The Groundsman

July 2016

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Visit www.iog.org for more information and digital editions 16 the Groundsman July 2016 oth Edmonton Sports Club and Sandgate Youth FC successfully applied for grant funding from the Football Foundation to acquire new pitch maintenance equipment – Edmonton now has a new mower while Sandgate has installed a compact tractor, roller mower, multi-functional maintenance attachment as well as a chain harrow and transport box. The kit was successfully acquired via the Football Association's (FA) Pitch Improvement Programme (PIP), after initial pitch reports by the Grounds and Natural Turf Improvement Programme (GaNTIP) and with assistance by Bob Leeds, football development manager at the Amateur Football Alliance, and Middlesex FA development officer Stuart Allen. Brent Rickard, head groundsman at Edmonton Sports Club, says he chose the mower because of its width and quality of cut, speed of operation, ease of maintenance and high productivity. "With a large area of grass sports fields to maintain, the machine has vastly reduced time spent on mowing operations," he says, "and delivers a high quality finish by providing a pleasing striped finish." The grounds accommodate football in the winter months – with more than 30 teams using the site – then convert to cricket (three squares) during the summer. The ability to mow down to 20mm is important to Brent as well as the machine's quick and simple adjustment to mowing heights for areas outside of the cricket boundaries. Volunteers' victory Run by a team of dedicated volunteers in B Equipped for pitch improvements Two London-based sports clubs have taken delivery of machinery and equipment after engaging with The Football Association's Pitch Improvement Programme By: Andrew Clarke Hayes, Middlesex, Sandgate Youth FC is one of the largest and most successful clubs in the area having more than 40 teams across all ages and abilities for boys and girls. It has long been a desire to take maintenance of the pitches in-house from the local authority, but this has previously been restricted by both the lack of suitable equipment and the limited competency among the volunteers. However, through the GaNTIP programme and with ongoing support, these areas have now been addressed. Club secretary Steve Kennedy commented: "Following the GaNTIP report and attending machinery demonstrations, we initially thought that obtaining the necessary equipment and machinery was way beyond our aspirations. But with the help of the Middlesex FA and continued guidance from the GaNTIP we now possess a full range of equipment hanks to the investment from the Football Foundation to enable us to vastly improve the playing surfaces. In addition, the GaNTIP and the machinery suppliers have provided comprehensive training, and we benefit from being able to tap into their experience and knowledge at any time." He continues: "The change in the pitches has been immediate, and armed with an outline maintenance schedule we now enjoy a growing team of volunteer groundsmen who are comfortable with the equipment and so keen that we've had to instigate a rota to ensure everyone gets to use the machinery!" Andrew Clarke is a regional pitch advisor for the Grounds and Natural Turf Improvement Programme l The volunteers at Sandgate Youth FC receiving their new equipment Edmonton Sports Club's Brent Rickard (left) and assistant David Sans

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