Led by Keith Kent, Head Groundsman at the Rugby Football Union (RFU), a team of club groundsmen was sent by the RFU to assess several new rugby facilities in the former Soviet Union State of Georgia, reporting on their requirements and advising on pitch management.

Keith was joined by Colin Wooster of Charlton Park RFC, along with Martin Maytum of Maidstone RFC, and Stuart Facey from Essex RFU as part of England Rugby’s World Cup Unity Project, which sets out to provides second tier rugby nations with support in developing the game.

20150605_144744

Whilst it can be said that the playing structure in Georgia is well-developed and there is an abundance of great rugby spirit, by comparison to the pristine new stadia and despite the funding, the pitches were built of poor turf material and lacking in proper maintenance. One highlight and honour for us all during our visit was to receive an invite to the British Embassy in Tblisi to celebrate the Queen’s official birthday.

20150604_204152

Keith Kent (right) and Colin (left) with the President of Georgia, Giorgi Margvelashvili (middle), after fighting off his body guards in true James Bond style. Actually – it was one of the bodyguards that took the picture.

The whole trip was an amazing experience, Rugby was definitely the winner. The people of Georgia, and not just the rugby people, were very warm and friendly and deserve our support. We were very well looked after wherever we went and all of us are keen that there is a return trip. I am sure that working together with the Georgians their pitches will eventually be a fine compliment to the new stadiums.

Good luck in the 2015 Rugby World Cup and thanks for the memories Georgia.

20150605_165453

Some of the Groundsmen of Georgia with Keith Kent, Martin Maytum and Stuart Facey. A big thankyou to the young lad in the check shirt, Luka Khimshiashvili, he was our interpreter and he worked so hard for us.

HELP WITH YOUR PITCHES.
If there are any clubs in the Southeast London and Kent region that are having pitch problems and would like help and advice on how to best solve them, we can provide suggestions to suite all maintenance budgets and are happy to help with discussions with local councils. And you know what – our help is FREE of charge. Contact Colin Wooster on 07595 590975 or email blackgsps@aol.com.

Colin also facilitates informative meetings once a quarter for Grounds people in the region where you can also get help and advice, and exchange views with other grounds people and trade suppliers. These meeting are held across the county and come under the umbrella of the Institute of Groundsmanship which also provides wealth of information and all levels of education and training in the Groundscare industry.

There is NO need to be a member, though I suggest the benefits may see you join up eventually. Please let Colin Know if you are interested in attending. Contact details as above.