After ten years of loyal service, one of the most widely-used synthetic pitches at Aston University had come to the end of its natural life and began experiencing a number of performance issues owing to its age.
The pitch was condemned for hockey, but its continued importance for the university’s staff and students, as well as for the local community, meant that a swift replacement would be necessary.
Having successfully applied for funding from Sport England’s Community Sports Improvement Fund, thanks in part to the facility’s extensive community use, the university wanted a new surface which could accommodate hockey as well as football, at recreational and club level. With each sport placing very different demands on a surface, the university specified TigerTurf’s Evo Pro to bridge this gap, offering a long-lasting pitch able to cope with a high level of use.
The 97.4m x 62m full-size pitch was successfully completed ahead of schedule in just ten weeks.
Clive Eals, Project Manager for Estates and Capital Development at Aston University, commented: “We were keen to use a product which was manufactured in the UK, as this meant we wouldn’t have to pay for the turf to be shipped from the other side of the world and also that we could rely on delivery times.
“The new pitch looks outstanding. Whereas the old pitch had a longer length and rubber crumb infill which wasn’t ideal for playing hockey, the new surface is made with a sand infill – although you wouldn’t know it as you have to go looking for the sand.
“It’s a beautiful, even surface and it just makes you to want to get out there and play sport, which is what we want for our students and the community.
Mike Kirkman, Director of Sport at Aston University, added: “We have a proud history of providing community sports, going back around 40 years, and were one of a small number of projects chosen by Sport England, who recognised the importance of our facility for our students, local schools and sports clubs.
“Providing a surface that could cater for a good standard of hockey and also accommodate football wasn’t a particularly easy brief, as the Football Association and England Hockey don’t always see eye to eye where pitches are concerned.
“The pitch was even delivered early, so we’re now looking forward to getting started with our full sports schedule when the new semester begins in September.”
Paul Langford, Managing Director at TigerTurf UK, added: “It can be tricky for those investing in new facilities to cater for a number of different sports, especially when they will be used by such a large and varied number of people, as was the case at Aston University.”