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Midlands’ sports groundscare skills in IOG Awards’ spotlight

The expertise of two West Midlands sports groundsmen will be recognised at this year’s Institute of Groundsmanship (IOG) Industry Awards, which highlight the high standards of volunteer and professional groundsmanship, from grass roots to professional stadia level.

[] Gary Barwell of Warwickshire Cricket Club is shortlisted for the IOG Professional Cricket Groundsman of the Year Award, and

[] Martin Knight of Worcester Warriors RFC is a finalist for the IOG Professional Rugby Union Groundsman of the Year Award

The award winners will be announced at an Oscar-style ceremony at the Ricoh Arena, Coventry on Thursday 5th December.

Gary Barwell is responsible for the preparation of the pitches for international and domestic games at Edgbaston as well as its sand-based outfield. His remit also includes the preparation and maintenance of two international standard net facilities, and he oversees the preparation of pitches at Warwickshire outgrounds.

He manages a six-man team of groundsmen plus additional temporary staff on match days, and develops an on-going pitch plan for the ECB and for Sky televised games.

Martin Knight is charged with maintaining Worcester Warriors’ Sixway stadium and training pitches. The stadium usually accommodates 35 games a year and 55 to 60 training sessions, while the training pitch is used five days a week and hosts five or six games a year.

Martin’s remit also includes an additional eight senior pitches that are used both during the week and on weekends for training. He also looks after 12 junior pitches that are regularly used by Worcester Wanderers, the club’s amateur arm.

Organised by the IOG – the leading membership organisation for everyone involved in the management of sports pitches, landscape and amenity facilities – the annual awards embrace categories of entry covering sport, young people and the environment.

The 2013 Awards are sponsored by the All England Lawn Tennis & Croquet Club (AELTC), Campey Turf Care Systems, DLF Trifolium, the England & Wales Cricket Board (ECB), Everris, the Football Association (The FA), the Football Foundation, Imants BV, John Deere, Johnsons Sports Seed, Kubota, the Lawn Tennis Association (LTA), the Premier League, Ransomes Jacobsen, Redexim Charterhouse, Rigby Taylor, Rugby Football League (RFL), Rugby Football Union (RFU), Syngenta, Top Green, Toro, Vitax Supaturf and White Horse Contractors.

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