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Gravesend Rugby Club astroturf needs to be replaced at a cost of £250,000

By Steve Tervet

The future of hockey in Gravesham hangs in the balance after criticism of the borough’s only astroturf.

The astro at Gravesend Rugby Club is used by three different hockey clubs but county bosses say it can only be used for another two or three years.

Laid back in 1996, the pitch is now in poor condition and needs to be replaced at a cost of around £250,000.

Hockey action on the astroturf at Gravesend Rugby Club Picture Andy Payton

Hockey action on the astroturf at Gravesend Rugby Club Picture: Andy Payton

But Simon Chapman, the chairman of Gravesham & Wellcome Hockey Club, accepts it’s going to be a struggle to raise that figure.

He said: "There is funding available from Sport England and the lottery but you need to raise half the funds. If we wanted to raise £250,000, we need to get £125,000.

"We are trying to raise money, we hold various functions but it’s never going to be enough in the time frame.

"Opposition teams moan about the pitch and say it’s dangerous because the ball might jump up.

"Kent hockey have said ‘it’s fine for the moment but you’ve got two or three years and we’ll reassess it.’

"That really is the deadline because if they say we can’t play a hockey game on it, where do we go?"

The men of GWHC share the facility with two ladies clubs, Gravesend and Meopham.

Mr Chapman said: "That’s our base and we walk 50 metres across to the clubhouse.

"When you have astroturfs which are not near your clubhouse, it’s hard to attract people.

"There’s a strong risk that there wouldn’t be any hockey in the borough, which is shocking."

To help, contact Simon Chapman on 07896 080010 or visit www.gwhockey.co.uk.

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