At the unrolling ceremony on Tuesday 6 February, St Andrew’s unveiled the state-of-the-art hockey Astro Turf (Astro) that, if construction stays on track, will be the first of its kind in the world, while another such Astro is being built in the UK.
Set to be completed in March, to be ready for matches against Pearson High School on 19 March, the Astro will mark a significant milestone for hockey in South Africa.
Bloemfontein Courant previously reported that the project has been 20 years in the making, and that the new waterless Astro will be the benchmark for Astro Turf projects of the future.
“It is a massive privilege for us as a school,” said Trevor Raubenheimer, Director of Hockey at St Andrew’s.
“We are very proud of our facility and can’t wait to get on the turf,” he added. Raubenheimer spoke about the magnitude of the new Astro.
“This is massive for our hockey programme,” he said. St Andrew’s also plans to get younger players on the Astro, exposing the next generation of hockey players to the future of hockey as soon as possible.
The school will also have the opportunity to host the annual U/14 and U/16 Independent Schools Hockey Festivals between 25 March and 1 April this year.
“The First Team boys are very excited for the completion of our Astro,” said Raubenheimer. Tristan Norman, St Andrew’s First Team captain, said that the team is excited for the development of Saints hockey.
“We are feeling a bit nervous, because this is an opportunity given to us that many old boys dreamed about,” he said, “I believe the guys will do their best to make this Astro feel like home, and give everything they have in order for the hockey programme to succeed.”
He went on to say excitedly: “We as a team are beyond grateful for the opportunity, we have been waiting so long for an Astro and for it to be of this quality is amazing!”
Once construction is completed, and the final trimmings are done, St Andrew’s will be ahead of the pack with their Astroturf, and will set the pace for all schools in the country to catch up to.