Club History

Worthing Cricket Club was formed in 1855 in the Steyne Hotel (now called the Chatsworth Hotel) near Worthing seafront. The club has played at the Manor Sports Ground (a Sussex CCC out-ground until 1964) from 1938 and was one of the founding members of the Sussex Cricket League in 1969.

In modern times the club has been represented by three test match cricketers, Imran Khan, Paul Jarvis and most recently, Mason Crane who began his playing career at Worthing CC. Other club members have played first class cricket, including Martin Speight and Dominic Clapp.

In recent years Worthing Cricket Club has become a major force in Sussex junior cricket, winning back-to-back U16 Sussex Junior Cricket Festivals in 2011 and 2012, and the Sussex U18s Championship in 2014.

For a full history please visit the club’s Wikipedia page: Click here

Sussex CCC at the Manor Ground in the 1960s

(Transcript of a Club Newsletter written circa 1971)

As with so many of the older clubs in the country, the early official records of Worthing Cricket Club seem to be almost non-existent, so that its history of those days can be traced only from reports some of the older newspapers, from museums, from recorded histories of other clubs, and from a most valuable personal letter in the handwriting of Mr F. Wickham-Collet dated the 3rd December 1949 and addressed to the late Mr J.A.P. Bartlett, who was captain of the club over eleven of the post-war years and to whom the club is indebted for having initiated the first researches into its history.

For many years now, Worthing Cricket Club has shown its year of foundation as 1882, and with what ought surely to be admissible as solid evidence, viz., actual fixture cards from 1898 to 1901 showing the respective seasons as the 16th, 17th, 18th and 19th. However, the first element of doubt to be cast on the point is another fixture card, of 1896 and indicating the 14th season, but with the name of the club shown as Worthing Park Cricket Club. The inference would seem to be that there existed in 1882, a Broadwater and Worthing Cricket Club which, in 1895 or 1896 divided into separate clubs,viz., the Broadwater Club and the Worthing Park Cricket Club. The letter, according to the fixture cards, appeared to have shortened its name to Worthing Cricket Club in 1897, and as the fixture cards of the following two years show the club ground as “The People’s Park”, it seems reasonable to assume that it was a venue which gave rise to the name Worthing Park Cricket Club.

Althought the foregoing brief details have been accepted for many years as the authentic origins of the club, more recent research seems to indicate much earlier beginnings. For example, a correspondent (one H.E. Snewin) for the Worthing Gazette in the issue of 8th June 1892 calls the newspaper’s paragraphist over the coals for having suggested, in the previous week’s issue, the “the Broadwater & Worthing Cricket Club was but 25 years old” (this would take it back to 1867). Mr Snewin then proceeds to recount how “there were originally two clubs, the Broadwater and the Worthing”, and to set out the scores of a few matches, including a full scorecard of a match between Worthing and Steyning clubs in 1854. He adds that in 1855, the Worthing Cricket Club, “had the Marquis of Anglesey for patron, Captain Parry, President and the Revd. F.A. Piggott for Treasurer and our ex-Mayor Mr. Alfred Cortie for Secretary. The opening match wa on Broadwater Green”.

In the issue of the same paper of 14th May 1885, there appeared a report on the Dinner of the Broadwater and Worthing Cricket Club held at the Maltster Hotel, Broadwater on 6th May, at which the Chairman, Mr A.H. Collet, the Vice President mentioned that he (and his friend George Paine) that night commenced their 30th season with the club, and that as those were by no means the first matches, it was clear that the club had existed for a longer period than 30 years (i.e. pre-1855). He added that another club had thrown in its lot with them. Therefore, as we have evidence from Mr Snewin of the existence of a Worthing Cricket Club in 1855, together with his comment “there were originally two clubs, the Broadwater and the Worthing”, and evidence from Mr Collet of the existence of the Broadwater and Worthing Club in 1855 together with his comment that “another club had thrown in their lot with them”, the pattern seems to emerge that some time around 1855, the two clubs merged, only to separate again in about 1895 or 1896.

Further evidence that Worthing Cricket Club exited even before the3se times appears in a most delightful publication, The History of Henfield Cricket Club, which reproduces two press reports of a match between Worthing Cricket Club and Henfield Cricket Club at the Crescent Ground in 1840. To this day, there is a Park Crescent in Worthing, close to Victoria Park. Could it therefore be that Worthing’s home ground then was Victoria Park? This match with Henfield was evidently not played in the best traditions of the game, as the publication quotes the following report:

Henfield v Worthing

July 27th, 1840

A match was played in the Crescent Ground on Monday last between 11 Gentlemen of Worthing and 11 Gentlemen of Henfield Club, but though the match was not concluded, the game was decidedly in favour of Worthing as the score will show, viz:

Henfield: 1st innings 121             2nd innings 21 with 5 wickets down

Worthing: 1st innings 119

At the conclusion, the Worthing 11 adjourned to the White Hart Inn, expecting as a matter of course to meet their opponents but these being a rumour says so chagrined at being so unexpectedly and tightly wound up by the Worthing players, repaired to the Spaniard Inn, much to the disappointment of the Worthingers and to the loss of the landlord of the White Hart who had as on all former occasions provided suitably in expectation of a visit from the whole party.

