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DW Stadium


Built in 1999, there aren’t many stadiums more frequently used than the DW Stadium in Wigan, which plays host to a full schedule of both football and rugby league games. Yet a recurring problem with grass deterioration below the sun-starved west stand left ground staff turning to TigerTurf and specialist contractors STM for a long term solution.

The cause of the issue was simple enough. Lack of sunlight meant the continual use of the technical area and warm-up areas on the stadium’s Springfield Stand would wear down the surface year after year.

A patch of artificial turf installed in 2006 went some way to fixing the problem, but with the run-off on either side showing little sign of improvement, ground staff began to search for a more permanent fix.

After speaking to a few industry figures, staff at the DW approached specialist contractors STM to renovate the 119m x 4.5m sideline and technical areas, as well as the players’ tunnel. Having specified TigerTurf’s Soccer Real 50XQ for a professional look and feel, STM also recommended a 24mm TenCate Ecocept™ base layer to help with the pitch’s frequent wear and tear, with impressive drainage capabilities one of a number of cost-saving installation benefits it can offer.

With the pitch renovation having already taken place, STM carried out the work in just one week during the close season, completing the first UK installation of TigerTurf for both football and rugby league uses.

Ian Forshaw, Head Groundsman at the DW Stadium commented: “The whole pitch used to be natural grass, but every year the technical area and the warm-up area on the shaded side of the stadium used to wear immensely.

“Around 10 years ago we put a patch of artificial grass in by the technical area, but we would still end up losing the natural grass on either side, so we decided to look for a solution that would keep that side of the stadium at its best. After speaking to a few different people in the industry, we came across STM and TigerTurf.

“There were questions about whether we needed a shock pad under the turf, but eventually we decided that having the Ecocept layer would give us that peace of mind if a player does go on to that area of the pitch. It also means that if any regulation does come in for either football or rugby league regarding shock pads, we’re well prepared.

“We were really impressed with how the job was done. We had a five-week window for the installation to be carried out to give plenty of time for the job. That said, the installation was completed in about a week, and it all went so quickly and smoothly. The guys at STM took off the spoil, laid the membrane and added some crush and run. They then put down the Ecocept layer, before laying the synthetic turf.

“It has performed very well and it looks a million times better than before. The most amazing thing is seeing how the water percolates through it. At the time STM put in the Ecocept layer, they said it would drain significantly quicker than the sand under the natural grass and that’s certainly true. We’ve not had any issue with any water building up on it or anything – we could do with having Ecocept™ under the whole pitch!”

Date Project Completed: August 2015

Area: 119m x 4.5m

Surface: Soccer Real 50 XQ

Base: TenCate Ecocept 24mm

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