Hurst Green pitch in together

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BARRY Bolton is a purposeful, friendly and energetic man. The handshake is firm and talking to him you sense a huge enjoyment of his career which he wants to share. Born and bred in the village, he was the greenkeeper at Stonyhurst Park Golf Club for 30 years and now, in semi-retirement, measures out his life in time spent at Smithy Row, Hurst Green's neat and tidy ground.

Hurst Green
"I'm down here every day, I love the place," said the 67-year-old, who has seen three generations of the family - including himself - play for the amateur club.

"I've looked after the pitch for half a century and I never get fed up of doing it.

"We'd rent the pitch off the local farmer for £85 a season and then he'd put his cows back on.

"It was just a soggy meadow then really. Twenty years ago all we had was a pitch."

It is hard to imagine now as Barry brushes his hand over the lush turf, a pitch any groundsman in the Football League would be proud to call home, never mind in the modest foothills of the West Lancashire League.

"I got a call the other night to say there was a sheep grazing in the penalty box," he smiled.

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