Sussex cricketer Matthew Hobden is believed to have plunged to his death in Scotland after falling asleep on the roof of a country house on New Year’s Eve, according to national newspaper reports today.
Police Scotland continue to investigate the death of the 22-year-old Eastbourne-born pace bowler but said there are not thought to be any suspicious circumstances.
Several media outlets reported Hobden, along with friends, sat on the roof of Dalvey House, in Forres, near Inverness the evening before to look at the stars. It was also reported that officers are investigating if he fell asleep and then plunged to his death.
In a statement released through Police Scotland, his family said, “We are deeply saddened by the sudden death of Matthew who had been celebrating the new year with friends in the Forres area.
“We now ask that we are left alone to deal with the tragic circumstances that have unfolded and are allowed to grieve in private at this difficult time.”
Sussex cricketers were given the week off by coach Mark Davis following the sudden death.
The tragedy curtailed a promising career, one which was set to take in England’s Performance Programme in South Africa later this month.
Davis said, “I’ve given the boys a week away to make sure they can gather their thoughts and be around their loved ones, process what’s happened and reflect a little bit as well. We all met on Sunday morning, after we got the awful news, just to get everyone together. Everyone will grieve in different ways but it was good to support each other. We need to stay strong to get through this tough time.”
Hobden, a fast bowler, studied at Newlands School in Seaford, Eastbourne College, Millfield School in Somerset and at university in Cardiff.
Nicknamed ‘Hobbo’ and ‘Hobsy’, he was an integral part of Glynde and Beddingham’s senior squad aged 16 when they became the National Village Cricket Knockout Final held at Lord’s in 2009.
His cricket career soon ignited and played frequent first-class and limited-overs matches for Sussex over the past two seasons. He already had two first-class five-wicket hauls on his career record.
Hobden was earmarked for a bright future in the game and was one of six fast bowlers chosen to take part in the Potential England Performance Programme this winter.
The group were due to spend time in Johannesburg alongside the senior England side, helping with preparations for the one-day international series against South Africa. England wore black armbands in their second test match against South Africa last weekend.
He had been living in Hove with some of his Sussex team mates, including Eastbourne’s Callum Jackson, and regularly visited family in Eastbourne.
A club statement from Eastbourne Cricket Club read, “Eastbourne Cricket Club is deeply saddened to hear of the death of Matthew Hobden.
“Matthew was a special local talent educated at Eastbourne College and known to many club members. His recent success at Sussex CCC had been recognised by the Potential England Performance Plan (PEPP) and he had a bright future ahead of him.
“Eastbourne CC would like to offer their deepest sympathy and condolences to Matthews family, friends and colleagues at Sussex CCC.”