Pangbourne College is a co-educational independent day and boarding school located in the parish of Pangbourne, Berkshire. The site covers a total of 230 acres and houses a number of natural grass and hard court sports surfaces. To help maintain their artificial pitch, Estates Manager Ian Osbon took delivery in March this year of a Redexim Verti-Top from Charterhouse Turf Machinery.

Ian has been at the college for five years and is assisted by a team of three – together they are responsible for maintenance activities across the entire site. The AstroTurf surface is used all year round – predominately for Hockey during the autumn/winter season and reverting to tennis from Easter onwards for the duration of the summer. Ian estimates that the surface hosts around 20 hours of play a week, but if the current application to have the surface floodlit is approved, this will increase the usage greatly. More usage means more wear and tear and more work for Ian and the team.

“When I first arrived it was clear to see that little or no maintenance was carried out on the Astro surface, it was covered with a green slime” says Ian. “We had the surface professionally cleaned and now conduct a regular brush and comb programme to keep the sand infill free-flowing and de-compacted.” The location of the surface, a low spot surrounded by trees, means an in-house maintenance regime is vital to keep the surface playable.

In addition to the leaf blower, brush and comb, Ian had to invest in some machinery to maintain the playing standards achieved by the external clean. “The Verti-Top 1200 really appealed to us as it was a simple piece of kit which I could attach to the back of the tractor.  It takes our maintenance to the next level and made a real difference when we used it a few times during the summer to extract the infill and remove all the contaminates.  The tennis coach for one commented on the consistent ball bounce they were getting. Although we can’t use it when the sand is really wet, we can still get out if it’s frosty by setting the brush higher to effectively sweep out the leaves, twigs etc. It’s been a good investment in that it not only saves us money on outside contractors, it has really proved itself with the results we are getting – a very good piece of kit.”

Photo caption: Ian Osbon (right) with assistant Adam Singleton and their Verti-Top 1200