SOME of the unsung heroes of North-East sport have been honoured for their dedication to keeping a cricket field pitch perfect.

The grounds team at Durham County Cricket Club has won two major honours at this year’s Institute of Groundsmanship (IOG) Industry Awards.

The club won the Headland Amenity Professional Cricket Grounds Team of the Year and head groundsman Vic Demain was named individual Groundsman of the Year.

Loading article content

Both awards were presented at a ceremony at the National Conference Centre, in Birmingham, hosted by Talksport radio presenter Mark Saggers.

Mr Demain was appointed head groundsman at Chester-le-Street in 2015, following two years as deputy head groundsman at Trent Bridge.

The Durham grounds team of four full-timers and one part-timer ensure the Emirates Riverside Stadium pitch is maintained to the level demanded of an international cricket ground.

They keep records of moisture content and hardness of every match pitch, which are forwarded to the ECB so that a data picture is created for every game.

They also compile a daily record of all work undertaken on the pitch, and of daily temperatures and rainfall.

As well as internationals, the ground hosts County Championship, 50-over and T20 fixtures for Durham’s first team, second XI and academy sides, along with other events including rock and pop concerts.

The grounds team is also overseeing development of a new second XI pitch next to the stadium.

Mr Demain said he holds regular meetings with other groundsmen to: “reach out to the local community of groundsmen to help them develop within the industry”.

IOG chief executive Geoff Webb, said: “This year’s awards demonstrate the skills and passion of groundsmanship throughout the UK.

“Winning an award is testament to the dedication of the grounds teams and individuals whose ability to produce and maintain ever-improving playing surfaces, which enables more games to take place, goes largely unnoticed.”