A breakthrough portable pitch system developed specifically to International Hockey Federation (FIH) standards saw its first use at the FIH Pro League matches between Great Britain and New Zealand at the Twickenham Stoop stadium on the 23 June.
As the result of a partnership between England Hockey and Polypipe, the pitch exploits the water management specialist’s unique Permavoid geocellular sub-base to create a stable, high-quality playing surface that can be quickly and cost-effectively re-created on any scale, in any location and on any existing surface
At the Stoop, the 15,000-seat home of Harlequins Rugby, 24,000 interconnected 85mm deep Permavoid units cover the 6000 sqm playing surface. Laid on a permeable geotextile, the units – which are manufactured from 100% recycled polypropylene – are topped with a flexible shock pad tuned to maintain the level integrity of the finished surface.
The distinctive blue ‘carpet’ that tops the composite structure is unique to hockey – its nap controlling ball rolling speed and pass accuracy. To do this consistently the carpet needs to hold a prescribed moisture level which is achieved by regular watering.
Permavoid’s open cell structure provides a temporary attenuation volume to receive any excess water from the surface. Eliminating the risk of any surface water ponding, while allowing it to infiltrate to ground at the sub-soil’s natural rate.
The entire pitch has taken the installation team two weeks to complete. After the FIH matches, every element used in its construction will be re-used, clearly showing the versatility and environmental compatibility of the system.
In a permanent setting, Permavoid can form part of an integrated water management solution. Providing attenuation on roofs, podiums and shallow depth areas that may not be suited to traditional surface water storage systems – contaminated land for example. Both teams that played in this year’s Champions League final have utilised Permavoid as a central element in their home pitch and stadium water management, using surface water collected from across their sites to irrigate and maintain an optimum playing surface.