Worcestershire head groundsman Tim Packwood has revealed the pride felt by himself and his five man team after receiving a major honour at the Institute of Groundsmanship (IOG) awards held at Stadium MK – the home of Milton Keynes Dons.
Packwood and his hard-working staff were voted winners of the Professional Cricket Grounds Team Of The Year award, beating off the challenge from Warwickshire and Derbyshire who were also nominated.
It has been a mixture of experience, with Tim and Martin Watts, having clocked up 25 years and 35 years respectively at New Road, and inexperience with Luke Weston, Ash Hill, Arthur Jones and Steve Gravenall relative newcomers.
But the six of them worked effectively and enabled Worcestershire to start last season at New Road after the misery of the winter floods and also earn praise during the campaign for the quality of the wickets and outfield.
Worcester-born Packwood, 43, said: "I'm over the moon to be honest. It is nice there are people out there who recognise the work you are doing because you have to be nominated for the award.
"It basically takes in everything to do with groundsmanship to be honest, how well your ground looks, how the wickets play, staffing levels, maintenace of machinery, basically everything.
"I've got a good team. When you saw the state of the ground in March, April, even into May, to have a good bunch of lads around you, that you only need to show them or tell them something once and it gets done, is great.
"We've got two very experienced members of staff in myself and Martin and, of the other four working for us, Luke had only three years experience and the other three lads had only got 12 months experience between them."
Packwood added: "It was an enjoyable season because the team did well but it was also hard work. Match days can be long days but they can be rewarding and when people are out there playing on your wickets, there is no better sight.
"People maybe don't think you are working when there is no game on but there is always something to be done.
"You have the days leading up to the games doing the preparing, the second team might be in, the first team might be netting, you've got to prepare wickets, re-seed wickets and get them coming back for later in the season.
"But in the 25 years I've been here, last year was probably the most enjoyable season I've had working down here.
"Things went well on the pitch, things went well off the pitch and the whole club, everyone, seems to pull together as one and it just seems to be a big happy family and everyone is moving in the same and right direction."