There is hope is that football and hockey can coexist despite the rise in 3G astroturf pitches. Ewan Hincks reports
Rewind to Summer 2019. Paddington Recreation ground, home of Hampstead & Westminster hockey club, has become a swamp of inch-thick sludge and decay. The HWHC 1s routinely check for mud on their shoes before entering the pitch. Their shoes are clean. Stud marks on the water-based astroturf betray the real offenders.
Now, the pitch is new and beautiful, but the scars of football trampling hockey remains in tact.
In 2013, the Football Association threw a loud £1 million into the Paddington Recreation sports facility, a 21-year covenant with Westminster Council allowing them to convert from a ‘hockey-friendly’ sand surface to a 3G when the second pitch was re-laid in 2018/2019.
Merely to ensure one superior water-based pitch remained required a £120,000 donation directly from the pocket of HWHC member, the late Peter Boizot.
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