The recent institute of Groundsmanship (IOG) Industry Awards ceremony at the National Conference Centre, Birmingham hosted by talkSPORT radio presenter Mark Saggers, saw DLF’s Derek Smith and Alan Prickett from Ransomes present the Groundsman of the Year Award in front of an audience of almost 700 of the UK’s and Europe’s leading groundscare experts, as well as dignitaries from the governing bodies of sport and influential sports administrators.
The expertise and dedication of the grounds team at Durham County Cricket Club was also recognised by this year’s Institute of Groundsmanship (IOG) Industry Awards with the club winning the Headland Amenity Professional Cricket Grounds Team of the Year Award.
The Durham CCC grounds team of four full-timers and one part-timer ensure the Emirates Riverside Stadium pitch is maintained and presented as an international cricket ground. With this in mind, records are kept of the moisture content and hardness of every match pitch; these records are forwarded to the England and Wales Cricket Board so that a data picture is created for every game. Also, a daily record is kept of all work undertaken on the pitch, and of daily temperatures and rainfall. Cricket fixtures at the site include international Test matches, one-day internationals, international Twenty/20 fixtures, plus the Durham 1st XI Championship (four days), 50 overs and T/20 games. Durham CCC 2nd XI plays Championship (three days) 50 overs and T/20 games, too, while Durham Academy stages three day games, 50 overs, T/20 and Saturday premier league fixtures. In addition, many local finals, corporate games and school holiday kids clubs use the facilities, and the outfield is regularly used in the evening for training by all age groups including ladies and girls.The Durham CCC grounds team is also charged with overseeing the development and build of a new second XI pitch adjacent to the stadium, and this will be for age group teams and community use.
Head groundsman Vic Demain says his role also includes involvement with contractors whenever music concerts are staged there and, he adds, he aims to “reach out to the local community of groundsmen (clubs and schools) to help them develop within the industry” by staging monthly meetings where techniques and ideas are demonstrated and discussed.
Organised by the IOG - the leading membership organisation for everyone involved in the management of sports pitches, landscape and amenity facilities – the annual awards embrace categories of entry covering sport, young people and the environment. The awards highlight the high standards of volunteer and professional groundsmanship, from grassroots to professional stadia level. They are judged by an independent panel on criteria that include effective use of resources, budgetary control, presentation and housekeeping standards, as well as environmental considerations.
Commenting on the high standard of award winners, IOG chief executive Geoff Webb, says: “With a record number of entries, this year’s awards continue to demonstrate the skills and passion of groundsmanship throughout the UK, at both voluntary and professional level.
“Winning an award is testament to the dedication of the grounds teams and individuals whose ability to produce and maintain ever-improving playing surfaces – which enables more games to take place - goes largely unnoticed.”
With headline sponsorship by Rigby Taylor and Top Green, the 2017 IOG Industry Awards are also sponsored by the AELTC, CubCadet Infinicut, DLF, ECB, The FA, GrassMaster, Growth Products, Headland Amenity, John Deere, Johnsons Seeds, Kubota, the LTA, Mansfield Sand, the Premier League, Ransomes, Redexim Charterhouse, the RFL, the RFU, Rigby Taylor, SGL, SISGrass, Toro and Top Green.
Visit www.iog.org/awards for more details.