The Groundsman

January 2016

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Page 19 of 51

IOG BEST PRACTICE 20 the Groundsman January 2016 Visit for more information and digital editions here's no doubting the sporting prowess of Whitgift School: with pupils in Forms 6, 7, 8 and 9 all enjoying a 90 per cent participation rate in school sports, the teams have won an incredible 110 national titles over the past five years. Equally, it is clear that the emphasis on high-quality sports performances at the independent day and boarding school for boys isn't restricted to the players, since the school management's recognition of the role played by expert groundscare has seen the creation of an award-winning grounds team that is driven to produce playing surfaces of a standard to match the pupils' ability. Headed by 33-year-old Daniel Ratling, the team is charged with the maintenance and management of an impressive facility at the south Croydon site: six rugby pitches (for 28 teams), five cricket squares (26 teams), one football pitch (16 teams), a block of grass cricket nets plus a water- based hockey surface (for 26 teams), Astro tennis court and a golf facility that in total cover 10 hectares of sports surfaces. The main cricket area is maintained to First Class standards and has previously hosted Surrey County First Class matches and international A games. The pitches are in continual use, which by definition creates a heavy groundscare workload. But the school T Education is key at Whitgift Mirroring their high academic achievements, Whitgift School pupils' laudable success on the sports fields is helped in no small way by a skilled and dedicated grounds team, which likewise has a continual thirst for knowledge By: Colin Hoskins adopts a dynamic philosophy, not only by ensuring that the team has an impressive portfolio of machinery at its disposal (see panel on page 21) but also, and very importantly, encouraging and supporting the development of a talented, well- educated and well-trained team - head groundsman Daniel holds a Bachelor of Science Degree with Honours, and included in his eight-strong team are members currently undergoing/ Regular overseeding is undertaken with a Limagrain mixture especially developed to meet the wear-tolerance demands Daniel Ratling (fourth from right) with his team

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