After winning the 2018 SALTEX College Cup, students from Bridgwater and Taunton College in Somerset, recently enjoyed their prize of a behind the scenes tour at The All England Lawn Tennis Club (AELTC), Wimbledon.
Simon Cook, Jacob Camplin, Ryan Tate and trainer/assessor Cary Rawlings experienced an unforgettable day when Neil Stubley, the AELTC’s Head of Courts and Horticulture, provided them with an in-depth look at court preparations the week before The Championships, Wimbledon took place.
Sponsored by Ransomes, the competition took place at SALTEX 2018 at the NEC in Birmingham, where the three Bridgwater and Taunton students competed against other UK-based horticultural colleges in an in-depth academic test of turf management knowledge.
Commenting on being involved in this extraordinary opportunity, college student Ryan Tate said: “The experience was really educational. I was very lucky to get to see turf management at the highest tier and I’ll really benefit from it.”
Fellow college student Simon Cook added: “It has been a real eye opener, especially getting the chance to speak to and learn from someone like Neil Stubley.”
“The attention to detail here at Wimbledon is incredible and I feel very lucky to have been here to witness it,” said Jacob Camplin. “We’ll be back at SALTEX this year to defend our title and we’re going for our second win so bring it on!”
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 to the winning team and explaining the challenges we have to work with to deliver exceptional surfaces for The Championships.”
The Wimbledon tour follows two extraordinary SALTEX College Cup prizes in previous years. In 2017 the winning students were part of the Wembley grounds team at the FA Cup Final and the 2018 winners enjoyed an unforgettable experience of helping with pitch preparations at the 2018 Six Nations Championships at BT Murrayfield Stadium.
Since its launch in 2017, the SALTEX College Cup has grown each year both in size and reputation, and Cary Rawlings believes that even more colleges should enter the competition.
“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.”
All colleges interested in participating in the 2019 SALTEX College Cup should email Dan Prest at email@example.com for more details.
Toro and Reesink are the new 2019 sponsors of the SALTEX College Cup. The 2019 winners’ prize will be a trip to Real Madrid’s Bernabau Stadium.