The Keepmoat Stadium is a multi-purpose stadium - home to Doncaster Rovers FC, Doncaster Rugby League FC and Doncaster Rovers Belles Ladies Football Team. With games coming thick and fast, Head Groundsman Jim Davison is mindful that grass cover needs to be kept as close to 100% as possible – but was finding that by October each year it was starting to struggle. Jim turned to John Hughes, of DLF’s Johnsons Sports Seed, for advice.
The main pitch at the stadium is a desso system, meaning it’s harder wearing and allows teams to perform 3-4 times a week. Outside there are 2 pitches used by academies; a full size, newly-refurbished 3G pitch; 4 full size pitches and a training area at their nearby training ground Cantley Park. “The maintenance is ‘full-on’ for my team of 4 guys with John Hughes acting like an extra pair of arms - always at the end of the phone if we need him! With the budget we’ve got, we have to work hard to create a pitch that keeps the players, fans and the media happy. By not having soil heating or lights we’re very much dependant on the weather being kind to get the results we want, but starting off with the right product is the first step. Therefore, when we asked John about improving our grass cover over winter he came up with the plan of using tetraploids,” explained Jim, “and they’ve worked a treat!”
The Stadium is a regular user of Johnsons J Premier Pitch for his renovation work and didn’t want to move away from what they knew worked. In view of this John Hughes recommended they use Double and Fabian for overseeding later in the season, as it is known for its very good wear tolerance and rapid germination at lower temperatures. Jim again, “It delivered the dense sward ‘quick fix’ we were after and, ever since October, we’ve been using it little and often on the main wear areas of the stadium pitch to re-introduce tetraploids slowly but surely – we’ve had success every time. It’s an extra tool in our box moving forward, I know we can use it whenever we need to regain grass cover.”