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GROUNDS TEAM: Sussex pick up prestigious award


Sussex CCC's Head Groundsman Andy Mackay (right) receives the award from Headland Amenity’s sportsturf technical manager, Alex Hawkes

Sussex County Cricket Club’s Grounds Team has won the Headland Amenity Cricket Grounds Team of the Year Award at the Institute of Groundsmanship (IOG) Industry Awards.

In a prestigious ceremony at the Birmingham Metropole Hotel, hosted by talkSPORT Radio presenter Mark Saggers, the award was presented to Sussex CCC’s Head Groundsman Andy Mackay by Headland Amenity’s sportsturf technical manager, Alex Hawkes, 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.

With 12 full-time members, including five apprentices, the club’s grounds team works across seven cricket grounds on four sites, including 1.6 hectares of playing surface at The County Ground, Hove. The pitches accommodate First Class, Academy and Sussex Premier League games, amongst many other matches.

Lots of changes have been implemented at the stadium, including the installation of a fully automated irrigation system for the outfield and net area, and a programme of re-invigoration of the playing surfaces to attain the very highest standards. This re-laying of the pitches has all been designed and implemented by the in-house team and it included a revamped outfield during the close season ready for this year’s programme.

The Sussex team contested the award with Essex County Cricket Club.

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 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 high standards of groundsmanship throughout the UK, at both voluntary and professional level.

“Winning an award against such stiff competition is testament to the skill, dedication and passion of the grounds teams and individuals whose vital contribution to the high quality of the playing surfaces goes largely unnoticed.”

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