Ted Hopkins continues partnership with Cardiff Blues
Guinness PRO12 side, Cardiff Blues, have welcomed the arrival of a new Kubota compact tractor, continuing the region’s long association with the groundscare equipment manufacturer.
The region have taken delivery of the Kubota STW40 tractor through Newport-based machinery dealer, Ted Hopkins Machinery, with whom Cardiff Blues have enjoyed an association for over 50 years.
KubotaBlues-800pxMatthew Jones (left) with Chris Hopkins (right) at the BT Sport Cardiff Arms Park.
The condition and playability of the match pitch at BT Sport Cardiff Arms Park markedly improved following a decision by the region in 2013 to install a 3G surface. Cardiff Blues are only the third team (Saracens being the first and then Newcastle Falcons) in the UK to move from a natural to wholly synthetic surface, after years of having to work with poor weather conditions.
Head Groundsman Matthew Jones has been at the region for a decade and has overseen the transition from natural to artificial pitch; a move that has since allowed the region to not only deliver on all fixture commitments but also widen its remit to host a range of community fixtures and external bookings.
“Maintenance at the Arms Park was always very challenging with a natural surface. The heavy rainfall we get in Cardiff and the lack of natural light to the pitch meant it would frequently get churned up.
“Since we’ve moved over to 3G, the pitch is in constant use, most days from 7am-10pm. We host local rugby and football clubs, weekend fixtures and the facility was also used as part of the rugby village during the Rugby World Cup – something which simply wouldn’t have been possible previously.”
The new Kubota STW40 is now a key part of daily maintenance of the pitch, which includes pulling specialist equipment to deep tine and de-compact the surface, combined with fortnightly deep cleaning.
Staff also benefit from a mutual arrangement with their neighbours, the Principality Stadium, whereby Matthew and his team have use of the RTV-X900 utility vehicle.
Chris Hopkins, Managing Director of Ted Hopkins Machinery added: “As a company, we’ve had a relationship with Cardiff Blues that goes back to 1963. We’ve been supplying equipment since the mid 1990s and the STW40 is just the latest model.
“This specific tractor is perfect for the 3G surface because it is essential that compaction of the rubber crumb is minimised when carrying out maintenance. The STW is not too heavy, has plenty of power, good weight distribution and copes well with the range of implements that are used here to maintain the pitch. The groundcare team also benefit from having use of a Kubota L5040, which is based at the region’s training facility at The Vale Resort in Hensol, Vale of Glamorgan.”
Jones adds: “We’ve dealt with Chris and Ted Hopkins for as long as I’ve been here and the relationship is superb. We just have to pick up the phone and they’re here the same day or the next. The quality and service from Chris and the team is fantastic, it’s what you expect from a long-standing family run business.”
Article published: 14/04/2016