Eton College has long been regarded as one of the UK’s leading independent schools, renowned for its academic excellence and famous alumni. However, in the world of sport it is also recognised for its hockey provision, with a number of pupils even going on to play at an international level. With this in mind, when one of its oldest pitches began to deteriorate, upgrading the surface was made a priority.
The college’s two full sized hockey pitch installations are used for lessons, co-curricular training and competitive fixtures. Originally installed in 1998 and 2002, the pitches served the college and its 1,300 pupils extremely well over the years. However, with this long lifespan came the expected signs of ageing.
Michael Chapman, Building Surveyor comments, “The colour had started to fade and in parts the surface had deteriorated and begun to move. We knew that this could really hamper the quality of play, and impact the pupils’ ability to develop their skills so we started researching what artificial grass surfaces were available on the market.”
Leading sports surface specialists, McArdle Sport Tec Ltd, installed the surface after being awarded the contract following a competitive tender process.
Mr Chapman continues, “It was an instant hit. Everyone loved it and we heard nothing but positive praise for the new pitch, with pupils saying it played faster and more consistently. As a college which prides itself on the offering it provides, Evo Pro was the natural choice when we were looking to resurface the second pitch.”
This time came in July 2018, when the second pitch was resurfaced in just eight days – a particularly impressive turnaround for the 6,014sq m installation.
Meeting the FIH National standards, Evo Pro is a high-quality artificial grass manufactured from the latest in monofilament yarn technology. Established as the UK’s number one choice amongst education and community facilities, the dressed carpet is half filled with a special rounded silica sand. This offers improved comfort and safety, as well as easy maintenance. It also creates a grain free playing surface meaning the ball travels smoothly in all directions, making it the perfect surface for the pupils to hone their skills on.
Mr Chapman concludes, “We wanted the pitches to be a place the pupils would be excited and proud to play and train on, and that’s exactly what the Evo Pro surface has helped us to create. Not only that, it also looks very smart and we even had the Eton College logo incorporated into the carpet at the entrance, which makes it that little bit more special.”