Chambers on pitch maintenance

18 Jun 2017 in News

Chambers on pitch maintenance Chambers on pitch maintenance

By Brian Bennett

Ashington FC will play their first warm up match against Ashington Colliers in a couple of weeks time – but whilst the playing staff have been enjoying a few months time off, the same cannot be said for the ground staff where a lot of work has been done on the pitch. In an exclusive interview for the Ashington FC website with club press officer Brian Bennett, Graham Chambers Director of golf at Longhirst Hall golf course who is groundstaff consultant at Woodhorn Lane and who works on the pitch alongside Scott Robson and Stu Percy - gave an in-depth explanation to enlighten all supporters of the procedure which has taken place since the last ball was kicked at the end of last season:

“When Steve Harmison took over as manager two and a half years ago, he said he would like the pitch improved 30-40 per cent if possible. Through the contacts I have got, I was able to bring people in to assist and over the first year we improved it between 25-30 per cent. At the back end of last season I would have liked to have done a few tasks on the pitch but we didn’t know if it was getting ripped up for an artificial surface so they were left. My personal opinion was that grass was the way forward. With the history of the club, I think kids should aspire to play on a grass pitch as opposed to playing week in week out on a 3g pitch. I myself played on the old ground at Portland Park years ago in school finals and in those days when we watched Ashington, we all wanted to play on the pitch - but you had to achieve something to get on it. As soon as we were informed that it was going to remain a grass surface, we spiked all of the pitch, going down nine to ten inches to get a load of air into it which basically helps the root development and the more air we could get into it, the better. We let it settle then normal pitch procedure sees a lot of clubs top dress quite heavily so we put 60 tonnes of sand on which gets matted in. It goes into the holes from the spiking and that creates a better environment for the roots to grow and the grass to grow on the top. At the same time the pitch was scarified to get the rubbish grass out, reseeded with a top quality stadium pitch seed and left for the seed to germinate. We have also had it sprayed with some liquid fertiliser and come the end of next week, we’ll really start to ramp things up for the start of the friendlies. There is a lot of hidden work which goes on to get the pitch the way we want it but I think it will be a better surface by 60-70 per cent.  We’ve got a little bit more work to do because we’ve got a main drain to go down in front of the stand which is going to help the winter play because that was the only problem we encountered last season. It’s a long term project improving the pitch. We see it as a must-have for the club to help attract players, help results and also help the reputation of the club.”

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