Madejski Stadium becomes first UK sports club facility with dual-use surface to install SISGrass hybrid technology

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English soccer team Reading FC has become the first UK sports club with a dual-use pitch to install a leading hybrid turf system. The Madejski Stadium has opted for a SISGrass as part of a full-surface pitch reconstruction aimed at helping the surface stand up to matches featuring the Championship soccer team and London Irish – a professional rugby team competing in the Aviva Premiership.

The stadium (and its pitch) also stages under-23 and under -18 matches. According to SISGrass, the hybrid surface, which features reinforced natural turf with fiber injection, will ensure the turf can withstand the heavy use it is subjected to over a typical season.

“The pitch was last reconstructed to this extent way back in 2007 and it reached the end of its shelf life last season, becoming ineffective in areas,” said Adam Grantham, Reading’s grounds manager. The surface was installed by MJ Abbott over a six-week period in the summer.

“Balancing all the football and rugby commitments on an ageing pitch was extremely tough at times and there was some criticism over the winter period, so it was good to start afresh in the summer,” Grantham added.

“We completely reconstructed the pitch, taking the old hybrid system out and starting from the bottom up, reshaping all the sub-base levels, reinstalling the drainage, the undersoil heating and adding a new irrigation system.

Phil Blackwell, SIS Pitches’ UK projects director, added: “With the Madejski Stadium staging so many fixtures during a season, Reading requires the most durable and stable pitch on the market, which we firmly believe our award-winning SISGrass hybrid pitch technology provides.

“The installation process went extremely smoothly and we have no doubts that both Reading and London Irish will experience a higher quality and more durable playing surface this season.”

October 4, 2017

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