Traditionally, the summer months were often the down season for hockey players allowing people to go off and play cricket or golf, visit foreign places or just have a break from the game. The switch to astro has seen this situation almost reverse with the pitch at Adel being used more in the summer months than in the winter. Summer leagues have been running since April and the pitch continues to help generate further funds so that there are monies in place for when it needs replacing next time around (and for those involved 2 or 3 years ago, its not something you want to do too often!).
But with increased use, comes increased upkeep as the venue sees more and more footfall coming through. The actual playing surface is not the current problem we are facing and thanks to Jim, Katy and Paul’s sterling efforts the tired old goals are now looking a bit more suitable for hockey matches with new nets, a bit of a refurb and plans to give them a fresh lick of paint in the next few weeks. We plan to remove the worst of the old goals so they are not a liability at pitch side. I have also asked the groundsman to repaint the Ds for summer league too.
Additionally, there have been many comments about the state of other parts of the venue and this is partly due to increased pitch use but also due to increased trespassers using the pitch without permission. For some reason, the astro seems to attract people to kick footballs into hockey goals, to hang around and drink beer (and break glasses) or eat takeaways and a variety of other reasons. This is a big problem for us and use of the pitch is hard to control in view of its location and accessibility but it is something we have been discussing with AWMA for several months. High rise fencing is not cheap, security guards come at a price and the groundsman cannot possibly cover all of the Adel grounds on his own throughout the day.
So, we need to rely on club members to make sure we protect our greatest asset and be vigilant, responsible and sensible. Most evenings the first arrivals for summer league will find someone up at the pitch who should not be there. You may get fobbed off with a comment that they are members, they have been told they can use the pitch by someone from football or cricket and on some occasions the conversation may develop further where perhaps some of the comments lead to potential confrontation. In this situation I suggest you politely ask the trespassers to leave the grounds, explain they are private property for club members only and the pitch bookings clearly show that they have no right to be there. Please report to me any situations that arise so that the frequency can be noted and the local bobby on the beat can be advised. If threats or similar are made then a description of the trespassers would be helpful.
Some of the rubbish at the pitch is sadly as a result of the trespassing but some of it is also due to the legitimate users not taking responsibility to clear away their belongings including empty wrappers and bottles. On most occasions there is now a green wheely bin at the entrance to the pitch. If not, there are bins in the car park you can use. Whilst we cannot get this message across to opposition from other clubs, we can set the standard for others to follow so please do your bit to set a good example. If the pitch continues to look a mess, with rubbish scattered around, it reflects badly on the club as a whole. Next season we plan to continue with the experiment from last season of putting some bin liners by the dug outs on each Saturday and then the last team might like to move these to the wheely bin or car park.
Some other reminders…..
- Please do not take glass up to the pitch
- Please do not take dogs on to the pitch – yours may be the best behaved and trained dog with a pedigree that would do well at Crufts but sadly others see one dog on the pitch and think its a sign that we are fine for others to run free on there.
- Please make sure you padlock the orange goals to the fence if playing the last game.
- Please push unused goals to the pitch corners if playing in the first game of the day.
- Please try and clean your boots of mud before entering the pitch
- Please do all you can to look after the pitch – it took a lot of hard graft in terms of man hours and fund raising to replace the playing surface 3 years ago and trust me, you don’t want to have to do it again in a hurry!