Award-winning groundsman on how pitch preparation can be the difference between winning and losing
In a video released today, Yorkshire County Cricket Club’s Head Groundsman explains how pitch preparation can be the difference between winning and losing.
Andy Fogarty, who has plied his trade as a groundsman in the game for the over 40 years, has seen some of Headingley’s finest moments including arguably cricket’s most dramatic international match in 2019 when Ben Stokes scored one of the most famous Ashes hundreds.
In this video release he gives a unique insight into the tireless work that goes on behind the scenes to ensure the club’s surface is kept in peak condition.
“To me, it is the best job in the world. We’re here to help the players and provide the best surface possible for them to win fixtures on” he says, as he outlines the work his staff do on a daily basis to ensure the club have the best possible chance of success.” he said.
“Preparation of pitches is so vital - it can really dictate who can win at the end of the game. Whether that is the rolling we do, ensuring the right level of grass on the pitch, is it dry, soft, damp. Using different grasses and fertilizers, new techniques, we have to bring it all together. But we are learning all the time!”
Fogarty has been known to work up to 20-hour days maintaining his high standards. He details in the video the work he does to ensure his ground staff and wider team maintain the levels needed. “We can be here at 10pm at night doing our job - it is really an ongoing process. 5, 6, 7 8 hours, whatever it takes, we get it done.”
“We always debrief after the game with the coaches and captains at the end of the game. What worked well for them or what could be improved. How well has it carried, turned, bounced. And we’ll work with the match referees too - asking your advice on the pitch.
“The pitch has a big influence on who will win the fixture.”
The celebrated groundsman has been rewarded by his counterparts on numerous occasions, receiving accolades such as ECB ‘Groundsman of the Year’ four times, a runner-up four times as well as a runner-up six times for his one-day pitches.
Fogarty’s video is the second in a series to be released by Vertu Motors, Yorkshire County Cricket Club partner, entitled ‘It’s All in the Detail’, which highlight the marginal gains of sport and share exclusive details not always aired to the public.