Welcome from our new Curator Keith Ridge

My early interest in Sussex Cricket

As an eight-year-old, I was first taken to the County Ground in Hove as part of a summer outing from Prestonville Prep School to watch a day of Championship cricket. We were able to sit on the grass inside the boundary in the southwest corner. This visit sparked my interest in Sussex cricket. The following year, my father obtained tickets for the Gillette Cup Final at Lord’s when Sussex beat Warwickshire to retain the trophy which they had won the previous year. Since those early days, I have continued to support Sussex through good and bad years.

Keith Ridge

Glorious years

Certain memorable matches come to mind. This includes the 1993 Nat West Bank Trophy versus Warwickshire at Lords. The fifty third one day final was widely regarded as the greatest ever played at that time. Although Sussex lost the game on the last ball, their total of 321-6 was at that time the highest score in a Cup Final. More glory was to follow in the double winning year of 2006. I was fortunate enough to be at Lords to see Sussex hold their nerve to edge out Lancashire, in a tense, low scoring game. As Wisden reported, ‘it was full of intrigue, plot and suspense’. The game between the old one-day rivals of the past also marked the end of the C&G Trophy. Later that summer, I was present at Trent Bridge on the final day to see Sussex beat Nottinghamshire to become County Champions just three years after their first championship. The following year when Sussex retained the Championship title, we sat totally bemused after the game had finished in Hove as we watched the scoreboard relay the score from the Oval as Lancashire valiantly tried to beat Surrey to take the title. The excruciating five hour wait only ended when Surrey won by 24 runs just after 6pm.

The history of Sussex County Cricket Club and indeed Cricket in Sussex goes back much further than my recent memories. Sussex Cricket Museum together with its volunteers and supporters play such an important role in remembering not only the recent highlights but constantly going back through the years to highlight historical information and make this available to a wider audience through exhibitions and the production of written material.

Involvement with the Museum

I first became involved with the Museum in 2019 and was immediately impressed with all the different and various tasks undertaken by volunteers in the winter season. I was also a little overwhelmed by the amount of work required in order to run the museum efficiently and to get it ready each winter for the forthcoming season. I soon found myself working with other volunteers to catalogue as many of the pictures as we could before COVID struck in March 2020 bringing all the work to a halt for the best part of eighteen months. The museum receives a number of donations throughout the year. Each donation needs to be logged and checked against similar items that may already be in the collection. Any items considered to be surplus to requirements can be sold to provide much needed funds to keep the museum running. Some of the volunteers specialize in researching material for future publications which can then be sold for a profit all of which goes back to help finance the museum.

Looking to the future we need to look at how we make the museum more interactive and increasing its appeal to a younger audience who we hope will become the volunteers of tomorrow.