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Pitch inspection

We round up the latest sports pitch projects and developments from around the UK – from artificial clay at a tennis club to the “perfect grass” for rugby

by Tom Walker, Leisure Media | Published in Sports Management 2014 issue 4
Read on turning pages | Download PDF of this issue

FieldTurf

FieldTurf launches eco-friendly VersaTile

FieldTurf has launched VersaTile, a new underlayment solution from recycled products which combines drainage properties with shock absorption.

VersaTile has been designed not to interfere with water flow thanks to its 82 per cent free draining surface area, which allows the system to drain up to 72,000 mm/h. It also has shock absorption properties – it allows impact attenuation of 60 per cent and more, mirroring the best shock pads currently available. Made using end-of-life artificial turf, VersaTile is a sustainable product and can be used as underlay for a second field when the initial one needs replacing.

Meanwhile, FieldTurf has supplied Welsh Premier League club Newtown AFC with a new Vertex RGF surface at its Latham Park stadium. Working together with contractors S&C Slatters, the project was completed over the summer months in time for the 2014-15 season.

Owen Durbridge, club secretary at Newtown AFC, said: “We sought advice from Cardiff Rugby Club which had the 65mm version installed and we’re delighted with the feel of the 3G surface.”

VersaTile has improved draining and shock absorption properties
VersaTile has improved draining and shock absorption properties

SIS

SIS Rams it in

SIS Pitches has recently completed two new 3G pitches at Derby County FC’s training centre. SIS began work on the new pitches in early August at the Rams’ Moor Farm Training Centre, with works completed in early October.

Work included installing a new outdoor pitch with spectator area and resurfacing an existing indoor pitch at the facility.

SIS Pro Soccer 50 was installed for both pitches, along with a 15mm shockpad to the pitch which was laid in situ using the SIS mini paver, which is part of SIS Pitches’ specialist machinery used to install these types of pitches. New lighting and fencing systems were also added, with installation of 4.5m high twin bar rebound fencing to the perimeter and a 1.2m high twin bar rebound fence to the spectator area – both powder coated green.

Darren Wassell, academy manager at the club said: “The full size outdoor floodlit pitch will completely revolutionise our academy winter training programme.

“Our U9 to U16 age groups will now be able to train throughout the winter months knowing that their training hours will be guaranteed. The space will allow all age groups to train onsite and outdoors for the first time in our academy’s history.”

SIS Pitches handing over the new pitches to Derby County Football Club
SIS Pitches handing over the new pitches to Derby County Football Club

NOTTS SPORT

A pitch fit for Ramblers

Cheshire-based Deeside Ramblers hockey club has had its synthetic turf pitch resurfaced by Notts Sport with a new sand dressed synthetic grass hockey surface. Notts Sport – which is England Hockey’s approved supplier – began working with the club in 2010 after being invited to complete a free pitch condition report and performance test on the original sand filled pitch. The report offered advice with short, medium and long term recommendations.

Following Notts Sport’s initial survey, the club took the recommendations on board with further free condition surveys being completed each year until spring 2012, when the club started to develop detailed grant applications with Sport England, England Hockey and the National Hockey Foundation.

Following an initial grant aid body support, the resurface project was extended to include the construction of a new fully floodlit and fenced 36m x 28m practice and warm up area adjacent to the new pitch. The surface choice, manufactured by Domo Sports Grass, was coupled with a high quality foam shockpad, manufactured by Trocellen. Once the pitch and practice area were specified, they were put out to tender and Cleveland Land Services was awarded the contract.

Notts Sport’s free Design and Advisory Service also helped the club seek appropriate funding avenues available to it without incurring consultancy fees.

Howard Green, chair of Deeside Ramblers, said: “We’ve got the first hockey pitch in England surfaced with Domo manufactured sand dressed grass. This new facility will allow the club to develop the membership and provide us with additional capacity to promote hockey development.”

The new surface – a Domo sand dressed grass pitch – is the first of its kind for a hockey club in England
The new surface – a Domo sand dressed grass pitch – is the first of its kind for a hockey club in England
The new surface – a Domo sand dressed grass pitch – is the first of its kind for a hockey club in England
The new surface – a Domo sand dressed grass pitch – is the first of its kind for a hockey club in England

PLAYRITE

Artificial clay surface for Margate club

Margate Lawn Tennis Club (MLTC) has converted two of its macadam courts to new artificial clay surfaces. Funded by Sport England’s Inspired Facilities Olympic legacy investment, the club opted for Clayrite – the only UK manufactured sand filled surface which simulates natural clay and is classified to Internation Tennis Federation Category 2 Medium Slow pace. 

