Reading Hockey Club – New Pitch update – 24th April 2014

By Reading Hockey Club • Apr 27th, 2014 • Category: Home Page, News

During the last few months it has become obvious that the water based pitch at Sonning Lane is rapidly deteriorating. You may have noticed the increased amount of carpet-like material on your kit after playing on it this season. The regular inspections have also noticed significant wear in the “high traffic areas” and developing problems with the stitching between the rolls. The Hockey Committee have been seriously considering the replacement of the water based pitch since last season and therefore the club is delighted to announce that the resurfacing of the water based pitch at Sonning Lane starts on Monday 28th April. This has been enabled by our fund raising activity and a “show-case” deal as the first UK installation of this type of pitch.

It is expected to take up to 5 weeks to strip off the existing carpet, inspect and remediate the underlying base and then to lay the new carpet. The exact timing will depend on the weather during this period, although the new pitch will be ready for use as soon as the contractors have finished their work. The new carpet is also a water based surface, known as “Hockey Gold” manufactured by a company called FieldTurf Tarkett.

Where else has this new pitch been used?
Since Reading will be the first UK location, the existing ones are in Europe at Lugano, Switzerland: Centro Sportivo Cornaredo (installed 2013); Norderstedt, Germany: HSV Trainingzentrum (installed 2012) and Zoetermeer, Netherlands: Hockey Club Zoetermeer (installed 2012).

What’s going to be different to the current pitch?
The new pitch will be similar in colour, with the playing surface green with sewn in markings and a blue surround. It will also be laid on a separate poured rubber shock pad, whereas the current one has the shock pad integral to the carpet. It is also more modern technology which requires significantly less watering – offering both environmental and financial benefits to the club.

Is there any other work being carried out at the same time?
Alongside the replacement of the main carpet there are a number of other activities intended to make the water based pitch look “as good as new”. These include replacing the fencing behind the goals (where it has been damaged by hockey balls); putting new kickboards into the Cage; installing some higher kickboards at each end of the Cage; general repairs to the pitch surrounds and adjusting the watering system, since the new pitch requires less water.
The existing blue surround carpet will also be redeployed into the Cage area.

Who is doing the work?
The contractor is a Newbury based company called S and C Slatter Ltd., under the management of an international pitch expert, Neil Boddington. Neil is naturally well known to the club as both a long standing member and the architect of both of the previous water based surfaces.

What’s happening to the old carpet?
Part of the blue surround is being reused for the Cage and the rest of the surround and the main pitch is being rolled up into 2m wide rolls and stored on the far side of the pitch. The cost of disposing of the old carpet is over £12,000, so it was felt that this was an unreasonable expenditure for the club at this point in time. The Hockey Committee is currently looking into a variety of options for the old carpet, bearing in mind that we already have part of the old Bisham Abbey pitch in the car park.

Why the hurry to replace the existing carpet?
There are two reasons: firstly the rapid deterioration of the water based pitch this season and secondly the opportunity of Reading being the first UK installation. We had hoped to last another season with the existing water based pitch, but the risk of the failure of the carpet now looks to be unmanageable.

How are we paying for the work?
We are using the Club’s Asset Replacement Fund, which has been built up over a period of years from various fund raising events, such as the Reading Real Ale and Jazz of course, as the main source of funding. We have also used more recent fund raising activities from the Onesies sale and the direct donations from the Veterans teams. The Club has also agreed with the GARC investors, all long standing section members, to defer the repayment of their loans to ease cash flow this year.

Do we need keep fund raising then?
Most certainly – the Club needs to keep the fund raising up since we have to replenish the Asset Replacement Fund and repay the outstanding debt on the Sand pitch, as well as maintain the clubhouse and the surrounds. It’s really important that we support the next big fund raising opportunity which is the Reading Real Ale and Jazz festival on 17-19th July – see

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  1. Sign up to help at the Jazz festival at!staffing/c19sm

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