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Hazlegrove Prep School takes on challenge of poor sports surfaces with Headlands’ help – and wins!

Sport plays an integral part of the school day to pupils at Hazlegrove Preparatory School in Somerset, with the indoor complex and outdoor grounds capable of hosting most sports imaginable. Working with Head of Grounds Graham Kitley to maintain nearly 200 acres of parkland grounds and facilities is a team of four who between them have completely transformed the site in under 18 months. A complete Headland Amenity nutritional programme was key to Grahams approach, leaving sports surfaces and lawns healthy, strong and looking better than ever.
“When I joined Hazlegrove in January 2017 the site was in need of considerable work, we had a problem with weeds and our cricket squares were four inches long. It was clear I had a challenge on my hands” explains Graham, who spent almost a year dealing with inherited issues before turning to Alex Hawkes of Headland Amenity to start developing the fine turf areas. “I’ve been working with Alex and Headland products for the last five or six years so we sat down together and, following some soil samples, formulated a plan.”
Alex suggested a programme which included a number of multi-tasking products which could be used across various surfaces at the site, helping to reduce the complexity of the regime as well as the overall cost. In the autumn of 2017 Graham began a programme of Headland’s 20-20-30 enhanced plant health strategy across the six golf greens, four cricket squares, outfields and five rugby pitches. “We also apply, amongst others, Multigreen Granular on our winter sports pitches and cricket outfields as the temperatures rise, and C-Complex on the squares. Our ornamental lawns and gardens which line the entrance to the school are a real showpiece which we work hard on. Here we use a tankmix of Elevate Fe, a clean source of iron, with Clipless NT helping to maintain the presentation without the need to cut every day.”
Whilst well established in the golf environment, the effectiveness of the Headland products in use at Hazlegrove illustrate their ability to also perform in a multi-sport environment. “With the 20-20-30 mix we saw results in less than 2 months and as we went into winter and the temperatures dropped, the areas held up against the cold, moisture and disease. As we came out into spring, surfaces were strong and we had a massive reduction in Red Thread occurrence which had been an issue in previous years. Across the site the results are speaking for themselves and now with regular good practice and a comprehensive nutritional programme, they’ll only continue to improve.”


Tigerturf Case Study - Shelford RFC, Cambridgeshire

When the Rugby Football Union (RFU) took the decision to invest £57 million in the development of artificial grass pitches across England, an initial mapping exercise identified key areas exposed by a shortfall of accessible pitches. One such area was south Cambridge, where there was no World Rugby accredited artificial pitch available to the community and its local rugby clubs.
As part of its Rugby 365 programme, the RFU identified Shelford Rugby Club’s Davey Field – less than five miles south of Cambridge – as the ideal location for a brand new, artificial rugby pitch. The agreement between the club and English Rugby’s governing body saw the installation of a new pitch, floodlights, and fencing, funded by the RFU.
A specialist surface
Tasked with the installation of the new facility was specialist sports surface contractor, McArdle Sport-Tec, working in partnership with artificial grass manufacturer, TigerTurf. The partnership saw the installation of TigerTurf’s Rugby 360 surface – a quality rugby-specific product, developed specifically for rugby union and rugby league pitches, and compliant with performance standards for World Rugby, RFL and FIFA.
The host with the most
As part of the Rugby 365 agreement, Shelford RFC became host club for a number of others from the local area, as well as two local universities. The host club is afforded 12 hours’ usage of the new pitch per week, in exchange for the 30-year lease being granted to the RFU. This gives Shelford RFC the option for up to three times more usage than their old, natural pitch, as well as full ownership of any additional revenue generated by bar and food sales, for example.
As the pitch is operated by the RFU, heavily-subsidised hire tariffs are offered to clubs involved in the local rugby partnership; ensuring access and participation is maximised all year round.
Tony Roberts, chairman at Shelford Rugby Club, commented: “The deal we’ve struck with the RFU makes great sense for both parties. 12 hours of rugby time is a lot considering we only play one first team home game every two weeks and train on Thursday and Tuesday. This gives us the option of allowing it to be used by the youth and ladies’ teams for the rest of the time, not to mention offering it to other rugby clubs and schools for tournaments. The big difference the new pitch will make is that it will give everyone in the area the chance to play, and to play on a surface which is a real pleasure to use.”
What is Rugby 365?
After the Rugby World Cup in 2015, the RFU set out a legacy to invest more than £50m over a four-year period to develop 100 artificial grass pitches within England. The Rugby Football Union wanted to create accessible facilities and increase participation within the sport. It is anticipated that the Rugby 365 scheme will create over 50,000 available playing hours, enabling more training sessions and matches to take place.


Case Study: Structured cabling supports stadium technology

By Wayne Connors, Managing Director ACCL
When Southampton Football Club decided to upgrade their communications infrastructure at St Mary’s Stadium in 2011, they knew they needed expert advice. An initial project to run fibre optic cables for a new office area was the start of a relationship which has seen ACCL provide communications and cabling solutions across both St Mary’s Stadium and Staplewood Campus.
Building the core infrastructure
A blown fibre network was installed, connecting the 4 communications rooms and all areas of the stadium. This upgraded the network to 10GB, providing a stable backbone for all the applications and devices. Initially 7 core 5mm duct was run between the communications rooms, laid using cable trays suspended from the ceilings above the public concourse, with each length covering approximately 300 metres. Once the duct was in place, compressed air was use to blow through 3x12 core OM4 fibre optic cable, a technique which allows rapid installation and results in less stress on the fibre.
Once the cabling was complete, and the switches installed, a Cabling Tidy project was carried out, replacing all the patch leads. This was carried out over a bank holiday weekend, with a 20 man team breaking and rebuilding the connections in the network cabinets, so that everything could be up and running again by the Tuesday.
With a stable network backbone was in place, Wi-Fi was installed at the stadium for use by employees and guests.
Technology supporting the match-day experience
Advertising and video coverage are key elements of the modern match day experience, and so a fibre optic network was needed around the pitch, for advertising signage and the 2 large video screens. An additional network was installed for outside broadcast and photographers.
With sports analytics becoming increasingly important, a fibre optic network was installed around the stadium roof, for the analytic cameras which monitor player on-field performance and provide data to help improve results. Fibre optic cabling was also installed for Hawk-Eye’s goal line technology, which helps officials make decisions around game changing moments.
Technology supporting training
When an upgrade of the training facilities was being planned, Southampton Football Club sought further advice regarding the cabling and communications requirements. As a result, a fibre optic network with 14,000 metres of cabling was installed around the site and a network and Wi-Fi solution for the state of the art training pavilion. Fibre optic cable was installed to the camera masts, for CCTV and analytic camera operation.
Matthew Reynolds, IT Director at Southampton Football Club commented: “ACCL continues to excel and is a valued provider of all our structure cabling solutions. Whether your requirement is fibre, copper or a turn-key network solution, their knowledge is vast and we will continue to work with them as our technology requirements increase.”

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