The Groundsman

February 2013

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28 GET INTO GROUNDS the Groundsman February 2013 Caption will go here A day in the life of an IOG apprentice Brentford's groundscare team including Scott Humphries (second from right) and Nick Baldwin (second from left). Right Scott at work Gary Armstrong, an IOG assessor/trainer for apprenticeships, records the day's activities of IOG apprentice Scott Humphries of Brentford FC as he helps the club's grounds team prepare for the FA Cup replay match with Southend United Author: Gary Armstrong I t was an early start for Scott and the groundstaff at Brentford FC. They got to the ground for 7.30am and the day's work was discussed over a cuppa, though in Scott's case that was a Lucozade/Red Bull as he doesn't like hot drinks. His choice will change with age, no doubt. The weather in the lead up to the replay with Southend was very testing for the staff with updated forecasts being part of the planning. Frost covers had been on the pitch for two days prior to the game, but the head groundsman, Nick Baldwin, doesn't like the pitch to be covered for too long because he says it can start to have a detrimental effect on the sward, with fungal disease a constant pressure. Scott worked mainly under Nick's supervision and encouragement, and was fully involved in all of the preparation. Hands-on help The pitch had been brushed and double cut the previous day, after the covers had been removed, and the staff had an extra problem to deal with as contractors had been in 10 days before to vertidrain the surface. This had caused some disturbance and softening of the top layer. With some loss of cover where the sward had been 'plucked up', some light rolling was needed to restore the surface smoothness. Scott had carried this out and is now competent in all of these tasks. Visit for more information and digital editions Scott is lucky: Nick is a very hands-on groundsman which means he'll train Scott to operate the tractor and the vertidrain, which will allow the Brentford FC staff to carry out more of this type of work 'in house'. As match kick-off approached, Nick had to make the decision to remove the frost covers and allow the guys enough time to finish the rest of the pitch preparation, including marking out and setting up the goals. Scott was tasked with marking out the pitch, a task with which he is now fully competent and he produced a fantastic-looking finish. All that was left to do was to erect the posts, one set for the match and a practice set for the keepers for warm up prior to kick-off.

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