With football abruptly cancelled in early March, the club quickly found a game-changing new focus, trying to do its bit to support the needs of the local community, amid the early turmoil of the Covid 19 pandemic.
With all of this going on, the club’s essential summer maintenance works might have taken a back seat you would have thought, but with the fantastic dedication from those involved, staff and contractors have ploughed on to ensure Privett Park’s preparations are completed for whenever football returns.
Whether it’s the painting of the perimeter fences, replacing broken gates, essential electrical upgrades, team changing room improvements or structural repairs, all of these jobs have been undertaken by back room volunteers, led by Derek Peachy, and the tremendous support of our key partner Kier.
Last season the club benefitted from having one of the best playing surfaces in the Southern League, which was also the envy of many teams playing at a higher level.
Credit has to go to the dedicated ground staff from Sodexo who have the responsibility for the pitch.
Boro’s Operations manager Peter Harries caught up with local Sodexo Account Manager - Mark Hibbs to take us through his team's pitch wizardry.
“Everyone working on the project from Sodexo are operating under very stringent safety measures due to the Covid 19 situation.
“The pitch suddenly became available to work on at the end of March so we started the end of season pitch renovations that would normally be carried out in early June.
“The pitch was initially contravated at the end of April with a blend of grass seed at a rate of 15g/m2.
“The seed mix we used is being used by many National League and even Premier League football clubs. The seed mixture is of four different types of ryegrass, especially blended to protect against wear, recover rapidly from wear and it also has better protection against several common diseases.
“The other benefiting factor for this type of seed mix is it has a much better growing capability during the winter months compared to other seed blends. Immediately after the grass seed was contravated we then applied a pre-seed fertiliser.
“We then verti-drained and top dressed the pitch. The verti-drain penetrates the soil profile with large spike leaving holes all over the pitch four inches apart to a depth of 14 inches.
“When the verti-drain spikes penetrate the pitch surface, they also shatter any surface and sub-soil compaction. Once we completed the verti-draining we then dressed the surface of the pitch with 100 tons of 70/30 top dress soil mixture of fine, even grained sand (70%) and loam (30%).
“The sand / soil mixture is especially used to allow good drainage, root growth and helps to prevent compaction. Once the top dressing has been applied to the pitch we then drag mat / brush the pitch to ensure an even application has been achieved to the entire pitch surface and that the sand / soil mix is brushed down each of the holes that the verti-drain has created.
"After this we continue to water the pitch at controlled and regular intervals. We will also continue to cut the pitch with use of pedestrian, cylinder mowers at a height of 35mm. During the summer months we will be applying several different fertilisers to ensure the grass is at its best vigour at all times.“
Caption: The Sodexo team hard at work ensuring the pitch is at its best for the new season / Picture by Colin Farmery
“I yet again would like to say thank you, on behalf of me and my young daughter for the food parcel delivered on Thursday. I was unwell and a neighbour took it in for me, and have only received it today. I'm blown away and so so very very grateful to you all. Take care and again thank you so much...”
Message from a parent from a school we help
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