Allett Launch Ingestre Lawn Academy- Level 1 and Level 2 Courses Available-Secure Your Place Today

International Women's Day- Meg Lay - Lords Groundswoman and Pioneer of Women in the Industry

On International Women's Day we are excited to share the extraordinary journey of Meg Lay, a native of New Zealand whose story resonates with determination, passion and a relentless pursuit of her dreams. Hailing from an arable farm in the heart of New Zealand Meg's journey took an unexpected turn when she embarked on an adventure to Bristol, United Kingdom in search of new opportunities.

With uncertainty looming over her future and without a clear career path in mind, Meg's arrival in Bristol marked the beginning of an awe-inspiring chapter. Little did she know that her rural upbringing and lifelong passion for cricket would converge into a remarkable career in sports ground management. Fate led her to the Gloucester County Cricket Club where she found herself immersed in the world of cricket and turf management preparing both domestic and international pitches.

Under the mentorship of Sean Williams, Meg found her footing in a field that she had never imagined herself exploring. Drawing upon her agricultural background and years of playing cricket Meg quickly established herself as an invaluable member of the grounds team. From producing pitches for international matches to meticulously tending to county grounds Meg's dedication and expertise were unparalleled. From talking to Meg for 5 minutes you really get to see a passionate switched on young woman with the world at her feet.

Despite never considering sports ground management as a viable career path back home in New Zealand Meg was captivated by the myriad of opportunities that awaited her in the UK. The abundance of sports grounds and the demand for skilled professionals in the industry presented Meg with a golden opportunity to carve her own path.

In a twist of fate Meg found herself at the forefront of a ground-breaking initiative within the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB). Collaborating with Claire Daniel, Head of Operations at Edgbaston, Meg embarked on a mission to assemble an all-women grounds team for the prestigious Ashes series. What began as a casual conversation over lunch blossomed into a visionary endeavour to challenge stereotypes and pave the way for women in sports ground management.

Overcoming logistical challenges and breaking down barriers, Meg dedicated months to recruiting a diverse team of grounds women from various sporting backgrounds. Their mission was not only to prepare pitches for the Ashes but also to inspire future generations of ground staff and shatter misconceptions surrounding gender roles in sports.

Meg's tireless efforts did not go unnoticed as she received unwavering support from her colleagues, including Gary, who generously granted his 'all male' team a day off to prepare for the historic event. With Gary's trust and guidance Meg and her team took charge of pitch preparations showcasing their expertise and determination to succeed in a male-dominated industry.

As Meg reflects on her journey she emphasises the importance of representation and visibility in sports ground management. Despite the challenges and the prevailing gender imbalance in the industry, Meg remains optimistic about the future. Her message to aspiring ground staff is simple yet profound: seize every opportunity, embrace challenges and never be afraid to defy expectations.

Looking ahead, Meg envisions a future where sports ground management is recognised as a viable career option for individuals of all backgrounds. From local clubs to international arenas, Meg hopes to see more women and men pursuing their passion for turf management and contributing to such a wonderful industry.

Since last summer Meg has moved from Gloucestershire to one of the world's best cricket grounds in Lords (London) to work alongside Head Groundsman Karl Mcdermott and his team. She certainly has the world at her feet and has the potential to be the first every female Head Groundswoman at a major UK club in the future.

Since the Ashes Meg and the girls have re-joined forces to make up an 'All female' grounds team at Arsenal Women's latest game against Tottenham at a sold out Emirates stadium. Over 60,000 people attended the game and saw the girls in action.  Despite an uplift of women playing sport across all levels only 2% of the grounds management sector is female. With the way the women's game is growing ( as well as other sports) there is going to be a huge demand for more pitches to keep up with the increased demand for grass playing surfaces. The 13 women involved come from different venues across a variety of sporting and educational facilities and were led by Tara Sandford, Groundsperson at Arsenal Football Club. Lets hope this is the start of a growth in women in the grounds industry. It certainly will do no damage that thousands of young women, girls AND boys saw the team at work last weekend- It would have inspired so many people.

Back to the top