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Rovers’ grounds staff win 2020/21 Sky Bet League One grounds team of the season

12 May 2021

Rovers' ground staff have won 2020/21 Sky Bet League One grounds team of the season for an impeccably kept playing surface throughout the campaign.

The award is given to the team who have kept the best pitch throughout the season with marks provided by the referee and visiting manager after every home game. The three teams from each division with the highest divisional average are visited by Neil Rodger from the Sports Turf Research Institute where further assessments are carried out, which cover pitch quality, environmental conditions and usage and resources and management. 

With in-depth reports and recommendations are submitted to the Playing Surfaces Committee, Rovers came out on top with Plymouth Argyle, Portsmouth and Shrewsbury Town highly commended. 

Pitch maintenance has been a challenge in the 2020/21 season with a higher frequency of matches and the Keepmoat Stadium pitch was put under even more pressure as it also hosted Harrogate Town in the early part of the season matches and Sheffield Eagles in the latter part.

Head grounds man Andy Thompson said: “We have been highly-commended for a few seasons so to go one better and win it this year is brilliant and is testament to the hard-work and dedication of my team throughout a very testing 12 months. The team have gone beyond what is expected of them, so they could produce a playing surface and training ground to benefit the club. 

“It’s been the most intense playing schedule in memory and to keep the pitch in the condition it is has taken a lot of time and effort - I can’t thank everyone enough for their commitment and efforts over the last 12 months. 

“Every club in the country have had a very difficult winter and it’s testament to all grounds staff throughout the leagues to be able to produce pitches that they should all be very proud of. We have been recognised along with other top surfaces, and this is an award I personally am honoured to receive on behalf of our team.” 

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