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Sussex win Cricket Grounds Team of the Year at industry awards
Andy Mackay is presented with the award

Sussex Cricket’s groundstaff have won the Headland Amenity Professional Cricket Grounds Team of the Year at the Institute of Groundsmanship (IOG) national industry awards.

Head groundsman, Andy Mackay was presented the award by BBC TV presenter Dan Walker at a ceremony at the Birmingham NEC last week.

Andy’s eleven-strong team were cited for their ‘expertise and dedication in the provision, planning, improvement and maintenance of all playing and practice facilities at The 1st Central County Ground, Blackstone Academy Ground sponsored by Hurstpierpoint College, the Sir Rod Aldridge Cricket Centre and Preston Nomads CC’.

The team were commended for their management of:

  • 51 days of men’s professional matches (1st and 2nd XI), three days of top-level women’s cricket matches, 10 days of other cricket games, 50 practice days and 25 days of use of the outfield for community or corporate events at The 1st Central County Ground
  • Two 20,000-person music concerts at The 1st Central County Ground
  • At Blackstone: over 100 match days over two grounds, 30 training sessions and the use of the off-field net area for five days a week;
  • At the Sir Rod Aldridge Cricket Centre: 50 match days and the use of the ground on five afternoons a week
  • At Preston Nomads CC: over 120 adult matches and around 40 colts games across two grounds

The IOG stated that: “The quality of the playing and practice surfaces are consistently outstanding, and the stadium site continues to have superb practice nets and outfield, both in terms of presentation and performance. Indeed, since reconstructing most of the cricket square over the past several years, the pitches now have genuine pace, and all the squares and practice facilities at the other grounds are playing at their peak.

“The grounds team has been involved in a number of developments and improvements at the stadium in recent times, but the staging of music concerts showcases their expertise.

“The build for two concerts in 2018 were either side of a six-day gap and in the middle of the cricket fixture list then, this year, two concerts had a three-week gap between builds, with games in between.

“Sussex Cricket’s grounds team negotiated these events using well-planned pre-stress conditioning of the turf, post-concert recovery and plenty of hard work! And even where grass cover was lost in parts of the stage area, the team managed to re-establish the grass and have the surface fit for play without any fixtures being affected.”

After receiving the award on behalf of his team, Mackay said: “The whole team is delighted to have their hard work and dedication recognised by this prestigious award.

“It’s been another tough year here, but also for cricket groundstaff everywhere, so it’s important to celebrate success.”