As the groundsmen of any Premiership team will tell you, the quality of the pitch can have a big effect on the quality of play and with this in mind Gloucester Rugby Club has added a secret weapon to its groundcare arsenal - in the form of a 36hp Kubota STV36 compact tractor, which will be used to keep its 9,000 sq m pitch in tip-top condition.
Kubota, a world-leading manufacturer of tractors and groundcare equipment with an extensive range of machines, including many suitable for the sports and pitchcare market, has provided the STV36 as part of a sponsorship deal with the Premiership side.
The sponsorship includes the long-term loan of the popular compact tractor, together with a maintenance contract which will be provided by local Kubota dealer Buckland Garden Machinery.
The condition of the rugby pitch is of huge importance to the quality of play and each pitch is graded on its structural, presentational and playing qualities. The ideal pitch should have no undulations or depressions; be firm; covered with a dense sward of desirable grasses and well drained. Ultimately it should provide good grip for players during scrummage, whilst still offering appropriate cushioning for the impacts that players sustain through tackling and diving.
As a result, explains head groundsman, Dave Balmer, the right equipment for the job is essential for quality pitch maintenance. "Maintaining a Premiership rugby pitch requires a lot of hard work, so it's essential that the equipment we use helps us to keep the pitch in premium condition all year round.
"With this in mind, I immediately contacted Richard Phelps at Buckland Garden Machinery, our local Kubota dealership, to see if he could help. It quickly became apparent that the STV36 compact tractor was perfect for our requirements."
Kubota STV Series tractors are renowned for their superb versatility and are powerful enough to out-perform tractors twice their size. The STV36 features an independent PTO, cruise control, high capacity transmission, power steering and Kubota's accelerator auto throttle system.
The tractor also features Kubota's revolutionary Bi-Speed Turn feature to help avoid turf damage by limiting tyre drag over grass surfaces, even at increased speeds.
The STV36 will be used by Gloucester Rugby Club's team of four groundsmen to undertake a wide range of jobs from aerating or spiking the pitch, to spraying liquid fertiliser and weed killer, and ground rolling, using a variety of different attachments.
During the winter months, it will be used to drag frost sheets across the pitch to protect the turf underneath. It will also be fitted with a trailer to help with the transportation of heavy rugby and groundcare equipment between the Kingsholm Stadium and the club's training grounds.
"The STV36 is versatile, hard wearing, reliable and easy to use, making it the perfect piece of kit for us here at Gloucester Rugby Club," said Dave Balmer. "I'd like to take the opportunity to thank both Kubota and Buckland Garden Machinery for arranging to sponsor the club through the provision of the STV36."
The supply of the STV36 compact tractor will be supported by a maintenance contract provided by Buckland Garden Machinery, the Kubota dealer for Gloucestershire, which is celebrating 40 years in the industry. Based in Huntley Road, Tibberton, the company offers all of Kubota's compact tractor and groundcare products, as well as their class-leading RTV900 all-terrain utility vehicle. Buckland employs seven members of staff and facilities include an extensive showroom, as well as a workshop and stores.
Speaking about the sponsorship deal, Richard Phelps at Buckland Garden Machinery added: "Gloucester Rugby Club are a Premiership team and as such they need quality equipment to help them maintain a Premiership pitch; so we were delighted when they approached us about using a Kubota.
"We are pleased to have been able to join forces with Kubota to sponsor Gloucester Rugby Club through the provision of the STV36 compact tractor and an on-going maintenance programme.
"Everyone here at Buckland Garden Machinery are big fans of the club, so it will be fantastic to know that when we watch them win, we have, in a small way, contributed to their success through the provision of the quality equipment needed to maintain the quality of the turf on the pitch!"
Kubota's Tractor & Groundcare Division recently celebrated 30 years in the UK and Ireland. Throughout this period it has remained at the forefront of the market for compact tractors and ride-on mowers, as well as being the global leader in the sub 50hp tractor sector.
As the market-leading manufacturer of compact tractors and diesel ride-on mowers and the global leader in the sub 50hp tractor sector, Kubota machines have a legendary reputation for quality, performance, reliability, ease of operation and outstanding value-for-money, and a national network of Kubota tractor and groundcare dealers, such as Buckland Garden Machinery, provides the highest standards of advice and aftersales service, including equipment demonstrations.
For more information about Kubota's market leading tractors, ride-on mowers, and the class-leading RTV900 all-terrain utility vehicle, as well as details of your local dealer, contact Kubota Tractor & Groundcare Division Tel: 0800 023 1111/ROI: 1 800 848 000. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.kubota.co.uk
Photo Caption: Richard Phelps at Buckland Garden Machinery and Rhian Kendall, Marketing Coordinator at Kubota Tractor & Groundcare, with head groundsman Dave Balmer (in the cab), and Sean Roberts from Gloucester Rugby Club.