The Bruce Pryor Field
Sydney University's Bruce Pryor Field was completed in April 2017 and continues to earn praise as the best and truest hockey playing surface in Sydney.
That is no surprise, because it is. It was built with the Poligras Platinum COOLplus surface, which is the best-in-the-world playing surface for our climate. It was used at the 2016 Rio Olympics and will be used for the 2018 Commonwealth Games: the Gold Coast Hockey Centre and the Runaway Bay training field both have have this same high-quality surface.
This surface is also now appearing at the best of the State-level venues:
• Queensland State Hockey Centre (#2 field)
• Victorian State Hockey Centre (both fields)
• ACT Hockey Centre (Watt Field)
• Tasmanian Hockey Centre (#3 field)
It is also installed on Grafton Hockey Association's Brent Livermore Field up in Grafton (home of PK, BJ and the much-remenbered Gary Grafton).
So far SUHC is the only club in Australia lucky enough to have it for its own club field.
So if you want to play on the surface used for the world's best games between the world's best players, just drive over to Cumberland and step on to the Bruce Pryor Field.. and maybe send your own private "Thank You" to Bruce for making it possible.
How to Get To Bruce Pryor Field and Where to Park
Bruce Pryor Field is at Cumberland College, which is part of Sydney University. It is on East Street and Weeroona Road, Lidcombe. The turf is in the south-eastern corner, close to the corner where East Street meets Weeroona Road. See the map here.
To access the turf, drive in the Cumberland College at Gate 3, which runs off Weeroona Road, just past the corner where East Street turns into Weeroona Road. Here's a link to a specific map. NB Google Maps does not yet show the turf as having been built. (Trust the real world evidence, not the computer model!)
Parking is free before 8am and after 5pm and on weekends when you use Gate 3. It costs $4 a week day otherwise. There may be free parking on the street. Please avoid using Gate 2 during the week. It costs more to park in the carpark behind it, the carpark is further away from the field and it is the main car park for the Cumberland staff. Gate 2 parking is, however, free on weekends.
Lidcombe Station is about 2.75kms away. It is a 6 min drive. There are buses, but they run from 7:15am to 6:15 pm Mondays to Fridays. There is also a free shuttle bus from Cumberland to Lidcombe Station during Uni teaching weeks. It leaves from Gate 2, which is still quite close to the gym and field. For more details click here to see the information on the University's website.
The toilets and showers are in the Cumberland College Gym, which is beside the Bruce Pryor Field. The gym is operated by the Guild (the Cumberland College Students Association), so it is NOT (yet) an SUSF facility. We are working with the Guild and SUSF to establish to ensure the facilities are always open when needed. We are also discussing how SUHC members might join the Guild to access their gym as part of our training. Ideally we will soon be able to use our fantastic new turf, the gym and the grassed oval next door for all SUHC training.
Bruce Pryor Field is Stage 1 of a planned two-stage development that will see a second field and more spectator and player amenities at Cumberland, amking it the best club facility in Sydney. It is already right next to a gym, with a grass oval on the other side for extra fitness training.
Watch the Cumberland Turf being Built - photos from Bott
The safety fence was put up at the beginning of October 2016. The fence runs alongside the gym. The gym is on the east of the turf, which runs roughly north-south: NW-SE may be closer.
By 23 October the earthworks had begun. The plan was to excavate and level the area, make the slope on the northern end much gentler (by putting excavated soil there and returfing it) and to create some sloped areas for seating on the eastern side (near the gym). Surplus topsoil is being stockpiled at the southern end of the next-door oval, and will be used to extend the oval and surrounds when the hockey field is finished.
On 30 October the work on the slope near the gym (the East side) was advancing well. The additional fence down the middle is part of the process of dealing with some contamination that the builders found.
On 6 November the hill on the East /gym side was still being dug away. It had the contaminated material: the white protective layer and cordoned-off (in blue) area is where some contaminated fill was found. Extra topsoil was stockpiled on the southern end of the oval.
On 12 November the hill on the northern side was having the fill from the eastern side added so that it sloped more gently. The first bit of mud...
On 20 November, after a week without rain, the levels are right and the base is being compacted
On 27 November it was still being compacted - the more the better. Not much was happening, though. Can you spot the vehicle that moved in the photo above (from 20 Nov) and the last photo here?
On 4 December...looks similar, just more compacted, and the trucks have definitely moved. The delay may have been to enable more checks for contamination, or just the way that builders are. Once the soil is compacted a new, more stable layer (from the Westconnex works) will be added and compacted, and then a layer of roadbase is added on top.
On 11 December it looks hockey-field size and is still being compacted as the surrounding contours are being finalised. The blue netting on the eastern (gym side) fence is slowly getting tattier...The shadows in the photo above this are different to the ones in the second photo below, but the trucks in the middle are parked almost exactly the same way.
On 19 December, just before photographer Bott and the CFMEU had their holidays, the white, rocky, pre-roadbase layer is finally being brought in
Into 2017. By 8 January the layer of white, rocky (sandstone) fill is almost spread out and the electical cables and drainage are going in. The white pipe in the second photo leads to the place where the control shed for the lights and sprays will be.
On 15 January they are still compacting the layer of solid material that goes in below the roadbase, which is below the asphalt, which is below the shock-pad, which is below the turf. Once the roadbase is added the asphalt cap goes on, and rain and mud won't be such an issue. The slope on the northern side (centre right of image) is almost ready. The blue netting is hanging in there - just.
