Cricket was being played on Storrington’s Common, to the west of the Village, during the last decade of the seventeen hundreds. Such was the strength of Storrington’s early cricketers that they achieved a famous 19 run victory in 1800 over a Sussex team that included five players from Hampshire. One of England’s most prominent cricketers then was John Hammond who,born in Pulborough, had moved to Storrington in 1800 when he bought The Old Forge property in Church Street. Not only did Hammond play for Storrington, he also played in Sussex and England sides and took part in the very first Gentlemen v Players match at Lord’s in 1806.
Hammond family cricketers gave long and valued service to the Storrington Club during the eighteen hundreds. One Ernest Hammond was the landlord of the White Horse Inn when two teams of fifteen Storringtonians played a game of cricket on the frozen Chantry Mill pond in January 1891. Top hats and skates were worn; and E Hammond’s XV beat H Crowhurst’s XV by 9 runs. The game was reported extensively in London’s Sporting Life magazine. This was not the first game on ice for Storrington cricketers as one had been played in January 1867.
In 1819 Storrington played, unusually, a double innings game spread over three days against the Brighton Club. Other Clubs playing Storrington in this early period included Arundel, Broadwater, Midhurst, Petworth, Henfield, (West) Chiltington, and West Grinstead. Other Clubs such as Horsham, Steyning and Worthing also became regular fixtures in the second half of the century.
The Club is fortunate to own three score books, the earliest of which records many of the matches played between 1858 and 1865. The two other, incomplete, books record matches in 1882 and 1887.
Another unusual form of match was played in 1861(and repeated in 1883), when the Club’s Married members played the Single members. And, then in 1868, the Club held its own version of the Gentlemen v Players format. In the following season, an unusually high score of 325 runs was amassed against Midhurst. In 1878 the Club went on tour to the Isle of Wight where a 3 wickets victory was achieved over the Sandown Club. The village band turned out to greet the returning cricketers. For a short period, Storrington played against the estate workers of Knepp Castle, home of the Burrell family. It was Sir Peter Burrell who had helped to form the MCC in 1787.
One of the Club’s notables in the 20th Century was Hugh de Selincourt, a journalist and book reviewer on the radio, who not only captained the Club in the 1920’s but also found fame as the author of stories about a fictional village cricket team called Tillingford whose characters were based on Storrington players. Another notable was Arthur Gilligan, a former Sussex and England captain, and eventual President of the MCC, who was Storrington Cricket Club’s President from 1954 until his death in 1976.
It was in the late fifties that the Club’s current emblem of a white swan was adopted, having been designed by Ron Carter (1924 – 2014) whose family was another that has featured prominently in the Club’s long history.
The Club was a founder member of the Sussex Invitation League, and the 1st XI became its first champions in 1979. The League’s first hundred came from a Storrington bat – wielded by Trevor Willmott – and another hundred soon followed from the bat of John Carter, one of Ron’s three cricketing sons. In 1980, Doug James achieved another Club milestone when taking all ten wickets in a single innings in a match against Southwick.
Today, in the 21st Century, the Club continues to play League cricket on Saturdays and “friendlies” on Sundays. And, tours to Somerset, Holland and Belgium have been undertaken. There are not many cricket clubs in the country that have existed in four centuries. Storrington Cricket Club is proud to be one of them.