We finally managed to see an end to the 2019/20 Premier League season - albeit three months late due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. What a relief for Liverpool who finally won the title. Not such good news for Bournemouth, Watford and Norwich who were all relegated.
The 2020 / 2021 season is scheduled to start on the 12th September, less than six weeks away. I am sure it is going to be a challenging few weeks for the groundmen trying to get their pitches back into condition before the start of the new season.
After a short break most players will be back in training on or near the 20th August. Having spoken to several groundmen they will spend the next few weeks verticutting, aerating, oversowing and feeding their pitches to get them ready.
The same can be said for the Gallagher Premiership Rugby groundsmen. They are again busy getting their pitches ready for a proposed resume of their league games to complete the 2019/2020 season on the 15th August. For many clubs, training has been granted under strict social distancing rules.
There is plenty of evidence of the good work many groundsmen are doing up and down the country as seen on many of the social networking sites, where many are posting pictures of the work they are doing on their grounds.
As for cricket, the domestic season is well underway with many clubs enjoying a return of grass roots play. The Test between England and West Indies was a great advert for the game, between two well balanced teams. Credit to the groundsmen of both counties, who prepared the wickets in somewhat of a difficult growing season.
As for me, I am looking forward to getting out and about in the coming months. I have got a couple of rugby clubs to visit to conduct some pitch assessments for the RFU, along with some planned visits to football, cricket and bowls clubs to acquire some feature articles for TurfPro.
Also, in my role of Green Flag judge, I will be conducting a number of visits to various parks to complete this year’s awards. On the subject of parks, I would like to take the opportunity to thank all of the parks managers and their dedicated staff for keeping these valuable assets open and safe during this unprecedented pandemic.
Paul Rabbitts of the Parks Management Forum wrote a letter to Boris Johnson on the role of parks recently – the whole of which you can read here. He asked for government support in funding these essential public facilities,
The Parks Management Forum is now urging all MPs, Local Authorities and Government Departments to support the following recommendations:
- Ring-fence appropriate funding to protect, enhance and sustain parks and green infrastructure services for future generations;
- Acknowledge the success of local authorities and all other relevant organisations in managing public parks and open spaces during the COVID19 lockdown and the widespread public affection for them;
- Recognise the important role parks and open spaces had during the pandemic and will have in the ongoing recovery process, with likely greater usage, and in the health and well-being, socio-economic and environmental agendas and allocate emergency funding to support this role;
- Support nature recovery plans as part of the Environment Bill; and
- Encourage all local authorities to adopt a Green Infrastructure or Green Spaces Strategy, underpinning the value of parks and open spaces for public health, regeneration and well-being, social equity, biodiversity and climate change resilience.
Finally I would like to mention some industry events on the horizon.
The Amenity Forum is holding its annual conference on October 15th, 2020 where the theme will be Planning for the Future. However, due to the ongoing pandemic, the Forum has decided to switch the conference to a fully online format using specialist professional conferencing facilities. For more detail, contact Admin@amenityforum.net
This year’s Service Dealer Conference and Awards is planned for 19th November 2020 at the Double Tree by Hilton Oxford Belfry. A great networking event for the UK's machinery dealers, the organisers have said the event will take place physically, digitally or a blend of the two.
As for our two major industry shows, they are still pencilled in to take place on :-
- BTME - 19-21st January 2021
- SALTEX - 3-4th March 2021
However, from what I can gather, Boris Johnson has plans to keep the two Nightingale Hospitals at the NEC and in the Harrogate Convention Centre in place, during the time the shows are planned.
We will have to wait and see if this in any way affects the ability of either show to run as scheduled?