West Hampstead may have to ‘beg’ for pitch

West Hampstead Hockey Club are facing up to the possibility of losing their home ground – just days after they were voted Team of the Season.

The Brent Cross outfit, who train and play their home matches at Whitefield School in Brent Cross, could be left homeless following news that the school’s board of governors are considering a proposal from a five-a-side football league to take over the facilities management of the pitches.

If agreed, changes are likely to include relaying the pitches. One pitch would be turned into an 11 a-side surface that was unsuitable for hockey, and the second of the two pitches re-laid and temporarily subdivided into one 7-a-side and two 5-a-side pitches.

If the school’s board agree to the proposal at a meeting this week, West Hampstead, who were voted Team of the Season in late July after winning the league and cup double, will need to find a new ground for the upcoming season that starts on October 1.

“We are within two months of the start of a new season, and have no idea whether we will have playing facilities, let alone training facilities,” said West Hampstead’s chairman Alison Toner.

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“Coming on the back of such a massively successful season for the club, this really is nothing short of devastating if a compromise solution with the 5-a-side company can’t be reached as soon as possible.

“Then even if it is, we could still be looking at three months of begging pitches up to half an hour journey away to fulfil league fixtures, let alone find some way of facilitating training sessions.”

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