Simon Cook, Jacob Camplin and Ryan Tate, three Bridgwater & Taunton College Sports Turf and Greenkeeping students travelled to Wimbledon during the practice week before the Championships for a behind the scenes tour. They were accompanied by their trainer assessor Cary Rawlings.
Simon, Jacob and Ryan competed against students from six other colleges in the Saltex Cup, a turf management competition, back in October. Part of the prize was a visit to the famed Wimbledon ground, home to the oldest tennis tournament in the world. The students competed in an extensive academic test of turf knowledge management, beating stiff competition to achieve first place.
The tour was led by Neil Stubley, Head of Courts and Horticulture, who gave an in-depth insight of the work that goes into the preparation for the tournament as well as the year-round upkeep of the courts and grounds. All three students asked some great questions and have learnt a lot about potential careers in turf management.
Commenting on the SALTEX College Cup, Neil Stubley said:
I was fortunate to be invited to sit on the judging panel at the SALTEX College Cup in 2018 and it was a great experience to see up-and-coming grounds personnel with their key knowledge and their willingness to learn. I’ve enjoyed showcasing what we do and explaining the challenges we have to work with to deliver exceptional surfaces for The Championships.
The SALTEX College Cup’s size and reputation has steadily inclined, since it’s launch back in 2017. BTC Trainer Assesor Cary Rawlings encourages more colleges to participate in the event:
I can highly recommend the SALTEX College Cup to all colleges that are involved in delivering sports turf. It is a fantastic opportunity for young students to challenge themselves and it provides them with the opportunity to gain experience of delivering a presentation to industry professionals that will set them in good stead for future job interviews.
It also gives a good overview of the knowledge that your students have taken on-board during their course and also highlights any areas that may need to be revisited.
We are looking forward to entering again this year and I implore other colleges to participate in this event. It is not every day that your students get the opportunity to experience life behind the scenes at a major sporting event. Once the seed has been planted for something like this it will drive our future custodians of the industry on to bigger and better things.
Bridgwater & Taunton College will be hoping to regain the Saltex Cup in October, where a two day trip to the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium to help prepare for a Real Madrid match awaits the winners.
An inspired Jacob Camplin stated:
The attention to detail here at Wimbledon is incredible and I feel very lucky to have been here to witness it. We’ll be back at SALTEX this year to defend our title and we’re going for our second win so bring it on!
Pictured from left to right in Centre Court are; Cary Rawlings – BTC Trainer/Assessor, Jacob Camplin, Ryan Tate, Simon Cook, Dan Prest – Head of Member Services at the Institute of Groundsmanship, Neil Stubley – Head of Courts and Horticulture at the All England Lawn Tennis Club.