Wednesday, May 29, 2024

3G in Scotland: ‘There is negligible support from the council for such a great hockey club’

The clubs under threat of losing their access to hockey pitches is a sad state of affairs and one of concern to me, writes Kevin Cumming. 

I’ve been playing for around 25 years and hope to continue for many more, pitch access permitting.

My former club Falkirk & Linlithgow HC lost access to the pitch they trained and played matches for years on at Grangemouth High School, which was relaid as 3G by Falkirk Council pandering to a local amateur football club, Syngenta. 

This despite the hockey club being instrumental in setting up a community sports hub many years ago at the pitch for locals to access sports. Falkirk Council’s reputation is already poor (i.e. organising a council meeting on disabled access in the region on the first floor of a local hotel with no lift), and they assured the hockey club they would be consulted. Hah! So many local children who did access the junior coaching sessions now can’t.

Falkirk council have given access to an alternative pitch in the local authority area, but it’s a distance from the original pitch, and one of the only two pitches in the area suitable for hockey, where many high school pitches are already 3G. So there is concern these pitches will also be relaid in the future.

All Falkirk LA pitches are now being changed to 3G as part of a refresh programme (likely including Falkirk High School in 2025) and the work at Grangemouth High School was expedited due to the influence of Syngenta, who paid for it with funding they received from a council community fund.

The club do still access Linlithgow High School for M1 games, but as a club which has been in existence for many years, there is negligible support from the council for such a great club.

The club uses Linlithgow Academy for most training and matches now, but are limited by access at weekends, and have been forced into taking annual lets, as opposed to seasonal, to prevent lets of 20+ years being handed to other sports.

My current club Highland HC (Inverness) access the only suitable hockey pitch in the region, but it will need to be maintained and possibly relaid in the future as pitches do have a lifespan. We worry about what the future holds as, a few years ago, the pitch was unplayable for about 18 months, forcing the club to play home games in Nairn and even Aberdeen, a very significant distance away. 

Total Hockey

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