Wisbech teams celebrate opening of new £400,000 Astroturf pitch after ten years of fundraising
Wisbech Town Hockey Club opened its brand new Astro Turf pitch on Saturday, with members from the club’s past and present gathering at Harecroft Road to celebrate after more than 10-years of fundraising.
Working with principal contractor Adsum Sport and Play Ltd, a new shock pad, sand dressed playing surface, LED floodlights, as well as a new spectator area and perimeter fence were all installed.
Further work on the area surrounding the pitch has also taken place, including the construction of a new footpath, and the addition of new storage solutions and maintenance equipment.
All told, the total investment was more than £400,000.
The new pitch replaces the old surface, which was originally laid in 1995 and had long surpassed its original intended lifespan of 15-years.
Emergency restoration work took place on the old surface in 2019, after it had been condemned by England Hockey, but a permanent solution was still required to help secure the clubs long term future.
Wisbech Town Hockey Club chair Matt Esser said: “This has been a significant project, taking a number of years to come to fruition, but we can now proudly say that we have first class hockey facilities available in Wisbech.
“We are delighted with the work Adsum have carried out for us, and on behalf of everyone at the club I’d also like to thank everyone who has assisted in our efforts to get the area surrounding the new pitch tidied and prepared as we build towards the 2023/24 hockey season.”
The day began with a ribbon-cutting ceremony, before members of the Wisbech Town HC junior section took part in a series of mixed hockey games, followed by the Junior section’s 2022/23 season presentation and awards ceremony.
The youngsters were then followed by the annual chairman's XI versuspPresident’s XI game, with the Chairman’s XI securing a 2-0 win thanks to goals by Jo Gomm and Lewis Jackson, before other members of the club’s senior section participated in an intra-club tournament to finish the day's events in glorious sunshine.
“It’s been brilliant to see so many club members - past and present, young and old - here to help us celebrate,” Esser continued.
“They have all played a huge part in helping us get to this day thanks to their support of our fundraising efforts.
"I’d also like to once again acknowledge the generous and significant donations the club has received in order to help us reach our funding goals, and make all of this possible.”
One of those donations was made by Fred Judd, who made a £500,000 contribution to Wisbech Town Cricket and Hockey Club in memory of his late mother, Mary Judd, with £250,000 going towards the new pitch, and £250,000 towards the club's next big project, construction of a new clubhouse to be used by both the hockey and cricket clubs.
Mr Judd was invited to cut the ribbon at the opening ceremony in recognition of his significant contribution to the project.
As part of the move to the new pitch, Wisbech Town Cricket & Hockey Club has also taken over the operation and running of the facility from Harecroft Hudson pitch management committee.
This includes responsibility for its upkeep and the creation of a new sinking fund to help towards future pitch repair or replacement projects.
With the new Astroturf now completed the club will begin its summer activities, including mixed gameplay sessions for adults, a junior tournament, and a hockey festival before preparation for the new 2023/24 season gets underway in earnest in August.
All eight senior teams (four men's teams, four women's) beginning preseason training ahead of the new East Hockey campaign. Junior training will resume in September.
Anyone interested in joining Wisbech Town HC can find out more at www.wtchc.co.uk/hockey
Senior teams cater for players aged over the age of 13 regardless of ability or previous experience, while the junior section welcomes boys and girls aged 5 to 14-years-old.