Pitch improvements give Rovers boost

The pitch at Big Fellas Stadium has been vastly improved.
The pitch at Big Fellas Stadium has been vastly improved.

Featherstone’s head groundsman Chris Drury believes the newly-renovated playing surface at Big Fellas Stadium could be a big boost for Rovers this season.

With significant financial backing from club chairman Mark Campbell, Drury and his team have vastly improved the Featherstone pitch.

They have designed a surface to suit the fast-paced style of play the Rovers showcased last Sunday, defeating Wakefield Trinity on home soil.

Drury, who has worked at Leeds United and Leeds Rhinos, arrived at the Rovers late last year and has been working to develop a high-quality playing surface ever since, the club investing five figures during the process.

“Mark brought me to the club to look at the playing surface and give my views on what was needed,” said Drury.

“We went with a renovation approach, removing dead grass to begin with. We applied 12 bags of seed – in three different directions.

“Then we topped the rest with more than 90 tonnes of sand, which helped the drainage side of things. We realise we may never get the surface completely flat, but have worked to develop what we would class as a true surface.

“We spent around £7,500 on the initial project, which is massive in the grand schemes of things.

“Since I have come here, Mark has backed me with the machinery required. I have always been told to present the pitch right, which is exactly what I do. Mark has been right behind our efforts, spending around £20,000 on the pitch since our work began.”

The drastic pitch improvements conducted could also be crucial in maintaining the health and fitness of the Rovers squad, with Drury insisting a high-quality surface will prove integral to the success of Jon Sharp’s side.

“Hopefully we are already starting to see a bit of a difference,” he added.

“One of the biggest boosts for players is root growth and having a level surface. No dips and hollows, meaning players do not have to look where they are running or worry about suffering ankle injuries.

“The pitch was a little uneven when I first came. We want a true and fast service. That is what Jon (Sharp) requires.

“Everything on that basis is what we are aiming to continue to achieve. We need our players to be able to focus 100 per cent on the task at hand.”