Cleckheaton duo have perfect pitch

CLECKHEATON Sports Club’s groundsmen Keith Johnstone and John Hawksworth have been awarded a top accolade for their work at Moorend.

They were named Volunteer Sports Ground Management Team of the Year at the prestigious Institute of Groundsmanship Industry Awards at Bolton Wanderers’ Reebok Stadium last Friday. They beat off competition from a host of clubs, including fellow finalists Miskin Manor Cricket Club, from Llantrissant in Wales.

Between them, retired duo Keith and John spend around 50 hours a week working on the Moorend ground, and they got to rub shoulders with some of the top groundsmen in the country at the ceremony, including representatives from Premier League football clubs Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur.

Keith, who is a previous winner of the Bradford League’s Sir Leonard Hutton Trophy for outstanding service, said: “There were around 20 awards handed out in different categories, from clubs who are at the top of the tree right down to those who volunteer their services, such as me and John.”

John has looked after the two bowling greens at Cleckheaton since 1975 and Keith has tendered to the cricket field since 1985, while they have worked as a team for the last 21 years.

Keith added: “We are down at Cleckheaton every day but at least it keeps us out of mischief. It isn’t just about cutting grass – there is mending, painting and general maintenance work that all needs doing – but we are very lucky at Cleckheaton as we have other people coming down on a voluntary basis to help us.”

At last week’s awards, there was a groundsman from Charterhouse School in Surrey, who have an annual budget of £250,000 to take care of the school grounds.

That shows just how much people like Keith and John are worth to local sports clubs and their award is justified for the work the pair put in at Moorend.