Hockey players seethe at resurfacing blunder

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A hockey club has been turfed off its usual training ground and forced to venture further afield for practice sessions.

Members of Berkhamsted and Hemel Hempstead Hockey Club have slammed the treatment received from gym operator Sportspace as ‘shameful’.

The club has trained at Sportspace Berkhamsted on Tuesday and Wednesday nights for several years, but were forced to change their booking after the hockey-suitable surface was turned into a 3G pitch, which is made of artificial turf, this summer.

They attempted to switch their training to Sportspace in Tring, but were told that time slots they had at Berkhamsted were not available.

Attempts were made to find a suitable replacement, but due to the high demand for pitches, the club is now training outside Dacorum at RAF Halton.

“It’s a disgrace,” said player Ben Moorhouse. “Sportspace have admitted they have cocked up, but there is nothing they can do.

“During the summer, they have just gone and resurfaced the pitch at Berkhamsted.

“We are now left with 250 members and no training facilities.

“They aren’t Sportspace any more, they are football space.

“They took two prime time slots off us at Berkhamsted and the least they could have done would have been to move them across to Tring. I think it is shameful.”

Sportspace, however, insist they have been doing everything they can to find a solution to the problem.

Group operations manager Nigel McArthur said: “Upon discovering the oversight we have worked with the existing clubs and Berkhamsted and Hemel Hempstead Hockey Club to try to accommodate the bookings –- including moving clubs to our newly refurbished pitches at Berkhamsted and Longdean. However the clubs were unable to change their existing arrangements.

“During these negotiations we have tried to accommodate the request for more time and more pitch space to support Berkhamsted and Hemel Hempstead Hockey Club’s desire to grow, offering alternative time slots and days.

“However, we could not provide the two consecutive hours that they required on the given day.”