The Groundsman

August 2016

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21 the Groundsman August 2016 Visit www.iog.org for more information and digital editions ayham Road Playing Fields, which hosts Tunbridge Wells Foresters FC football teams from the ages of seven through to adulthood, had been out of action for two months and would not see a change in this until February 2015. The situation was partly due to the nature of the pitches which are heavy clay. Another reason was the level of maintenance that the pitches traditionally received and an additional factor was the "one off, all off" approach which was being adopted by the key decision makers. Action The situation was difficult and needed all parties - which included the council, the contractor and the disheartened end user - to pull together in order to determine any improvement. The first step was to improve communication and set in place a more detailed service level agreement with the contractor to include operations and timings. Secondly, annual renovations needed to be in place or improved. At the time, the site was receiving occasional works that may or may not have always been suitable. Thirdly, the existing "one off, all off" approach needed addressing to B Bayham Road Playing Fields gets 44 more games on! As part of the Grounds and Natural Turf Improvement Programme's visit and recommendations to Bayham Road Playing Fields in Kent, the site has been able to stage 44 more games than the previous season By: Darren Symonds ensure that the decision was made nearer the date of the fixtures and to ensure that those areas where play was suitable could be utilised. The site does have a primary drainage system which, due to the area receiving little or no appropriate maintenance to ensure that the system works, had been capped off with a compacted overlying clay soil. It was advised that regular and suitable decompaction operations, accompanied by a managed fertiliser regime and in conjunction with the appropriate end of season renovations, must ensue in order to see an improvement within this site. Result Moving forward to the site revisit which took place in May 2016, the turnaround has been remarkable. When I drove into the main car park I was greeted with 200 tons of sports sand dressing all ready to go as part of the ground's second annual renovation since the initial visit - which was extremely encouraging. The site has successfully played an additional 44 matches in the 2015/16 season compared to the previous season. All parties have expressed their appreciation for the help and support associated with the programme and are focused and determined in their continued efforts to improve and sustain the playing surfaces within this site. Darren Symonds is regional pitch advisor for the South East l TW Foresters' younger team members Sand dressing ready for pitch renovation

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