At Aviva Premiership side Bath Rugby Club, training can go ahead in all weathers, thanks to a half-size 3G rubber crumb-filled synthetic pitch.
"It's ideal for pre-season training and for use in the worst of the winter," explains Head Groundsman Darren Ball. "It's a private facility so gets around three hours' use per week, but correct maintenance is essential to keep it in tip top condition."
After a series of demonstrations Darren chose a Verti-Comb and Verti-Top. "We could use a Contractor, but I decided to invest in our own machinery so that we can keep on top of the maintenance on a regular basis," he explains.
At 1.8m wide the Verti-Comb is designed for brushing and decompacting large areas of turf quickly and efficiently, and is used once or twice a week to groom the pitch, standing up the carpet fibres and returning the surface to perfect playing conditions after use.
The Verti-Top's rotary brush removes surface litter and the top infill layer, then filters out debris by using a vibrating mechanism.
The cleaned infill is redistributed evenly over the surface and a rear brush ensures a smooth finish.
During the process a powerful vacuum system uses suction to lift the fine particles such as dust, hair and broken fibres into a filter bag for safe, hygienic disposal.
"We use the Verti-Top once a month and it is a very thorough process - it's surprising how much comes out," comments Darren. "It takes out all the dust and really cleans up the rubber crumb.
As the Verti-Top is quite a heavy unit, you do need a good tractor, but we already had a John Deere 3320 so did not need to invest in an additional tractor."
The pitch and the machines are about to start a second busy season at Bath Rugby Club and Darren comments that the Charterhouse synthetic maintenance equipment has proved to be extremely durable and reliable.
"We also hire them out to a local contractor, so they get plenty of use. Other than regular servicing, the machines have not needed any attention and the bristles on the Verti-Comb have lasted well."
By keeping the pitch well maintained on a regular basis, the only additional renovation needed so far has been a top up of rubber crumb earlier this year.
Darren comments that he has received excellent customer care from Charterhouse Turf Machinery. "There is always someone on the end of the phone if I need advice and Charterhouse's specialists have also been happy to visit and advise me on the care of the pitch including the infill.
It is a very good service and I am extremely pleased with both the products and back up from Charterhouse Turf Machinery," he says.
For more information visit: www.charterhouse-tm.co.uk