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Duo pitch in and get award

PUBLISHED: 19:02 06 April 2010 | UPDATED: 22:01 07 July 2010

The winning duo.

The winning duo.

A pair of dedicated unsung heroes have been honoured for their work behind the scenes at Thetford Rovers Football Club.

Mark Zipfel and Simon Juby work hard to maintain the club's ground in the village of Euston and have now

been recognised as Norfolk Groundsmen of the Year.

A pair of dedicated unsung heroes have been honoured for their work behind the scenes at Thetford Rovers Football Club.

Mark Zipfel and Simon Juby work hard to maintain the club's ground in the village of Euston and have now

been recognised as Norfolk Groundsmen of the Year.

The pair began work at Thetford Rovers about nine years ago on what was an overgrown and unusable site.

Two years later they had done enough work to allow the team to begin playing on the pitch.

Scores of moles and rabbits were removed, the grass was cut and the pitch marked out.

“My father was secretary for the club and talked me into it,” said Zipfel, 46, a stud groom at The Shadwell Nunnery Stud in Thetford, where he also lives.

“It's very satisfying work - it's a labour of love for the club. It takes me away from my work and I get great pleasure in looking after it.”

Zipfel and Juby, 41, who also works and lives at the Shadwell Nunnery Stud, volunteer about two hours a week to cut the grass, mark out the two pitches, and maintain the upkeep. They will now go forward to a national round.

Run by the FA, the Groundsman of the Year award was set up five years ago to recognise the contribution of people at grass-roots level who are out in all weathers, and to encourage the development of groundsmanship.

Competition judges not only look at the quality of the pitch, but also take in to consideration the groundsman's knowledge, resources available to them, how often the pitch is used and whether they are full or part time.

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