The Groundsman

March 2015

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All major renovation work at the club is carried out by Phil Day Sports; and the same contractor is used for the major cleaning of the club's 3G (indoor training) surface to complement the frequent brushing by Martin and Stuart. The stadium's dwarf rye pitch, which is overseeded with Johnsons Premier Pitch, undergoes a regular programme of feeding (granular three times a year; liquids more frequently – "little and often," says Stuart, "using Headland Amenity products") plus vertidraining every two weeks, weather permitting, using tines up to 1inch diameter. "Ideally, with a game every second Saturday, we'd verti-drain on the following Tuesday or Wednesday." Year-round dedication For 52-year-old Martin and Stuart, aged 32, the heavy workload has become a way of life in a season that usually extends from mid-August to the end of May, including Christmas Day when needed and on one occasion, from 8am until midnight clearing snow for a Boxing Day game. Indeed, for Friday night games, it is usual for them to start at 6.30am and not leave until 10.30pm. And during the summer months, they are often at work at 5am until 7pm to keep up to date with all the mowing. Their commitment is explained by the demands they face in preparing and maintaining the Sixways Stadium pitch as well as the Warriors' main training pitch (though the players prefer training at the stadium because of water-logging problems on the training pitch, even though this has drains at 5m centres and has undergone sand banding). It was poorly constructed and features a very low grade top layer of 6/8 inches, which has a very The Worcester Warriors' groundscare duo have at their disposal TYM 43 HP and Iseki 25 HP tractors, Iseki SXG 326 cut and collect mower, John Deere 2653B triple mower, a verti drain, a Wessex Pro Line 240 roller mower, Kilworth flail mower, SISIS 2m slitter, SISIS Quadraplay, 1.5m Wessex rotary mower, SISIS comb and brush, plus Vicon fertiliser spreader and Hardy sprayer. Machinery Matters high silt/clay content. Their remit also includes 19 pitches (six senior and 13 junior pitches) of varying size, plus the 3G surface. All the natural pitches are kept at 39mm high. Of the pitches outside the stadium, four are used most Saturdays and Sundays for matches by the club's amateur division, and for training sessions on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday evenings. They are also in action on Sunday mornings by the mini/junior section. In addition, the ladies' teams use the pitches for games on Sunday afternoons and for training on Tuesday and Thursday evenings, while various academy groups are also on them most days. The club's Hitz children's development activities and touch rugby, plus games for Worcester University's men's and ladies' first and second teams, are also accommodated. Martin has been with the club for 15 years, the last six as head groundsman, and says he's been involved in groundscare as long as he can remember: "I was the volunteer groundsman at a local cricket club during the 10 years I spent working in banking, then did a couple of years of sports ground contracting before joining the Warriors." Stuart's four-year tenure at the club followed a period as head groundsman at Kidderminster Cricket Club. With the Warriors in contention for promotion back to the Aviva Premiership, and the potential additional revenue streams that could bring, there is talk of the addition of new floodlit training pitches (including one with artificial surface) and, who knows, perhaps also a new stadium pitch and additional investment into maintenance equipment - which could ease some of the pressure faced by Martin and Stuart. l Worcester Warrior's Sixways Stadium pitch hosts 30 to 35 rugby games a season Stuart Lambert My favourite meal: Chicken curry My favourite TV programme: Only Fools And Horses My interests outside of work: Fishing, shooting The most challenging part of my career: Dealing with snow The best piece of advice I can give to IOG members: Work on winter sports pitches – much more rewarding. Martin Knight My favourite film: Terminator My favourite car: Ford RS2000 My interests outside of work: Cricket, golf and socialising The most challenging part of my career: Juggling all the jobs we need to do so they are done by the weekend! Who I most admire in, or out, of the industry and why: Ian Botham - a top player who wasn't afraid to speak the truth The best piece of advice I can give to IOG members: If it ain't broke, don't fix it. Facts and Favourites i IOG BEST PRACTICE 15 the Groundsman March 2015 Visit www.iog.org for more information and digital editions

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