This year saw Green Options, a national sports turf and landscape management company, dominate the 2019/2020 Sydney Premier Cricket Ground Assessment, not only taking out the top spot, but the top five positions.
In addition to this success, all of their maintained first grade cricket grounds were ranked in the top 10 – an outstanding achievement!
turfmate spoke to Operations Manager, Nathan Humphreys, about the stellar results and how they achieved them.
turfmate ™: Green Options results in this year’s competition are brilliant! How does it compare to other years?
Nathan Humphreys (NH): On average, we would normally have two to three spots in the top 10, so this is a considerable improvement on past years. We’re especially proud of results such as the Allan Border Oval and Pratten Park – it’s been a long time since they made the top 10!
tm: Drummoyne Oval was the overall winner with 148.80 points. Can you give us a rundown of what this ground is used for and the work that goes into maintaining it?
NH: Drummoyne Oval is a heavily used facility, which is maintained by a small, hardworking crew in both summer and winter, this crew is bolstered for important events by our staff who are looking to gain experience at big cricket matches.
Drummoyne Oval can be used for everything from Shield Games or International One Day games through to local under 15s cricket, so it’s a diverse ground. Across our business, we class any one fixture as important as another, so that helps with consistency of our final product. Green Options also prepare turf practice wickets on site for winter training for NSW Cricket and CA, which is very unique in Sydney and a big challenge preparing turf wickets for cricket training in Late June.
During the winter season, the ground is used for rugby and AFL training and games, which can cause damage to the Kikuyu outfield. This year two rugby teams are playing out of there. At times, the field has required up to 4000m2 of turf replacement at the end of winter sport season, which involves a four to six week turnaround to when they play state cricket and this makes for a challenge in September when soil temperatures and growth rates are low. In saying that, re-turfing amounts have reduced over the last four years; last winter season we installed less than 1000sqm which is a great result.
We are lucky to have a large pool of resources, both labour and machinery, available to us across our operation, which gives us some flexibility to alter our approach to adapt to prevailing conditions. All our staff also undertake basic mower and roller maintenance, to ensure we can maintain our crucial equipment to the standard required at all times and to limit the possibility of breakdowns when we least want them.
This year we had a Shield game relocated to us at Drummoyne with 4 days’ notice to prepare the wicket and the above resources and machinery allow us to make fixtures like this happen at the drop of a hat.
tm: And aside from Drummoyne, what about the other grounds that were in the top ten?
NH: The other five grounds of ours in the top ten are Manly Oval, Waverley Oval, Coogee Oval, Allan Border Oval and UNSW David Phillips.
All of these grounds are extensively damaged at the end of soccer and rugby season and typically have a very limited turnaround from winter season to cricket. This year, Coogee Oval had a World Cup Rugby warm up fixture (Argentina versus Randwick Rugby) and a food festival held on the oval in the 10 days preceding the first home cricket fixture, so it was a huge effort to the team to finish in the top five this year.
It’s been almost a decade since Allan Border Oval made the top 10; their oval was previously completely lacking grass cover. So, the Council decided to re-turf the entire soccer field, which surrounded wicket table just weeks leading up to the season, so huge credit to the team for achieving the results they did.
tm: What is your secret to the high level of consistent results? What do you think sets you apart from the competition?
NH: Our team’s success is built on the experience we have in the business. Both our owner and General Manager started out rolling decks at state and international level and they have over 50 years combined experience. Since starting in the Eastern Suburbs with a small crew, the company has developed a core group of long serving tradesmen, who specialise in wicket curating. This knowledge and experience is passed on to our younger staff members, and they take that back to the grounds they work on. We also have a big focus on constant improvement by talking through any issues the staff face, which makes it easier for them to make good decisions in the future.
The structure of our operation gives staff the ability to grow into roles; each year we have apprentices finish with us and we pride ourselves on the fact that we offer them a pathway as a tradesman in our company when they complete their trade. Many of our apprentices over the years are now senior members of staff and hold contract manager, site manager and senior grounsdstaff positions across the business.
The Green Options team creates some healthy competition between each other, a lot of regular communication and banter between all of us with the goal of pushing each other to create high quality surfaces, and ultimately with the aim of having each site’s ground finish as high in the rankings as possible.
Green Options have a comprehensive offering, specialising in Sports Turf services, horticulture and landscape design and maintenance and have dedicated operations in all major cities across the country. Want to learn more about Green Options and their range of services? Visit their website today.