The passion, dedication and expertise of grounds staff from the professional and volunteer sector was honoured once again at the Institute of Groundsmanship (IOG) annual Industry Awards, which took place at The Vox, Resorts World at the Birmingham NEC on the first evening of SALTEX 2019.
Dignitaries from the governing bodies of sport and influential sports administrators joined in with the sell-out event hosted by BBC TV presenter Dan Walker to recognise leadership, innovation and outstanding achievement across every aspect of groundscare – from grassroots pitches to professional stadia.
The prestigious awards ceremony also celebrated the quality standards of groundscare achieved in public and private sports venues, and highlighted the progress of young/student grounds professionals as well as entrants’ environmental considerations.
Winners of the 2019 IOG Industry Awards are:
IOG Toro Most Promising Sports Turf Student of the Year
Callum Allsop, Leicester City FC
IOG Rigby Taylor/Top Green Young Grounds Person of the Year
Nick Pepper, Gloucestershire CCC
IOG Volunteer Sports Grounds Team/Individual of the Year
Andy Cambridge, Foxton FC, Cambridgeshire
IOG National Governing Bodies’ Community Sector Sports Club Grounds Team/Individual of the Year
Harborough Town FC, Leicestershire
The National Governing Bodies of sport (NGBs) award is co-sponsored by the AELTC (All England Lawn Tennis Club), ECB (the England and Wales Cricket Board), The FA (Football Association), the LTA (Lawn Tennis Association), the Premier League, the RFL (Rugby Football League), RFU (Rugby Football Union) and Sport England
IOG AMS Robotics Public Sector Sports Grounds Team of the Year
Prestige Grounds Ltd, Wiltshire
IOG Bowling Grounds Team/Individual of the Year
Polly Bowls Club, Sutton-in-Ashfield, Nottinghamshire
IOG SCH Supplies Best Managed Artificial Sports Surface of the Year
University of Warwick
IOG Ransomes Environmental/Ecology Project of the Year
City Football Academy, Manchester
IOG Headland Amenity Professional Cricket Grounds Team of the Year
IOG CubCadet INFINICUT Professional Tennis Courts Grounds Team of the Year
Devonshire Park, Eastbourne
IOG John Deere Professional Horse Racing Grounds Team of the Year
IOG Professional Rugby Football League Grounds Team of the Year
Castleford Tigers RLFC, West Yorkshire
IOG Compo Expert Professional Rugby Football Union Grounds Team of the Year
Northampton Saints RFC
IOG Professional Football Grounds Team of the Year (English Leagues 1 & 2, National League, National League North/South, Scottish Championship & Leagues 1 & 2, Ireland & Wales Professional Leagues)
Swindon Town FC
IOG SGL Professional Football Grounds Team or the Year (Premier League, Championship and Scottish Premier League)
Tottenham Hotspur FC
IOG Redexim Charterhouse/Kubota University/College Grounds Team of the Year
IOG Growth Products Independent School Grounds Team of the Year
Merchiston Castle School, Edinburgh
IOG SISGrass International Award
Dean Gilasbey, ProPitch
IOG Ransomes/DLF Johnsons Alex R Millar Groundsperson Award – chosen from the outstanding winner across all award categories
Danny Negus, Devonshire Park, Eastbourne
IOG GrassMaster Solutions Outstanding Achievement Awards
Keith Kent, former head groundsman at RFU Twickenham and Chris Wood England and Wales Cricket Board pitch inspector.
Commenting on this year’s event, IOG chief executive Geoff Webb, says: “We’ve enjoyed a glorious year of professional sport, especially a summer of outstanding cricket, and this has highlighted the crucial role played by high-class playing surfaces – and, therefore, also our superb groundscare skills.
“Our awards, however, also acknowledge the unstinting work of the army of volunteers who maintain grassroots pitches up and down the country, often on very limited budgets, to enable players of all abilities and ages to enjoy sport on well-prepared pitches.
“Yet again we have seen how fantastic our profession is, and I applaud everyone and thank them for their efforts in creating playing surfaces that are the envy of the world.”