GKB fleet tackles multi-use maintenance at Leigh Sports Village

GKBin Machinery

With up to eight different teams sharing the facilities at Leigh Sports Village, it’s no surprise that Head Groundsman Keith Porter and his team are kept busy when it comes to the maintenance of such a high-wear site!

Thankfully they’ve got the assistance of a fleet of equipment from GKB Machines, which keep both the natural and artificial surfaces looking and playing at their best. 

Keith and his team of six are currently looking after the stadium pitch, three grass training pitches, two full size artificial surfaces and the three football cages that make up Leigh Sports Village – home of Manchester United Women and used by U21’s, U18’s and development squads along with Leigh Leopards of the Rugby Super League. “Maintenance windows are tight” Keith emphasises “so when we’re looking at purchasing machinery, we want robust and reliable solutions that will get the job done how we need it to, and when we need it to.”

“The first GKB machine we bought was the Combiseeder which we’d had on demonstration alongside a couple of other dimple seeders. Straight off the bat we liked the build quality, and the fact that we could adjust the pressure with water tanks on the front and back to suit the stadium pitch construction as well as the outer pitches.”

Shortly after, a GKB Renovator and Aerator were added to the fleet, for decompaction of the synthetic surfaces. “These two pitches are always in demand and the high wear results in issues with compaction of the rubber infill. During the summer we normally conduct three passes with the Renovator loosening up the infill of the upper profile, with compaction deeper down tackled with year-round passes with the Aerator.” Keith adds, “The surfaces undergo regular testing by the RIB which look at the various elements to do with player safety and surface quality and thanks to these GKB machines, we pass every time.”

The most recent addition is a V-Strong, a scarifier fitted with GKB's unique CombiRotor and heavy-duty steel blades to effectively control weeds and organic matter. He explains, “Because of demand, we have to alternate and/or stagger full renovations so, when we can’t renovate, we can now intensively scarify as we’ve done this year on two of our pitches. This is an unbelievable piece of kit! We removed an incredible amount of material from one of our rugby surfaces and also ran it through our SIS goal mouths. It cleaned these up a treat.”

Together with reliability and overall performance, Keith commends the back up support from GKB’s Tom Shinkins. “Tom’s responsiveness is second-to-none, whether that’s sourcing us a machine at short notice or answering any questions we may have. The back-up is brilliant.”