The ninth date of the UK & Ireland Pitch Renovation Tour took place at the home of the Lancashire Football Association in Leyland on Thursday 12th May, with a wide variety of grassroots and professional groundsmen coming to the event
Over 80 groundsmen from rugby and football, club officials, contractors and council representatives came to the all-day event, which was supported by tour sponsors Pitchcare, Dennis, Sisis, ICL, Limagrain and New Holland.
The importance of the tour and its aim of improving the quality of Grassroots natural turf sports pitches in the UK & Ireland was evident among the guests, many of whom realised what small changes could be made to their own programme to make a massive difference to their surfaces.
One such groundsmen was Sam Konczynski from Kirby Lonsdale Rugby Club, who is new to the industry with little previous knowledge and came to Leyland with the aim of expanding his knowledge.
"I've found the event very, very interesting," he said.
"I was thrown into ground keeping 12 months ago and today's been a great opportunity to learn. What I've heard about the machinery, seeds and fertilisers is really going to help me and the club going forward."
The chance to learn and develop a further understanding of the different practices that can be carried out was also taken by Judith Hayhurst from Lancashire County Council, who wanted to attend the event to find out how they could improve their school playing fields.
"It's been a very well organised and enjoyable day. Having the chance to be talked through the machines before getting the opportunity to see how well they work is invaluable."
The combination of the seminars and practical demonstrations aim to educate grassroots groundsmen in the most innovative industry techniques, showing how standards of local pitches can improve dramatically by implementing small changes to maintenance practices, regardless of budget restraints.
There are many grants available from all the different associations as well as finance packages designed to help spread the cost of new machinery. These events show the best of the equipment available in today's extremely competitive market and those which give greatest value for your investment.
Daten Football Club, who attended the Leyland event, have already used funding to purchase a New Holland Boomer 25 Tractor and a Sisis Quadraplay from Campey, and were at the event with a view to further their equipment, as club chairman Stuart Nightingale explained.
"We started with a maintenance grant through the Football Foundation to get the tractor and Quadraplay, and we've secured another grant to improve our changing rooms and facilities, so the funding is there," he said.
"As we look to add more teams we know the wear on the pitch will increase, and our groundsmen, Ian Trantum, suggested we come along today to look at the modern equipment that's available and I'm really glad we did, because we can now go back to the club and explain what we need to do."
Ian added: "It's very important for people like me to come to events like the one that Campey have put on because I don't get the chance to go to bigger clubs to see machinery, and it's important to keep in the loop.
"Grassroots groundsmen don't have a lot of money, so it's invaluable to see how to make the best out of the resources that you've got. Just like Stuart and I have today."
There are still a few dates left of the tour in Stirling, Belfast and Dublin, and registration is simple.
Just go on-line www.pitchimprovementprogramme.com and fill out the form adding an RSVP address so follow up photographs of the event you attend can be sent to you afterwards. A video showing some of the action can also be seen on the website.
For the full range of equipment from Campey Turf Care Systems visit www.campeyturfcare.com