Over the hundred years of its existence the County Ground, Hove has attracted numerous many famous deeds. It is one of the most commodious and distinguished homes of cricket outside the inner circle of Test match grounds. Brighton and Hove have had a good many cricket grounds, most of which have fallen prey to the developers. One of the most celebrated was situated in the northern outskirts of Brighton and was known as Ireland’s Gardens.
I have always had a soft spot for Sussex ever since I was at preparatory school Temple Grove in Eastbourne. From time to time – so long as we had not been caught smoking behind the fives courts or putting a stink bomb under the music mistresses’ cushion – we were taken to watch the cricket at the Saffrons. It was there that I saw my first 1st class match – H.D.G. Levenson-Gowers XI v One of the Universities. The names of the players whom I saw then still have a nostalgic ring – J.C.W. MacBryan, R.C. Robertson-Glasgow, C.D. Mciver; A.P.F. Chapman, the Ashton Brothers, The Gilligans, J.L. Bryan and so on.
When I first watched Sussex play at the County Ground, Hove, in 1925, the scene was very different from that which meets the eye today . The Members’ stand was about a third of the present building and the wooden structure, known affectionately as the ‘hen-run’ or ‘chicken coop’, which now stands on the eastern side of the ground, was all that constituted the Ladies’ Pavilion. Hard seats were the order of the day: the deck chairs area a comparatively recent innovation.