Top keeper shortlisted for Bowling Green Groundsman of the Year

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A groundsman is bowled over to be shortlisted for a prestigious award.

Martin Stephenson’s green fingers have earned him a place as a finalist for the Bowling Green Groundsman of the Year.

The 27-year-old from Seaham will compete against groundsmen from around the country at the annual Institute of Groundsmanship Awards (IOG), which are being held at the Birmingham Metropole Hotel next month.

In the run up to the awards, his handiwork at Ashbrooke Sports Ground’s bowling green will be inspected by expert judges.

Martin is no stranger to the awards after scooping the Young Groundsman of the Year award at last year’s ceremony.

“Bowling greens are a specific kind of groundskeeping,” explained Martin, who is grounds assistant manager at the sports club. “It’s a very fine lawn that’s predominantly used in the summer, but it needs to be maintained in the winter too.

“The green has pretty much been here since the club opened more than 125 years ago. Many greens have closed over the years, but this one is still busy, it’s still a popular sport.

“I couldn’t believe it when I found out I was a finalist again this year, it’s unbelievable. And it’s great to shine the spotlight on Ashbrooke Sports Club.”

Martin will find out if he’s won the award at the IOG Industry Awards dinner hosted by Mark Saggers from talkSPORT radio on Wednesday, November 4.