Edgbaston's head groundsman Gary Barwell has won the prestigious Professional Cricket Groundsman of the Year Award at the Institute of Groundsmanship Industry Awards in a glittering ceremony at Coventry's Ricoh Arena.
The award was presented to Barwell by IOG board director Peter Lee OBE in front of an audience of 350 of the UK's and Europe's leading groundscare experts, as well as dignitaries from the governing bodies of sport and influential sports administrators.
Barwell said: "The IOG awards are arguably the most prestigious in our industry and to win this in a year that's seen Edgbaston host the final of the ICC Champions Trophy and one of our biggest summers of cricket is a great reward to the efforts of my team of groundsmen who have worked tirelessly throughout.”
Barwell is responsible for the preparation of the pitches for international and domestic games at Edgbaston as well as its sand-based outfield. His remit also includes the preparation and maintenance of two international standard net facilities, and he oversees the preparation of pitches at Warwickshire outgrounds.
He manages a six-man team of groundsmen plus additional temporary staff on match days, and develops an on-going pitch plan for the ECB and for Sky televised games.
Dougie Brown, director of cricket at Warwickshire, said: "As well as playing at one of the best cricket grounds in the world, having a head groundsman like Gary ensures that we also play on some of the best pitches.
"His team's efforts to secure a game in the ICC Champions Trophy final, despite a day of rain, were incredible and the Warwickshire playing and coaching team are very proud of him for winning this deserved award."