Toro is a runaway success at Gretna!
Up-and-coming Scottish Third Division football club Gretna is seeing significant pitch improvements - thanks to its investment in a new Toro Reelmaster 2000-D ride-on mower.
Head groundsman Paul Barnett, known to all as 'Barney', said: "When I first arrived here I quickly realised we needed to upgrade our pedestrian mower to something that could make real improvements. Toro had been very successful at Sunderland (his previous club), so I was keen to bring this standard of kit to Gretna.
"I had a Reelmaster 2000-D on demo from my Toro dealer, Lloyds, and never looked back. Mowing the pitch used to take me over four hours with the walk-behind, but now it's a quick, 45-minute job. This means my time is free for other tasks, like spiking, rolling, and other work. We get some pretty bad weather here, so mowing is always against the clock."
Since its promotion from the Unibond League two years ago, Gretna has been on a roll and is attracting increasing numbers of fans. The plan is the First Division within three years.
Gretna's new-found status in the soccer world has, inevitably, put pressure on the club to produce a better quality pitch. This, says Barney, is where the new Toro has come into its own. "It's already made a huge difference to the presentation of the pitch and really thickened up the sward.
"The players are always commenting on how good the pitch looks. I also find the mower very easy to operate and comfortable to use. It's not a complicated machine; everything is set up so well - the height of cut, the controls. I believe the Reelmaster is a long-term investment for us because it'll last for a good 10 years or more, unlike many other machines."
Photo: Barney Barnett, seated, with, left, Terry Steele of dealer Lloyds and Lely's George Macdonald.