Henfield Cricket Club History
The earliest reference to Henfield cricket is in the diary of Thomas Marchant of Hurstpierpoint. In the entry for June 4th 1719 he records a ‘cricket match in the Sandfields with Henfield…’ The Sackville Papers of 1745 provide us with Henfield’s first named cricketer – ‘Martin of Henfield played for Sussex against Surrey at Berry Hill …’
Evidence of the first cricket played on The Common comes from the Sussex Weekly Advertiser of September 1764: ‘On Henfield Common between Arundel and the east part of this county.’ In 1771 Henfield played Lewes in the first home-and-away fixture, which was followed in the same year with games against Coulsdon in Surrey – the first time that Henfield played outside the county of Sussex.
The first scorecard for a match on The Common was between the gentlemen of the Weald and the Gentlemen of Broadwater in June 1793. In July of that same year we have the firsdt Henfield scorecard. The record of matches continues through the years, the Club’s fortunes fluctuating with the social history of the age.
Club cricket has been played successfully on the Common over the last fifty years, with Coulsdon, Dorking and Lewes – those opponents of over 200 years ago – still on the fixture list.
Reflecting the current trend, henfield became a founder member of the Sussex Invitation League in 1977. It was originally made up of a dozen or so Clubs, each with their own ground and amenities, and planned to encourage a higher standard of cricket. Now it has been expanded into a number of divisions as part of a pyramid throughout Sussex. Scoring points has become as important as scoring runs in the tactics of the game.
But the friendly matches which still form an important part of our fixture list retain the original standards: an enjoyable match, fought to win but amicably, with a chat and a drink in the pavilion afterwards part of the game itself.
That unchanging thread – the love of cricket – is recorded for Henfield men in Henfield and its Sussex Cradle by H.F. and A.P.Squires. In their splendid book they record names from the past whose descendants will be familiar to watchers of cricket in the present: Thorns (1838), Silverson (1897), Parsons (1933), Mayston (1940). In 2021 the Club will record its 250th anniversary, May the historian of that time continue to record the same trend …
Original text by Dave Silverson 1996
Adapted 2005 by Chris Crampton and Ken Scott