The opening sequences of the video made by members of Newquay HC to highlight the threat of 3G pitches are laid bare.
‘This Girl Can’ The Government said
But hockey girls everywhere shake their head
For ‘hockey friendly’ astroturfs far and wide
Are being replaced for a different kind.
‘An ode to the FA, RFU and UK government’ has struck a chord in the hockey community, with Newquay HC believing that the more funding given to the likes of football and rugby will be to the detriment of hockey.
Newquay hockey chair Lora Millward doesn’t hold back as to why the video was made. “It is to show the FA and RFU up, for what they are and how their selfish behaviour in choice of astro surface is gradually killing off a smaller less well government-supported sport,” she said.
Hot on the heels of the recent news concerning Horley – by no means the only threatened club due to 3G concerns – Millward is calling for restrictions to be put in place by government when offering funding to the bigger sports.
She said: “This is mainly to ensure that any old pitches relaid, if there is a hockey club which has been made pitchless because of a rubber crumb already replacing their pitch, such as Newquay, then a hockey friendly surface must be laid in preference to a purely football or rugby friendly one.
“If hockey pitches continue to be replaced by non-hockey friendly surfaces, clubs will just fold and this great sport will be gone.”
Newquay’s story is a familiar one. A home pitch at Newquay Sports Centre started on grass/cricket pitches as with so many old hockey clubs. Funding from a nearby school then saw one of the first astros in Cornwall laid. The club was part of the community, with the sports centre being used for after match socials.
After England won the 2003 Rugby World Cup, the game saw an influx of funding. Newquay Hornets Rugby, also based at the sports centre, took the decision to apply for a grant to relay the by now old astro. The crux being that the club wanted rubber crumb.
Despite the subsequent fight by committee members, rugby won over hockey and so began the move away from the school. Newquay played in St Austell before managing to get bookings at a school in Truro – around a 30-minute drive away – the closest the club could get to its spiritual home.
“We know this is happening everywhere around the UK and overseas apparently,” said Milward. “It is very concerning, frustrating and saddening. We at Newquay Hockey are at a point where the pitch we have now had to move to, is dangerous because it doesn’t drain, so is slippery and waterlogged most of the time. There are barely any floodlights in working order for our evening training sessions. Again dangerous with hockey balls flying everywhere.
“We are almost grateful that our season was cut short this year because we are unsure how many matches we would have been able to play because the pitch is under water majority of the time when it rains now.”
The video clearly shows the emotional tug of war Newquay has endured in the 3G grassroots battle. “It’s just a really awful and tragic situation,” added Millward. “It makes me and my fellow team-mates so angry and upset, as our future right now is very much in the balance.”
Yet, there is a chink of light. Newquay Sports Centre has recently been taken over, with new management expressing a desire to see a return to hockey in the town. By hook or by crook, Millward, a mother of two, will be there campaigning to get hockey back to Newquay.
“They don’t have the funding but we are hoping to meet with them and maybe work out some kind of plan to get us out of this mess,” said Millward, who is also in the running for a Newquay community award as outstanding individual. “But can we continue to operate as a club without a reliable pitch to play on until funding is found and a pitch is built, however long that might take?”
As the ode concludes:
With so many clubs suffering a similar fate Please someone do something Before it’s too late! Somebody surely can put a stop to this?
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