The Groundsman

November 2013

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IOG BEST PRACTICE 19 the Groundsman November 2013 kept at 30 mm high. "I know that's higher than normal for football, but it serves the correct wearability purpose for the amount of use the pitches get and the length doesn't affect ball movement," adds Keith. "We give it some water – but not a lot." Leigh Sports Village t After lots of power harrowing, stone picking and the application of 250 tonnes of sand - on each pitch – we made steady progress. "All surfaces were initially seeded with Johnsons Premier Pitch, R14, then BAR 7 and now BAR RPR, and all are Pitch useage • The 11,000-seater stadium hosted 58 games in the 2011/12 season plus 27 pre-match warm ups, each of 40 minutes, and 24 training sessions; and • The Leigh East (rugby) pitches had 16 teams playing more than 180 games, plus a total of 184 training sessions (for Leigh Centurions and Swinton Lions). In addition to being the home ground for two rugby league clubs – Leigh Centurions and Swinton Lions – plus hosting the Blackburn Rovers' reserves and under 21s, the 6.5 acre site also accommodates a wide variety of Wigan and Leigh community amateur teams including Salford RLFC, Wigan & Leigh College, Leigh Genesis Juniors, Leigh East ALRFC, plus three six-a-side leagues, the Leigh Community Leisure Trust and the Law Training Football Academy. In addition, the stadium pitch will be under the world spotlight when it hosts the Tonga versus Cook Islands Rugby League World Cup game on November 5. Opened in 2009, Leigh Sports Village is a £50m, multi-use sports, retail and housing development in Greater Manchester. Leigh Centurions rugby league club is resident at the stadium and the site also hosts amateur rugby league club, Leigh East, and amateur athletics club, Leigh Harriers, which utilises the 400m synthetic running track. Other onsite facilities include the Leigh campus of Wigan & Leigh College (which shares the sports and youth facilities), Leigh Sports Centre which includes a gym, multi-use sports hall and swimming pool - and the Park Inn Hotel. i Facts and Favourites In addition to the Leigh Sports Village facilities, Keith also manages a site for local amateur club, Leigh Miners, helps at the St Helens RLFC ground and provides additional out-of-hours support to a range of amateur and professional clubs in the community, as well as playing a key role in the Rugby Football League's ongoing pitch improvement programme by working in conjunction with Headingley's Jason Booth. My favourite film: The Magnificent Seven My favourite book: Barry Hines (A Kestrel for a Knave) My interests outside of work: Breeding and training gun dogs The most challenging part of my career: New build at Moseley Rugby Union - building a pitch on a swamp. Who I most admire in, or out, of the industry and why: Arsenal's Steve Braddock: He is the best in the game; to leave his stadium to go to the training complex for the greater challenge and doing much more than the regular daily activities is something I can relate to. I also admire part time groundsmen, including undertaking tasks like coach driving (such as Neil Brown at Altringham FC). These people show fantastic commitment to producing a good standard of playing surface for their clubs with limited budget and equipment. The best piece of advice I can give to IOG members: Never give up. There are never problems, only solutions. Visit for more information and digital editions

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