Peterhouse Astroturf Hockey Pitch
Traditionally school boys entering high school in this country have had to choose a winter sport from either Rugby or Hockey – This nerd chose Chess ending up as school chess champion at the end of Form 1. I then enrolled into boarding school the following year and was told, soon enough, that “Chess is for cissies!” – it was, therefore, no longer an option in my new environment. It didn’t take long for the sports masters to realise that my skill sets for neither of these sports would ever see me even make their “B” teams
Last Saturday morning I drove out to Marondera to witness the Opening of the new Peterhouse Astroturf Hockey Pitch – a world class amenity. The overall contractor for the project, Bitumen World, sent me a short summary of what had been achieved so far with the following few lines:
“This new state of the art facility is constructed on the previous 1st XI Hockey Pitch but, having greater dimensions, necessitated careful relocating to ensure that no Msasa Trees were removed. On excavating the in situ dolerite materials, many hard rock boulders were encountered necessitating blasting or removal by excavator.
A layer of natural gravel, made available from the Peterhouse Estate, was used to make up levels followed by 150mm of crushed granite from a local quarry. The final surface, prior to the astroturf mat, was a 35mm asphalt layer laid to exact levels to ensure a smooth final surface and uniform drainage of water.”
The Opening game was played between the 1st boys teams of St Johns and Peterhouse. Young Daniel Erasmus of St Johns claimed the first official scalp scoring as a result of a short corner within the first 5 minutes. A very fast, yet thrilling, game with all of the boys seemingly giving their utmost. The visitors won 3-1. The latter have had their own backyard Astroturf now for 5 years and to me that made all the difference – I’m sure the same game next year will yield a very different result. Peterhouse already have plans for the second phase that include lights and the development of the surrounds.
The most notable event of the whole day, for me, was undoubtably, the “War Cries” and similar songs sung with such competitive fervour with everyone participating 100% and seemingly having the time of their lives. In my humble opinion the rendition given by the young ladies from Chisipite was probably the best I have seen at any school sporting event – Peterhouse girls, were not to be outdone that easily, coming a close second. The second game played between the girls from Peterhouse and Chisipite was just as exciting as the first with the hosts scoring 2 goals in the last few minutes to win 2-0.
I’m quite sure that the introduction of these Astroturf hockey pitches will soon see a resurgence in youngsters choosing hockey over rugby as their winter sport. I was told that there is now a very well supported open hockey league in Harare with games often carrying on until 8 or 9 pm. Very entertaining for spectators too. Ciao for now. Mike G.