Pitch Replacement Project – Pitch 18
GB Star Sam Ward to open the new Hockey Pitch at City of Peterborough Hockey Club!
Two years ago, City of Peterborough HC recognised that its existing sand-filled pitch would soon be reaching the end of its useful life, and if the club wanted to fulfil its ambition to be the highest playing club in the East, a new surface would be needed.
Working in partnership with Greenfields, who have laid some of the top hockey facilities both in the UK and Europe, we identified their sand-dressed TX SD surface as the one most suited to the club’s needs, and began the hard task of raising the £170k needed to allow the project to go ahead. A combination of donations, on-going fund-raising events run by club members ranging from cake sales to an Oktoberfest night and sponsorship from local businesses kick started the efforts and a fantastic grant of £50,000 from the Mick George Community fund via Grantscape was received which took us to almost half the amount needed.
The balance of the funds has come from members, past and present, who have made loans to the club to enable the project to go ahead. The club was delighted to receive a very generous loan from Huggins Windscreens, owned by former long-time local hockey player Keith Huggins, who, along with so many others, wanted to recognise the part the hockey club has played in his and his family’s lives for many years.
The project started on 29th April 2019, and despite some poor weather, was completed in just over 6 weeks with players finally allowed back on the new surface on 8th June. From our youngest mini-hockey players, aged 5, right up to our Veterans group who have a regular midweek session, the praise for the new surface has been unanimous. The smart dark green surface with light green surround will also make life easier for umpires in terms of visibility of the ball, particularly when games are under floodlights.
Club Chairman, Darren Griffiths, commented “it is brilliant for the club to have such an excellent new surface which is not only fitting for our Men’s 1st XI who gained promotion to the newly formed England Hockey Division One North for next season, and our Ladies 1st XI in East Premier Division, but will also provide a fabulous facility for coaching and playing for all our members of all ages and abilities. It will also allow us to offer new opportunities for community sport and we hope to build partnerships with schools and a wide variety of community groups to bring more people into playing different forms of hockey which they can access”.
On Sunday 14th July, the pitch will opened at 1.15pm by current England and GB Hockey star Sam Ward, who will also be joining our mini hockey session earlier in the day – a great opportunity for our youngest members to get their photo with one of the sports’ top players!
There will be a full day of hockey to celebrate the opening, including a game between the England Over 35 Men’s XI and a Select XI which includes several past & present club members. The England side will also be warming up by joining the regular Sunday mini-hockey session and offering coaching to the 50+ children aged 5-12 who regularly attend. And in the afternoon, the club will be running a series of games for members of all ages and abilities, allowing everyone to join in the fun.
The Club will be hosting a lunch on the day for all those who have donated or loaned money to the Pitch 18 fund and our major sponsors as a thank you for their generosity and on-going support which has enabled the Club to complete this project
Jane Wilson, who has spearheaded the fundraising effort, paid tribute to everyone who has lent the project their support. “It has been overwhelming to see the generosity of our members, past and present, including parents of juniors who have now moved on to university, in giving to the pitch fund. We have received lovely words from people who played for the club more than 20 years ago and now live far away, but who have fond memories of their time here and felt moved to offer a contribution. City of Peterborough HC has always prided itself on being a family-oriented club, offering hockey to all ages and abilities, and we are very proud now to have a facility which not only befits our ambitions to play at the highest levels but also continues to allow us to make hockey accessible for everyone in our community”.