Bury St Edmunds Rugby Club groundsman to go up against Premier League giants Manchester City for award
The Bury St Edmunds Rugby Club groundsman has been shortlisted for a national award and will go head-to-head with a peer from a Premier League football club.
Ollie Deeming will contest the Toro Most Promising Sports Turf Student of the Year award with Manchester City’s Tara Massey at the Institute of Groundmanship awards in Birmingham on November 1.
Ollie, 20, from Great Barton, has only been in the groundmanship industry for two years after initially volunteering to help former club groundsman Andy Spetch while studying sports coaching at West Suffolk College.
The promising groundsman is a former player at the club, having started in the under 13s, and says looking after the pitches at the Haberden is the “next best thing to playing”.
Ollie said: “I’m really happy. I’ve only been in the industry for two years and to be recognised for the work I am doing is fantastic.
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“I used to play and started with the under 13s, but had a few injuries so I started volunteering with Andy Spetch to help on the pitches.
“I did a little bit of coaching, but decided I really wanted to focus on being a groundsman. It’s the next best thing to playing really.”
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Ollie said he was “surprised” to be pitted against a groundsman from Premier League football giants Manchester City for the student award.
He said: “It is quite surprising when you consider the size of their club and the money they have compared with us at the grass roots end.
“It will be interesting to see how the judges make their decision. But it shows I’m doing well to be going up against someone from such a professional set-up.”
Ollie, who has taken two IOG training courses in sports and amenity turf maintenance, is responsible for the six-acre site at the Haberden, and maintains the three main pitches and the artificial surface at the club.
Independent judging will now take place at each venue and Ollie will find out if he is a winner Oscars-style at the ceremony next month.
The IOG Awards, which highlight the high standards of volunteer and professional groundsmanship, from grassroots to professional stadia level, will take place at the National Conference Centre, Birmingham on Wednesday, November 1.