A Groundsman’s Tales – A view from the other side of the whitewash
The season is nearly with us, new faces joining, old friends leaving, all with hopes for a good new years rugby.
But the real team at any grassroots club is that of the volunteer ground staff. An eclectic group of retired (perhaps) gentlemen (loose description), all with more idiosyncrasies that anything the creator of Last of the Summer Wine could only dream about.
All clubs have them…don’t they! Each knowing more about our marvellous game than any international coach or selector. Arguments persist, not about how to beat the drift defence or counter attack in broken play, but whose turn it is to make the tea, how the grass should be cut and which dressing room toilets have been vandalised by the under 12s this week.
Each club needs them, indeed cannot exist without them. Putting up with characters that even George Lucas would love to have created. In fact, there is more than a little Star Warsin each of them.
Can you recognise any? Tag those groundkeepers!
The Head Groundsman: They are definitely part of the RFU’s Rugby Groundsmen Connected scheme and does everything in his power to prevent anyone playing on his hallowed turf…͟no you cant play on it, it might rain a week on Thursday!
The Dressing Room Attendant: always in rubber gloves and smelling delightfully of disinfectant. They always insist of making the tea for everybody.
The Grass Cutter: the only one allowed on the tractor even when it is not in use, has a hay concession with the local stables.
The Line Marker: usually walks with a limp and responsible for creative designs that fool both player and official.
The Bin Man: who has carrying techniques to make Santa envious.
The Odd Job Man: does everything from changing bulbs to replacing screws. All minor repairs that somehow have the potential to become major redesign projects, and often do.
Every club has them, needs them, and cannot function without them. Who are yours? Look out for more tales of our rugby cast as the year progresses. Must go now, I hear the bin man cometh…
What would the men or women above think of these overgrown grounds? Cold sweats and sleepless nights.