Old Saltleians Rugby Club, located in Birmingham, has received a grant of £5,000 from the Rugby Football Foundation (RFF), a Limited Company Charity set up by the Rugby Football Union (RFU) in 2003.
The RFF Groundmatch Grant Scheme aims to provide "easy-to-access grant funding for capital projects which contribute to the recruitment and retention of community rugby players." Old Saltleians Rugby Club applied for funding to purchase grounds maintenance equipment for its 12-acre facility.
Club Chairman Peter Holmes and Secretary Colin Gardner sought advice from Keith Kent, the RFU head groundsman, about the best machinery options for the club. Explaining the decision-making process, Peter said: "Keith's input towards this project has been really helpful. We are a small local club with very limited funds, and we have always used second-hand machinery. We explained our situation to Keith and, without hesitation, he recommended Iseki's new premium economy tractor: the TLE3400. We took his advice, and with the money we secured from the grant, we purchased the tractor with a roller mower attachment to go with it."
Old Saltleians Rugby Club is one of the first in country to purchase the new tractor from Iseki. The TLE3400 is part of the TLE Series of compact tractors and features a 38hp engine, a three-speed hydrostatic transmission system and a lift capacity of 1000kg, making it a powerful and versatile piece of equipment ideal for sports fields, schools and other grounds maintenance applications.
In addition to his club secretary duties, Colin Gardner also operates the tractor. Commenting on the new piece of equipment, Colin said: "We are over the moon with our new piece of kit. The tractor is extremely easy to use; we have a groundsman, Steve Loveridge, and a part-time groundsman, Luke Turner, and all of us were able to pick up the controls very quickly. It's a versatile tractor; in the future, we'll look at buying more attachments for it, but it's great to know that it has the capacity for us to be able to use it for a multitude of groundcare practices. I can't find any faults with it; I almost wish the grass would grow quicker so I can use it more often!"
Peter and Colin both claim that the purchase will mean significant savings being made in fuel and servicing costs due to the efficient and reliable reputation of Iseki machinery. The tractor was supplied by local Ransomes Jacobsen dealer T.H. White. Commenting on the purchasing experience, Peter said: "I have been very impressed with our local dealer. You hear about some smaller clubs who get disregarded unless they're placing a large order, but T.H. White has been extremely professional and helpful throughout the whole process. T.H. White carried out a BAGMA installation process which ensured that all of our operators were fully trained and competent whilst using the machinery, which was reassuring and provided us with confidence moving forwards."
Old Saltleians Rugby Club was established in 1933, six years after Mr W.J. Lawrie was appointed headmaster of Saltley Grammar School and introduced rugby football to the school. Today, the club comprises of junior, senior, mini and ladies' teams.
To find out more information about the RFF grant schemes, visit: http://www.rugbyfootballfoundation.org/what-we-do/grants-loans
To find out more about Iseki, visit: www.iseki.co.uk
Images: Top from left to right - Club Chairman Peter Holmes, T.H. White Sales Representative Lee Miles and Secretary and Operator Colin Gardner. Bottom - Colin Gardner on the TLE3400 which was purchased through the RFF Groundmatch Grant Scheme