One of the oldest independent schools in Britain and the home of Rugby
As the birthplace of rugby football in 1828, Rugby School in Warwickshire has a tradition of being at the pinnacle of sports education and hosting prestigious events. Head Groundsman, James Mead has a lifetime of experience developing and maintaining top tier sporting facilities and is currently responsible for over 20 natural and artificial sports pitches from rugby and tennis to hockey, polo, soccer and Lacrosse.
The school has high ambitions to attract quality students and ultimately produce county and international standard sportspeople. Part of the attraction of Rugby School is the quality of facilities that James manages, from pitches and dugouts to goal posts, seating and netting everything has to appear in pristine condition so that visitors, students even outside media recognize the level of development rugby school invests in its pupils. As well as providing facilities for the pupils, Rugby School also plays host to prestigious events such as the Warwickshire One Day cricket, Leicester Tigers rugby team and revenue generating concerts each attracting up to 4,000 spectators.
Algae is a constant threat to James that used to take significant time for his team to manage which took them away from more valuable activities. Now he sees five major benefits to using RBT:
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"Spray anything that's brand new with RBT and it stays brand new."
Once someone slips on a surface through negligence then the surface is deemed unsafe. The consequences can be significant, from claims against the school to cancelled events, members not renewing, in one recent example, a university had to replace the entire pitch. At Rugby School, surfaces have to be usable and in pristine condition day in, day out for 365 days a year.
When they’re not in use by pupils, they will be used for outside clubs, regional championships, TV appearances and showcase events. James comments; ‘When we put the rugby posts away they get painted over with RBT, they get stored under trees and whenever we pull them back out again they’re as good as gold’
General use chemicals can be a risk, the RBT difference is that it not only treats surfaces efficiently, it is more environmentally friendly, reduces bacteria on the surface, is odourless and the surface can be used again within ten minutes. ‘We’ve used it on all our artificial surfaces, PVC, canvas, Perspex, galvanized posts, even wood’ says James.
9 times out of 10 there’s an overhanging tree somewhere or shade on your pitch and that’s where your problems can start. If pitches aren’t kept clean and sediment builds up, grip suffers and your equipment deteriorates faster. And if you use the wrong product you could be dissolving the oils and causing the surface to disintegrate. ‘Unless you use a maintenance program like RBT you’re reducing the lifespan of your pitch’ says James.
School funding can be hard to secure and every penny has to be accounted for by the bursar and ultimately reported back to the shareholders. With pitches costing from £200,000 and £750,000, maximizing the lifespan of their investments is crucial. A planned maintenance program could be the difference between lasting 10 and 15 years. ‘Spray anything that’s brand new with RBT, and it stays brand new’ James comments.
James has tried many different products over the years but has been using RBT for over 4 years and believes he has found the answer to his algae problem. A pitch can be treated in 30 minutes, rugby posts and cricket boards, tennis netting and dugouts are just as quick and easy to apply. It takes a long time to take apart things like netting and side screens, ‘if we can just spray them it’s much easier and a great time saver and it saves us more time by not having to repeat it’. says James.
The future of Rugby
Amidst the prestige already associated with Rugby School, James recognizes his responsibility to the school. ‘We are only custodians for a short period of time, but if we can raise the bar here for the next 20 years the school becomes a more attractive proposition and can realize its ambitions’. With plans to continue hosting high profile events, attract quality pupils and constantly improve its facilities, James sees RBT as a key part of his success at Rugby.