HOCKEY: New year gloom as Grantham club faces uncertain future
The new year could spell the final year for Grantham Hockey Club who will have nowhere to play after this season.
The club currently uses the astro-turf at The Meres leisure complex, but it is being replaced by a 3G pitch which is being mostly funded by the Football Foundation.
The club has been struggling with dwindling player numbers for several seasons and this final blow could see it withdraw from the East League at the end of the year, and the club says a revival in the near future would seem unlikely.
An Emergency General Meeting earlier this week was well attended by present and former club members who considered the next course of action. Options discussed included folding completely, being mothballed, or merging with another club, and a final decision on the club’s future will be put to a vote at the Annual General Meeting in April.
Club chairman David Sykes said: “The announcement from the local council that they were going to accept funding from the FA to lay a 3G pitch that would not be fit for any sport other than football was a blow, considering that the next available pitch would need us to fund the goals and was about 15 miles away from Grantham in Newark.”
To continue playing next season, the club would have to play home games in Newark or play all matches away – neither of which are considered feasible in the current climate.
And with no plans for a new astro-turf being laid in the area any time soon, the club is now making one final push for support to get through the 2015-16 season – to try to leave a legacy, ready for any future renaissance.
This season has seen the club – now fielding just one men’s side in the East League – struggle to raise a full team, with the result that one match has already been conceded. But, to their credit, they have still picked up a creditable six points courtesy of a brace of wins and three draws (three points deducted for one missed game).
Anybody who can help out, whether by getting on to the pitch and making up the numbers, or by offering any other assistance, is invited to get in touch with the club by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
The club, which was founded in 1907, might be facing an uncertain future but it has played an important role in the local community during its time in and around Grantham.
Mr Sykes said: “We can be proud that we have been able to develop the talent of many young players who have gone on to play at higher levels and so moved to clubs in higher leagues, or through study and job prospects have moved away from the area,” Sykes added.
“It is this very success that now seems set to be the cause of our downfall, with local schools no longer providing hockey as a part of the curriculum, and so we are being starved of new members.”
Grantham are away at Leadenham this Saturdeay and take on Alford next Saturday at The Meres, starting at 2pm.
All support would be welcomed.