FOOTBALL: THE DEDICATION and skill of the volunteer grounds team at Rugby Town Junior Football Club has earned them the National Governing Bodies’ Grassroots Sports Ground Team of the Year Award at this year’s Institute of Groundsmanship (IOG) Industry Awards.
In a prestigious ceremony at the National Conference Centre in Birmingham and hosted by talkSPORT radio presenter Mark Saggers, the award was presented to the team by Sport England’s Charles Johnston.
Rugby Town JFC’s 35-acre site in Kilsby Lane consists of 35 grass football pitches including a newly-installed 3G artificial surface – all maintained by one part-time groundsman, who works 15 hours a week, plus a team of three volunteers.
The ground hosts association and community football with 60 teams using the pitches on a rotational basis including two senior teams and five Midland Junior Premier League teams (aged from under 11 to under 18).
The grounds team also looks after general site maintenance including the clubhouse and car parking area as well as undertaking grass cutting for a neighbouring community group.
Rugby Town Junior FC contested the award with Chorley Panthers RLFC, Lancashire, and NPL Sports Club, Teddington.
“With a record number of entries, this year’s awards continue to demonstrate the skills and passion of groundsmanship throughout the UK, at both voluntary and professional level,” said IOG chief executive Geoff Webb.
“Winning an award against such stiff competition is testament to the dedication of the grounds teams and individuals whose ability to produce and maintain ever-improving playing surfaces – which, in turn, also enables more games to take place – goes largely unnoticed.”
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 highlight the high standards of volunteer and professional groundsmanship, from grassroots to professional stadia level.
They 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.