With grass roots sports clubs enjoying the return to action this spring, Kubota’s new G Series ride on mower is proving a game changer for Marston Saints FC in Oxford. The community football club has two fields near the city centre, one of which is Parish land and other rented from the city council.
Pitches are in use up to six days a week by members, from the first team who are in the Elite section of the Oxford Senior League to a new initiative this year for under-fours. Founded in 1967, the ground benefits from a drainage system installed with the help of Football Foundation funding, and is supported by local families and businesses.
An enthusiastic committee of volunteers takes care of everything from organising training and fixtures to grounds maintenance and for Claire Cole that includes specifying equipment.
“We had an old tractor and mounted mower, but were limited on who could drive it, plus it was unreliable,” she explains. “I contacted Phil Garrod of Elite Turf Solutions, the contractors who carry out renovation works at our ground, and asked for help in finding a replacement.”
He suggested that the club might be eligible for a Football Foundation grant to help fund a mower purchase, and was in no doubt about the brand of mower to choose.
“He immediately recommended Kubota because of the reliability and simplicity of operation the brand offers,” says Mrs Cole. “He then put us in touch with dealer George Browns, who have been exceptionally helpful in finding the right mowing solution.”
After weed control operations took place late in 2020, the priority is encouraging healthy sward growth with regular light cuts. With this in mind, and the need for a straightforward, dependable machine, George Browns’ Seb Cooke suggested the Kubota G231 ride-on rotary, the latest version of the highly popular mower-collector.
A number of upgrades have been made on the G231 which features a new Stage V-compliant 22hp Kubota engine, new hydrostatic transmission designed to increase traction and grip and an electromagnetic PTO clutch for consistent cutting performance. Cut width of 1.22m makes the mower highly productive.
“We needed to get other quotes for the grant submission, but the qualities of the Kubota stood out, as well as George Browns’ customer service,” says Mrs Cole. “We had a great demonstration which really showed us what the mower could do, and since our purchase Seb has also been so helpful in setting the mower up and training amateur operators including my husband John, who is the club chairman and committee member Matt Thompson. It’s very quick and so straightforward to use that I’ll be able to come down after work and mow if needed.”
The mower is being used to cut and collect during the spring growing season, and will have a rear discharge adapter fitted for dry conditions. An improved collecting system on the new G-Series features a wider and taller chute with a shorter travel distance between the deck and the grass collector enabling effortless grass flow and reduced clumping.
“We’ve been really pleased with the quality of cut, even in the wet weather in the run-up to reopening the club and on the uneven conditions in the back field, where moles moved in during lockdown,” comments Mrs Cole. “We’ve also found the Kubota mower highly manoeuvrable – it’s stored in a container with tight access, but goes in with no trouble at all.”
While players have enjoyed getting back on the pitch this spring, Marston Saints are also looking forward to next season, with plans to enhance spectator and social areas for outdoor fundraising in between.
“It’s a hub for the whole community and for families,” says Claire. “Next season my husband, son and son’s godfather will play on the same team, for example. The Kubota has been a blessing and we wouldn’t be without it.”
Frequent light cuts are being made to encourage growth on pitches that were treated for weeds in the autumn and have seen less use than usual during Covid restrictions.