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26 May 2024

CONGLETON TOWN FOOTBALL CLUB; A PITCH FIT FOR CHAMPIONS

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As another successful season for Congleton Town Football Club came to an end attention was turned, once again, to the restoration and maintenance of the pitch.

The action had paused, but off the pitch much was afoot.  A call to all local businesses to help was issued and up stepped the generous benefactors of Sibelco Ltd, ASHBROOK Ltd and Campeys Ltd.

Long gone are the days when the then Booth Street pitch was an object of derision and scorn with its pronounced slope and uneven, muddy surface, and work continues annually to enhance its, current day, pristine quality.

Sibelco were donating 100 tons of fine grade sand, ASHBROOK the use of some formidable, sophisticated machinery and Campeys their expertise and processes.

The pitch restoration process

Early on the Monday morning the work began, when the Campeys Turf Care Systems team arrived to begin the hard work.  Chairman Robinson explains exactly what happened.

“Richard Campey came out of retirement and he was there all day driving tractors and helping complete the works, to help his local club.  A total pitch renovation involves removing the surface of the existing pitch and completely restructuring it. The pitch will be like new and ready to play in 8 weeks weather depending.”

“The first process is to strip the existing pitch surface using a Imants KORO Field TopMaker, a superb piece of equipment that has revolutionised the way pitches are renovated. The KORO strips the entire surface, removing all organic accumulations leaving a clean, debris-free root zone which can then be worked with to produce the desired playing surface.”

“A Campey Speedresser, which is a bulk drop-spreader designed to handle all top dressing materials was then used to spread 100 ton of sand to replenish any material lost during the removal of the surface with the KORO Field TopMaker. It has 4 flotation tyres on pivoting axles to minimise the risk of turf damage and compaction, which is why it is so popular for golf courses and sports field use.”

“This is followed by a pass with the Imants Shock Wave which is the perfect linear decompactor for heavily used areas. This machine is designed to revitalise fine turf and sports fields by relieving soil compaction and improving aeration.  In a renovation it will break up any pans or layering which may be present within the top 250mm of the pitch profile.”

“Once the cultivation is complete, we used the Campey Unirake and KORO Speedharrows to smooth the surface and create a tilth then seeded using the Vredo Seeder with its unique action of seed application,  which places the grass seed in direct contact with the soil, giving 97% seed germination rates.”

“The final process involves spreading a fertiliser top dressing to encourage a rapid healthy growth of the new sward.”

ASHBROOK machinery hire involvement

ASHBROOK, based on the Holmes Chapel Road periphery of the town have a proud record of helping sport in the town.  They have supported the Bears with their pitch maintenance and restoration projects for several seasons.

They supplied a telehandler to facilitate heavy duty movement of materials.

Andrew Aldcroft, ASHBROOK director comments, ‘being based in Congleton, we love to see Congleton sports fly and really enjoy supporting community initiatives where we can. Having supported Congleton Town FC with their pitch maintenance/ restoration after the last few seasons, we were delighted when Steve got in touch to ask for the loan of telehandler for this year’s work.

Our hire team were quick to confirm that we could provide the machine and highlighted the documents and cover needed to allow the hire to happen.’

“We have supplied a JCB 531-70, a 7m Telehandler, which has reach capabilities of 7m and is able to lift weights of 3.1t’, continues Andrew.  ‘They have excellent manoeuvrability thanks to 3 steer modes and visibility is superb. The Dieselmax Stage V engine means that it operates to the latest best practice in emission standards.  In fact, the JCB range of telehandlers are hailed as market-leaders and ASHBROOK is fortunate enough to operate one of the largest independently owned fleets in the UK.”

“We have supplied this type of telehandler to jobs ranging from construction sites across the country to Premier League cup winners’ parades and large scale concerts. It really is an extremely flexible machine.  As proved in previous years, it will be a very useful tool for the pitch makeover and coming supplied with a bucket attachment means that loading the sand into the hopper can happen efficiently.”

“Good luck to Congleton Town FC in the 24/25 season and we hope that the makeover brings fleet of foot and continued success.”

“If you’d like to hire a telehandler or any other forms of plant, access or agricultural equipment hire, get in contact with ASHBROOK”, concludes Andrew.

 

The finished pitch

All in all it was an impressive project, involving hugely expensive equipment and technical experience of the highest order.  Taking place over several days, it required the deposition of an immense amount of spoil on the top car park.  This spoil was eventually,  kindly and graciously removed, via tractor and trailer, to accommodating local farms.

A flat, levelled, weed-free, sleekly grassed playing surface will present itself sometime soon.

Pitch restoration at Congleton Town Football Club 2024

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