Hockey in Sussex received a big boost in August when the construction of two floodlit hockey pitches were granted on the sight of Blatchington Mill School in Hove.
Rachel Strong is the Ladies First Team captain and she says a lot of hard work has been put in to make the construction of this new facility a reality. She said: “we’ve been trying to get these pitches for as long as I’ve been here, so many people have worked very hard so its really nice that its going to materialise.”
As one of the biggest hockey clubs in the South of England, Brighton and Hove have 16 teams. But they’ve had to compete for space to play with more popular sports, like football, which Men’s first team star Sam Rose hope will become a thing of the past. “We won’t have to fight for pitch time, and I’m looking forward to having the juniors on just before the adults so they can see what to aspire to.”
One of the main inconsistencies this new development could change is the difference between the number of children playing hockey from state schools compared to private schools.
Wendy Russell, is in a unique position, as a PE teacher and Director of coaches at the club she can see why this has happened. She suggests; “state schools without pitches very rarely do hockey in the curriculum, a lot have the mentality that it’s dangerous and you’ll get hit with a hockey stick.
If Blatchington Mill get this Astro [turf pitch] other schools can use it which means more kids getting involved in hockey.”
There have been concerns about the floodlights, noise and loss of grass playing fields at the school. But according to deputy head Jim Browning, it would mean more PE lessons can take place outdoors. So more children in Brighton and Hove will have more choice in terms of sports clubs and greater access to hockey.