Smoothing the way for hockey stars
THE laying of a London blue synthetic hockey surface next month could bring international hockey action to Warwick this year.
After the devastation to the synthetic surface in floods each side of New Year's Day a year ago, the Warwick Hockey Association is within two months of returning to synthetic hockey.
Association Flood Recovery Committee project liaison officer Sheryl Windle said United States women's hockey coach and former Warwick player Lee Bodimeade had made inquiries about bringing his team to Warwick around April as a forerunner to the London Olympics in July-August.
"We have put in an expression of interest to Hockey Queensland to host one of the women's Tests between Australia and the United States," Windle said.
"Our surface will be attractive as it will be the same as the surface used for the Olympics in London. The colour of the London blue surface makes it easier to see the ball and it is better for television."
President Peter Pickering said work on the flood levy, being supervised and paid for by Southern Downs Regional Council, was proceeding well.
"The levy (above the 2011 flood mark) is on the river and Cowboys sides of the field," Pickering said.
It is part of the plan to protect the new surface from future floods. A block wall 600mm high around the field will help prevent a rush of water if the levy is breached and the new surface will be totally glued down, in stark contract to the previous surface which was spot glued and held down by sand.
Warwick under-13 player Matt Eastwell is keen to play for Warwick in the Queensland Under-13 Boys' Hockey Championships at Queens Park in June and club games on the surface.
"It is a lot easier to play on synthetic rather than grass, you can work your skills better on synthetic," Eastwell said.
The laying of the London blue surface will be undertaken by supplier STI in early to mid February.
January: Completion of flood levy
February: Laying of London blue synthetic surface
April: Start of 2012 season on synthetic and re-introduction of night games for senior hockey
June 25-29: Queensland Under-13 Boys' Hockey Championships, 30-plus teams expected to nominate with $500,000 boost to Warwick economy