundcare and maintenance team in the daily preparation of its pitches. The team implement a daily routine that is second to none, working a month in advance, 12 months a year, to ensure its cricket surfaces are in the best condition all season.

Simon Williamson, Head Groundsman at The Spitfire Ground, St. Lawrence, leads the team; with a wealth of knowledge behind him, occupying various roles within the cricket industry since he was 16. Having spent the past 20 years maintaining Kent’s grounds, Simon now heads up a team of four professionals who look after the playing surfaces, day in, day out.

“For Kent County Cricket Club to be successful playing and practicing on first-class pitches is essential,” added Simon. “This means the type of equipment we use is crucial. Kubota machinery is renowned for being the best on the market for performance and reliability, so we are delighted to be working in partnership with them and Lister Wilder.

“One of the key challenges we face here at The Spitfire Ground, St. Lawrence, is the outfield is subject to such heavy use throughout the season. Our work using Kubota’s L5040 compact tractor is therefore vital in assisting us to keep the grounds maintained to the highest standard. Without the use of our compact tractor, our work would be much more difficult to carry out; essentially the machine works harder so we don’t have to. The vehicle provides comfort all year round, with an air conditioned and heated cab to keep us performing at maximum productivity, no matter what the weather.”

Kubota’s L5040 is the perfect match for Simon and his team at the club. The cab is designed for optimum operator comfort, with a deluxe seat and an enhanced control panel ensuring high productivity, all day long. In addition, the Glide Shift Transmission (GST) gearbox functionality means that the groundcare staff at Kent County Cricket club do not have to use the clutch to change gear, resulting in smooth and intuitive performance.

The machine’s unique mid and rear Power take-off (PTOs) ensure that a wide range of implements can be used with ease, allowing the team to quickly and efficiently change attachments to increase the scope and versatility of their maintenance regimes. This includes the seamless cutting of the square and outfield every single day, whilst also completing essential tasks such as preparing the wicket, fertilising the ground and top dressing the soil as part of the seasonal renovation routine.

Simon continued: “Prior to the start of each match, a pitch inspection is taken out whereby points may be deducted if not recorded accurately. It can take up to three weeks to make sure the wicket is in perfect condition before a match. The tractor is an essential piece of machinery, helping us to even out the pitch to the correct dimensions and helping to achieve a good moisture level, with the use of both a roller and verti-drainer.”

The Spitfire Ground, St Lawrence, is not only recognised as a high profile cricket venue, it is also a popular location for open air concerts. With 15,000 spectators flooding into the ground with as little as two days before a big event, Kubota’s L5040 compact tractor plays a crucial role in restoring the ground to the best condition.

Simon concluded: “Ever since partnering with Lister Wilder we haven’t looked back. As we are looking to increase capacity of the grounds, hopefully there will be room for more Kubota machines to join our fleet in the future. The power, performance and quality of the machinery is certainly a massive asset to our club.”

In return for the support, both Kubota and Lister Wilder will have the opportunity to host seminars, demonstrations and ground maintenance training at the iconic venue. This will support the region’s grassroot clubs and institutions in developing both their playing performance and pitch maintenance, as they look to Kent County Cricket Club as the ultimate standard of cricket.

Phill Hughes, Divisional Sales Director for Lister Wilder, concluded: “We’ve had a long-standing relationship with Kent County Cricket Club for almost a decade, servicing and maintaining all of its machinery to the highest standard. We are delighted to now be working together with Kubota to offer our unwavering support in ensuring the continued maintenance of such a high profile ground.”

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