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Craig claims groundsman award

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Ebbsfleet United’s Head Groundsman Craig Freeman (pictured right with long-standing groundsman Peter Norton) has been awarded third place in the FA’s Conference Groundsman of the Year award, which took place at St George’s Park. Amongst the national awards given out across all levels of the game were those considered the best in their industry within the Vanarama Conference during 2013/14.

Craig finished only just behind Gateshead’s Stephen Batty in second place and Staines Town’s Gordon Gould in first, who had to wrestle with extremes of weather when the Wheatsheaf Park pitch was under water through much of the winter.

Fleet vice chairman Peter Varney said it was a richly deserved award for all the ground-staff team led by Craig who reaped much-deserved praise for the quality of their pitch, which did not see a single game postponed throughout all of last season. “Craig Freeman fully deserves this recognition,” he told FleetOnline. “He is hard working and takes a great pride in his work and all our supporters know how fantastic the pitch has been in the past year or so.

“Last season during some of the most extreme weather conditions we have experienced we never lost a single match to the weather and Craig should be proud of that. The quality of the surface Craig has produced is key to the entertaining style of football we wish to play. Craig is the orchestra conductor but I am sure he would be the first to acknowledge the support he receives from his musicians in the form of our maintenance team.”

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