IOG Learning delivers bespoke course at Sixways Stadium

The Institute of Groundsmanship (IOG) recently successfully delivered a Level 2 ‘Effective maintenance of 3G surfaces’ training course at Worcester Warriors’ Sixways Stadium. The course was delivered jointly with Curtis Allen of Redexim Charterhouse and Nick Harris from Replay Maintenance.

Worcester Warriors is the first Aviva Premiership Rugby Club to convert to the latest generation artificial pitch – a 3G surface with organic infill material, in contrast to the established rubber crumb infill of most 3G surfaces. The innovative use of a blend of organic material (cork, coconut fibre and rice husks) combined with thermo plastic elastomer aims to provide a playing surface which more closely matches that of natural turf.

(Image features Limonta’s Max STurf, and infill, Limonta’s infillPro Geo)

"This exciting development not only allows us to play more rugby at all levels on our biggest physical asset, but also enables us to establish new commercial revenue streams such as concerts, festivals and other non-rugby events,” says Warriors’ chief executive Jim O’Toole (7th April, 2016, BBC Sport). "It is a significant investment on behalf of the ownership and is another step in our journey to make the business profitable in the long term."

The IOG is the only provider of this course, which has been developed with input from a range of specialists including Replay Maintenance, Redexim Charterhouse, Alistair Cox (AC Associates) and Alan Ferguson (National Football Centre, St George’s Park).

(Image features the Sixways Stadium pitch, with American football markings)

The course was specifically adapted for Worcester Warriors, enabling the club’s grounds team to enhance their daily routine and meet everyday needs. Created and delivered by Chris Gray, IOG head of learning, additional support was provided by Curtis Allen and Nick Harris.

Chris Gray comments: “The pitch was very well-presented throughout and the grounds team is a credit to the venue”.

The intention was for the group to discuss, address and observe the challenges of maintaining the new infill material, taking into account the diverse UK weather conditions. The group also greatly considered the two elements within the pitch – the grass, Limonta’s Max STurf, and infill, Limonta’s infillPro Geo.

(Image features a close up of infillPro Geo from maintenance work)

Course highlights featured a number of potential maintenance considerations which differ from the experience of a rubber infill pitch. These issues have now been incorporated into the content for the IOG’s 3G training course to help further spread knowledge and understanding within the industry.

Attendees particularly liked "being able to talk about the Geo and not just rubber infill" and "learning more about the nature of the surface being maintained".

Chris Gray adds: "The pitch is a superb facility which will provide the Warriors’ grounds staff with exciting challenges in maintaining the infill material in our UK climate. The course discussions have been an interesting learning curve for everyone involved."  

To learn more about an IOG Learning bespoke course, call 01908 552984, or email learning@iog.org.