GOTY winner Bryan Symonds March 2022

Bryan wins award for a second time

BRYAN Symonds of Bacton United 89 is the Suffolk FA Groundsman of the Year.

BRYAN Symonds of Bacton United 89 has been named the Suffolk FA Groundsman of the Year sponsored by Jacobsen Ltd for a second time.

The 78-year-old won the competition in 2016 before going on to win the national award.

Bryan (pictured above) beat off stiff competition from Tony Adams of Claydon, who was second, and Chris Brown and Shaun Soloman, joint groundsmen of Beccles Town, who came third.

The competition, which is open to clubs at Step 7 and below, did not take place last year due to Covid, with Beccles Town winning in both 2019 and 2020, while Claydon came out on top in 2017.

Upon hearing the news Bryan Symonds said: “The success is down to other people at the club as well as myself and the backing we receive from the management committee.”

In addition to Bryan being crowned Groundsman of the Year, Bacton United 89 win £200 to be spent on groundscare equipment. Claydon will receive £100 and Beccles Town £50 to spend on groundscare equipment.

The Judging Panel included Ipswich Town FC Head Groundsman Ben Connell, Jacobsen Ltd International Marketing Manager Adam Underwood, Tim Parker, consultant with Suffolk-based sports turf management services company Parkers Pitches, and Suffolk FA Football Development Manager Matt Stebbings.

All three clubs will be invited to attend the Suffolk FA Awards Ceremony later in the year to receive their prizes.

Ben Connell said: “I was most impressed with the passion and dedication of the hard-working groundsmen at the grounds we judged.

“All of the pitches were in excellent condition and they should be proud of what they have achieved.”

Adam Underwood said: “It’s difficult to judge when you know everyone gives up their time to maintain these community football pitches.

“The passion and dedication they show is amazing – well done from all of us at Ransomes Jascobsen!”

Tim Parker said: “The later date for judging this year gave a chance to see the pitches coming out of winter conditions.

“They should all be very proud of the grass coverage and presentation, and we had a lively debate prior to reaching our decision.”

Matt Stebbings said: “It’s great to see clubs investing in their grass pitches. We have been able to see the hard work and commitment throughout the judging process.

“Congratulations to Bacton United 89 FC on winning the Groundsman of the Year 2022 competition.

“Clubs can still apply for grass pitch maintenance funding, but we need to assess pitches before March 31st 2022, so please get in touch now.”

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