The Groundsman

January 2013

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Page 24 of 51

AHEAD OF THE GAME 25 the Groundsman January 2013 Its resilience also means it is very groundsman-friendly because it is easy to maintain," adds Mark. Pitch perfect Dave Fellowes is tasked with keeping the pitch in pristine condition. A local lad, Dave began his career as an apprentice at the University of Sheffield, where he stayed for nine years after qualifying. He then moved to Fulham FC's training ground and within a year was made the head groundsman. At the age of 25, he was the youngest head groundsman in the league. "Working at both the university and Fulham gave me a great grounding in the industry," says Dave. "Becoming head groundsman after only a year at Fulham was definitely a highlight of my career. The responsibility that came with the role definitely gave me more confidence. However, I wanted to come back home to Yorkshire so sent my CV speculatively to a few clubs. I came for an interview at Rotherham and was offered the job. "This has been the first time I have worked with a pitch from its construction to seeding and it has been a fantastic experience. Knowing how the surface is built, from the base layer through to the rootzone, has given me an advantage when it comes to managing it. I was also able to participate in the decision-making processes and offer advice when it came to choosing the right suppliers. "I worked with Mansfield Sand in my previous role at Fulham (where the club has a Fibrelastic pitch), so I was aware of the benefits of the product and the service that Mansfield provides." The main aim throughout the summer was to establish the pitch surface and encourage strong root growth. This was achieved through drying and starving the grass before feeding it. Once the roots were established and the grass was strong, Dave and colleague Dave Burton Put your maintained the surface with regular feeds every three and a half weeks – using different liquid and granular fertilisers from Rigby Taylor, as well as Activate Specialities which help promote root growth – plus regular aeration. This routine will continue throughout the season. "The club has just two full-time grounds staff, but with the help of two cylinder and two rotary motors (Allet Buffalos), we are more than able to keep the pitch looking and playing at its best. I believe this is down to the expertise and the knowledge of the team, but also because we are working with the highest quality raw materials. "Many of the players have already said this is the best pitch they have ever played on, which is testament to both the hard work of the grounds team and to the Fibresand surface itself." l foot down demand the best for your pitch renovation or construction. • Silica-sands (med-coarse, med & med-fine) • Rootzones (sand-soil or sand-green compost) • Fibresand (fibre-reinforced sand + rootzones) • Fibrelastic (dual-fibre-reinforced rootzone) Mansfield Sand is the name behind most of the rootzones found in the leading football and rugby stadiums and training grounds in the UK. If you would like more information about our product range, or to benefit from free technical advice from our team of experts - call us today on: 01623 622441 For more information or a FREE no obligation site survey Also available - Fibreturf custom grown fibre-reinforced natural turf. Visit for more information and digital editions

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