The Groundsman

January 2013

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24 AHEAD OF THE GAME the Groundsman January 2013 New York, New York Rotherham United FC kicked off the 2012/13 season from a new £20m home in the centre of the south Yorkshire town. Six months on, head groundsman Dave Fellowes reflects on the construction and care of the pitch at the impressive New York Stadium Rotherham United FC's new pitch, Inset: Dave Fellowes ork began on the new, 20,000seat stadium located on the former Guest and Chrimes Foundry site, in 2011. Due to the site being on a flood plain, the surface had to be raised two metres and consequently J Pugh Lewis, the sports field construction expert charged with pitch construction, started by levelling off the base. Pipe drains were installed lengthways at 5m intervals, then the ground was covered with a 150mm depth of 2-6mm gravel, 15 mm of lower rootzone sand and 150mm of fibre rootzone. The pitch was graded so that the centre spot was raised slightly (by approx 250mm) to create a 'shallow pyramid' to help drainage. The surface was then seeded in multiple directions with Rigby Taylor's Mascot W R14 Premier Coated hard wearing perennial ryegrass. Mascot Outfield 812-8 and Mascot Fineturf Ss2 14-2-7 + 1% mg fertilisers were also applied. J Pugh Lewis was selected to work on the surface after Rotherham United and the stadium contractors visited Chesterfield FC's B2Net Stadium and were impressed by the pitch construction. "The Rotherham project took around eight weeks and was fairly straightforward in terms of pitch construction," says pitch constructor Tim Pugh Lewis. "However, before any of the car parks were completed, the atrocious weather experienced earlier in 2012 caused the surrounding area of ground to become very muddy – and trying to get 4,000 tonnes of sand and 1,500 tonnes of gravel into the stadium through thick mud was a bit tricky." Visit www.iog.org for more information and digital editions Successful partnership J Pugh-Lewis worked closely alongside Mansfield Sand, a developer and producer of sand-based products and natural turf pitch surfaces, on the construction of the pitch at Chesterfield and this partnership proved to be just as successful at the New York Stadium, as Mark Robinson, Mansfield Sand's sports surface manager, explains: After visiting many different grounds and assessing their pitches, Rotherham opted for one of our Fibresand pitches. Fibresand is an innovative polypropylene fibre reinforced silica sand that is incorporated into rootzones in order to provide extra stability to the surface. The fibres act as a mass of indestructible synthetic grass roots, reinforcing and stabilising the growing medium producing a tighter, more divot-resistant surface.

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