I've been offered a big Dennis Premier mower for use on our cricket pitch but I want to know whether this mower is suitable.

Sally Drury offers advice on a cricket pitch mower and explains grass trimmer handle configurations.

It is a village green situation. It's free, so we are keen to accept the offer. We had an Atco and it ran like a dream for years and years but it has finally been bowled out.

Jonathan, club captain, by email.

A: The Dennis Premier, or "Prem" as it is affectionately called by many, is a sports-ground contractor's mower. In its larger 36in (91cm) format, it is a bit of a beast. This mower weighs in at 327kg, making it an effective roller, but with its Kubota diesel engine it is capable of galloping along at 11-12kmph when used with the appropriate trailing seat.

It is ideal for cricket fields and football pitches, and you should find that the weight of the machine helps to keep it running straight. When it comes to turning at the end of a run, the three-section roller does help, but it can be something of a struggle until you get used to the machine.

The smaller 30in (76cm) version is much more manoeuvrable. Cutting and collection are first-class with the six-bladed cylinder.

Cutting height on the Prem is adjustable from 6mm to 57mm. You will need a spanner and some patience - it is not like adjusting a domestic lawnmower but it is worth getting the height right.

Starting is also different. There is a pre-heat and a decompression lever. In use, the operator presence control has to be squeezed upwards to engage the cylinder, then the drive to the cylinder is eased in and finally the drive to the rear roller. I should also warn you, it is not a particularly quiet machine.

Email your questions to sally.drury@haymarket.com

Sally Drury has been reporting on product developments and testing kit for 29 years. The advice given in this helpline is independent.

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