Hopes pitch to be ready soon

editorial image

Work is well advanced in re-laying the surface of a junior high school’s £500,000 synthetic hockey pitch which should have been operational for the autumn term last year.

An inspection of the hockey pitch at Killicomaine JHS by a team of experts called in by the Education Authority (EA) found that it did not satisfy the standards of the Federation of International Hockey (FIH) so the surface had to be removed and is currently being re-laid.

A statement from the EA pointed out that the contract was confirmed in February 2015 and the completion date was June last year. But the work did not satisfy the authorities and no matches or training was carried out by the school’s hockey teams.

When the inspection was ordered, the school’s board of governors Mr David Thompson said, “In my view, the authority has acted correctly. In the meantime, our hockey teams have had to put up with our present 25-year-old facility which, in the rain, is tantamount to a flooded paddy field.

“Killicomaine JHS is proud of the achievements of its hockey teams which have brought much honour to the school and to the town.

“We are extremely grateful that the Education Authority provided us with this facility, but we cannot use it until it is signed over and the authority is satisfied.

“We are hoping that the issues will be swiftly resolved and the first game can be played within the first few weeks of 2016.”

The latest statement from the EA is - “Following an inspection and subsequent tests carried out by an independent specialist, the surface of the 2G sand-dressed hockey pitch at Killicomaine JHS is being re-laid in line with the contract specification.

“The hockey pitch, completed to Federation of International Hockey (FIH) standards, is expected to be ready for handover to the school in the coming weeks.”

The latest estimate is the end of March.