IF the turf at St James's Park football pitch in Newcastle now becomes hallowed as a result of England's 2 - 0 victory over the Albanians in this week's World Cup qualifier, then give thanks to an East Riding turfmaker.

The ground, as with the late and lamented Wembley before it, came from the lush green 4,000 acres lovingly tended by Inturf at Wilberfoss. It should also give hope to York City fans to know that Inturf has a sponsorship arrangement to keep a green scene at Bootham Crescent!

Tennis fans please note - the same green, green grass of the East Riding can be found on Wimbledon's centre court, and cricket fans can applaud the fact that Inturf installs a large section of the outfield at Lords.

The list seems endless - and growing - which is why the company has entered the Growth Business of the Year in our awards.

At the same time Derek Edwards, the chairman and managing director, is being nominated for a Business Personality of the Year award. He formed the business in 1985 with only 60 acres of that prime land in the East Riding of Yorkshire. By 1990 he opened two new turf nurseries - in Lincolnshire and Cambridge - then, anticipating free European trade, bought a 26 per cent interest in a French turfgrass growing company north of Paris, plus a 25 per cent stake in a turf machinery manufacturing company in Wolverhampton.

By 1995 he had expanded to about 1,000 acres, with a staff of 30 and built up an impressive list of clients and projects. Then the three companies he had acquired were amalgamated into one, trading as Inturf.

Along the way he refined the processes, for example by developing the Big Roll turf system which allows accurate returfing of a tennis court by one man in a day - a process which a few years ago would have taken two men a week to complete.

His firm also developed the "Lay 'n' Play" turf tile system which allows a badly-worn goal mouth to be speedily re-turfed and instantly ready for play.

And over the past year Inturf has been using modular turf systems to enable its customers to move natural turf temporarily indoors, for five-a-side football or for film sets, a la the magnificent green lawns of Yorkshire in the Flymo TV advertisements.