The Groundsman

November 2016

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Visit www.iog.org for more information and digital editions 16 the Groundsman November 2016 GaNTIP in action – compaction in the West Country The Performance Quality Standard assessments of Forest Row Juniors FC's proposed site highlighted a heavy clay soil as a potential concern due to the compaction that would be caused through play and the use of machinery. Also the fact that the area was in a floodplain was another. That said, anything is possible and the club was determined to make use of this land to accommodate a growing youth section. Through recommendations offered by the RPA and with support from the chosen contractor, Bourne Amenity, the site received a full renovation. This included the application of 100 tons of suitable sports sand dressing, deep tine aeration, an overseed of a suitable ryegrass mix and a managed fertiliser regime. The result is that there has not been any match cancellations. This pilot started in September and will be monitored over the next 12 to 24 months with an aim to increase capacity and support retention and growth by providing a better experience for participants. This provides a low-priced, high-impact investment in pitches and equipment, supporting long-term sustainability of pitch improvements and protecting clubs from local authority budget cuts which will provide a viable option for grassroots clubs. Like their counterparts in football, it is clear that there is a need for vast improvements to be made at rugby league clubs where pitch maintenance and knowledge of maintenance is concerned. Going forwards, GaNTIP is investigating the possibility of instigating an education programme for Tier 1 and 2 clubs, creating a network that would then support Tier 3 and 4 clubs. In this way, GaNTIP would create a level of sustainability and support throughout the whole game. As part of the GaNTIP assessments that involved visits to 60 RFL sites, a number of key measurements were taken and the results from the Premier League are typical: • 67% of clubs have issues with ground cover • 59% of clubs have issues with weeds • 59% of clubs have issues with the height of cut • 84% of clubs have issues with compaction • 50% of clubs have indigenous soil that is not conducive to draining. Cricket – a benchmark year Benchmarking of the County Grounds Associations (CGAs) has been to the fore during the second year of GaNTIP activities for the England & Wales Cricket Board (ECB). There has also had to be some lateral thinking in regions where CGAs either did not exist or were in such a position that the formal approach would not work or be insufficient. Middlesex is one area where there had been no structure or development over a good few years and so the RPA covering that region created a Pitch Support Network (PSN) to provide the necessary support for the clubs and leagues. The PSN comprises a group that includes local groundsmen who give up their time to visit sites, produce reports and offer advice. The result is that there is now much interaction in the leagues and there is renewed focus on the pitches. The success of this PSN has also led to conversations with, and refreshed views by, the County Cricket Board (CCB). The programme priorities for ECB are: 1. Benchmarking of CGAs and the implementation of a tailored support package, as required Keswick Cricket Club after the flooding earlier this year

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