An immaculate surface was presented at ‘The Warren’s’ home ground where The Abbey play in the Bedfordshire County Football League Division Two.
Earlier this week, five shortlisted groundsmen were visited by James Petty (Football Development Manager), Phil Jeggo (Institute Of Groundsmanship) & Alan Moorhouse (Beds FA Council Member) after being nominated by clubs, leagues, council members and committee members.
Phil Jeggo (Regional Pitch Advisor) commented "Wes presented a fantastic, well maintained playing surface on limited resources. His innovative ideas are clearly a result of thinking outside of the box and this has resulted in using cricket covers to beat the big freeze as well as making his own aerating equipment and machinery based on his handcraft skills to compete with the desired effect of any purchased equipment."
The visits have reiterated the fantastic work that epitomises volunteers and their priceless existence through their unwavering commitment levels despite experiencing some of the worst weather conditions for some time. This hasn’t created havoc and fixture pile ups for The Abbey though, despite making extra work for volunteers like Wes who work hard all year round to ensure the pitches are playable and the cricket season opener can be played.
James Petty also added "All of our shortlisted individuals are commended for their excellent work in the pursuit to go above and beyond to deliver an excellent pitch for the local community to be proud of. It never ceases to amaze the lengths people go to in order to carry out the role to the absolute best of their ability and the clubs are extremely lucky.
Wes’ enthusiasm and thirst for learning is infectious and he should be extremely proud to be crowned this year’s winner. He possesses a drive to continually improve and learn through a mixture of self-taught methods and research to gain an extra edge. This proactive approach has been invaluable when overcoming obstacles and this is inspirational in itself."
MH Goals Ltd (www.mhgoals.com) kindly sponsored a line marker and ready to use paint for the winner along with a course voucher for an Institute Of Groundsmanship accreditation courtesy of BT Sugar TOPSOIL (www.bstopsoil.co.uk).
As a further reward and learning opportunity for existing and aspiring groundsman, Wes will be presented with his winning GOTY Award at an end of season renovation-post season maintenance evening delivered by Phil Jeggo on Wednesday 2nd May.
The event will be hosted at Elstow Abbey FC from 7.00pm-9.30pm and anybody who would like to book on the workshop is encouraged to email James.Petty@Bedfordshirefa.com for more information.
Robert Hill finished in second place and doubles up as club chairman and groundsman across numerous club sites. Woburn & Wavendon were proudly featured in an excellent write up in the IOG series of The Groundsman, which can be viewed with their annual maintenance programme below.
Third placed Graham Hill of Lancot Park has been a fantastic servant ever since his first involvement in ground keeping in 1977. Graham retires in April from his full time position at Dunstable Cricket Club and will be passing on his expertise and knowledge to others. Ivor Kennett and Mark Perrin were also commended at Cranfield United for the condition of the playing surface that is home to three teams within the club.