Long-standing IOG stalwart Len Smith has retired after a 57-year career in groundsmanship

Long-standing IOG stalwart Len Smith has retired after a 57-year career in groundsmanship

Described by ECB international pitch advisor, Chris Wood, as a ‘man of soil’, Len started his career, aged 15, at Cardiff Botanical Gardens. He then joined Penyaln Bowling & Lawn tennis Club before moving into greenkeeping at Radyr Golf Club. His next move was to the Polytechnic of Wales (now the University of Glamorgan), before a two-year spell at Somerset CC before joining Glamorgan CC – where he helped created a pitch that effectively brought Test cricket to the venue. He was appointed an IOG regional pitch advisor for Wales and the South West in 2009.

Jason Booth, IOG director of the FA-, Football Foundation- and ECB-funded Grounds & Natural Turf Improvement Programme, highlighted Len’s impact on groundsmanship at a recent farewell meeting at Cricket Wales HQ at Sophia Gardens in Galmorgan.  “Len’s outstanding contribution as a groundsman, tutor and mentor to many people within this industry is not to be underestimated. His ability to interact with everyone - from National Governing Body administrators, to grounds volunteers - is an extraordinary ability that very few people possess, and he has used this to promote groundsmanship."

Cricket Wales CEO Peter Hybart also congratulates Len on his outstanding career: “The contribution from Len Smith to groundsmanship in Wales over the past 50-plus years has been immense. He has worked in Higher Education, as the head groundsman at Glamorgan County Cricket Club and in later years supporting the grassroots clubs in Wales as regional pitch advisor for the IOG. Throughout this time his passion and humility have shone through and hundreds of groundsmen and women have benefitted from his great knowledge and experience.”

Len has accrued a number of awards during his career. These include: 2006 Turf professional of the Year, the 2008 ECB Achievements in Cricket Groundsmanship and was awarded the IOG Everris/Syngenta Lifetime Achievement Award in 2013.

According to Jason, Len will still be involved with both the IOG and Cricket Wales within an Ambassadorial role and says: "He will prove just as invaluable going forward and we thank him for all he has done and achieved during his career.”