Tuesday, June 22, 2021

Devon hockey club’s battle after losing out to 3G

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Hockey Paper staff
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We ran a poll asking readers which hockey issue we should tackle and the threat of 3G astro came out on top. We will now be publishing further regular news, features and analysis on the topic.

When a 3G pitch was due to be laid at the community college where Teign HC in Devon train and play, the club had little sway. 

A “shabby looking” astro was relaid, but at a leisure centre five miles from their original home. Hockey, it seemed, was playing second fiddle once more to the bigger sports.

“We were told local football clubs would use the 3G in Teignmouth and we could transfer to Dawlish, however all the local football clubs wanted slots on the new astro,” says Claire Rochelle, a committee member.

Issues have since been resolved and there are better understandings with the local council, but provision is still hard graft. “We have to battle to get pitches for our juniors and I feel like hockey is not supported,” adds Rochelle.

Teign is now a five-team club, one men’s and two women’s teams with around 60 adult members and 40 juniors. 

They once had 50-60 children turning up on a Monday night at their first home. Now they are at their leisure centre facility, numbers have diminished due to the location change while the ongoing issue of pitch slots being blocked out for football remains.

Teign are lucky, however, as fellow neighbours Ashmoor HC and Newton Abbott HC are forced to play outside of Teignbridge and in another district as there are no other pitches.

The astro is the only pitch in Teignbridge, shared with football teams who also have the luxury of several non-astro pitches. The club has also had to buy its own goals – around £3,000 from the club’s coffers – thanks to damages, while the council turned down requests to buy new ones.

Rochelle says: “Football always seems to get priority even though they have grass pitches just across the road. We have contacted England Hockey and local MPs continuously but nothing has been done.

“Although we do have a pitch it is very much favouring football and it’s been an ongoing struggle and battle for us as a club for many years and it’s extremely tiring.”

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