Some 2020 Sussex Cricket Anniversaries

Dismissed for 19

One hundred and ninety years ago, in July 1830, Sussex were dismissed by Surrey at Godalming, for 19, the club’s lowest-ever innings total. Surrey won by 197 runs. A fortnight later, the counties played a return game, drawn because of rain, at Midhurst; this was the first and last first-class match there. These were the only inter-county matches of the season and Surrey were thus declared by the Press to be the ‘champion’ county. 

Billy Newham

One hundred and sixty years ago, in 1860, Billy Newham was born at Shrewsbury. He came to Sussex to attend Ardingly College, where he later taught. He served the Sussex club in various capacities, including player, captain, secretary and coach, from 1881 until 1944, sixty-four seasons in all.

Billy Newham

A game at the ‘Dripping Pan’

Also in August 1860, Sussex played their second and last first-class match at the Dripping Pan, Lewes, against MCC. The visitors won in two days, by 132 runs.

Last in the Championship

One hundred and thirty years ago, in 1890, Sussex finished last in the first-ever ‘official’ County Championship. Among other things the county lost nine consecutive matches by an innings. Amidst the mayhem, two interesting items. Harry Butt, from Hastings, made his first appearances behind the stumps for the county; over twenty-two seasons he made a record 1,168 dismissals for Sussex. Tom Shoubridge, from Horsham, played two unsuccessful games in mid-season. In 1893, aged 24, he umpired a Lancashire match at Liverpool in an emergency: he remains the youngest ever to ‘stand’ in a Championship game.

Maurice Tate

One hundred and twenty-five years ago, in 1895, Maurice Tate was born in Warleigh Road, Brighton . . . a day after his parents married!

Maurice Tate

Gilligan’s first match

A hundred years ago, in July 1920, Arthur Gilligan played his first matches for Sussex at the end of his time at Cambridge University. He went on to captain the county for eight seasons, from 1922 to 1929 and to chair the county committee from 1963 to 1971. He was variously a director of a canned-goods brokerage, a cricket writer for the News Chronicle and other newspapers, a radio commentator and the author of a Sussex cricket history. Gilligan’s start for Sussex enabled the county to field a side against Northamptonshire at Hastings, who had all scored first-class centuries, a world first.

AHH Gilligan

Joe Vine’s career best score

In August, 1920, whilst playing for Sussex v Northamptonshire, in Ranji’s last match for Sussex, Joe Vine, no longer under instructions to bat safely, scored his first and only double-century for the county.

Ranji’s last game

Finally, in August 1920, also a hundred years ago, Ranjitsinhji, now 47 and with only one eye, played his last first-class matches for Sussex, scoring 39 runs in four innings. He had been Sussex captain in 1900, so had been the first Asian player to captain a county, and in that season had scored five double centuries for Sussex. 

Joe Vine at Hastings, August 14, 1920

By David Jeater, January 2020