A brief history of the club
The Club was formed in 1946 and was called Burgess Hill Hockey Club. It consisted of a men's team and a ladies team and played at Worlds End recreation ground. Sometime in the early 1950s the men departed to Adastra Park Hassocks with the ladies continuing at Worlds End.
During the late 50's the club became known as Keymer Hockey Club and it played at Adastra Recreation Ground in Hassocks. Changing rooms and teas were at The Weald Tennis Club and there were 2 teams, a 1st XI and a 2nd XI. All games were friendlies, though there was a-six-side tournament at Worthing HC in early October.
In 1968 the Keymer HC moved to Hickmans Lane Lindfied, and started to expand beyond the 2 teams and using pitches at Hickmans Lane, Whitemans Green and Ardingly College.
The Early 70’s by Tony Chaitow
I joined Mid Sussex in September 1971 – where have the last 40 years gone! Life was so different in those days:
Grass was the only playing surface. Certain pitches (mainly on Cricket outfields) were like Billiard Tables, notably Priory Park Chichester, Saffons Eastbourne, Manor Ground Worthing and Preston Park Brighton – others were indescribable – standing on the ball in soft conditions brought play to a halt whilst the ball was prised from the mud.
We played on the two pitches at Hickmans Lane – not the worst but certainly far from perfect.
All games were “Friendlies” or at least described as such!
We as a Club were on a par with the best in the County. In those days our regular 1st. team games included Chichester 1, Eastbourne 1, Lewes 1 and East Grinstead 1.
The Hockey Day was very different. We needed to arrive an hour before the match, not for pre-game activities and practice, but to open up the Pavilion, get out of the Store the various bits of the Goal, Nets etc. lug them 100 yards and erect them, an art in its self. Oranges had to be provided at half time and a check that Teas (by the allotted team member) had arrived. After the match the reverse (no warming down) take down the Posts, lug them again to the Store, pack them away, lay out Teas and in due course the washing up. No wonder Away matches were much preferred!
Mid Sussex had four Men’s Teams in September 1971. By November a 5th. Team had been formed to accommodate me and other newcomers – I was promptly (being the oldest) made Captain. All our games were away (as four teams filled Hickmans Lane) and the highlight of the season for us was a 14 – 1 thrashing of Lewes 5ths. (John Stubbs scored eight and I believe I managed my first hat trick for the Club.)
Start times were fixed, all at 2.45, in November, December and January this became 2.30. Nearly all Fixtures were in Blocks; our four sides would play four sides of another Club. Two home and two away – hence the 1’s and 3’s were at home together or away together (the 2’s and 4’s similarly) which helped engender competition between the sides and certainly engendered a Club spirit. We played every Saturday from September to April – if Christmas Day/Boxing day fell on a Saturday there was a void (Boxing Day was historically a match against the Weald Tennis Club) and New Year’s Day if a Saturday was a regular fixture.
Clive Chapman was the 1st. Team captain. Clive also ran weekly training at Oathall School – I went a few times but ended up so shattered I decided to save any energy I had for Saturdays! – He also organised monthly Pools meetings. The Club operated then entirely on the Pools system. We used to meet once a month to discuss these with promotions/demotions decided upon. These were very formal discussions that lasted for hours at Clive’s house. Nigel Lindrea was Vice Captain and other 1st. team players I remember were Sid Harper (who was still playing for St. Francis at 67) Peter Feltham, Andrew Winskill, Dai Miles, Dick Porter, Ken Parker(the best Centre Forward I have ever seen) with Roy Coe the Keeper.
The 2nd. Captain was Richard Carr (who subsequently moved to play for Worthing), 3rds Tom Russell and Paul Harding was the 4’s Captain.
Roy Guerney became Fixture Secretary a year later.
Being Fixture Secretary in those days was not easy; everything had to done by Landline Telephone or the Post. As there were no Leagues, Fixtures were basically arranged at Fixture Evenings attended by all Fixture Secretary’s where one sought to arrange games for the whole season by mutual agreement. I remember going to help Roy at one in Brighton – a very chaotic evening!
It was not therefore surprising if mix ups occurred. Geoff Kent can tell you of the trip the Third Team made to Hayling Island to play Havant only to find Havant were playing someone else – the amusing thing was that Roy (the 3’s Goalkeeper) and Fixture Secretary made the trip as well! – It took a long time for him to live it down. Another Saturday and our five teams were playing five Reigate teams – somehow our 1’s were in Reigate, Reigate 1’s were in Lindfield, our 2’s were in Lindfield, Reigate 2’s were in Reigate with a similar mix up all the way down – we all got games but not against the intended sides.
Other memories. Our pitch Inspector was John Musson (Giles and James’s Father), living opposite the pitch. If my team was at Home I had to clear playing when wet with John. I felt a pitch was playable come what may (rain, snow or ice were no obstacles). Heavy rain had paused for half an hour, I ring John, John it stopped rain half an hour ago the pitch must be OK now. John – Tony you have got to believe it, the Seagulls are not just sitting on the Pitch, they are swimming on it! John, correctly, was very protective of the pitches and my charm got nowhere with him.
The club expands
The Ladies section of the club was formed in 2000 and has slowly expanded to 2 teams plus a girls development team. Alongside the girls development team a boys development team was also created playing in the boys development league.