Stitching new hybrid pitches at QPR’s training ground

23rd Mar 2022

As QPR push for the playoffs, White Horse Contractors are moving forward in Heston, with over 20,000 tonnes of material pushed out onto the pitches, our partner GrassMaster Solutions are stitching into three new first-team training pitches.

Pushing on

Our dozer drivers and excavator operators have ensured phase one of the project has progressed swiftly.

Following a once-in-a-generation Storm Eunice, our team has constructed a reliable subbase to guarantee accurate stitching! To achieve the very best results for hybrid pitch construction projects, it takes experience, skill, and product knowledge. White Horse Contractors (established in 1957) and GrassMaster Solutions (established in 1989) have this in abundance.

Our Technical Director Dr James Welsh discusses the importance of the GrassMaster hybrid system for this project:

Strenuous seasons

Over the course of the EFL Championship season, each team has 46 fixtures. But for the second-tier clubs, the most playing time throughout the season is at their respective training grounds. For QPR, having multiple new reliable pitches (including one that mirrors The Kiyan Prince Foundation Stadium pitch) will be key to ensuring their hard work on the training ground is put into practice. These new innovations will ensure the club’s grounds staff, players, and coaching team will benefit from proven elite surfaces.

Why White Horse Contractors?

With a 60+ year history in construction and success across multiple industries, White Horse Contractors have a pedigree like no other within the sporting industry. Working closely with football clubs and national teams including England (St George's Park), Middlesborough, Chelsea and Luton Town FC (Kenilworth Road) to name but a few, QPR's training ground is in the hands of a contractor that is trusted by elite sports clubs across the country.

We build training grounds, but more importantly: relationships

We collaborate with our clients regularly, following their brief to ensure that their goals are met. Our relationships with clubs are built on trust and reliability and we are proud to work with some of the very best football, rugby and cricket clubs across the UK.

Why GrassMaster Solutions?

White Horse's partnership with world-renowned hybrid turf experts GrassMaster Solutions delivers a unique combination of services and technology. With a successful 2021 including multiple pitch projects, we are continuing to build on this key relationship in 2022 and beyond.

High performance pitches for high performance players

GrassMaster hybrid turf will ensure that QPR benefits from no isolated wet spots during poor weather periods, thanks to the combination of White Horse's sports drainage and GrassMaster's fibre installations. The new pitches will be consistently stable and will increase playing times for the club. Meaning QPR's grounds team will benefit from far more durable pitches than the existing pitches at the Heston site, currently used by the QPR Academy. A huge factor of the new training ground is to bring the "togetherness" and "oneness" back to the club when it comes to training. Providing high-quality pitches for the club means that the first team will train at Heston. Meaning the club will have all of their teams in one place. Les Ferdinand discussed this, in our recent interview.
Earthworks begin on Phase two of the project
High speed winds moving materials in the distance

The calm after the Storm (Eunice)

In February 2022, the UK was hit with 3 days of unprecedented stormy weather. With wind speeds rising up to 112mph, our team had to combat materials blowing from pitch one over to pitch three at an alarming rate.

The storm affected the subbase levels so much so, that stitching was postponed for two working days on pitch three. To make sure the project continued to keep to the client’s programme, GrassMaster Solutions began stitching on pitch two (see images below), in preparation to return to pitch three once our expert team restored the subbase.

Sir Les visits the site

You may have seen in our previous news story that Les Ferdinand, QPR’s Director of Football met with our Technical Director Dr James Welsh to discuss the progress on site.

Following the visit from “Sir Les”, we are pleased to note that pitch 2 has now been stitched, with the hybrid specialists moving over to stitch into the remaining subbases. James explains the technical aspects of the GrassMaster system, and why it has been crucial for this project:

Our guys on site have been immense. The weather has been a real help to us this year, we seem to have missed plenty of the rain that’s been forecast, and when it has hit, we’ve worked around it! We’ve certainly kept busy into Spring.

What we’ve achieved so far is really pleasing, and we will continue to progress in 2022 with Phase Two.

Colin McBeth, Contracts Manager, White Horse Contractors

For more information call 01865 736272 or email