Tuesday, April 16, 2024

More 3G pitch fears for hockey in Scotland and Wales

Stirling Wanderers Hockey Club’s water-based astro is under threat from closure which could leave no provision for the sport in the city, The Hockey Paper can reveal.

The club’s three women, three men and junior section play on its dry water-based astro after the water cannons broke last year.

It is understood that Active Stirling said it was too expensive to fix.

“Our water based astro pitch is at the end of its planned life,” said Heather McIsaac- Hall, the women’s 3s manager.

“We have no timeline or information about a new pitch. We suspect due to this silence they will not be replacing our hockey pitch.”

Football remains the cash generator in Stirling and fears remain that a surface conducive will replace hockey.

“This would leave the city of Stirling and the large rural area surrounding it with no hockey provision,” said McIsaac- Hall.

Last September, Active Stirling attended a key stakeholder meeting chaired by Scottish Hockey in that also included representatives from SportScotland and Stirling Wanderers HC. All agreed to be part of a wider working group regarding the pitch.

The group discussed and agreed that the cost of replacement for the water cannons, including the required pump component, far exceeds the annual income acquired from the pitch. This does not include the general maintenance costs for the surface and requisite energy costs for floodlighting.

Therefore, Active Stirling said in a statement to The Hockey Paper, the economics of replacement are “incompatible and exacerbated by the wider strain on public funding and resources more broadly at the present time.”

AS said that the pitch is still usable and safe and Stirling Wanderers were happy to continue to use the surface without irrigation and there was agreement that future discussions on the lifecycle replacement of the surface, that was initially installed in 2007, would be discussed within the working group, with hockey “a key component for any future use although collective agreement that the chosen surface would need to accommodate multi-sports in order to be financially sustainable.”

Meanwhile, Clwb Hoci Emlyn in Wales have been forced to relocate from their current venue after being turfed out of their original home in Cardigan in 2022 due to a new 3G being laid against the club’s wishes.

“We’ve now had to relocate to Crymych, which means that all our players from the Cardigan area (including the majority of our junior players) have to travel to Crymych,” said Serena Davies, Clwb Hoci Emlyn’s junior coach.

 “We were particularly unhappy as Cardigan secondary school pupils cannot now offer competitive hockey as part of their activities! 

“Such a loss for both girls and boys in this area, especially when considering that Cardigan is an area of high deprivation and that children cannot afford to buy special shoes for special surfaces.”

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