Devonshire Park's groundstaff score a place on prestigious turf summit and receive triple nominations

The groundstaff at Devonshire Park
The groundstaff at Devonshire Park

Groundstaff at Eastbourne’s Devonshire Park have scored an ace line-up of triple award nominations and a place on the panel of a prestigious European turf summit, alongside the likes of Gleneagles and Real Madrid.

Receiving three nominations and reaching the final at this year’s elite Institute of Groundsmanship (IOG) Industry Awards, the Head Groundsman will also join a panel of experts, in a new European summit designed to promote innovation in turf management.

The team who manage the playing surfaces at Devonshire Park, home of the Nature Valley International, have received three nominations in the IOG Awards, reaching the final two in each category including Public Sector Sports Ground and Professional Tennis Courts Grounds Team of the Year.

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The third nomination comes for the recently qualified Tom Bacon as Most Promising Sports Turf Student of the Year. Tom is a third generation member of the team, following in the footsteps of his father and grandfather, both Groundsmen at Devonshire Park.

Eastbourne Borough Council Lead Cabinet Member for Tourism and Enterprise, Cllr Margaret Bannister said “The highly acclaimed courts at Devonshire Park are widely praised by top tennis stars every June as some of the best in the world and this is thanks to the magic of Danny Negus and his team.

It’s wonderful to see young talent being nurtured and this wealth of knowledge being passed down through the generations, ensuring Devonshire Park will continue to remain in the safe green-fingered hands of this marvellous team.”

Head Groundsman, Danny Negus has become a leading light in the industry and will be part of an expert panel at the Birmingham NEC, leading an educational seminar on behalf of the IOG Awards at the SALTEX Show.

Danny has also been selected as one of 50 professionals to join a fully sponsored team in an unprecedented Europe-wide event at the Turf Business Summit in Madrid this month, working with Head Groundsmen from Real Madrid, Manchester United, Ajax and Glen Eagles, in a bid to spark further innovation across the industry.

Managing 21 tennis courts in total at Devonshire Park and Meads Tennis Club, the team have recently added the greens at Eastbourne Downs Golf Club to their remit. Head Groundsman Danny has also overseen the recent refurbishment of courts and new irrigation systems at Devonshire Park, launching a brand new show court this year as part of the £54m Devonshire Quarter redevelopment.

As well as all year round turf management with an annual winter renovation programme, the team also set up infrastructure and break down courts after each tournament, maintain herbaceous displays and conduct their own mechanical repairs.

Marking out white lines is a key skill taking ‘plenty of practice and patience’ and their finishing touch is to ensure courts are professionally dressed and immaculate for the millions of TV viewers around the world.

The team will discover the results of their award nominations at an Oscar’s-style ceremony in Birmingham on 31 October.

The Nature Valley International returns from 21 – 29 June 2019, to book tickets visit www.lta.org.uk/nature-valley-international.

For more information on Devonshire Park tennis visit www.visiteastbourne.com/tennis.