Cricket World Groundsman of the Year Awards 2007

Laurence Gale MScin Cricket

As always, this year's Cricket Groundsman of the Year judging was a very rewarding experience, giving me the opportunity to meet so many dedicated Groundsmen at their home venues and seeing a wide range of skills, knowledge and experience being put into practice.
I had twenty finalists to judge spread across four categories:-

School or College Grounds
Cricket Club Grounds
Local Authority Grounds
ICC European

As usual the standards were high, and each of the grounds was a pleasure to visit. Obviously, there were issues - how do you compare a ground that has everything, with plenty of resources machinery and staff, for example, to one that is maintained by volunteers with little or no equipment?

In my opinion, it is all about the Groundsman himself; what he brings to the table in terms of commitment, enthusiasm and guile, together with the ability to get things done with the resources he has at hand. And, above all, with the skill to produce a playing surface that is both safe and consistent while, at the same time, promoting the game of cricket.

There were no two grounds alike; each had its own peculiarities and characteristics. In my book they are all winners - the dedication, enthusiasm and commitment of all the Groundsmen I met was clear to see, but I was charged with making some decisions.
So here they are, the top three in each of the four categories.


First Place - George Alexander, Tonbridge School

George has been based at the school for 15 years, with a staff of seven. Over the years he has continued to improve the standards of the surfaces and equipment. He has been instrumental in constructing a cricket square with 6 pitches, each with different loam contents, enabling him to monitor their performance. The presentation of the school grounds is exceptional and, in particular, the cricket outfields and squares.


Second Place - Mike Rutherford Framling College

25 years at the college, seven in charge, Mike and his team of 8 oversee all the work in the gardens and grounds.

Third Place - Ian Smith, St Albans School

The sports areas at the school are relatively new, and Ian has been involved in all stages of the development since its start in 2002.


Cricket Club

First Place - Paul Tatton, Haydock Cricket Club

Paul has been with the club for seven years, since it first opened after redevelopment. Paul is very resourceful, bringing in funds and making good use of materials and machinery to bring the best out of the facility. He has a flair for adapting bits of equipment to improve working practices, one such example has been a simple marking frame made out of upvc window mouldings.


Second Place - Andrew Clarke, Shenley Cricket Club

Andrew works by himself at a facility that specialises in corporate cricket events; he manages and maintains two squares and outfields with very limited resources.


Third Place - Jon Lawrence, Plymouth Cricket Club

Jon and fellow Groundsman, Ken Wheaton, have worked wonders in renovating a former MOD cricket ground, bringing it back into use.


European ICC

First Place - Karl Mcdermott, Clontarf CC, Nr Dublin (Ireland)

Over 16 years in the post, Karl lives and breathes cricket, he spends hundreds of hours tending the ground, which this year hosted three West Indies fixtures. The square provides 14 wickets with over 100 fixtures being played in any one season. His attention to detail and presentation skills are exceptional, there is not a blade of grass out of place.


Second Place - Ian Vauntier, Grainville Playing Fields (States of Jersey)

Even after working on the same site for 32 years, Ian still continues to look at ways of improving the quality, performance an presentation of the ground.


Third Place - Kenny Nisbet, The Grange CC, Edinburgh (Scotland).

The sole groundsman on the site, with other facilities to maintain as well, Kenny has to produce international standard pitches when required for Scotland games.


Local Authority

First Place - Simon Lawrence, Colchester and East Essex CC

Simon works for a private contractor (Elmy Landscapes) employed by the local council to look after its main cricket ground. The facility has one large square that provides 16 pitches, and accommodates over 70 senior and 20 colts fixtures in any one season. He generally works alone and the excellent presentation and performance of the facility is purely down to his ability and hard work.


Second Place - Gordon Gill, Westbury and District CC

A former player at the club, Gordon has been involved in maintaining the ground, on a voluntary and contractual basis, for more than a quarter of a century.


Third Place - Glyn Dobbs/Ivor Parry, Blaenau Gwent CBC

Council groundstaff for over 30 years, this dedicated duo are responsible for the preparation and repairs of the county standard cricket ground (plus a stadium rugby pitch, a natural grass bowling green, litter picking and a care-taking role when these facilities are hired out!).



Cricket World® and would like to thank all our sponsors for supporting these awards. These awards have been designed to raise the profile of the Groundsman and are also in recognition of their hard work and dedication on behalf of their clubs.

ICC European Tel: +44 (0)207 616 8637

John Deere (01949) 860491

Lloyds of Letchworth (01462) 683031

Ransomes (01473) 270000

Sisis Equipment (Macclesfield) (01625) 503030

Groundsman Industries

Synergy Products (01380) 828337

C.H. Binder (01277) 890246

Goundrey's 0870 242 1090

Flicx UK 07900 883630

Tildenet 0117 966 9684

JMS Cricket (01535) 604777

Dennis (01332) 824777

Stuart Canvas 01925 814525

Notts Sport 0116 272 0222.

Article Tags: