Over the years, the seminars have been hosted at Essex CCC, Glamorgan CCC, Sussex CCC, Durham CCC , Gloucestershire CCC, Cheltenham College and at St Albans School Woollam Trust.
This week the seminar was at St Albans School Woollam Trust and there were a number of leading experts in the field of sports groundcare that made presentations to over 200 groundcare individuals and staff from club, schools and universities in the South of England.
The day also gave me the chance to launch this year’s Cricket World and Turf Matters Cricket Groundcare Awards to all the cricket groundcare individuals in attendance and to explain what the awards were and a little the history behind them.
In the morning, Rob Kindle from ATB Sports Solutions gave a talk on renovating and rejuvenating playing surfaces, Dr Iain James on Sportsground Construction and Alex Vickers on drainage and managing sports fields and in the afternoon, Keith Kent (RFU Head Groundsman at Twickenham) spoke about coping with winter sports next to cricket squares and the issues involved with the relationships between the different sports clubs as well, with fixture seasons overlapping etc.
The day was rounded off by Chris Wood (ECB Pitch Consultant) who spoke about his 50 years in groundcare and, in particular, in cricket. It was a fascinating insight into the how the industry and sporting facilities (in particular playing surfaces) have developed and improved over that time.
At the end of the day, Chris Wood was given a special memento of his 50 years in the Groundcare Industry by the former CEO of the ECB, Tim Lamb.
Cricket World and Turf Matters Cricket Groundcare Awards 2019
As a School, Club and University cricket player I have always recognised that without the curators of our playing fields, there is no recreational sport. When we first decided to set up the Awards our main aim was to inspire and recognize the hard work of all the groundcare teams and individuals around the UK and Europe. We worked at that time with the ECB (through Chris Wood) and the ICC Europe office to make this happen. We are similarly pleased again to be working with Chris Wood (ECB Pitches Consultant) and other pitch advisors around the UK and Europe.
Over the years, winners have included individuals from clubs and schools all over the UK and Europe, from village greens to premier league clubs and University curators. Some of our winners were inspired by the Awards and the recognition to strive for more – for example, Keith Exton - Educational Establishment/School category – (Oakham School) Vic Demain - Cricket Club category (Uxbridge CC) and Karl McDermott ICC Europe category (Clontaf CC) have all moved on since they were nominated for an Award to being top Groundsmen at International cricket venues like – the Emirates Riverside, Sofia Gardens and the Ageas Bowl – and now Lord’s – Karl McDermott has recently taken up the position as Head Groundsman at the Home of Cricket. “
Karl recently commented on what the Award meant to him at the time – “Winning the ICC Europe Award in 2007 was a huge honour for me. The recognition of such awards makes all the hard work and dedication worth it.
Awards are not something I personally strive for but when you win one it gives you a great feeling of pride and satisfaction, and it confirms that you are doing something right in an industry where so much could go wrong!!
The presentation was my first ever trip to Lords, and looking out across the ground gave me great inspiration. Little did I know that I would be Head Groundsman here 12 years later!!”
The Awards have been introduced to recognise the dedication and hard work that groundcare individuals put into maintaining and producing cricket squares and outfields, for reactional clubs, schools and universities in the UK and Ireland.
We hope to continue to raise the profile and awareness of ground care staff (without whom there would be no cricket) and encourage and promote the Groundcare Industry.
There will be seven award categories and the judging process will take into account the quality of the playing surface, general upkeep of the ground, longevity of service ,an 'against all odds' and an overall Groundcare person of the Year and the winners will be invited to a special presentation at Lord’s Cricket Ground, in London.
All you have to do to nominate your ground care staff or individuals is to fill in the form online and it will go forward to the judging process.
@ Cricket World 2019