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Headland Amenity regime makes for improved conditions at Durham Country Cricket Club.

In a year of ‘interesting’ weather conditions around the country, the challenge of knowing what, and when, to apply in terms of a nutritional programme has been just one of the many struggles for Greenkeepers and Groundsman alike. For Vic Demain, Head Groundsman of Durham County Cricket Club that task has been made a little easier with trusted advice from Alex Hawkes of Headland Amenity. Through a tried and tested combination of granular and soluble fertilisers, Vic has sustained a strong, vibrant and healthy plant throughout the season.
“We’ve not had a year quite like this before. In April we were completely flooded out, then in the following two months we had hardly any rain at all” explains Vic who has been at Durham CCC for four years. Vic was previously at Trent Bridge, which is where he first met Alex. “This was my first experience with Headland Amenity products and it was evident very quickly that they performed well and helped to deliver an immaculate field. When I was appointed at Durham, I asked Alex to come in and assess, which he did on my very first day in the position!”
“It was very different – coverage wasn’t particularly strong, and the ground looked a bit tired and run down.” Following the results of soil samples, Alex created a nutritional programme. “As with most places, I had to work within budget constraints, so we tweaked around to get a programme that suited both the nutritional requirements and budget.”
On the outfields Vic applies Multigreen® temperature-controlled release granular fertiliser in March and September and during the playing season they switch to a tank mix of Elevate Fe® and Xtend® soluble fertilisers. The most recent addition to the programme is Clipless NT® plant growth regulator to control the growth and reduce the requirement for daily cutting. On the square, again it’s a combination of Multigreen® Mini and C-Complex® granular fertilisers applied twice a year, with ProTec® and N-Sure™ liquid fertilisers delivering micronutrients throughout the summer period.
“When we started the new Headland regime, you could see the difference within a couple of months – the colour was better and the grass was much stronger. The results are then backed up with fantastic advice and support from Alex and it’s these two factors combined that means I swear by the Headland products.”


Effective drainage is ‘paramount’ to pitch perfect performance of 3G sports surfaces, says Aggregate Industries

With the UK’s leading sporting associations continuing to invest heavily in 3G astroturf sports pitches, Aggregate Industries is reminding contractors that effective drainage has never been more important to the successful design and management of these all-weather surfaces.
It comes as recent findings by the Football Association show that just one in three football pitches at grassroots level is currently of adequate quality – a stark statistic the sporting body hopes to address by building over 400 new 3G pitches by 20211.
At the same time, UK average rainfall is increasing, with wetter summers and higher annual rainfalls predicted to increase further in the coming years – placing a greater emphasis on the essential role drainage plays when it comes to the construction of these much-needed synthetic pitches.
Tom Wise, General Manager for Aggregate Industries’ Garside Sands Division, comments: “As more and more sports clubs are investing in their facilities, particularly with the ongoing large-scale construction of 3G pitches to boost grassroots level sport, the importance of correct maintenance has risen to the top of the agenda for many.
Traditionally, 3G surfaces consist of three layers; the top pile of artificial grass blades is supported by an infill rubber crumb and a thin layer of sand.
“However, what’s often overlooked is the vital role that infill silica sands play in providing an effective drainage system for the pitch. This in turn is key to ensuring playability in all weather conditions and guaranteeing the legacy of these high-tech surfaces will last the test of time.”
According to Aggregate Industries, essential to a superior drainage system is the use of silica sand infills such as ProPitch Elite, an innovative solution made from larger rounded particles in order to provide superior void space, making it ideal for synthetic sports pitches exposed to extreme weather conditions.
Reducing the risk of flooding, independent tests have proven ProPitch Elite to have the best drainage rates available to the UK market, draining a record 116% better than the most popular competitor sand. This means it is particularly suited to not only 3G surfaces, but also tennis courts, hockey pitches and bowling greens, which require shorter pile carpets where the sands layer is crucial in offering stability to the carpet fibres as well as draining fast enough to guarantee there is no standing water during a game.
Tom adds: “Investing in a new pitch and playing field is a huge undertaking, and with higher than average rainfall predicted over the coming years, the risk of flooding has increased exponentially across many areas of the UK. Hence for sports clubs looking to provide a world class surface, it has become increasingly paramount to utilise the latest innovative materials such as ProPitch Elite, which has super absorbent properties that have been proven to aid with effective drainage.”


Midlands Firms Kick Off Partnership With Facility Framework Win

International construction consultancy Gleeds and specialist sporting architecture firm LK2 along with Couch Perry Wilkes and engineers BSP Consulting have secured a framework with UK sports charity the Football Foundation, providing services to improve hundreds of community sports facilities in northern England.
LK2 partnered with Gleeds – the Framework Managing Consultant (FMC) – to win the coveted five-year framework which will primarily cover the improvement of local football facilities in the north of the country on behalf of the Football Foundation – the largest sports charity in the UK, funded by the Premier League, The Football Association and the Government (via Sport England). Other community sports such as cricket, rugby and hockey are also likely to benefit from the new programme.
The scope of works will vary dependent on individual project requirements but will include design, supply and installation of modular buildings to provide new changing room and clubhouse facilities. It is part of a wider Government strategy to 2021 to improve ‘grassroots’ sporting facilities to encourage more community involvement.
Gleeds director Anthony Cork, added: “We are delighted to take a place on this framework with LK2. Football is the national game and the biggest team sport in England. The Football Foundation has already overseen investment of over £1 billion in improving facilities since 2000, and Sport England has invested more than £70 million into sports facilities over the past four years.
“The sports sector is a key focus for Gleeds, and we are rapidly growing our expertise in this area so we are pleased to be part of an ongoing programme of works which will improve community sporting facilities across the north.”
Speaking of the win, Dale Lui, managing director of LK2, said: “We were keen to support Gleeds with this framework bid acting as a sub-consultant on the framework. Our firms have huge combined expertise in the sporting facilities sector. Together we will provide design and construction consultancy support and help improve large numbers of facilities in the north of England.
“This framework win is a huge achievement for LK2 and is a launch pad for our organisation, allowing us to work on a range of substantial projects. The framework provides the platform for us to now engage further with local authorities, national governing bodies of sports and similar organisations to help deliver the wider sport and leisure initiative outlined in Sport England’s Towards an Active Nation strategy.”
LK2 is recognised as the market leading architecture firm for sport and leisure with chartered architects and sports and leisure business advisors specialising in using sport and leisure as a vehicle to blend a range of sectors including mixed use developments, residential, retail and urban regeneration schemes.
The framework win is the culmination of LK2’s strategy over the last five years which saw the firm creating avenues into niche markets.
Dale added: “We will be able to provide high level strategic advice and guidance to private developers, land owners and asset managers alike on development and procurement routes – asset transfer, capital recipients from land sale, planning leverage and grant aid.
“This key framework win will lead to both Gleeds and LK2 becoming the ‘go to’ consultancies in line with our key partner organisations Sport England, Football Association, and the Football Foundation.”
Nilesh Mistry, director at Couch Perry Wilkes, said: “We are very proud to join our peers LK2, Gleeds and BSP on this framework, which is an outstanding example of industry-wide collaboration and will no doubt deliver some truly excellent projects. Grassroots football is one of the key cornerstones of our national sport and improving the facilities local clubs have access to will go a long way to enrich the lives of aspiring sportsmen and sportswomen across the UK.”
Paul Elphick, director at BSP Consulting, said: “BSP has wide experience of working on a range of football pitch and leisure centre sites, and we are proud to be involved in this framework to play a part in boosting the nation’s sporting and community facilities.”

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