In early November the Heatons Sports Club were contacted by the Institute of Groundsmen to arrange a site visit of the Club grounds. This visit revealed that the Club along with groundsman Nick James had been anonymously nominated in two categories for the IOG 2011 awards.
The IOG has been in existence for over 75 years and is a membership organisation representing the whole of the groundscare industry and all those involved in it. The yearly awards are presented to recognise leadership, innovation and outstanding achievement across every aspect of groundscare – from grassroots pitches to professional stadia, including all types of public and private sports venues, and it highlighted the progress of young/student grounds professionals as well as product development and employer considerations.
The Club was nominated and placed in the short list for the Grass Roots Sports Ground of The Year and Nick was in the final nine nominations for Groundsman’s Groundsman of the Year. No mean feat as nominations included a number of Premiership and League One Groundsmen.
The awards were held at the Reebok Stadium, Bolton and over 350 attended a thoroughly enjoyable evening, with Nick accompanied by wife Barbara and Cricket Secretary, Nicola Bennett and husband, Doug. Hosted by Talksport Radio’s Mark Saggers, the Awards followed a day-long series of IOG Conference presentations by some of the biggest names in the industry.
After a three course dinner a number of awards were presented then ECB Selector, Geoff Millar entertained the audience before the final awards were completed.
Nick was placed runner up in his category, but stepped forward to receive the Grass Roots Ground of the Year for 2011 from the sponsors Bayer on behalf of the Club, a great recognition of his hard work and a great achievement for the Club.
Some of the 17 awards presented were to the following : Grass Roots Sports Ground of the Year, Volunteer Sports Groundsman of the Year, Environmental Project of the Year (won by Ashton on Mersey CC), Best Maintained Artificial Pitch of the Year, Independent Schools & Colleges Sports Ground of the Year, Professional Sports Ground Management Team of the Year and Lifetime Achievement Award.
The Lifetime Achievement Award was presented to local Cheshire based, Richard Campey of Campeys Turf Care Systems.
The awards are supported by Sport England, the FA, The Premier League, ECB, RFU, RFL, The Championships Wimbledon, LTA along with a large number of large grounds care companies.