0 Radley College adds New Sporting Facilities

Radley CollegeRadley College, near Oxford, has a reputation for some of the best sporting facilities in the country.

So it is not surprising that grounds manager Adam King has been a cricket and football coach - as well as being responsible for seven groundsmen, two greenkeepers and seven gardeners.

"We are proud of our sports facilities and work hard to produce the best playing surfaces we can," says Adam, who lives at Radley with wife Sue, daughter Beatrice (10) and son Harry (four).

Radley has produced some outstanding sports stars over the years including the legendary cricketers Ted Dexter, Robin Martin-Jenkins, Ben Hutton and Andrew Strauss plus rugby player Nick Wood of Gloucester.

And this summer their rowing team was runner-up to Abingdon School (their neighbours) in the school championships at Henley.

New work at Radley College will create extra pitches on former agricultural ground. Speedcut Contractors of Oxford have created a new 2.2 hectare plateau on which a rugby pitch, football pitch and cricket square will be created.

Speedcut in action at Radley CollegeAnd the job was not without its problems, involving an underground spring and different types of soil material including sand, clay and gravel. The levels all had to be altered to meet the local terrain.

"This was a challenging job but the result will be an excellent surface for new pitches to be created," says Speedcut contracts manager Kevin Smith. "We always enjoy working with Adam and his team."

Speedcut employed all their heavy-duty machinery at Radley, including the laser-guided Caterpillar D6, JCBs, and dumper trucks.

Says Adam: "Speedcut did a great job, as they always do. I have known them for more than 10 years and in that time they have done some great work for us - including laying the nearby Smithsons cricket ground."

As well as 15 rugby and football pitches, nine cricket squares, two full size astro hockey pitches and a full rubber-crumb tartan running track, Radley College caters for hockey (on grass and astro), tennis, swimming, badminton, squash and golf.

Speedcut in action at Radley CollegeRadley Golf Club, a 440 members-only club is based at the college and has nine holes - or a par 68 on an 18-hole circuit.

Adam has been at Radley College for 11 years and was previously at Woodbridge School in Suffolk for five years where he was head groundsman and cricket coach.

"Radley College has an enviable reputation for its sports facilities and the surroundings in this Oxfordshire countryside are superb," says Adam.

"Running the sports surface maintenance programme at any large school is a major exercise and anyone who thinks it's easy should give it a go. It's the most challenging job in groundsmanship with so many sports disciplines to be responsible for."

Radley College - founded in 1847 by the Rev. William Sewell of Exeter College, Oxford - has 96 houses on the site for staff and has its own village community. Around 700 boys from 13 to 18 are all boarders and the college has an outstanding educational record.

Says Dick Franklin, founder and managing director of Speedcut Contractors: "We are very proud of our association with Radley College and believe it is one of the finest sporting and educational establishments in our own home county. Adam is an excellent head groundsman who really knows his sports surfaces inside out."

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Contact Kerry Haywood

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