A report in another newspaper of the time corroborates the story, and ends with the apt comment: “No discord, we trust, will occur again.”

When therefore was Worthing Cricket Club born and when should it celebrate its centenary? Or has it missed it? But let us return to more recent times.

In relation to these very early days, the period of the re-division of the Broadwater and Worthing Cricket Club into the Broadwater Club and the Worthing Club in 1895 or 1896 seems comparatively modern history, and it’s fortunate that the letter of 3rd December 1949 of Mr F. Wickham-Collet (whose brother “Bertie”, Mr H.N. Collet became Secretary in 1898) is still in the club’s possession.From this letter we learn that up to 1894 Broadwater and Worthing Cricket Club played on Broadwater Green, and that the club consisted mainly of “gentry” like Arthur F. Somerset of Castle Goring, Julian Gaisford of Offington Hall and schoolmasters from the numerous preparatory schools in the district. However, in 1893 there occurred in Worthing a disastrous typhoid epidemic, which caused many of the preparatory schools to leave the district with the result that the old Broadwater and Worthing Cricket Club found itself with an acute shortage of players. The club struggled through 1894 and then wound up.

A manuscript of another old member of the time (whose identity is now lost) tells us that the old Broadwater and Worthing Cricket Club became two distinct entities and that the Worthing section formed themselves into the “Homefield Park Cricket Club” with Alderman Frank Parish (Mayor in 1898) as Captain. The writer’s memory appears to be slightly at fault as the fixture card of 1898 bears the name “Worthing Park Cricket Club” though with Dr. Parish as captain. But, desirous of a private and better ground the new captain, in association with two other prominent townsmen , Mr Robert Charles and Mr N.H. Collet, secured the Worthing Sports Ground for the newly designated Worthing Cricket Club, on the site that is still the home of Worthing Football Club (Woodside Road). This ground was opened in 1901, and Worthing Cricket Club played there until 1921. Owing to a disagreement over the terms for the 1922 season, the club resolved that fixtures should be cancelled for the season 1922, although this became unnecessary, as, through the generosity of the Lancing College authorities, the club was permitted to play its home fixtures on the College ground during the summer vacation. Such scanty records are available seem to suggest that the club was in abeyance  in the years 1925 and 1926, but in 1927, it moved to its present home, the Manor Sports Ground, which was formerly part of the grounds of Broadwater Manor House and was taken over by Worthing Corporation as a sports ground.

The “new” Worthing Cricket Club (1896-1897) gained its early inspiration from the great figure in English cricket, Arthur F. Somerset, who had been captain of the old Broadwater and Worthing Cricket Club and was to become President of the new club. He it was who captained the first M.C.C. side to tour the West Indies, with his son Cecil, who played for Sussex, he was a prolific scorer for Worthing.

Worthing Cricket Club has always enjoyed a close connection with the County Club, for which it has provided many players. These include.K. Mathews and his son K.P.A. (Pat) Mathews, both of whom were Cambridge “Blues”, Vic Humphreys, Charles Lockitt and Norman Mercer, of whom the last two have been County 2nd XI captains, and the professionals, Jack Eaton, John Duffield, Don Smith and Derek Semmence. H.S. Mather (Essex), G.B. Atkinson (Middlesex) and M.D. Neligan (Royal Navy) are other prominent players who have worn the Worthing club colours of dark blue and gold, adopted in 1931.

Latterly, our county connections have been widened by players such as Bob Gardner (Leicestershire) and Terry Gunn (Sussex) joining us. We also have strong representation in Conference sides for which Ken Cracknell, John Smith and Keith Cannon have all been selected, and on one occasion Ken Cracknell was appointed Captain of the side. Several of our Colts have also played in Representative games.

Worthing Cricket Club First XI Captains
2017 to PresentM.SWIFT
2015 to 2016J. GLOVER
2011 to 2012M. GOULD
2008 to 2010D. CLAPP
2006 to 2007D. ROGERS
2004J. KAYE
2000 to 2002J. KAYE
1998 to 1999A. LUTWYCHE
1995 to 1997T.E. DUNN
1989 to 1992T.E. DUNN
1988R. JAMES
1986 to 1987M.N.J. ROSE
1983 to 1985R.A. MILLER
1978 to 1980D.J. TURNER
1976 to 1977T.L. BURSTOW
1973T. GUNN
1969 to 1971D.J. DUFFIELD
1965 to 1968M.R. HUTCHINSON
1960 to 1964D.G. GREENFIELD
1952 to 1959J.A.P. BARTLETT
1948 to 1950J.A.P. BARTLETT
1946 to 1947H.S. MATHER
1940 to 1945 Second World War
1927 to 1940J.K. MATHEWS
1925 to 1926 Club in Abeyance
1919 to 1923J.K. MATHEWS
1914 to 1918 First World War
1912 to 1914J.K. MATHEWS
1902 to 1910 No Record
1900 to 1901J.G. GAISFORD J.P.
1896 to 1899DR. PARISH
1894 to 1895A.F. SOMERSET J.P.