New pitch just the start for St Ives Town as club take 'a massive step forward'
- Credit: JOSH REIF
A new artificial pitch at St Ives Town will not only turn out to be the best way forward for the club but also a big asset for the community according to chairman Gary Clarke.
The Southern League Premier Division Central side had once harboured hopes of moving away from their traditional Westwood Road home.
But once that was taken off the table, the installation of the new 3G surface was next on the agenda.
"It’s a massive step forward," said Clarke. "We wanted to move but there were various obstacles put in our way so that didn’t happen.
"We then thought about what was the next best thing we could do. We can’t grow the club any further as we are now so we decided to go down the self-funded route and put a 3G in.
"We’ve got 11 teams at St Ives now so we can accommodate them all as well as hiring the pitch out.
"It was the best move for the club and the town and the community, and that’s where we want to expand.
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"In the end we’ve got an ideal location in the centre of town but in its present guise, the pitch just couldn’t cope with the weather.
"This way we tick all of the boxes and the supporters are very happy. Nobody wanted to move in the first place and we have now found an ideal solution."
The surface is the best available for the club who have also installed a shock absorber under the grass and rubber crumb top surface.
Clarke said: "I knew nothing about 3G pitches when we started but I know a lot now.
"You could even play rugby on it if you wanted to, I’m not saying we will of course, but it is an option.
"But medical-wise, it is proven to saves injuries to ankles and knees because there is a bit of give on there.
"We’ve gone the extra mile to make sure we have the best possible surface we can for people to use."
And the new surface is just the first of a serious of plans at the progressive club to increase their stature.
Clarke added: "The future is there, it’s great for the club, but once this is all finished we are looking to the next project which is a new clubhouse.
"Then we will have a facility for St Ives for the next 20 years.
"The floodlights have all been upgraded and we’ve changed to LEDs which means the spillage is a lot less and there is less wattage.
We’ve gone from 120 lux to over 200 with less burn and spillage so for our neighbours there will be less lights shining on them."