More than 650 of the UK’s and Europe’s leading groundscare experts from both the professional and volunteer sector, as well as dignitaries from the governing bodies of sport and influential sports administrators, honoured the expertise, dedication and passion of the grounds profession at the Institute of Groundsmanship (IOG) annual Industry Awards last week.
Celebrating its 10th Anniversary, this year’s sell-out event at the Hilton Birmingham Metropole hosted by talkSPORT radio presenter Mark Saggers, recognised leadership, innovation and outstanding achievement across every aspect of groundscare - from grassroots pitches to professional stadia.
The joyous IOG Industry Award winners 2018
The ceremony also celebrated the quality standards of groundscare achieved in public and private sports venues, and highlighted the progress of young/student grounds professionals as well as entrants’ environmental considerations.
From an entry that equalled last year’s record-breaking nominations, the winners of the 2018 IOG Industry Awards are:
Toro Most Promising Sports Turf Student of the Year
Matthew Skingle, Coventry City FC.
Rigby Taylor/Top Green Young Grounds Person of the Year
John Wright, Southampton FC.
AMS Volunteer Sports Grounds Team/Person of the Year
Crowborough RFC, East Sussex.
National Governing Bodies’ Community Sports Club Grounds Team/Person of the Year
Stanningley Sports & Amateur Rugby League Club, Leeds.
The National Governing Bodies of sport (NGBs) award is co-sponsored by the AELTC (All England Lawn Tennis Club), ECB (the England and Wales Cricket Board), The FA (Football Association), the LTA (Lawn Tennis Association), the Premier League, the RFL (Rugby Football League), RFU (Rugby Football Union) and Sport England.
Public Sector Sports Ground Team of the Year
Gavin Jones Ltd (Aspire Defence, Project Allenby/Connaught), Surrey
Bowling Grounds Team/Person of the Year
Burleys (Crouch Bowling Club, East Sussex)
SCH Supplies Best Managed Artificial Surface of the Year
Scotstoun Stadium, Glasgow
Ransomes Environmental and Ecology Strategy Award
Forest Green Rovers FC, Gloucestershire
National Governing Bodies’ Professional Multi-Sports Ground/Facility Team of the Year
Bath Recreation Ground.
Headland Amenity Professional Cricket Grounds Team of the Year
Warwickshire CCC, Edgbaston.
CubCadet INFINICUT Professional Tennis Courts Grounds Team/Person of the Year
Devonshire Park, Eastbourne
John Deere Professional Horse Racing Grounds Team of the Year
Lingfield Park Racecourse, Surrey
ICL/Syngenta Professional Rugby Football League Grounds Team of the Year
Leeds Rhinos (Leeds Rugby)
Kubota Professional Rugby Football Union Grounds Team of the Year
Scottish RFU (BT Murrayfield Stadium, Edinburgh)
SISGrass Professional Football Grounds Team of the Year (English Leagues 1 & 2, National League, National League North/South, Scottish Championship & Leagues 1 & 2, Ireland & Wales Professional Leagues)
Rotherham United FC.
SGL Professional Football Grounds Team or the Year (Premier League, Championship and Scottish Premier League)
Leicester City FC
Redexim Charterhouse/Kubota University/College Grounds Team of the Year
University of Leicester
Growth Products Independent School Grounds Team of the Year
St Joseph’s College, Ipswich
International Ambassador of the Year
Jonathan Calderwood, Paris Saint-Germain FC.
Ransomes/DLF Johnsons Alex R Millar Award – chosen from the outstanding winner across all award categories
Gary Barwell, Warwickshire CCC
Special Recognition Awards
Mike Hunt and Adrian Morgan, Lord’s Cricket Ground
GrassMaster Solutions Lifetime/Outstanding Achievement Award
Peter Dury who, among many other achievements in sports turf throughout the country, is credited for developing the Pitch Performance Quality Standards that are today’s de facto standards for both natural and artificial playing surfaces.
IOG Outstanding Achievement Awards
Carl Pass and Steve Prinn
Carl Pass is head of Premier Pitches, a company that works at all levels of the game on pitch renovations and reconstructions, as well as aeration, fertilisation, seeding and spraying. Throughout, he says, the aim is to create the very best playing surfaces and to enhance the standards that can be expected from natural grass pitches.
Now retired as a turf grass lecturer at Askham Bryan College, Steve Prinn is an independent consultant who is skilled in sports surface management. As well as a whole host of City and Guilds accreditations Steve also holds a Master's degree in sports turf and turf grass management.
A special award, for Outstanding Leadership of the IOG, was presented to IOG chair David Teasdale.
Commenting on the high standard of award winners, IOG chief executive Geoff Webb, says: “Having this year suffered extreme weather conditions, with the winter’s ‘Beast from the East’ through to this summer’s unprecedented record heatwave, the climate has tested groundsmen to their limits.
“It has not been easy, yet we have seen how fantastic our profession is and, against all the odds and on a daily basis battling against the elements, this year’s awards had a fantastic array of nominees who have all achieved very high standards. I applaud everyone and thank them for their efforts in creating amazing playing surfaces.”