Water based surfaces are mandatory for hockey competitions such as the World Championships and Olympic events. The pure textile surfaces are irrigated and kept wet to control ball speed and create the other playing characteristics required to participate at the highest level of hockey.
Tony Patterson Sports Grounds were contracted to replace the existing water based hockey pitch at Queen’s University Belfast’s playing fields and provide a new state of the art international facility, including the design and construction of a spectator stand and the installation of a TV tower and enclosure, while upgrading the irrigation systems and drainage. An impressive £1.2m investment includes an international standard water based pitch, 100-seat spectator stand, floodlights, drainage system, dug-outs and TV tower. This significant investment will enable the University to meet the growing needs of the sport locally and internationally, and support student hockey at all levels from participation to elite performance. As previous winners of the Ulster Hockey Club of the Year, Queen’s take pride in their reputation and capacity to provide students with the platform to reach their potential in the sport while they pursue a world-class education. Head of Queen’s Sport, Liz McLaughlin commenting on the importance of major university sporting capital projects to support student sport, said: “High quality facilities are central to developing key sports, such as hockey and we are proud of our continued investment in infrastructure, people and programmes as part of our overall Strategy for Sport which was launched last year. We are also keen to use this investment as a gateway to develop our ongoing partnership work with community clubs, schools and national governing bodies including Ulster Hockey and Hockey Ireland.” Following their silver medal at the 2018 FIH World Cup, the Irish Senior Women’s team continue to prepare for the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo later this summer. A training camp at Queen’s University’s impressive new facility will fit with their professional preparations.
Challenges included cutting drains through the existing surface while maintaining the integrity of the tarmacadam and ensuring no sinkage so that International Hockey Federation (FIH) tolerances could be met. New irrigation facilities had to be installed so that the required volume of water before and during games could be delivered. New LED lighting was designed to fit the pre-existing columns and to increase LUX levels so that the necessary television requirements could be met. Custom designed lighting controls and speaker systems along with a scoreboard were also installed. New floodlight ducting had to be placed and connected to the existing live services, and therefore careful procedures had to be observed and monitored while this was carried out. Ireland Hockey international, Shirley McCay, who is the nation’s most capped sportswoman described the final result as “a world class facility’.
Every time you train, you need to push harder than you did the day before. Your pitch should push back. Take 5 and join us for a coffee and FREE Consultation. Chat to one of our sports engineers and discover what opportunities are available for you and your team. Transform your pitch and provide your athletes with a playing surface which is always up to the test.