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1829: Cuckfield versus Horsham cricket becomes a grudge match

Mid Sussex Times - Tuesday 07 July 1891


To Editor of The Mid-Sussex Times. Hastings, 3rd July, 1891. Dear Sir, —Will you kindly have the enclosed cutting reprinted under the Cuckfield news next week ? It will probably interest many of your readers.

Yours faithfully, J. R. MITCHELL.


‘E. A. H.,’ writing from a Sussex village on cricketing in olden times, says; In 1825, at twelve years of age, I was called out of school to go and play a game of cricket at Balcombe with the young men of Cuckfield.

At the commencement of the game I was to stand point, and the first ball bowled I caught the man out. Of course I was praised, and for years I took that position in matches. Four years later, when 16 years of age, I was called upon to play in the head eleven for Cuckfield against Horsham.

Cricketer circa 1830

The Horsham eleven were playing the last innings. They had five wickets to go down and 26 runs to get to beat us. My father and Mr. J. Mitchell were the bowlers. They found they were losing the game. Mitchell asked father to let me go on bowling at his end.

He made the remark, “Oh, he can’t bowl.’ Mitchell said “Let him try.” I did so, and in five overs of four balls each all the five wickets were bowled by me, and the only one run they got was the one they stole. After the game was over the Horsham eleven were so chaffed by the roughs about being boy-beaten that several fights took place, and ended in sad confusion. The Horsham people were so upset that they left the field, and ordered their trap and left the Ship Inn for Horsham without stopping to supper, or anything else.

Thus ended that day’s sport. Next came the return match played at Horsham. Now it so happened that the Horsham eleven had given a man by the name of Chart. He bragged so much about his play, saying he would not be either run, bowled, or caught out. In fact he made the Horsham people cross. However, the day arrived for the match. No sooner was I in the field or ground than several people came up me, and said “I say, young man, we have got a given man in our eleven by the name of Chart, who is going to do wonders. Now if you can bowl him out we will give you anything you like.’ I said “All right, I will see what I can do.” Presently this said Mr. Chart came in, and I gave him his wicket, and was then preparing to bowl; but before I did so I made the following remark, holding up the ball in my left hand (being a left-handed bowler), saying, ‘Now, Mr. Chart, from that wicket you shall soon depart' and I bowled him out first ball.

Then there were people running about all directions with grog, beer, and I don’t know what. They took me and carried me about on their shoulders. This much for the game. In the evening, when we prepared to leave Horsham in our trap for Cuckfield, some fellow had taken out all the linchpins of the wheels. We bid all good night and started. However, one young man who knew of the circumstance called out, and we stopped, and all was made right, and we arrived home safe.”



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