Calum Worsley's view as a Rereree
"It was my pleasure on Friday night to referee the inaugural game on the new pitch at Shelford, which is a real delight to referee on. Sharp, bright lines and new barriers give it a very professional feel. The ground has a slight bounce to it, which is lovely to run around on, and has plenty of grip; I wore my firm ground boots, but it takes a long metal stud well as well. Teams who take advantage of it will get excellent quick ball, and it will make for some cracking games. Of note, the slope into the corner by the clubhouse entrance has been retained, and I got the sense the surface gives a boost to the bounce of a high kick, so expect to do a lot of kick-chasing if your teams are wise to this. On the other hand, it seems to me that a grubber kick comes to rest sooner than I expected; perhaps this is just because I thought it would go further, but keep your senses sharp while you get used to it for the first time.
As for the game I had, it was certainly a change to get some more educated chat than usual from the players, thanks to Ben Coady at scrum half; I think we agreed by the end that all my decisions were indeed correct. Perhaps he will in time be the first to both play and referee on the new pitch…
In summary, a wonderful new resource that we should all look forward to having a go on!"
Ben Coady's view as a player
"On turning up at the pitch I thought it looked extremely impressive, considering how the 1st team pitch used to look, and it also has lots of room away from the line of touch for warming up and for kit etc. which is very helpful. Running around on it was a bit strange at first, but this was probably expected; I did find that throwing yourself onto an artificial surface was a little disconcerting, as a natural pitch does have noticeably improved shock-absorbtion compared to this. One large positive was the speed of the game: both teams, although I ended up on the losing side, played some seriously fast rugby (I’m sure Calum can vouch for that!) and the footing was fantastic allowing for great contest at both the breakdown and scrums. As a scrum-half another positive was the ball was always in a good position to be moved away quickly which seemed to help with game continuity. My main negative comments are that some of my team mates did pick up burns from the surface if they hit it hard and the green pellets lying within the mesh of the artificial grass often did end up in your mouth and eyes which I didn’t particularly like."
Massive thank you to Ben and Calum for offering their thoughts on the new pitch. Some interesting points to discuss.
Updated 08:38 - 25 Sep 2017 by Sam Vail