The Emerald Headingley Stadium groundstaff saw off competition from Aviva Premiership rivals Sale Sharks to win the prestigious GrassMaster Professional Rugby Football Union Grounds Team of the Year at the Institute of Groundsmanship (IOG) Industry Awards 2017.

The team, led by Head Groundsman Ryan Golding, have been previously nominated for the award and finished as runners up on three previous occasions but this time took home the top prize. It was a tight contest with the AJ Bell also being a fibre sand pitch and hosting Rugby Union and Rugby League games with Salford Red Devils sharing the ground with Sale Sharks. However, Ryan and his team picked up the award to continue their impressive haul of industry awards.

The Emerald Headingley pitch was runner up in the Mansfield Sand Professional Rugby Football League Grounds Team of the Year as well in 2017, an award they have won for the last two years.

The sell-out Institute of Groundsmanship (IOG) Industry Awards are a star-studded event with a host of sporting dignitaries, broadcasters and celebrities in attendance as well as hundreds of groundsmen and women from throughout the UK and Europe’s volunteer and professional groundscare industry.

Hosted by talkSPORT radio presenter Mark Saggers, the awards were presented in front of the 700-strong audience at  The National Conference Centre, within the National Motorcycle Museum after the evening of the opening day of the SALTEX exhibition at the Birmingham NEC.