Rotherham Hockey Club will be returning to Rotherham to play home fixtures at a brand new hockey facility at West Bawtry Road.
The club, founded in the town in 1927, has had a number of bases in the town during its long history. However, following the closure of the Firth Rixson Aurora sports ground and clubhouse four years ago, and due to a lack of suitable alternative venues in the town, the club relocated to Westfield Sports College in Sheffield.
The new facility, which is on the site of the old Aurora sports ground, is part of a joint venture with Sheffield Hallam University (SHU). The handover to SHU will be in August when the pitch will be ready for the upcoming 2017/18 season with league matches due to start on 17 September.
In addition to a dedicated artificial hockey pitch, which will meet England Hockey’s standards for top-flight hockey, the new development will include disability access to pitch side, refurbishment of spectator stand, welfare facilities, floodlighting, landscaping and car parking.
The club will also make use of the excellent Graham Solley Pavilion at the nearby Sheffield Hallam University Sports Park for changing rooms and post-match hospitality.
This move back home to Rotherham provides the club with a first-class base from which to focus on its core activity of providing competitive hockey for men, women, and young people whilst at the same time implementing the club’s objectives of promoting the game through education, involvement of the local community, and player development for all ages and abilities.
Since 2004 the club has held the England Hockey “ClubsFirst” status and are now working towards Sport England “clubmark” accreditation.
Phoenix Ladies Hockey Club, who are a single team club playing in the Yorkshire League, have also agreed to be partners in this venture and will be using the facility. It is also expected the new facility will provide opportunities for Sheffield Hallam University students to join the club as players, coaches, umpires, volunteers and extramural roles linked in with their studies such as sports science. The facility will also be used for competitive British University and College Sports Hockey matches.
Club Chairman and veteran player James Swinscoe said: “Rotherham Hockey Club are delighted to be involved in this joint venture. We have worked very closely and collaboratively with Sheffield Hallam University to bring hockey back into the Rotherham Borough, thereby providing tremendous opportunities for both Rotherham Hockey Club and its wider audience. We are very excited about the future”
Richard McGloin, Director of Commercial Services at Sheffield Hallam University, said: “This is an excellent opportunity to help invigorate sport and physical activity levels in the Rotherham area and we are proud to be able to work with Rotherham Hockey Club to enable them to play their home fixtures in the town.”
“England Hockey are proud supporters of Sheffield Hallam University and Rotherham Hockey Club,” added Gary Limbert, Facilities Relationship Manager at England Hockey.
“Both the University and Hockey Club have worked tremendously hard to bring hockey back to Rotherham with the development of a dedicated artificial hockey pitch which puts Hockey at the centre of the local community.”