The Groundsman

November 2014

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ith a population of circa 100,000, Jersey has always punched above its weight in its ability to produce top-class sports people. Beginning in the late 1800s/early 1900s with golfers Harry Vardon and Ted Ray – who between them won The Open Championships seven times – the island's sporting prowess has continued with such names as footballer Graeme Le Saux and rugby's Matt Banahan (Bath and England). But this impressive record is no surprise when you consider the standard of the island's sports facilities, including the numerous public sites being maintained by the States of Jersey. Steve Landick heads up the groundstaff who look after the wide range of first-class facilities – sites that will be fully in the media spotlight next year when Jersey hosts the NatWest Island Games XVI and hundreds of athletes from 24 islands descend on Jersey to compete in a variety of sports, including those involving natural and artificial surfaces. To accommodate the Games, a £2m plus investment is being made in a range of facilities, including the installation of new floodlights and a new 3G surface at the main football stadium, Springfield."The use of 3G is understandable," says Steve. "The synthetic surface will allow the maximum W Keeping Jersey on the map A whistle-stop tour of some of Jersey's state-maintained playing facilities reveals a host of first-class pitches - and groundsmanship skills – as preparations begin for next year's Island Games By: Colin Hoskins use to be made of the pitch and the stadium. I don't see synthetic surfaces as a threat, even considering the plans for two more artificial football surfaces on the island. There's a place for the technology – don't forget we've been using artificial cricket wickets for years." Ready for the Games Steve – who is also secretary of the IOG London East Region & Jersey Branch, a FA-qualified football referee and a Jersey FA pitch advisor – and his department is already preparing all the Island Games facilities, which has included the end-of- season renovations to the 10 football pitches that will be used. "Our renovations of these rye-mix pitches were based on a combination of vertidraining and Shockwaving, plus of course the usual selective herbicide and fertilisation regimes plus regular cutting – we've moved more towards roller mowers (Major and Wessex) because of the cost of maintaining cylinder mowers, he says. "In the two weeks preceding the tournament, we'll be cutting the pitches twice a week. The plan is to rotate play on five pitches each day, with two games on each. After each day's games, we'll cut and mark then leave each set of five pitches to 'recover' for a day." Steve, aged 57, entered the world of groundsmanship when he was 16, enrolling on a three-year apprenticeship which saw him gain a National Diploma in Applied Horticulture/Operations plus various IOG-based qualifications. He joined Les Quennevais playing fields as a groundsman and when he was 21, then became head groundsman at the site. "It became Jersey's largest playing field facility," he reflects, "with a cycle track surrounding eight football pitches, one rugby pitch, two grass cricket squares, cricket nets, eight tennis courts, a 300m running track plus softball courts, croquet lawns and a bowling green." 30 sports sites Today, however, as assistant manager of playing fields and cleaning services for the States of Jersey (formerly playing fields manager; budget enforcements have meant that the formerly separate 'sections' for playing fields and for cleaning are being merged as a trial), Steve is utilising and passing on his considerable knowledge of groundsmanship to the benefit of around 30 sites across the island, including a host of primary and secondary school pitches. GRASSROOTS 24 the Groundsman November 2014 Visit www.iog.org for more information and digital editions FB Playing Fields is just one of the sites maintained by the States of Jersey's groundstaff who are managed by Steve Landick (left)

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