THE HISTORY OF EAST GRINSTEAD - Online Book

The rise and progress of the town and the history of its institutions & people.

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PUBLIC INSTITUTIONS AND IMPROVEMENTS. 247
their fathers before them. Arrangements may have been primitive, fixtures few, grounds rough and the pavilion a luxury non-existent and undreamt of, but though doubtless in cricket, even beyond other sports, the laudator temporis acti is a person to be seriously reckoned with, yet we may none the less accept the established fact that our local champions did inspire terror among the surrounding tribes, at least 70 and 80 years ago. Precise authentic records of these prehistoric battles seem difficult now to collect and classify, but amongst other slight references to old local cricket we have distinct notice of an important match played in the town in 1835; the venue at that date being probably either the present Play Field (fronting the Council Schools) or the field on East Grinstead Common, now the Lingfield Road Recreation Ground, for both seem to have been used in old days, though soon after 1840, if not before, the Chequer Mead, behind the Crown Inn, was also in use, and was probably the scene of a grand match on July 21st, 1845, when a team came up by coach from Lewes to try conclusions with an East Grinstead eleven. Be this as it may, and doubtless as an outcome of the cricket spirit already prevailing in the town, the East Grinstead Cricket Club as it now exists was founded in 1857, the then Vicar (the Rev. J. N. Harward, M.A.), with his sons and various members of the Hastie, Head, Pearless and Stenning families, being prominent among its original supporters, and the Chequer Mead came into regular use as the head quarters of the newly-founded club. There, on September 20th, 1864, eighteen of East Grinstead and District defied and played the County eleven, sustain­ing, however, a signal defeat, and about seven years later a similar match was played with a not dissimilar result.
From the Chequer Mead the club migrated back again, about 1878, to the field on the Common, but this ground was inconveniently placed and never enjoyed the same popularity as the Chequer Mead; besides which troubles arose owing to public footpaths crossing the field
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