The Groundsman

July 2014

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Nowadays I also enjoy, if requested, advising local sports clubs on a variety of surfaces " " In addition, the team also looks after the gardens of 25 boarding houses, gardens, fences, hedges, stream management, meadows and more than 10,000 trees, as well as managing the grounds of the Dorney Olympic Rowing Lake. John explains how his 42 years as a groundsman began in the summer of 1970: "After taking my GCSEs, I took a summer job at the County Cricket Ground (the Wagon Works) in Gloucester. My headmaster wanted me to go into sales or accountancy because he said I was a good talker and good at maths. I returned to school in September for A Levels but I really missed working outdoors so, in January 1971, I gained an apprenticeship at the same ground on the understanding that I could attend Hartpury Agriculture College to further my education. I was warned by my headmaster not to take the position as it would be a dead end job." John reflects on the time he spent (two winters) studying under Dr Adams and Dr Stewart at Aberystwyth University Soil Science Unit. "It gave me a greater understanding of how a variety of sports surfaces should be constructed and managed, and their scientific approach to grounds maintenance made a big impact on my early learning." He subsequently joined Cheltenham College as head groundsman and grounds manager (in 1983) and in 1989 became grounds manager in Mid Glamorgan covering 350 schools and colleges as part of the CCT process. John joined Eton College as grounds manager in 1994. He is only the fourth grounds manager at Eton since 1887 – following Matt Wright and Bill Bowles (50 years each) and Peter Miles who was in post from 1984 to 1994. "At Cheltenham College we won several County Cricket awards for fast paced, even bounce pitches," adds John. "I prepared many County pitches not only for Gloucestershire at its satellite grounds but also for Glamorgan at Abergavenny, and I advised at many others over the years. Nowadays, apart from my duties managing the college grounds, I also enjoy, if requested, advising local sports clubs on a variety of playing surfaces." In a future issue, The Groundsman will look in-depth at Eton College's grounds maintenance procedures. l Eton College has 24 cricket squares The IOG delegation inspects a square - where Gost dressing is favoured. Left: the recently renovated pavilion Grounds manager John Taylor IOG 80TH ANNIVERSARY 15 the Groundsman July 2014 Visit www.iog.org for more information and digital editions

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