Grounds for pride for Yorkshire's Jasmine Nicholls ahead of landmark game

WOMEN’s sport is on the rise but one area in which it could still do with a significant uplift is in the field of pitch preparation.
Yorkshire's Jasmine Nicholls. Picture by Allan McKenzie/SWpix.comYorkshire's Jasmine Nicholls. Picture by Allan McKenzie/
Yorkshire's Jasmine Nicholls. Picture by Allan McKenzie/

Only two per cent of the grounds management sector is female, those charged with maintaining the nation’s pitches.

As such, it will be a proud moment for Jasmine Nicholls, a member of the Headingley groundstaff, when she helps to make history at Arsenal FC’s Emirates Stadium on Sunday.

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Nicholls is part of the first all-female grounds team to work across a Barclays Women’s Super League match, when Arsenal take on north London rivals Tottenham Hotspur in front of a 50,000-plus crowd.

The 13-strong grounds team, which includes another local connection in Rachel Hunter-Worrall, the groundsperson at Queen Ethelburga’s School in York, has been pulled together from across the country.

“It’s a great initiative to be part of,” said Nicholls, 27. “It will be fantastic to see the Emirates packed out for the game, and I’m looking forward to experiencing the atmosphere and being involved.

“For me, it’s very exciting to go and experience pitch preparations in a different sport and venue and be together to showcase the female groundstaff team.

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“It’s important to be visible not just as groundstaff for women – to get more women involved but also more people into the industry in general.”

Geoff Webb, CEO of the Grounds Management Association, said: “Research shows that women make up a small percentage of the number of groundstaff we have working in the sector and so, if we want to provide more pitches to keep up with the increased demand for grass playing surfaces, we need more women to enter the sector.

“We’re delighted to see some exceptional examples of women working in the sector celebrated at such an important fixture in the Barclays Women’s Super League calendar, and we hope their example encourages more women and young girls to consider careers in grounds management.”

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