Following the recent completion of Gisborne’s new hockey facility, the stadium has had a chance to roll out the Polytan-installed ‘blue carpet’ for the first game between the Black Sticks and Argentina women’s hockey teams.
It’s the first time an international hockey game has been played in Gisborne, and the first time that an international sporting fixture has ever been held in the region.
ECT General manager and chairman of the Hawke’s Bay Sports Facility Trust Leighton Evans said the development of the new turf has been a lot of hard work, but the benefits will be great. “To have the Black Sticks down in Gisborne is validation that the new turf is going to be a valuable community asset. The simple fact is that without the turf they wouldn’t be coming. Events like this help to put Gisborne on the map as a city that can host international tests.”
Gisborne Mayor Meng Foon said he hoped the community would support the games. “We are blessed with this opportunity, and it will bode well for local hockey going forward. This could be the start of attracting more regional and national games to Gisborne.”
At the recent opening game, long-time hockey advocate Tony Scragg was convinced that “Gisborne is the winner, not just hockey”. He was just one of the 2000-strong crowd watching the New Zealand Women’s Black Sticks beat Argentina 1-0 in a historic first international on the new LJ Hooker Turf at Harry Barker Reserve.
Also at the game was under-13s coach Louise Tennety, who reported that “to actually play and train (on turf) prior to going away is going to be amazing for our girls. I can see us really building our young talent, and they’ll go further in hockey because of it.”
“Polytan STI are proud to have been part of the team that constructed this fantastic new purpose-built facility – and we hope it brings many years of enjoyment to both players and fans alike”, Cody Linton, General Manager Polytan STI, New Zealand.