THE future of Weymouth Hockey Club hangs in the balance as the Seasiders battle to raise £70,000 to help gather funds for a new artificial pitch.

Weymouth currently play at Redlands Community Sports Hub, where the existing surface has drawn complaints over playing standards from both home and away players.

Echosport understands Redlands cannot pay for the pitch in its entirety, leaving the burden on Weymouth’s shoulders.

With £250,000 needed to fund the construction and installation of the man-made turf, the hockey club already has £55,000 in its kitty after several years of hosting the Weymouth Hockey Festival.

However, Weymouth are faced with a June 2019 deadline in order to produce the extra £70,000, which would make up half of the overall spend.

The Seasiders have called upon the English Hockey Foundation to step in and provide the other £125,000. Should it fail to materialise, the new pitch would be delayed a further year.

Weymouth, who field men’s, women’s, juniors’ and minis’ teams, could even move away from the Redlands location to secure the future of the club.

Lewis Stripp, a manager at Redlands, said: “There is not money to replace the pitch from anyone’s side of things, so we are obviously just working with the hockey club to support their fundraising and have been for a number of years and will continue to do so.”

An exact figure to the amount Redlands were willing to contribute was not provided. Speaking to Echosport, ladies’ co-captain Amanda Harvey explained that Weymouth has “many options”.

She said: “It’s such a tough thing. It’s up to us to raise the funds. Everyone complains about playing on it.

“£250,000 is a long way to go. If that doesn’t happen it will be delayed another year.

“From a business point it would be great if the hockey club owned (the new pitch). There’s so many options but we’re waiting on a lot of people to make decisions.”

Harvey added: “It might not be at Redlands. In a dream world it would be a good idea to go back to a hockey, cricket and rugby club.

“Nobody has the funds and they need to figure out what it’s going to become.”

The club has set up a ‘Go Fund Me’ page, where potential investors are invited to donate.

On the subject of fundraising, Harvey revealed plans are already afoot to make the proposition attractive to potential sponsors.

She said: “You can pay £10 to buy a square metre of the pitch. We’re doing everything from offering sponsor boards, names on dugouts, banners, possibly naming rights as well.”

Ladies’ goalkeeper and club committee member Megan Eadon added: “Fundraising for a new pitch is a challenge yet an exciting prospect.

“To encourage children and adults to play sports and increase their social circles is such an important thing to do, and playing hockey is brilliant for both of those things.

“Without a pitch our long history and great reputation would cease.”

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