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Brand New Artificial Pitch at Coventry Rugby

Robinson Manufacturing’s sporting partners Coventry Rugby have had a brand new artificial pitch laid ready for the start of the new season – the first home game is tomorrow, Saturday 28th September.

Away from the public gaze, sports clubs are always hives of activity in the off-season. New players are coming, fond farewells are said to those who leave the club, and then, after around 4 to 5 weeks after the end of the previous season it all starts again, with training, sweat, and plenty of hard work.

This summer at Coventry Rugby was no different, both as far as the players were concerned but also with developments going on which will underpin the future of the club as a whole.

This is because the pitch at Butts Park Arena has been transformed. At the end of last season, there was grass, sand, and plenty of work to be done. Now there lies a brand-new artificial pitch, level and true, and the ideal surface for Rowland Winter and his team to develop the fast attacking style for which they became renowned last season.

From an engineering perspective the numbers are certainly impressive.

30 cm of topsoil were removed, the equivalent of more than 300 lorry loads. In its place was laid 6000 tons of aggregate, topped by 1000 tons of porous tarmac, 25 mm of porous rubber, and a brand-new, state of the art, artificial service, itself finished off with 300 tons of sand and 100 tons of rubber crumb.

Contractors S and C Slatter have developed an outstanding reputation for building such surfaces, and it is easy to see why when you see it in person. This was heavy engineering with a fine touch, with all of the surfacing guided by lasers to ensure that it was level, significant drainage installed, a new irrigation system put in place, and a sophisticated monitoring system so that Eric Richardson, the club’s facilities manager, can keep a close eye over which parts of the pitch are being used more than others.

Many of these initiatives were requested by the club to ensure that the pitch stays in the best condition possible, and player welfare was at the top of the agenda.

Without even a rugby match being played on it, the pitch has transformed the club as a whole. Tenants Coventry United have already played a number of games, with both the male and female teams well into their seasons. Soccer Sixes is now taking over the pitch on a Monday evening for three hours of ‘friendly’ competition, and a wide range of community clubs are booking time on this outstanding facility.

Butts Park Arena was traditionally the multi-sport hub of Coventry. Indeed, when you look at the Google Earth pictures taken in a late summer of latter-year you can still see the outline of the old running track. This will not be the case in any similar future picture, for obvious reasons, but in installing such a pitch Coventry Rugby is taking its home back to its roots.