Pitch Development Project 2015
2015 was a pivotal year in the development of sporting facilities at Old Anniesland. The continued success and development of both School and Club hockey had led to a need to improve the current facilities. The GHK ladies 1st XI team were entering their second season in the SHU National League, requiring them to play their home fixtures on a higher specification pitch than was available at Old Anniesland. The school teams were ever expanding with insufficient capacity on the existing AW hockey pitch to cope with both the demand for space and a better surface than the old grass hockey pitches. To meet these hockey needs it was decided to build a new synthetic hockey pitch at Old Anniesland.
The location for this new pitch had been the subject of much analysis and debate. The only feasible option was to locate it next to the existing hockey pitch at the entrance to the grounds. This was the location of the old rugby training pitch. Therefor it was necessary to make an additional investment in the existing rugby facilities to compensate for the loss of the training pitch. As a result there was a re-alignment of rugby pitches in order to maximise the available space to the optimum benefit of all sports.
All this work has led to the need to upgrade one of the existing non turf cricket wickets to a brand new synthetic wicket.
The initial concept design work for this project commenced in 2013. Various options were explored under the Grounds Development Committee with members representing all sections of the various clubs affected and the School. Early on it was decided to take advantage of the already strong connection that we have with The Sports Turf Research Institute (STRI) and seek their assistance. Their Principal Design Consultant, Mr Robert Everett was appointed to lead the project.
A principal contractor was selected after a thorough competitive tendering process overseen by STRI. Fairways Sportsgrounds Ltd was appointed in May 2015. Construction commenced in earnest at the end of June and completed in 2016.
Separately to the Grounds Development Project the existing grass surfaces have under gone extensive renovations to compliment the changes in pitch lay out.
- The main pitch, in front of the Jimmie Ireland Stand, has been scarified, top dressed and over seeded (again with Bar 7 RPR seed) to reinforce the investment made in 2014 in the new surface.
- The second playing surface (Old pitch 4) has been surrendered as a part of the Grounds Development project and became the new high specification training pitch. This new pitch (now known as pitch 3) is underpinned by a gravel raft and be made up of a combination of top soil under layers of sand and fibersand. It is floodlit and also has its own irrigation system to keep it in top condition. This new pitch, part of the new grounds development, became available for training & play in the summer of 2016.
- The new second playing surface is now here the old pitch 5 was located. This new pitch (pitch 4) has been extended and levelled. The surface has had the same treatment as the main pitch had in 2104, completed in the summer of 2015 by the same contractor Greentech Ltd. The thatch layer has been removed, the drains extended and re-grafted to the new surface level, the whole pitch area has been sand banded then seeded with Bahrenburg Bar 7 RPR grass seed.
- The fourth playing surface, and secondary training surface is the old pitch 2. This pitch, has also undergone significant renovation over 2015/2016. The opportunity to work on this pitch is restricted by part of it forming the boundary for the grass cricket wickets. This prevented a full re-surfacing; however, we have been able to apply the following treatments to it;
- 2015 - scarification, hollow-core aeration, sand top dressing fertilising and overseeing with grass seed.
- 2016 - scarification, hollow-core areation, instaltion of sand slits allowing a widening of the pitch, sand top dressing, fertilising and overseeeding wiht grass seed.
- This has been undertaken in an effort to ensure the surface is as resilient as possible to withstand the rigors of rugby training through the winter. This pitch is floodlit to permit training not match play.
- The other changes to the grass have taken place to the East side of the grounds. The area where the old grass hockey pitches were located has now been transformed into a new junior rugby pitch. There is a new pitch 100 x 45 metres which has also been subject to continued renovations including scarification, areation, sand banding, top dressing and overseeding. This pitch (pitch 5) also forms part of the cricket boundary and is intended for use by junior players due to is close location to Crow Road but will also provide a training area for senior player in daylight hours. The area to the north of this pitch, adjacent to the cricket nets has been re-enforced in a similar manner and will be used as an off pitch training area fort the scrummage machine. An additional upgrade has been to areas surrounding the grass cricket wicket which have been subject to additional sand banding and top dressing in order to strengthen them and provide additional off pitch training areas.
The work carried out throughout this programme, much of it by our own grounds staff was designed to optimise the facilities available in order to meet the significant demands placed on them by the various users. Also to attempt to make them more resiliant to the winter weather conditions.
Looking to the future it is hoped to undertake full renovations of 1, 2 and 4 pitches in the summer of 2017, this will require the careful management of GHK Cricket fixtures to allow access to areas inside the cricket square bounary for renovation. It will not be possible to use the cricket square at the time of the renovations.