Essex FA find good grounds for reward

Nominations sought for Groundsman of Year award

As a team, plaudits are always forthcoming for a slick, passing football approach.

But while the nifty ball work of the players grabs the headlines, what about those who provide the surface to play it on - the Groundsman?

Now is your chance to thank those unsung heroes whose crucial jobs can often be taken for granted.

Nominations are currently being taken for The 2012 FA Groundsman of the Year Awards.

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Especially at this time of year, when groundsmen and women come into their own in a bid to fend off the elements and make surfaces playable so thousands can enjoy their matches, it’s crucial their efforts are acknowledged.

The Essex FA, with the FA, have set out to do that by offering local and national recognition every year.

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Volunteers throughout Essex will be rewarded for braving the cold temperatures in their efforts for the perfect playing surface.

The Essex FA arranges the annual award to recognise hours of line-marking and forking throughout the year from football’s volunteer workforce at Step Seven or below in the pyramid (including Youth Football).

That includes clubs participating in both Saturday and Sunday competitions.

A number of factors are taken into account when judging a groundsman’s handywork, among them the number of games and training sessions held on the pitch over the course of a season and how an intensive number of games is dealt with, how much finance is available, whether the groundsman is a volunteer or works alone and whether the responsibility lies with them regarding the postponement of fixtures.

Forms from clubs and leagues are required back at the Essex FA office by Tuesday January 31 so three nominations can be forwarded on to The FA in time for their own deadline.

Last year Brian Terry from Old Chelmsfordians and Lawford’s John O’Mara were recognised as Essex’s shortlisted representatives for the national award.

County development manager Brendan Walshe said: “This is a great opportunity for leagues and clubs to recognise the dedicated efforts of volunteers who work tirelessly to ensure pitches are kept in the best possible condition for players to enjoy the game on.

“Without them, the standard of pitches would be significantly affected.”

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