Top Cricket Groundsman Award goes to Bill Gordon and his Oval Groundcrew!
We hear a lot about awards for “Best field of the Year” in baseball and other sports and these are very deserving awards for the guys that poor there heart and soul into there fields. Outside of the US there are other Field of the Year or Groundsman of the year awards presented to others that basically go un noticed here in North America.
Bill Gordon has been the head Groundsman at the Oval, London England for most of this decade and has been on the Surrey Cricket grounds crew since 1964. Its the eighth time out of nine seasons that the Brit Oval pitch has won the prestigious award and the last six of these have come under Gordon’s tutelage since he took over in 2003.
Bill and I go way back to 1993 when we held a MLB Baseball Exhibition game at the Oval. We have kept in touch over the years. I know MLB is still hoping to take some games to London in the future but thats TBD. Hopefully someday we can bring the world together under one organization or association so everyone can see the work these guys do. Managing a Cricket pitch at this level is no different than managing a MLB or NFL field. Having spent some time on a couple pitches over the years the process of keeping the wicket level and playable is extremely challenging and there really not much you can compare it to in the sportsturf industry as you are growing grass in a clay loam that is compacted to a specific tolerance. Don’t get me wrong, I know just a pinch about Cricket grounds compared to Bill. Bill has set the mark for everyone in the Cricket world to reach.
There’s not much time to celebrate his award as Bill has a major renovation to complete by Christmas in prepartion of the 2009 season which will see an Ashes Test Match, One Day International, ICC Twenty20 World Cup matches and many major domestic games. Adding a much needed drainage system to the Oval has been on the books for a while.
The award is based on umpire reports produced for every match, domestic and international, throughout the season, which include grading on the covering of grass, dryness, seam movement, pace, consistency of bounce and turn.
CONGRATULATIONS BILL!!! HAVE A GREAT 2009 SEASON!