Working with Warriors
Head Groundsman Martin Knight (standing) and Stuart Lambert keep the Worcester Warriors pitch ready for battle.
Few types of maintained grassland take as much of a hammering as rugby pitches. Weekend after weekend through the winter, scrums, tackles and tries all take their toll – the better the match, the more punishment the pitch sustains. The challenge facing the crew that has to get everything looking good again for the next fixture is relentless.
The two-man grounds team at Worcester Warriors’ Sixways Stadium is in the top league, having clinched the 2014 Institute of Groundsmanship (IOG) ‘Professional Rugby Union Grounds Team of the Year’ award.
Between them, Martin Knight and Stuart Lambert maintain a total of 55 acres – in addition to the Warriors’ stadium and training pitches, there are six senior and 13 junior pitches of varying size – plus an indoor third-generation synthetic surface training area. In their ‘spare’ time they also tend all the mown grass areas around the stadium and the site as a whole. Oh, and just to keep them busy, a further four pitches are being laid out on an adjacent 18-acre site.
During a rare ‘breather’ with a cup of coffee in the team’s bothy, Head Groundsman Martin is full of praise for the unseen help offered by T H WHITE: “When you are up against a heavy workload you really appreciate all the help you can get and our T H WHITE Sales Rep Simon Bingham has been fantastic,” he said. “It’s not just the bigger purchases, but all the help with smaller items – whatever we need, Simon will get it, and dealing with one person who we know will give us a great deal removes a lot of pressure.”
In March 2015 the Warriors took delivery of a new Iseki TH4335 compact tractor from T H WHITE which has already seen a lot of work spraying and pitch marking, but they also currently run an Iseki SXG326 cut and collect mower alongside an older TF 325 tractor. There’s also a Cushman ride-on mower, a Wessex Proline 240 and a Wiedenmann Terra Spike aerator. More hardware is certain to be needed too, with the likelihood of taking on more staff to cover the expanded site.
Martin was originally recommended to T H WHITE by another groundscare professional and he hasn’t looked back since. “Buying the equipment is, in many ways, the easy part. It’s T H WHITE’s back-up and service that really matters – you can’t put a price on that.”