Installed by ETC Sports Surfaces, the new Clayrite monofilament fibre surface is supplied by Playrite, with the ‘clay’ infill being produced by Garside Sands.

The new courts are designed to perform as a ‘real clay’ surface and are easy on the legs and joints, compared with macadam and other hard surfaces.

MLTC’s chair John Taylor said: “We chose Clayrite monofilament artificial clay based on performance, cost and other important parameters.

“They are a fantastic surface to play on, enabling players of all ability and age to thoroughly enjoy their tennis.”
Playrite is currently awaiting confirmation of approval of ITF category 2 for Clayrite as a clay style performance tennis surface.

Playrite director Chris Pickles said: “The monofilament fibre has taken our tennis surface offering to the next level. The ability to simulate a natural clay court surface with lower maintenance costs and higher usage of the courts is a winning combination for any club.”

The new artificial surface performs just like real clay but has a lower maintenance cost
The new artificial surface performs just like real clay but has a lower maintenance cost

Tiger Turf

New surface for Forest academy

Faced with the challenge of attracting and developing the region’s most talented young footballers, Nottingham Forest FC took the decision to install a new outdoor 3G playing surface at its Nigel Doughty Academy.

The club contacted TigerTurf, which manufactured and supplied a 7,094sq m Soccer Real 60XQ surface, which was installed by Smith Construction. At the request of the academy coaching staff, the surface was manufactured with markings giving it the versatility to be divided from an FA regulation 11-a-side pitch into four smaller pitches to be used by younger academy age groups. Boasting FIFA 1 and 2 star accreditation, the Soccer Real 60XQ utilises polymer processing which eradicates weak points which may occur in the yarns as a result of the shape, therefore producing excellent split resistance.

Gary Brazil, academy manager at Nottingham Forest, said: “As we aim to achieve Category One status for our academy as soon as possible, it is essential that we offer a top-class facility with top-class surfaces. The new pitch enhances our grass pitches and indoor surfaces.”

The new surface at the Forest academy
The new surface at the Forest academy

SISIS

SISIS delivers ‘best pitch for 27 years’

SISIS equipment has helped Brentwood Rugby Club in Essex achieve what the club described as its “best playing surface for nearly 30 years”.
The recent purchase of a SISIS Quadraplay and Multitiner drum type aerator – along with a compact tractor – was made possible through an RFU Get Fit for Rugby World Cup 2015 grant to help deliver a high quality natural grass pitch maintenance programme for the club.

It follows on from the club taking a bold step in taking the responsibility to maintain the council-owned pitches it plays its games on.

Peter Watson, the club’s treasurer said: “We approached Brentwood Council to ask for their support in improving the rugby pitches which are in a public park, administered by the council under King Georges Trust. The council were very supportive but pointed out, that like most local authorities, there were constraints in terms of the upkeep of their facilities.

“They offered us the innovative solution of the rugby club taking a lease of the pitches over a period of 25 years, thus making Brentwood Rugby Club responsible for the upkeep of the pitches.

“That coincided with the RFU launching two grants for funding leading up to RWC 2015 – one to improve social spaces and one to provide maintenance equipment in partnership with Iseki for the tractor and SISIS for the maintenance equipment.”

The SISIS Quadraplay and Multitiner drum type aerator in action
The SISIS Quadraplay and Multitiner drum type aerator in action

Smith construction

New joint venture completes Marford project

Limonta Smith JV has completed a £185,000 project at Marford Playing Fields, funded by the Football Foundation’s Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund. Marford Playing Fields in Wheathampstead had an existing large playing field, with a small children’s play area and tennis courts, but with no clear access to the playing field, especially for wheelchair users.

The new facility provides the community with a seven-a-side 3G football pitch with associated fencing and floodlighting to ensure maximum and safe play, and also a tarmac pathway to allow much needed access across the playing field. The pathway was a key element in the contract to assist disabled users accessing the facility.

Julia Warren, from the Parish Council said: “It’s a fantastic facility, a great asset to the community and we are absolutely delighted with Limonta Smith JV’s professionalism in delivering the project”.

Limonta Smith JV is a new partnership formed by contractor Smith Construction and Limonta Sport, a FIFA-preferred producer of artificial football turf. The two combined their skills and expertise to form Limonta Smith JV to provide specialist design, build and maintenance services for artificial pitches.

The new facility will provide the community with a seven-a-side pitch
The new facility will provide the community with a seven-a-side pitch
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