Water-Based Hockey Pitches – Bournbrook, University of Birmingham

McArdle Sport Tec construct prestigious water-based FIH Global hockey pitches which will now be used in the 2022 Commonwealth Games.

Accredited FIH Field Builders, McArdle Sport Tec, were ecstatic to build a prestigious 3-million-pound sports project at Bournbrook pitches, after partners TigerTurf won a competitive tendering process.

The Bournbrook redevelopment has since been selected to host the hockey competition phase for the 2022 Commonwealth Games. The water-based hockey pitches will accommodate temporary seating for visitors watching the live games being held from the 27th July until 7th August.

TigerTurf’s FIH Quality Wett Pro carpet was installed in reflex blue with red surrounds; these iconic colours were selected to align with the 2016 Rio Olympic pitch and also reflect the colours within the University crest.

The water-based hockey pitches took a total of 20 weeks to complete and were built to meet FIH Global standards, a specification by The Federation Internationale de Hockey, which classifies the facilities to hold international and top level national competitions. Currently there are only 19 other pitches in the United Kingdom which meet the same stringent criterion.

In addition to the two water-based hockey pitches, a full size 3G artificial football and rugby pitch using TigerTurf’s Rugby 360 carpet was completed in October 2017 to meet World Rugby Reg 22 and FIFA Quality standards, and work is on-going to complete ten tennis/netball courts with 106 new parking spaces.

Awarded the top university for sport within the UK, combined with the only university team in the woman’s hockey national league, Birmingham University pride themselves on producing and nurturing participation and personal achievements; this includes four current students and seven graduates which have now been selected in the England Hockey Squad:

Lily Owsley, Olivia Paige, Erica Sanders, Amy Costello, Sophie Bray, Susie Gilbert, Sarah Haycroft, Anna Toman, Emily Defroand, Hannah Martin and Ellie Watton

University of Birmingham student and Olympic champion from Rio 2016, Lily Owsley MBE, commented:

“Since becoming a student at Birmingham I’ve had the benefit of being able to study, train and play on this fantastic campus, with world class facilities and support.

A home Commonwealth Games in Birmingham 2022 will certainly be an incentive for me to continue playing to make the England team for 2022, and play on home ground here on campus. I’m sure it will also inspire many other young players to live their dream of playing for England in a major Games on home turf.”

Why choose a water-based hockey pitch?

Water-Based pitches are the elite hockey surface and the highest specification recognised by the FIH; the carpet uses a denser pile, combined with a layer of water to offer the truest ball roll of any artificial turf system. The application of water on the surface helps to improve the slip resisting properties, and provides a level of shock absorption to the players joints. The lubricating properties enable a fast-paced playing pitch; the water reduces the friction, enabling the ball to roll straighter and faster, affecting the players’ sliding, running, turning and stick work.

The University’s strategic plan for the new facilities aims to provide opportunities and increased participation for students and the local clubs and the community.

“The University of Birmingham is honoured to have been part of this successful bid to bring such a prestigious sporting event to our home city. Birmingham is a global university and we have invested significantly in new sporting facilities that match the reputation we enjoy around the world.”

 Professor Sir David Eastwood, University of Birmingham Vice-Chancellor

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