Artificial turf manufacturer SIS Pitches has installed a new hybrid pitch at English Championship football club Reading’s Madejski Stadium, the first in the UK with a dual-use pitch.
The 24,161-capacity Madejski Stadium is also home to rugby union club the London Irish. The advanced SISGrass hybrid system will support the turf to endure more than 250 hours of playing time.
The turf technology at the Madejski Stadium was installed this summer as part of a full reconstruction of a pitch that staged over 55 matches last season.
SISGrass is an advanced reinforced turf system featuring patented fibre injections. The system ensures increased pitch stability and SIS Pitches claims that it delivers considerably more playing hours than natural grass surfaces.
The Berkshire venue hosts all home first-team fixtures played by Reading and London Irish, which have been ground-share tenants for over 16 years, as well as a selection of the Reading’s Under-23s and Under-18s games, meaning the playing surface gets a severe workout.
Reading has also employed SISGrass Universal, the compact machine that combines speed, mobility and laser precision and specialises in repairing high-use areas such as touchlines, goalmouths and penalty spots.
Adam Grantham, Reading’s grounds manager for 13 years, said: “The pitch was last reconstructed to this extent way back in 2007 and it reached the end of its shelf life last season, becoming ineffective in areas.
“Balancing all the football and rugby commitments on an ageing pitch was extremely tough at times and there was some criticism over the winter period, so it was good to start afresh in the summer.
“We completely reconstructed the pitch, taking the old hybrid system out and starting from the bottom up, reshaping all the sub-base levels, reinstalling the drainage, the undersoil heating and adding a new irrigation system.
“We have been really pleased with both the high quality of SIS Pitches’ service and the pitch they have installed. With the increased durability of SISGrass, we’re extremely hopeful the end result is a much stronger and healthier pitch all year round that suits our manager Jaap Stam’s style of play.
“By September 9, we’d played five matches on it already but the pitch is holding together really well and I’ve been getting good feedback from the coaching staff and players.”
SISGrass’ hybrid pitch system has also been installed at six of next summer’s Russian World Cup venues, including Luzhniki Stadium, which will host the final.
SISGrass has been installed at the grounds of Premier League duo Newcastle United and AFC Bournemouth, Italian Serie A side Verona and four Turkish Süper Lig clubs.