As most players, coaches, umpires, volunteers and parents know hockey players are a pretty tough lots and it takes alot to stop us playing or training !
Not tempting fate with a change in the weather this week we update everyone on arrangements for winter weather if it arrives and impacts our own and opposition pitches ! Find out more about the arrangements for cancellations and communications, often at short notice, if we have adverse weather impacting hockey (training and matches).
The good news is that we only usually cancel matches for frozen, snow covered or flooded pitches, or if routes to away games are adversely affected by weather and all league matches are rearranged ! Hopefully, based on the current forecast we should avoid any heavy frost until December.
WHO MAKES THE CALL
Timperley Sports Club has a specific decision making policy (attached) relating to making decisions on the fitness of pitches for play. In summary, decisions concerning the
safety of TSC pitches remain with the TSC Executive Committee (including Shelagh Entwisle Hockey Chair) and its employees. This also links to the Club's insurance. Once declared unfit no captain, players, coaches or volunteers can overturn the decision without discussion and agreement with the club staff team. Obviously, if the weather deteriorates during training or matches the decision to abandon play may come from the umpires, coaches or captains.
The hockey section has a longstanding and good working relationship with the club staff team and we work together to assess if the pitches are fit to use and this has worked well. This includes where there is light snow (on a non frozen pitch) decisions to clear the pitch.
HOW WE COMMUNICATE THC WEATHER UPDATES !
Decisions usually have to be communicated quickly and therefore we try as far as is practicable to make information available - but we do need players and parents to proactively check for updates
We will usually get messages / information out to senior teams and the academy using:
- club website news item (pitchero)
- pitchero app / news items / team messages
- captains (Pitchero, whats app or text groups)
- and email in some circumstances
If in doubt contact your captain or team manager to check - or call the club on 0161 980 4397 who can advise on the home games (but not away games)
If pitches have been declared unfit in line with the TSC Unfit Pitch Policy players, coaches and captains can not over rule this decision and decide to use the pitches.
On mid week training nights it is the intention if outdoor sessions have to be cancelled that they will be replaced with sessions in the clubhouse, this may be on whiteboard, video, tactics etc if the pitches are confirmed as unfit.
The Club staff will usually try and make the decision by 6pm (and earlier for Academy U16 training) at the latest if the weather is doubtful. Usually the decision is made earlier. Occasionally we will cancel Academy training and matches if there is a very cold wind chill or adverse weather, even if the pitches are fit.
We will try and get updates out about training as soon as practicably possible to let players, parents, umpires and spectators know the state of play. Please help us by checking for updates if the weather looks doubtful (see above) and save unnecessary journeys.
Sunday Academy training - the same communication channels will be used and is there is an early cancellation in bad weather an academy email will also be send if possible to do so. The decision will normally be made by 9.30am or in exceptionally cold weather the evening before.
Players of all ages are reminded that as it gets colder to wear appropriate layers for training and come prepared with wet weather gear if raining and ideally bring a bag to keep clothes dry in - remember drinks too for hydration whatever the weather. If unsure coaches can advise. Its fine to wear hats too !
On match days captains or managers will try to get messages out to players/parents and umpires as quickly as they can. But do help them by checking Pitchero updates,
Website, What's App groups, Text and Emails. We'll also get updates out via the website, twitter and facebook as quickly as possible.
For home games we follow the TSC Policy on Unfit Pitch Decision Making and this sets out a single process including who can make the decision if the pitches are fit or not. Even after pitches have been declared fit - it the weather deteriorates during the game Umpires may decide a game has to abandoned. The primary consideration relates to the health and safety of the users.
If there is light snow (on a non frozen base) we will normally put a call out of volunteers to come down to help clear the snow off and get the games on if at all possible.
For Away games captains are in contact with the opposition and usually agree that a pitch inspection will take place prior to the THC team leaving the club. If you are travelling direct please ensure you keep in contact with your captain / manager to check the game is still on before setting off.
For any cancelled games Kieran Jeffery out Fixtures Secretary will work with Captains / Managers to agree pitch slots and times for all home rearranged games. Captains need to work with Kieran so he can co-ordinate all requests and then work with TSC to agree pitch allocations. Teams should not go direct to TSC to try and book pitches without going via Kieran. Rearranged matches need to also be in line with the relevant league rules.
Captains, managers and coaches will be provided with more specific details about the process for determining if home pitches are fit or not and who can make the decision.
Players in senior league games should also be aware that in most league rules the requirement is that baselayers should be the same colour as the shirt / shirt sleeves. Please be aware if playing at the higher levels that umpires pick this up with players - especially if playing in white change of kit.
Last season the club tested the use of ATP approved salt on the pitches to help prevent them freezing - particularly along the golf course side of the pitches. This isn't a panacea but with a TSC crystal ball, some good reading of the weather forecasts and the opportunity to get the salt down at the right time this we should help keep the pitches playable for matches. Its not a guarantee and is an 'art' rather than a 'science' but the good news is the Club has purchased more ATP specific salt for use this winter.
Lets hope we don't have too bad a winter and that we don't loose too many games to Jack Frost or Sammy Snow !
Wrap up warm and enjoy !
Updated 23:11 - 16 Nov 2018 by Shelagh Entwisle