The Northern Premier League's top three groundsmen are set to be unveiled today (Thursday) at the FA's St George's Park, a year after Belper Town's Phil Varney, Trafford's Graham Foxall and Marine's John Peterson were named in first, second and third place respectively.
Nailers vice-chairman and EVO-STIK League director Varney also scooped third place in the national awards at Steps 3 to 4 in 2017 while a number of other flag-bearers for the competition - Witton Albion's Peter Robinson, Nantwich Town’s Peter Temmen and Whitby Town's Eric Wilson - were all highly commended by judges after narrowly missing out on last season's top honours.
More than a 100 groundsmen from all levels of the game are set to be honoured at this season's ceremony in front of their peers. EVO-STIK League representative Paul Hatt, along with Brent Clayton from the NPL's sponsors at the Frank Whittle Partnership, will also be at the prestigious venue near Burton to congratulate the 2018 winners.
Guests at the 17th running of the annual awards will also get the chance to quiz a panel of professional groundsmen at a Q&A session, enjoy a presentation from Mark Pover, the FA's head of facilities and investment, and be taken on a tour of the state-of-the-art facilities at the national football centre before lunch and the awards ceremony.
The league's representatives will be honoured after a series of on-site assessments at nominated grounds last season by the FA's expert panel of judges, made up of groundsmen from a number of Premier League and Football League clubs.
They not only looked at the quality of the pitches but also took into consideration the skills and knowledge of the finalists, their ambitions for the pitch, the resources available, pitch use and the amount of time they were able to work on their surfaces after one of the worst winters and toughest seasons in years.
Image courtesy of theFA.com
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