The Groundsman

February 2014

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"It's been a programme of continual development [improvement] since I arrived here in 2010," he reflects, "starting with the turf maintenance equipment – in short, there was nothing here because all the pitches were formerly taken care of by contractors. I arrived in September, towards the end of the growing season and managed to get a few machines on demonstration and borrowed some equipment from friendly contractors to tide me over. Continual improvement While the current workload involves the assistance (one day a week) of a gardener, from March through to November, plus outsourced help for arboriculture and major winter pitch renovations such as overseeding and topdressing, the new expanded facilities will likely mean that an apprentice will be taken on to help ease Steve's considerable workload – a workload, it must be said, that he certainly has not shied. t My favourite film: The Italian Job My favourite book: Labyrinth by Kate Mosse My interests outside of work: Sport – I'm a season ticket holder at Fulham FC and associate member of MCC. I still turn out for Hampton Hill CC's 3rd XI and play a bit of golf when I have time. I read quite a bit, mainly crime novels or historical fiction – I've just finished Robyn Young's Brethren Trilogy. My wife and I enjoy travelling to new places. The most challenging part of my career: Having very little equipment when I arrived at St James' was certainly a challenge but I think managing the expectations of pitch users, especially at grassroots clubs, is getting harder all the time. They all expect the sort of surfaces they see on TV. Who I most admire in, or out, of the industry and why: Muhammed Ali, a tremendous sportsman with a great mind. A real genius. The best piece of advice I can give to IOG members: Never let the weather take the credit for your hard work, it won't take any of the blame when things go wrong. Facts and Favourites i The cricket square was all wrong: totally unsuitable soil had been used and the turf was poorly laid " " The school's revamped lawn area IOG BEST PRACTICE 17 the Groundsman February 2014 Visit www.iog.org for more information and digital editions

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