The History of Horley Cricket Club
The history of our club goes back over two centuries. Records reveal that cricket was played in Horley as far back as the late 18th century but the game was very different then, as it was played on a single wicket, and with no crease marked out you could only be out if bowled, caught or run out. The method of scoring was by cutting notches in a stick! The original name of the club was Shab Green it playing games on land adjacent to the Chequers Hotel. There was another club in Horley at that time known as the Clutterpouches who had their headquarters at the Station Inn which was quite appropriate as the majority of their team was comprised of railwaymen. In time both these clubs died and from the ashes was formed the Horley Star club who had their ground adjacent to the Kings Head Hotel. It was not long however before leading residents decided to form a team in opposition and this is when the Horley Club was created it moving to its current ground in 1879. Soon after, Horley Stars folded with many of its players switching allegiance. Initially the ground was given to the club through leases on a peppercorn rent, but its long term future was always in doubt all the while it was beholding to benevolent business men. Equally it could not develop properly, an example being that the original benefactor insisted that a line of Oaks remained in the ground which meant that a local rule was adopted whereby you could be out if the fielder caught the ball out of the tree! As to be expected over the years the land was sold on a number of occasions but fortunately the new Landlords always were sympathetic offering peppercorn rental agreements. Eventually the ground was purchased by a Mr G H S Parsons who became the Club President and in conjunction with Mr J H Hunt and Mr W V Wickens they steered it through the difficult years of World War Two. 1951 was an important landmark as Mr Parsons generously presented the ground to the Club’s Trustees for the benefit of cricket and this allowed the club to develop. It is hard to believe but in 1949 the turnover of the club was just £303. The facilities at that time were fairly basic but despite that fact the club nevertheless hosted a number of benevolent matches with some teams fielding international players. In 1964 the club was approached by some of its players to see if they could form a hockey section, and in 1965 the first game was played at the Horley Row ground. For many years the Hockey Club played all its home games at the ground but following the advent of League Hockey the need for an astro turf pitch has caused the club to hire pitches away from Horley Row as astro turf and cricket are not very compatible! As a result of this expansion the old Pavilion was no longer fit for purpose and on the 26thSeptember 1969 the current pavilion was built and opened under the stewardship of Bob Bunkell (President), the then local fishmonger. Then in 1978 a joint venture was entered into with the Horley Squash Club resulting in this club moving to the Horley Row in 1980 when two new courts were opened on land that was adjacent to the main ground. At that time the sport was very popular with over 300 members. Over the ensuing years the club as a whole grew, and in 2006 after much internal debate the decision was made to extend the Pavilion to allow more flexibility. Over the years all the sports played have enjoyed mixed fortunes but now the club is going back to its roots and is intent on developing its junior sections, blooding young players into the senior teams to give them much needed experience for the challenges ahead. If you want to play a role in its future please come down and visit us as you will always be assured of a friendly welcome.