Batting For The Best!
By Hugh Warmisham
Burgess Hill Cricket Club plays at the picturesque St John’s Park in the centre of Burgess Hill, and the earliest date that we can identify playing there is 1881 when it was known as Burgess Hill and St John’s Cricket Club. In April 1912 the Burgess Hill Working Men’s Club amalgamated with Burgess Hill.
Over the years we have been lucky enough to have some famous players grace our ground, including, Mr C. Aubrey Smith, Mr W.I. Murdock the Australian Test Cricketer, Mr Vallance Jupp and Brian Valentine. During the 60s & 70s the club played friendlies, as there wasn’t any league cricket at that time, until they joined the Sussex Invitation League in 1979. In 2008 the club joined the Sussex Premier Cricket League and have been members since that time. Unfortunately most of the club’s history and archive records were lost in the fire in early 1993, which destroyed the old pavilion.
In recent years Burgess Hill Cricket Club has gone from strength to strength both on and off the field, extending the range of cricket activities available to the Burgess Hill Community. Our England & Wales Cricket Board (ECB) Clubmark accreditation has been renewed for a further 3 years, ensuring a safe and professional environment for every youngster, with all of them coached by fully qualified ECB coaches. This year, with the introduction of a new girls section, together with the coaching taster sessions run in Burgess Hill primary schools, the club expects the numbers in its Junior Academy, who practice every Friday evening from 4.30pm in St John’s Park, to exceed 150. Having been appointed by Sussex CCC as the club responsible for the Mid Sussex Disability cricket coaching hub, we aim to build upon the initial success of this initiative. Every year we introduce more youngsters to the joys of playing cricket and welcome boys and girls of all abilities from ages 7 upwards.
With the 1st XI team pushing hard for promotion to the second highest level of the Sussex County League pyramid, the club has invested in its facilities at St John’s Park. We have received approval to replace the practice nets with a modern state-of-the-art facility this spring (see picture on left). Together with a new bowling machine these will help improve playing standards and be an important coaching aid for our Junior Academy. With the recent additions of a remote controlled electronic scoreboard, new sightscreens, square covers, roller and mower, the club hopes these investments will pave the way for further success on the field at all levels.
As mentioned, we provide disability cricket coaching and support for the County Disability hub. The idea behind the hub is to provide a safe environment where children with both physical and learning disabilities are given the opportunity to take part in cricket when they may not otherwise get the chance to do so. The sessions are run by coaches with experience in disability coaching and are tailored to meet the exact individual needs of each participant. Sussex is establishing a player pathway and we are very excited to be a part of this at club level. We have junior members of the club who assist at these sessions and gain a valuable insight into working in a cricketing environment.
One of the players is part of the County Junior Disability Squad and we hope to be a part of many other cricketing success stories for those who attend the hub sessions. The successes of the national disability squads in recent years goes to show that disabled participation in sport is on the rise and we hope to be able to continue to increase participation in Burgess Hill.
This year we are taking our first steps towards creating a sustainable, successful girls section. With coaching links to all of Burgess Hill’s primary schools we are running training sessions on Friday evenings between 4.15pm and 5.45pm in St John’s Park specifically tailored for Under 11 girls of all abilities. We have entered the SWCA U11 girl’s league and the Lady Taverners U11 girl’s tournament to give the girls experience playing teams from around the county. The training sessions will be supported by county age group representatives who will assist the girls with learning skills and developing their talents.
We aim to build our girls section, cementing our coaching links with secondary schools in the area to develop an Under 13 team and create a Women’s team. We have a very enthusiastic coaching team on board with many years’ experience in working with successful girls teams at school and club level. As ever Burgess Hill Cricket Club will provide a safe, welcoming environment where girls of all abilities can take part and enjoy cricket with the support and encouragement from all at the club.
However, we cannot do all this without the support of our sponsors and we are always looking to raise more funds to support these activities. There are a range of sponsorship and advertising opportunities available for local businesses, and the message to all is come and bat some balls!
Burgess Hill Cricket Club
For information about sponsorship and playing senior
or junior cricket at Burgess Hill Cricket Club visit
www.burgesshillcc.co.uk or call us on 07860 909237.