Thursday 12 December 2013 

Edgbaston's Gary Barwell named the IOG Professional Cricket Groundsman of the Year

Gary Barwell (left) receives his award from IOG board member Peter Lee OBE
Gary working on the square at Edgbaston last summer using a cylinder mower provided by official partner, Allett

Edgbaston’s Stadium’s Head Groundsman Gary Barwell has won the prestigious IOG Professional Cricket Groundsman of the Year Award at the Institute of Groundsmanship (IOG) Industry Awards in a glittering Oscar-style ceremony at Coventry’s Ricoh Arena hosted by BBC TV and radio presenter Mark Clemmit.

The award was presented to Gary by IOG board director Peter Lee OBE in front of an audience of 350 of the UK’s and Europe’s leading groundscare experts, as well as dignitaries from the governing bodies of sport and influential sports administrators.

Commenting on the award win, Gary said: “The IOG awards are arguably the most prestigious in our industry and to win this in a year that’s seen Edgbaston host the Final of the ICC Champions Trophy and one of our biggest summers of cricket is a great reward to the efforts of my team of groundsmen who have worked tirelessly throughout.

“I must also thank the volunteers who have supported the team on Major Match days as well as our Official Partners at Allett, who have provided six of its industry leading cylinder mowers to ensure that we’re able to prepare Edgbaston to the best standard possible.”

Gary is responsible for the preparation of the pitches for international and domestic games at Edgbaston as well as its sand-based outfield. His remit also includes the preparation and maintenance of two international standard net facilities, and he oversees the preparation of pitches at Warwickshire outgrounds. 

He manages a six-man team of groundsmen plus additional temporary staff on match days, and develops an on-going pitch plan for the ECB and for Sky televised games. 

Dougie Brown, Director of Cricket at Warwickshire CCC, said: “As well as playing at one of the best cricket grounds in the world, having a Head Groundsman like Gary ensures that we also play on some of the best pitches.

“His team’s efforts to secure a game in the ICC Champions Trophy Final, despite a day of rain, were incredible and the Warwickshire playing and coaching team are very proud of him for winning this deserved award.”

The prestigious UK-wide IOG Award scheme highlights the high standards of volunteer and professional grounds professionals and facilities, from grass roots to professional stadia level. Embracing categories of entry covering sport, young people and the environment, the awards are judged by an independent panel on criteria that include effective use of resources, budgetary control, presentation and housekeeping standards, as well as environmental considerations.

Commenting on Gary’s achievement, IOG CEO Geoff Webb said: “This year’s winners demonstrate the high standards of groundsmanship within the UK.

“To win the IOG Professional Cricket Groundsman of the Year award against stiff competition is testament to Gary’s skill and dedication who week in week out, in all weathers makes such a contribution to sport.”

The IOG is the leading membership organisation for everyone involved in the management of sports pitches, landscape and amenity facilities.

The 2013 Awards are sponsored by the All England Lawn Tennis & Croquet Club (AELTC), Campey Turf Care Systems, DLF Trifolium, the England & Wales Cricket Board (ECB), Everris, the Football Association (The FA), the Football Foundation, Imants BV, John Deere, Johnsons Sports Seed, Kubota, the Lawn Tennis Association (LTA), the Premier League, Ransomes Jacobsen, Redexim Charterhouse, Rigby Taylor, Rugby Football League (RFL), Rugby Football Union (RFU), Syngenta, Top Green, Toro, Vitax Supaturf and White Horse Contractors.

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