By 29 Jan the first layer of solid material was compacted and the darker roadbase layer was being spread. Trenches were being dug for the electrical and drainage pipes and the gutters, and some decent-looking sandstone walls were in place. They always said Sydney University was identifiable by its sandstone...
By Sunday 5 February, with just under 8 weeks to go until the revised deadline, it looked like a field. The roadbase is being spead, levelled and compacted. Trenches have been dug for the electical conduit for the lights. Add a few dugouts, a scoreboard, lots of high fences, a big green carpet and a set of change-rooms somewhere nearby and the games can begin!
By 12 February the guttering was in. The power is about to be connected. You can see the orange conduit sticking up where the light poles will be, about 1.5m behind the gutter in the next images. The fence will be between them. The base for the hydraulic controls (ie the water pump) and scoreboard is in the foreground of the second photo.
Just 4 days later - on 16 February - it looks like a real field. The machines are laser-levelling the compacted road base ahead of the asphalt and sealant, scheduled to be laid on Friday 17/Sat 18 February. It then takes a week or two for the chemicals to leach and oxidise so that the proper adhesion level is reached for the shock-pad, and then the c. 5,942 sqm of green synthetic turf is fixed in place (the field is 61m x 97.4m). Over that period the safety fences will be put up (the footings are already in), the bare areas in the foreground and on the sides will be re-turfed with new grass or sown with grass seed, and the walking paths will be concreted in. The dugouts are already on site (not visible in this photo), as is the scoreboard, and will be positioned once the turf is laid.
By 19 February Polytan was a few days behind with the asphalt (hot weather) and the fence was being erected. It was all ready to go, so would take no time at all. Once the asphalt is down we have to change our tune on the rain. For the next week or two after that we want as much rain as possible to help wash the oils and dirt off the field before the shcok-pad and turf goes down.
26 February. Just 5 weeks to go. Asphalt in. Lots of infrastructure, but not yet any grass or turf, and the fence wire is still to be put in place. But looking good. The piles of extra topsoil are now being moved from the other oval
Mid week now. On 1 March things were being slowed but not stopped by the rain. The fence is proceeding. The materials for the shock-pad that goes under the turf are on site and ready to go as soon as the conditions are right. On the turf the sprays and drains are going in, the dugouts are ready and around the sides the access paths are being formed. The drains are now being connected with the concrete gutters.
Contouring has been completed on the NW end, and the fence rails are going in
The new access road to the field will be on the right of the light post. The carpark is on the right, behind the temporary sheds near the red vehicle.
New paths to go in leading from the carpark to the centre
One of the water cannons that is now being installed. Asphalt, roadbase and just a bit of the white sanstone layer are visible in the hole.
The hole for a yet-to-be-installed cannon shows the layers better. The pitch is based on heavily compacted soil and then a thick layer of crushed sandstone (white), several layers of compacted roadbase (dark), about 25mm of asphalt (top here). After this a 25mm thick shock-pad goes on (a mixture of crushed rubber and the proverbial Emulsion®) and on top of that goes...the turf.
View to the south, behind the goals. The carpark is away to the left. Grass paths are still to be installed. The Chullora IMT/freight centre is hiding in the mist
On 5 March the grass was green...but not yet the turf. The fence is almost up, and Polytan is testing daily to see if the adhesion is good enough for the shock-pad to go down - and then the top-of-the-line turf on top
Work was underway on Sunday 12 March. After the rainy week the shockpad is going on, ready for the turf. Pulverised rubber in the white bags is mixed with an emulsion (containers on the left of second photo, and one in centre) in the green hopper and the mixture is fed into the small yellow tipper to be spread on the asphalt base, then laser-levelled. The fence is up and the grass has been sown on the Northern side, so it has a yellow tinge
It has rained every day for the entire week to 19 March. We need 24 hours without rain to dry the shock-pad so the turf can be rolled out. It is ready to go. Rolling it out, gluing it down in the exact position and doing the seams will take about a week. The yellow tinge on the northern slope has turned to solid green.
On Tuesday 21 March our luck was in, and the rollers were out
Progress was slow due to storms, but things had moved by Wednesday 22 March. Am I the only one to be wondering what happeed to the circle?
Sunday 26 March. After a rainy week, things rolled on the weekend
More progress by Tuesday 28 March
On 28 March the Rain Gods were still at it. Okay, the turf drough has been going for decades, but even we would be happy to break the drought with less of a down- (and out-) pouring .
Bott was up unusually early on 2 April, but the Polytan guys beat him to it. And when you're 111 years old, it's the joints that matter...
....but what a great looking field ours will be!
On Friday 7 April it was almost there. Turf - tick! Goals - tick! Lights and fence - tick! Dugouts - tick! Scoreboard - tick! Changerooms - coming.
Sunday 9 April - just two days before the scheduled day for the final inspection, it looks like a turf. All going well, it will be ours to use from COB on 11 April. Lower grade women's training is the first scheduled club use, but some of the Masters are eager to have a hit before their 8pm game. It has been a long time coming.
And then, on Tuesday 11 April 2017, shorty before 10am... Brett Radcliffe, the man who keeps our history, has his turn at making it.
One small step for a player, one giant leap for a club!
First training session on a home turf - Tuesday evening, 11 April.