Raynes Park High School has opened a new half-a-million pound AstroTurf hockey pitch.

In partnership with the Wimbledon Club which paid for the new surface and will take on the costs for the ongoing maintenance, the new pitch will not only be used for training purposes but also international hockey games.

The school's head teacher, Kirsten Heard, said: “We are pleased to have partnered with the Wimbledon Club on this fantastic project.

"Students are already using the pitch and the Wimbledon Club has held its first training session there.

"The AstroTurf hockey pitch is such a fantastic asset for the school and presents opportunities for students to improve their game and learn about the sport from the Wimbledon Club.

"As a BECSLink Community school, this initiative underlines our strategy to forge partnerships with the local community. It puts us on the map as a community school and garners interest in hockey.”

Paul Knowles, head of junior hockey at the Wimbledon Club was over the moon that the new pitch is available to use.

"With 20 international players and 10 Olympians, this is a much-needed facility for our elite players as well as our wider membership," he said.

"The extended hours of use all year round provides the base for expanding our junior programme and enables us to inspire more local children to take part in the sport.”

Next year the Wimbledon Club will offer coaching to students at the school with the aim of developing their long term love of the sport. The club has already been supporting the school by providing inspirational coaches and players to attend school events and donating new hockey sticks.

The new AstroTurf pitch provides a new venue to expand the Wimbledon Club’s schools outreach programme. The pitch is predominantly being used for hockey, although it can be used for other sports such as football using temporary football marks which can be brushed off.