Rolls leads all-weather revolution with state-of-the-art pitches

N THE BALL -- Rolls guru Brian Willows (left), with Jez Corthorn, the manager of Notts Senior League club, Hucknall Rolls Leisure, at the site of the proposed new pitches
N THE BALL -- Rolls guru Brian Willows (left), with Jez Corthorn, the manager of Notts Senior League club, Hucknall Rolls Leisure, at the site of the proposed new pitches
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A STATE-of-the-art complex comprising six-a-side football pitches is being created at the Rolls-Royce Leisure venue in Hucknall.

The ambitious project, costing more than £150,000, is on the site of former tennis courts at the Rolls sports ground, off Watnall Road.

Three all-weather pitches are being laid with revolutionary third-generation (3G) synthetic grass — the first time the surface has been used in the Dispatch district.

Each pitch will measure 32 metres by 25 metres but will be fenced off by retractable curtains that will offer the option of one pitch or training area encompassing the whole complex.

The man behind the project is Rolls-Royce guru Brian Willows and the scheme is the latest instalment in a long line of hefty investment at the site, which is estimated to total more than £1 million.

“This has to be good for Hucknall,” said Brian. “It is a very prestigious thing and it will be much appreciated by footballers and teams in Hucknall who struggle to find somewhere to play and train.”

The plot where the pitches are being built was turned into a football training area with floodlights in the 1990s.

But problems were caused by dozens of tall trees that would drop their leaves in autumn and leave the surface too hazardous to play on.

A decision was taken in the late 1990s to mothball the site on health and safety grounds and it has stood idle for more than a decade.

But now it is being brought back to life by the new pitches, the idea for which came about last year.

In October, the green light was given for 66 trees to be chopped from a height of 60 feet to 12. This offered more natural light.

More than £70,000 has been saved because the 3G surface can be laid on to the existing Tarmac.

Banks around the plot have been cleared of uneven soil and rubbish, with more than 100 tonnes of material being shifted.

Fencing will be installed next month and the pitches will go in during the first two weeks of June. Kick-off for the new complex will officially be in mid-June.

The site’s floodlights, put up in the 1990s, are still usable and have been re-wired.

Teams who hire the pitches — at just £30 an hour — will also have use of the newly-rebuilt changing rooms, which feature a wet room with six showers.

The first users of the complex will be the junior football section at Rolls. For they are taking part in a 12-hour charity football marathon on Sunday June 26.

Nottingham Forest striker Dexter Blackstock is also considering running a soccer school for youngsters at the site.

“Things are going well here at Rolls at the moment,” said Brian. “We are committed to serving Hucknall and this is long term.”

The Rolls site also boasts a popular social club, rooms for hire, the Leisure Lounge function suite and a gym with more than 800 members.