Groundstaff should unite

GUERNSEY sport is set to thrive for many years yet but, of course, not everything will be perfect.

GUERNSEY sport is set to thrive for many years yet but, of course, not everything will be perfect. And if there is one thing that the Footes Lane usage dispute – now pleasingly and sensibly resolved – should have taught us, it is that Culture and Leisure’s current ground staff resources are lacking in both numbers and expertise.

In recent times there have been major failures in maintaining the bowls greens at Delancey and Beau Sejour, where both home clubs pay a very decent rent to C&L, but also the issues at ‘The Lane’ where bookings are being maximised and, arguably, overly so.

Meanwhile, around the island the pressure is on a small number of stalwarts to try to make good the football grounds the island is so fortunate to have, due to the efforts of senior football clubs who have all worked tirelessly to develop them.

But, who will replace the likes of Paul Franklin at the Track, Dave Le Noury at the Corbet Field, Garry Cortez at Northfield, Ken Woodhard and Henry Davey at Blanche Pierre Lane?

It surely makes sense to not only pursue the 3G pitch route, but also a centralised non-governmental sports groundstaff service to ensure island sports grounds serving summer and winter sports, are the best they can be and, crucially, at a cost more affordable to all.

It’s an idea that has been mooted to the Sports Commission by one prominent chief executive, and it makes real sense.

Meanwhile, the 3G evolution is well under way here and in Jersey where this week they announced an intention to introduce a community-based 3G football-sized football surface in time for the 2015 Island Games, this after Caesarean lawn bowls went down the all-weather route and set up a super club at Les Creux.

The green, by all accounts, plays very well and in a sport where maintenance costs are high and the membership is ever-reducing, it made business sense.

Over here, KGV’s own 3G pitch comes on line this autumn, the best part of two years ahead of Jersey’s own state-of-the-art artificial.

Just how much the KGV surface changes the landscape of island sport can still only be guessed at, but the signs are very encouraging.

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BELS are finally home and dry then.

Their seventh Priaulx League crown is theirs and it does not matter that they have stumbled over the finish line as opposed to sweeping all before them as the true great championship sides of the past have done.

Glyn Smith’s side are clearly the best squad around and while they will have to defend a whole lot better than they have since the turn of the year to get a result against the Jersey champions on Upton day, they have the attacking capability to maintain their superb Upton record.

Away from the football, the Track is a happy place to visit once gain, the club seemingly having got over the Guernsey FC issues and got on with dealing with what they have got.

Meanwhile, the old stand is soon to have a new ‘hat’ with plans approved to replace the many-decades old roof with a new more shapely one.

A new roof, two relatively new modernised dressing rooms, a decent senior team and a strong club base with the GFA committed to helping them with their Achilles heel – Minis – and it is no wonder there is a good vibe at the western end of Victoria Avenue these days.

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FAIR play Guernsey FC for making life a little easier for track and field athletes.

The Green Lions have very sensibly and sportingly agreed to allow the island’s track and field athletes an important window in this crucial month for both sports and, at the same time, gained much credit for their actions.