Home builder deal wins new ground conversion for rugby club
The demands of a 20-acre housing development have resulted in two new pitches for a thriving Suffolk rugby club, as STAL reports
Home to three adult sides, a girl’s team, a veteran squad and an active youth mini section of 250 enthusiastic players, Sudbury RUFC grasped the opportunity to re-locate when its old ground was needed by Persimmon Homes to augment a prime development site.
In exchange for Sudbury’s seven acres, Persimmon would provide a new ground with room for two pitches and a training area, as well as undertake the initial earthworks, leaving the club to develop its new clubhouse. According to Head Groundsman and former Club Chairman, Andy Mayers: “The deal was that we would have the same amount of land but a better clubhouse with better facilities and pitches constructed to a professional standard.”
Stuart Marston, a club member with 40 years’ experience in construction and contracting, oversaw the project. “We obviously needed a pitch contractor and were introduced to J Pugh-Lewis Ltd (www.pugh-lewis.co.uk) by David Powell, Head Groundsman at Northampton Saints Rugby Club,” he says. Having hired the company to laser-grade, drain and re-seed the new pitches, Stuart then extended the brief to include the pitch-side and boundary fencing.
Global Positioning System (GPS) equipment was used to survey, design and mark out the pitches and boundaries. “The first team wanted a maximum size pitch but the survey showed us that a second team pitch of the same size would not fit within the legal boundary,” Stuart continues. “It could have been a lot more complicated. We needed two pitches, a clubhouse and a car park, and we had to ensure everything would fit onto our land.”
Director James Pugh-Lewis says the company has been using GPS since 2007. “It’s essentially a one-man survey tool,” he explains, “allowing us to carry out detailed surveys very quickly. The completed design work is uploaded onto the GPS for us to set it all out quickly and accurately on-site. We used it at Sudbury to set out everything from the position of the drains and floodlights through to the rugby posts.”
Once the earthworks were complete, J Pugh-Lewis laser graded before trenching in the floodlight cabling and installing a comprehensive drainage system of pipe drains and sand slits. It then cultivated the new pitches and ameliorated them with sand, prior to seeding. The club wanted to leave the pitches to grow-in for at least 12 months, which gave J Pugh-Lewis time to complete the extended contract.
Acoustic barrier fencing was installed along the boundary between the new ground and the housing development, and post and rail fencing was erected on the southern boundary and around the first team pitch. As the northern boundaries were already marked by high hedging, all that remained was for the new goal posts to be erected.