The Groundsman

September 2016

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Visit www.iog.org for more information and digital editions IOG BEST PRACTICE 20 the Groundsman September 2016 Worthy winners Commenting on BT Murrayfield's award-winning grounds team, Scottish Rugby's chief executive, Mark Dodson, said: "Our international pitch is famed for its quality, so it's a huge credit to Jim and his team to have it restored to the magnificent state we enjoy today. While the international game is the stadium's showpiece, and the arena in which it is truly tested and judged, it's the availability of BT Murrayfield to host more than 40 matches per year across all levels, as well high-profile concerts and events that makes it unique among the UK's national sporting stadia. It's a testament to the hard work of Jim and his team that this is able to continue and – added to that the huge volume of ancillary work in our stadium grounds and training pitches – makes them worthy winners of the awards." 'World class' was a phrase I heard several times during my visit to Edinburgh (also see overleaf, interview with Scottish Rugby's head of stadium and estates, Garry Blackadder), and it was clear that Jim heads up a passionate grounds team where everyone pulls in the same direction to prepare the pitches to the highest standards. That success is based not only on a dedicated grounds team but also on effective communication, within the grounds team (they meet every morning at 8am to discuss issues that may have arisen from the previous day) plus monthly attendance at user group meetings that allows communication with Edinburgh Rugby and with national team coaches. In addition, weekly meetings with Scottish Rugby's senior facilities team review performance and any other relevant issues. Jim concludes that joining Scottish Rugby after so many happy years in football was "a shock to the system, especially as my first game here was against the All Blacks". But, he adds: "Nothing can beat the atmosphere here when 67,000 spectators are in full cry. And nothing compares to the satisfaction of knowing that, as a grounds team, we've done everything we can to ensure that every pitch under our charge has been prepared to the best of our ability to world-class standards." l "It was a case of installing a world-class product if we had any hope of achieving a world-class playing surface" t

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