Steyning celebrates landmark anniversary with a game 300 years in the making
Sunday, August 15 at Steyning CC saw a match which should have occurred in 1721.
In the diary of Thomas Marchant, a yeoman farmer from Hurst, he wrote, ‘a cricket match was played in ye Sanfield between Stenning and our parish which the latter won in one innings. A return match was scheduled but the weather was so bad they could not play’.
Sunday’s game ended in a victory for Steyning who scored 188-8 before dismissing Hurstpierpoint CC for 79.
The match featured as the highlight of Steyning’s 300th anniversary celebrations, meaning that the club is one of oldest in the world.
Players in 1721 would travel by horse, but did not have any equipment to carry as no leg guards or gloves were used for under arm bowling and two stump wickets. There was no scorebook either, and notches on a stick were used to record the rather low scores.
By 1771 village cricket was being played regularly with games being recorded in local newspapers.
Steyning Museum carries many interesting photos and documents about this formative time for the club, with records showing players receiving payments for their performances.
This was almost 30 years before the first known laws of cricket were formulated. Records show that in 1772 James Irish, a clockmaker of Steyning, distinguished himself by scoring 70 notches (runs) in a match.
After World War II, recreational cricket grew in popularity and matches were played at Steynings Memorial Playing Field every Saturday, Sunday and Thursday.
Steyning were founder members of the Sussex Invitation League in 1979 before being admitted in to Sussex County League in 2000 when it expanded to two divisions.
In the early 2000s the club enjoyed great success, twice gaining promotion into the elite Premier Division.
Back in 1996 the club were one of first in the area to recruit overseas players which has cemented friendships around the world - including two Australians who returned home with brides from Steyning!
Following successive relegations the clubs’ management elected to invest its focus on producing home grown young players via a vibrant youth programme.
This approach is currently proving very successful with the club’s three Saturday sides being made up of local young players.
Saturday saw Steyning take a big step towards the Division 4 West title after a comprehensive nine-wicket win at home to Chichester Priory Park CC 2nd XI.
Excellent bowling, spearheaded by Christopher Barnett (4-15), saw Steyning bowl Chi out for just 89 in 30 overs.
Harvey King (eight) and skipper Hywel Jones (53*) put on 52 for the opening wicket before King was bowled by Corey Perrett (1-20).
It was left to Jones and Barnett (20*) to take Steyning home as they continued their march to the the title.
Steyning travel to bottom-of-the-table Stirlands CC this weekend.