19 May 2020 in General News
By Brian Bennett
Ashington FC’s Scott Robson, has been keeping his feet firmly on the ground over the past couple of months – literally!
For the 40 year old head groundsman - one of a group of dedicated volunteers with the Colliers – has spent an average of 15 hours a week lately working on what he freely admits to being an ongoing project – the Woodhorn Lane playing surface. Scott who has been in the post for five years desperately wants the pitch to be the best in the area.
Born and bred in Ashington, Scott lives in the town; is an enthusiastic supporter of the club - and revels at the Lane overseeing what he considers to be the green, green grass of home! The hustle-bustle and hive of activity which normally surrounds a game at Woodhorn Lane came to a shuddering halt with the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic. Nowadays the eerie silence is only interrupted by the noise from the grass cutting machine operated by Scott!
However last week, the entire playing surface was renovated by Benny Watts from North-East Procure Services: “Benny came in last Monday to do the work which included over seeding,” said Scott, “When he spreads the seed, the machine creates a hole for the seeds to fall into. Personally, I’ve been working towards next season putting sand on the pitch; cutting and rolling it twice a week and then brushing it - but I think this is the worst autumn and spring I’ve experienced. It has been incredible how dry the conditions have been which has meant a lot of watering was required – in contrast to the end of 2019 when we had 20mm fall in one day in November compared to 5mm in the whole of April last month!”
Scott who has also worked as a green keeper at Whitley Bay Golf Club added: “With the Reserve team playing at Woodhorn Lane as well as pre season games; University fixtures and Sunday League Cup finals, there were 40 games played on the pitch last season. I cannot rest on my laurels because I want the surface to be ready for July. I know it’s a ‘labour of love’ – but I really enjoy doing it and my aim is for the pitch at Woodhorn Lane to be the best in the area. It does take up a lot of my time - but its rewarding when people come up and say how well it is looking.”
Scott’s work has not gone unnoticed by eagle-eyed chairman Brian Shotton: “Non league football clubs operate with volunteers who all take on important roles but none more so than the groundsman - and we are blessed to have Scott who does a wonderful job on the pitch with limited resources. I’m checking on the building at Woodhorn Lane - and Scott is at the ground more often than not. He’s a wonderfully dedicated volunteer and is the main reason why we have got such a consistent playing surface. With the current situation of lockdown, we have done what we can to improve the pitch with the over seeding and treatment by North-East Procore Services.”
Mr Shotton,36, has been bowled over by the generosity of the public – and the playing staff. He continued: “We’ve had over £2,000 donated on our just giving page as well as £550 from the players’ pool. These amounts help tremendously with the upkeep of the building as well as being able to carry out the work on the pitch.”