Dave Noonan

Curator Craig reckons he's on a good wicket

SOCCER field markings are still on the grass as Craig Goldsmith rolls the Oakes Oval cricket pitch in Lismore.

“Early on it's always a bit green,” he said. “But the cracks have started to appear.”

Today, Lennox Head's rugby union premiership win will come down from the scoreboard and Marist Brothers' LJ Hooker League clash with Ballina Bears will go up.

The seasons have turned.

Goldsmith has been pulled back from Lismore City Council's parks duties, and put to work preparing the city's six turf wickets.

“I start about the beginning of September when the winter sports begin to wrap up,” he said.

“I try to get on them about four weeks prior and start fertilising and try to keep it as soft as I can.”

Once there's good, post-winter growth, he thins it out, top-dresses and gets it flat before he starts rolling it.

“When the weather is good and kind and I get to put down a good wicket, it is rewarding,” he said.

“Here the guys don't mind if it's a little bit green as long as it's flat and hard.”

A greenkeeper by trade, Goldsmith learnt his craft on golf courses and has been plying it on local wickets for the past four years.

It has taught him to understand what Tony Greig is talking about on the Channel Nine TV coverage when he inserts his car key.

“I pay more attention to it now,” he said. “But mine will never be any-where near that.”

Goldsmith loves his job, but it means he has to be at the ground to roll the pitch before each day's play.

“My wife becomes a cricket widow over summer,” he said.

And he doesn't even play - although he did meet his wife, Leslie, at the 'Gabba in Brisbane while watching a match.



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