Spanish rugby club declares Village Green better than Bermuda or synthetic

A Spanish rugby club has turned to Village Green to returf its playing fields just one year after a similar project using Bermuda grass varieties failed to deliver an adequate result.

The El Estrecho Rugby Club is only a decade old but has already fielded teams in Andalucía’s top tier 1st Regional League. As well as the successful senior team, there are eight junior sides and a total of 250 players that rely on their home ground’s playing surface standing up to the wear and tear generated by rugby union.

With the pitch having been re-laid in 2019, club management held lengthy debates about investing in another returfing project so soon after the last.

But with the Bermuda grass failing to withstand the high traffic and going brown in winter when it is most needed to perform, it was decided to replant using Village Green.

The decision was made after consultation with turf agronomist Mariano Carreras, director of certified Village Green producer Agro Carreras, and the manager of sports facilities for the San Roque Council, Carlos Crespo.

Mr Carreras said Village Green’s water-saving credentials meant it was the best turf option for the dry Andalucía region.

“Village Green is a unique lawn in the world, having been developed with the clear objective of being in perfect condition all year round while limiting its impact on the environment.

“This new grass provides very important advantages, such as being green all year round, having a high resistance to both biotic and abiotic factors, and enormous adaptability that translates to less water and fertiliser needs, and it’s free of pests,” Mr Carreras said.

“Better than synthetic”

As the focal point of all decisions made regarding local sports facilities, Mr Crespo has often had to choose between authentic and artificial turf. Although he’d always favoured real grass, he’d often gone with synthetic in the belief it could withstand traffic better than grass – an opinion he has since changed.

“With Village Green turf we found an amazing compromise, where we could offer players the softness, cushioning in tackles and falls, and comfort underfoot of natural turf without spending much on maintenance, water or chemicals,” Mr Crespo said.

“Even allowing for the grass still being young and the winter temperatures, Village Green is still in good shape – it looks good, the players love it, and maintenance is simple and minimal.”

The greenkeeper at the El Estrecho Rugby Club, located about 20 kilometres from British outpost Gibraltar, said the previous turf had worn out in large patches and presented an injury risk to players.

Antonio Romero said Village Green was an immediate success.

“Within eight weeks the pitch was fully covered, having been planted in June 2020 when the temperature usually hovers around the low 30s Celsius,” Mr Romero said.

“We had to keep it moist for about 10 days and after the first few weeks, as soon as it was established, we started to cut off the irrigation and realised how much of a water saver Village Green was compared to Bermuda.”

The experienced greenkeeper said there were another seven pitches around the local community but all have synthetic grass due to the councils’ and clubs’ concerns about heavy players tearing up the turf.

“If we’d known about Village Green beforehand, we would have used it instead of the synthetic we are stuck with,” Mr Romero said.

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