Sunderland groundsman beats ‘turf’ competition

WELL DONE: Rigby Taylor's Mark Whiting, left, and Phil Dewhurst, right, present the Young Groundsman of the Year award to Martin Stephenson.
WELL DONE: Rigby Taylor's Mark Whiting, left, and Phil Dewhurst, right, present the Young Groundsman of the Year award to Martin Stephenson.
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A GREEN-FINGEREED groundsman from Wearside has unearthed another top award for his work.

Ashbrooke Sports Club’s Martin Stephenson has won the 2014 IOG Rigby Taylor/Top Green Young Groundsman of the Year Award, at the Institute of Groundsmanship (IOG) Industry Awards, held in partnership with the British and International Golf Greenkeepers’ Association (BIGGA).

His success follows winning last year’s IOG Most Promising Sportsturf Student of the Year award.

In a prestigious ceremony at the home of Milton Keynes – stadium mk – hosted by talkSPORT Radio presenter Mark Saggers, the award was presented to Martin by Rigby Taylor’s Mark Whiting and Phil Dewhurst.

In the audience were more than 400 of the UK and Europe’s leading groundscare experts, as well as dignitaries from the governing bodies of sport and influential sports administrators.

Martin, 26, joined Ashbrooke Sports Club in 2007 and plays an important role in the maintenance and management of the facility’s two rugby pitches, full-size football pitch, cricket pitch, three artificial tennis courts, one five-a-side football pitch and a bowling green.

IOG chief executive Geoff Webb, said: “To win the award against such stiff competition is testament to the skill and dedication of the teams and individuals who – week in, week out in all weathers – make such a vital contribution to sport.”