On February 1, 1968 Cranleigh hockey took a step into the future when the School’s first all-weather pitch was opened on what is now Marcon.
The pitch, known as the Redgra, was a hard surface covered in fine pinkish-red gravel which drained well and could cope with all but the hardest frost.
For a generation of Cranleighans it allowed sport in bad weather; it also provided hours of pain for anyone unfortunate enough to fall over on it, as the gravel burrowed its way into knees and elbows, necessitating grim grain-by-grain extraction from cuts using tweezers.
Cranleigh had started playing hockey in 1919 but the heavy clay on which the school stands meant that often rain and frost rendered the pitches unusable, and even when they could be used, for much of the Lent term they were heavy and muddy. Alternatives were found for practice, usually tarmac tennis courts next to the Fives courts or, until 1960, the tarmac area to the south of the old gymnasium on which the Woodyer Art Centre now stands.
Former England captain and president of the Hockey Association Robert Fison formally opened the pitch and a match between a Cranleigh Scorpians XI (mainly players from the OCHC) and an Invitational XI, containing several recent internationals, followed. The game was woefully one sided as the Invitational XI won 9-1.
A second redgra was added in 1979 – Pickup – and the original lasted until 2005 when it was replaced by a new astroturf.Back to all news