OLD Newton United’s Michael Brundish has reclaimed his title as Suffolk FA Groundsman of the Year sponsored by Ransomes Jacobsen.
Brundish won the competition, which is open to clubs who play at Step 7 and below, three times in a row – both in 2011 and 2012 and again in 2014, after it was not run in 2013.
In the last three years, Achilles, Bacton United 89 and Claydon have been named as winners, but Old Newton reclaimed their crown after Friday’s judging.
They pipped fellow Touchline SIL Division One clubs Bacton United 89 and Claydon to the title and with it the first prize of £200 to be spent on groundscare equipment.
The judges could not separate Bacton United 89 groundsman Roger Lawson and last year’s winner Tony Adams of Claydon, so awarded them joint second place. They will each receive £75 to be spent on groundscare equipment.
Roger Lawson was also picked out as the winner of the draw to spend a match-day at Portman road with the Ipswich Town groundstaff which all entrants went into.
Ipswich Town Head Groundsman Ben Connell, who led the Judging Panel, said: “The dedication of the groundsmen is reflected in the high quality of the pitches we have visited this year.”
Phil Jeggo, who is Regional Pitch Advisor East of the Institute of Groundsman, said: “The pitches we have seen today are up there with some of the best I have seen in my role with the IOG.”
Tim Parker of Parkers Pitches Sports Turf Management Services said: “Given the time of year and the recent weather, the pitches were all in exceptional condition and great credit goes to all the groundsmen involved.”
Ella Boyden, PR & Communications Officer of competition sponsors Ransomes Jacobsen, said: “We are pleased to once again support the competition. All the pitches were a credit to grassroots football in the county.”
Suffolk FA Football Development Manager Jodie Allard said: “I’d like to thank all of the clubs who entered this year’s Groundsman of the Year competition, in particular this year’s winners, Old Newton FC.
“The high quality of applications this season was clear, and I would like to place thanks to everyone who continues to work hard behind the scenes to support grassroots football facilities in Suffolk.
“A big thank you must also go to our sponsors, Ransomes Jacobsen, for supporting the programme, in addition to Tim, Ella, Phil and Ben for providing us with their specialised support and knowledge during the judging process.”
The Judging Panel are pictured above (left to right) Tim Parker, Ella Boyden, Phil Jeggo, Jodie Allard and Ben Connell.
If your club is in need of improvements to your grass pitches, Suffolk FA would like to support you with the FA’s Pitch Improvement Programme which the county co-ordinate in partnership with the Institute of Groundsmanship (IOG).
The Pitch Improvements Programme (PIP) is a grass pitch maintenance service which can be utilised to support grassroots football clubs, with the simple aim of improving the quality of grass pitches.
PIP provides a range of support services to grassroots clubs, club volunteers and groundsmen including on-site evaluations with practical advice and recommendations.
The programme costs £100 and involves an initial 90-minute visit from a Regional Pitch Advisor where the club will receive a detailed report on the quality of their pitch with clear steps outlined as to how they can improve the surface.
Suffolk FA will also provide support to clubs to try and access funding, where needed, for much needed machinery support. Clubs will also receive a second pitch visit, included in the programme, to provide a follow up report to any changes which have been made by the club.
Suffolk FA Football Development Manager Jodie Allard added: “We hope that the programme will also help to ensure more matches can take place over a season and support the vital work that our groundsmen complete to support facilities involved in grassroots football.”