Hastings United Football Club’s groundsman is basking in the glory of winning two prestigious awards.
Simon Rudkins won the Ryman League Groundsman of the Year and National Groundsman of the Year (steps 3-4) for the 2014/15 season.
He received his well-deserved trophies at St George’s Park, the Football Association’s National Football Centre at Burton-on-Trent, last Wednesday.
Although self-taught and an unpaid volunteer, this is the third time Rudkins has won the Ryman League award following previous successes in 2011 and 2012.
But it’s the first time he has scooped the national accolade having been a runner-up in the same two years he previously won the Ryman award.
Rudkins said: “I was chuffed to have done that. There’s a lot of clubs at that level - about 225 in the country - so to be picked out to win it is very pleasing. It was quite surprising really.”
There’s a lot of clubs at that level - about 225 in the country - so to be picked out to win it is very pleasing.Simon Rudkins
Rudkins’ nomination came about from marks on the quality of the pitch awarded by the match referees for league games.
The FA then sent judges out to view the pitches with the best marks. Darren Baldwin, the grounds manager at Tottenham Hotspur, and Dougie Robertson, from West Ham United, judged the pitch back in April.
They took into account equipment available to maintain the pitch, as well as maintenance budget and how much use it gets to make their decision.
Rudkins thanks Roy Trunchion, Chris Newman, Barrie West and James Darvill for their help, and club chairman Dave Ormerod congratulates him on the achievement.
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