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Field of Dreams/Patrick Ferreday and James Mettyear

This history of 150  years at the Hove County Ground is very much a labour of love by two genuine Sussex CCC supporters .

The first part covers the history of the ground which is inextricably bound with the fortunes of Sussex and the second part some of the characters that moulded it.

Sussex over time has produced some wonderful cricketers (the three Indian princes, Fry, Maurice Tate, the Reverend David Sheppard, Ted Dexter, Jim Parks, the Langridges, Tony Greig,  Mushtaq Ahmed and Murray Goodwin) but did not win the Championship till 2003.

Paradoxically – even when they were successful in the early 1930s – membership actually declined.

It is as if spectators prefer a days’s cricket by the sea to trophies.

The various committees of governance did not come over well.

Maurice Tate, Jim Parks, Alan Wells, Kenny Suttle all left unhappily and with the feeling they had been treated mean spiritedly.

In the 1990s the whole committee was thrown out as Robin Marler led a putsch.

CEO Tony Pigott and Dave Gilbert proved financially profligate and losses increased

Mind you, as long ago as the 1940s county cricket finances looked dire so it was all the more remarkable that Sussex hung onto their ground – a prime piece of real estate in the centre of Hove.

The second part of the tome covered Sussex people, some of whom I know quite well.

I especially enjoyed the bio pic of Brenda Lower next to whom I once sat.

She is the proud custodian of the box of spare balls, never misses a game – including of the women’s team – and will chat to everyone and everybody.

Hove is only one of Sussex grounds as they play at Arundel – arguably the most picturesque ground  in the land – and at Eastbourne and have played at Hastings and Horsham in the past.

Hove is now entering a third phase of rebuilding with the Cricketers Pub by the main entrance in Eaton Road knocked down to be replaced by flats  and new conference facilities.

It will never have the capacity of a Test ground but is much loved by supporter and visitor alike.

This book does it justice.

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About Ivan Conway

Ivan Conway will be reporting on Sussex sport. He is a member of the 1901 club at Brighton HAFC, Sussex County Cricket Club and an enthusiastic horse race goer. After selling his freight forwarding and conference business he settled in Hove. His other interests are bird watching, brass rubbing and bridge. More Posts