The Wildcats Groundsman, Steve Dutton (2nd from right), has been awarded the 'Brian Cartwright RFL Groundsman of the Year' trophy. The award is named after Brian Cartwright who was the Rugby Football League's Honorary Grounds person.
Steve, or 'Bathy' as he is most commonly known at the club, received his award on the pitch at Old Trafford before the Engage Grand Final. The trophy was presented to him by Brian's son, Andrew Cartwright, and some of the judges of the award.
Dave Saltman (Managing Director of Pitchcare) carried out the final round of judging after the finalists had been chosen by himself, Keith Kent (Head Groundsmen at Twickenham Stadium), Neil Holding (Ex Great Britain Lion and Groundsperson for Liverpool FC) and Ian Lacy (Head of Professional Services at the Institute of Groundsmanship).
Steve made it to the last two and was up against Kiel Barrat and Ryan Goulding from the Leeds Rhinos but came out victorious to win the award. He has been at Wakefield for over twenty years, and has been in charge of grounds maintenance for the last fifteen .
Wildcats Director of Operations, Francis Stephenson, said, 'From my experience within stadium management, I can confidently state that no one else would be able to produce a pitch of such quality so consistently with so few resources,'
Dave Saltman was very impressed with Steve's commitment and passion for the job and his skills of coping with a club who demand a lot from their pitch.
Dave was also impressed with the lads from Leeds, who like most Groundsmen often work beyond the call of duty.
Keith Kent knows better than most the hard work and devotion to duty that goes into good groundmanship."I known how hard the guys out there in the field work for the game they so love, "he says. " No medals are handed out in a bleak mid-winter when the pitch is frozen and the games must go ahead. It is an award that the great man is named after would have been very proud of indeed."
On speaking about his award Steve told us, 'I was shocked when the RFL contacted me to tell me I had won. I'm delighted that I received the award and would like to thank everyone at the RFL for a great day.'