BURNHAM-ON-CROUCH VOLUNTEER BOWLS GROUNDS TEAM WINS IOG 2016 AWARD FOR SPORTS TURF EXCELLENCE
The dedication and skill of the volunteer grounds team at Burnham Hillside Bowls Club has earned them the Institute of Groundsmanship (IOG) Bowling Green Groundsman/Team of the Year Award at this year’s IOG Industry Awards.
In a prestigious ceremony at the National Conference Centre, within the National Motorcycle Museum, Birmingham hosted by talkSPORT radio presenter Mark Saggers, the award was presented to Graham Pinch and Sid Curtis by IOG chief executive Geoff Webb in front of an audience of more than 640 of the UK’s and Europe’s leading groundscare experts, as well as dignitaries from the governing bodies of sport and influential sports administrators.
The club’s volunteer greenkeeper (Graham Pinch) and six willing assistants (Sid Curtis, Len Hyam, Tony Burke, Graeme Smith, Neville Evans and Malcolm Pinch, plus Terry Sims the team's refreshments provider) – ‘The Green Team’ – take care of the year-round maintenance schedule for the bowling green including all fertilisation and chemical spraying as well as the end-of-season full renovations of the playing surface.
In addition, they also look after surrounding garden areas, hedges, outbuildings, garages, outdoor furniture, fences, hanging baskets, the car park and automatic watering system, as well as take care of the servicing and repair all the machinery they use. A multi-talented team!
Their dedication to the green sees it being brushed every day, cut three times a week - plus an additional cut for special matches. The banks are cut each week, the hedges are trimmed at two metres high and the rinks are clearly and accurately marked.
Indeed, their weekly green-care routine of cutting complemented by deep spiking, grooming, slitting, rolling and power brushing has produced a playing surface that sees the green used by a host of teams including Chelmsford & District Bowls Association and Essex County matches, as well as Bowls England competitions.
Burnham Hillside Bowls Club contested the award with Arthur Lindsey, volunteer groundsman at Potton Bowls Club, Bedfordshire.
Organised by the IOG - the leading membership organisation for everyone involved in the management of sports pitches, landscape and amenity facilities – the prestigious UK-wide IOG annual awards embrace categories of entry covering sport, young people and the environment.
The awards highlight the high standards of volunteer and professional groundsmanship, from grassroots to professional stadia level. They are judged by an independent panel on criteria that include effective use of resources, budgetary control, presentation and housekeeping standards, as well as environmental considerations.
Commenting on the high standard of award winners, IOG chief executive Geoff Webb, says: “With a record number of entries, this year’s awards continue to demonstrate the skills and passion of groundsmanship throughout the UK, at both voluntary and professional level.
“Winning an award against such stiff competition is testament to the dedication of the grounds teams and individuals whose ability to produce and maintain ever-improving playing surfaces – which, in turn, also enables more games to take place - goes largely unnoticed.”
Representing Burnham's Greem Team, Sid Curtis (right) and Graham Pinch (left) who collect the award from the IOG chief executive Geoff Webb