New hockey pitch heralds revamp of Ipswich Sports Club

Ipswich Hockey Club has a new pitch. Picture: Sarah Lucy Brown

Ipswich Sports Club has a new hockey pitch at Tuddenham Road - Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown

Trainers of Olympic athletes Ipswich Sports Club has a new pitch and its eyes on future improvements. 

The club will soon begin consulting its members after the sports excellence centre built a new hockey pitch at Tuddenham Road. 

Ipswich Hockey Club, part of the sports centre, is hoping to use the re-done pitch at the historic grounds - which was the first of its kind in Ipswich 30-years-ago - when they get the okay from Sports England. 

Vic Clements on Ipswich Hockey Club's new pitch. Picture: Sarah Lucy Brown

Vic Clements on Ipswich Hockey Club's new pitch. - Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown

Vic Clement, a board member of the club and who looks after the hockey side, said the pitch will be used by players soon.

She said it used to be "unplayable" and the new "shiny and brand new" Tiger Turf pitch will be used by its National, East and Suffolk level players - which includes Tokyo Olympic athlete, Hannah Martin.


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"We hope to do a nice new pitch opening when they're back," she added. 

Vic Clements on Ipswich Hockey Club's new pitch. Picture: Sarah Lucy Brown

Vic Clements on Ipswich Hockey Club's new pitch. - Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown

Ipswich Sports Club chair Vanessa Penn added: "We are looking to re-invest at our site here at Henley Road and we have a number of different plans that will go out to consultation. 

Ipswich Sports Club general manager Chris Grimwood and chair Vanessa Penn

Ipswich Sports Club general manager Chris Grimwood and chair Vanessa Penn - Credit: Archant

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"We've got several different facilities up here that need upgrades and the building. We have a shopping list of upgrades but we probably won't be able to afford them all.

"It goes from a swimming pool right down to new changing rooms."

Ipswich Sports Club director's Tony Cookson and Vic Clement

Ipswich Sports Club director's Tony Cookson and Vic Clement - Credit: Vic Clement

The new general manager at Ipswich Sports Club since April, Chris Grimwood, said it's all about "sustaining the membership". 

"It's then to see what the members say," added Mr Grimwood.

To achieve this work, Ipswich Sports Club sold its Henley Road pitch, which had been used by the hockey club, after planning permission was granted for 28 new homes. 

Official opening of Electric House in Ipswich.
Jeremy Goddard on the roof garden.

Jeremy Goddard - Credit: Archant

The developer Jeremy Goddard, a director at Ipswich Covedale Developments Limited, said his interest and his partner's Kevin Cattermole are motivated by loyalty to their club. 

"We want to do right by Ipswich Sports Club," Mr Goddard said. 

The property developers will be putting less housing on the site than the 28 homes already granted and are looking at changing the design before submitting another planning application in the next few months. 

ISC chair Vanessa Penn said the Crest Nicholson 1,100 new homes near Whitton, and off Henley Road, also is an opportunity for the club to grow further.

"That's going to be key," she said. "We want to attract families up here. We want to attract younger members."

She added that the club has already adapted as people have changed their habits such as looking at more leisure activities than Squash, which was more popular years ago. 

"It's been going since 1867 so I'm sure we can do it."

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