Tom Box

Tom Box played much of his cricket before the advent of the county side in 1839. He made his debut in 1826, the first new player for five years, and played for 31 years and did not miss a match in 24 of these years. Tom was the first of a succession of fine and long serving Sussex wicket  keepers. Unlike the modern wicket keeper he was not expected to contribute too much to the batting total. His batting average was 13.22 with 2,671 runs scored in 2,229 innings. He was known to come on and bowl and he had a career best of 5-45 against England at Hove in 1849.

Tom Box standing up to the stumps

Tom was a cabinet maker but much of his life was linked to cricket. He ran the Hanover Arms, at Ireland’s Gardens, and then the Egremont Hotel in Western Rd, Brighton before finally the Brunswick Hotel adjacent to the Brunswick ground on Hove seafront until he handed it over to the County Cricket Club in 1863. At this point of his life he decided to leave Brighton and move to London where he took  over the running of the King’s Head, in Bear St, near Leicester Square, which he opened as a meeting place for cricketers.

As a wicket keeper he tended to stand up to the fast bowling of Lillywhite and Broadbridge without any pads or gloves. Like others of his generation, he concentrated on balls aimed at the off stump and so his right foot was well outside the off stump.