Head Groundsman of non-league side sums up feelings after historic FA Cup night and explains success of grow lights.
A National League club rarely knocks out a Championship side in the FA Cup, but Kidderminster Harrier FC have done it. Not only did the Harrier’s players get praise after knocking out Reading FC, also the grounds staff was hailed by the national media for producing an outstanding pitch quality. A great achievement by Head Groundsman and GMA Young Board Director Brad Jefferies and his team. How does he feel after Saturday’s magical evening and how is it possible that a pitch from a sixth tier club looks so good in the middle of winter?
“There’s a lot of media attention around the club at the moment, it’s ridiculous! Normally when the pitch is in good shape we do get the credit from staff within the club, but is does not happen often that our work receives coverage in the national media. More and more people are realizing that if we don’t do our job, the game won’t happen. That’s the best you can ask for.”
One of the most discussed topics last Saturday turned out to be how the pitch of a sixth tier club could be in such good shape, even under the harsh mid-winter conditions. “Previous years at this time of the season the goal mouths were in terrible condition. If you look at our goal mouths now, you can hardly see that 30 home games have already been played. That’s a big credit to our team. At the same time our new small grow light also played a massive role in achieving this quality. We have been using the BU10 since the beginning of this winter and it’s working wonders for us so far.”
Brad, who had already gained some experience in the operation of grow lighting technology as matchday staff at Wembley Stadium, elaborates on the role the BU10 plays for his team. “The 18-yard boxes are in constant shade from October to March and receive no natural sunlight at all. To ensure that our grass recovers after each match, we provide the grass with sufficient light and heat of the BU10 grow light. At the moment we use it 48 hours in each goal mouth and keep alternating between the two. Within two weeks we nearly get 100% grass cover back.”
Brad is pleased with his team’s achievement and has advice for clubs in the lower divisions that are struggling with grass loss during the winter: “We have put this club on the map with our work. We could not have done this without the resources we are currently using. Especially for clubs with a smaller budget, it is essential to invest in resources that deliver results. The BU10 is affordable for clubs in our league and gives us the ability to keep grass coverage high, even in the goal mouths, while everyone knows this is one of the main areas where groundsmen struggle at this time of year. So if one has the choice, the HPS grow lighting systems are well worth investing in.”
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