Tuesday, June 18, 2024

How hockey pitches are torn up to make way for 3G and football

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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