Twins help Dereham step into new era

IAN CLARKE A pair of young hockey playing twins helped opened a new all-weather pitch at Dereham on Sunday - almost 20 years to the day after another sister double act unveiled the original artificial surface.

IAN CLARKE

A pair of young hockey playing twins helped opened a new all-weather pitch at Dereham on Sunday - almost 20 years to the day after another sister double act unveiled the original artificial surface.

Hannah and Alice Tarry, 13, from Fakenham, who play for Dereham Colts seconds, held the ribbon as it was cut by president of England Hockey Martin Gotheridge to mark the completion of a £225,000 refurbishment programme. Also at the event yesterday was Tamsin Dye - formerly Tamsin Read - who opened the original pitch on September 27 with her twin sister Tanya (now Whitehead). The same “scissors” - which cut the ribbon two decades earlier - were used.

The pitch upgrade is part of a range of improvements to the Greenfields Road grounds and clubhouse which have taken place over the last five years and made possible partly by a £60,000 grant from Sport England and further support from the Foundation for Sport and Arts.


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The new pitch will increase the number of games and coaching taking place at the club, which has over 300 members aged eight to 60s. The inbuilt shock pad will reduce the impact on players' joints and limbs. There is also improved disabled access and renovation of the bar area and installation of new central heating.

The opening was part of an open day at the club when several games were played including first team matches, a youth tournament and exhibition match against the visiting Ancient Britains veteran team.

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Dereham president John Carrick said it was an “historic occasion” and was due to a “tremendous team effort.”

“Very few clubs could have achieved what this club has achieved.”

He heaped praise on club chairman Kay Edwards for her “tenacity beyond belief.”

Mr Gotheridge said: “Dereham was at the forefront of clubs to lay their own artificial pitch 20 years ago. It is still a leading club producing players with their tremendous youth policy.”

Club official and veterans team player Les Howlett said: “The new pitch surface will make a big difference to play at the club because with the now usable second pitch we can increase the number of games and coaching that take place.”

Officials at Sport England were particularly impressed by the club's commitment to youth development and encouraging players of all ages and abilities.

Chris Perks, regional director of Sport England East, said: “The club submitted a good quality grant application that included specific targets for increased participation for young and old and for promotion of hockey and other sports.”

In the game which followed Dereham beat Norwich Union 7-0 with goals came from Hannah Palmer, Steph Savage, Louise Hewitt (2) Donna Causton, and Evie Van Poortvliet (2).

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