Andy Cambridge, volunteer at Foxton FC wins top national award in groundsmanship
The expertise and dedication of a volunteer groundsman in Cambridge has been recognised by this year’s Institute of Groundsmanship (IOG) Industry Awards as Andy Cambridge of Foxton FC has been named the 2019 IOG Volunteer Sports Grounds Individual of the Year against national competition.
In a prestigious ceremony hosted by BBC TV presenter Dan Walker at The Vox, located in Resorts World at the Birmingham NEC, the award was presented to Andy by Football Foundation CEO Paul Thorogood at Sport England in front of an audience of more than 600 of the UK’s and Europe’s leading groundscare experts, as well as dignitaries from the governing bodies of sport and influential sports administrators.
Volunteer groundsman at Foxton FC, Andy sets out to constantly maintain to a high level the five acres of sports surfaces across two sites where two senior football teams share one pitch and seven colts teams share three pitches. The site is also used (in the summer) by three adult cricket teams and four different age groups of colts, plus an ‘all stars’ squad, so Andy’s responsibilities also cover the cricket outfield.
Now 42 years of age, Andy started working on the sites when he was ten years old, helping his uncle put up nets, and with no formal training – “I am self-taught and have learned as I’ve gone along” - Andy looks after the areas using just a small tractor with several attachments and two mowers. He applies sand, weed killer and fertiliser, and overseeds, on a yearly basis.
The surfaces are used all year round: football every Saturday from the end of August until the end of April; and cricket every weekend from early May through to the end of August, including evening fixtures. The cricket pitch has been accredited locally as the ‘best ground’ three times in the last ten years.
Over the past 12 months, improvements to the pitches include reduced compaction levels – thanks to regular verti-draining and slitting – and better grass coverage and quality of grass.
Andy contested the award with the grounds team at Trubshaw Cross Ladsandads of Newcastle, Staffordshire.