Stalwarts of Mid Sussex Bar Billiards: (L to R: Cuckfield's Tim Peacock; Burgess Hill's Adrian Swift; Lindfield's Phil Knape; Horsted Keynes' Chris Ellmers & Mick Roberts; the late Neville Edwards of the Windmill, Crawley..........and beneath, the late Tony Francis with the Zeds he coaxed back into playing; Steve King.)
* Now for some early Mid Sussex stuff (pre-1980) - which even predates me ! *
I have been sent these very early records of Mid Sussex by various people for display.............Feel free to send me anything you have of a similar ilk !
Graham Sparksman managed to prize this old booklet from the clutches of USC teammate Ron Wales for sufficient time to be able to scan it for our records. It is of a League Fixtures booklet from 1971-72:
Front and back cover; Officers of the League & Teams in 3 Divisions
Locations of the Venues (those were real phone numbers eh!);
Page one of the Fixture Matrix; Page two of the Fixture Matrix.)
The only names that mean anything to me are three-times Sussex Ladies Finalist Di Langridge (who also played in both the Crawley and later the Horsham Leagues. Her then-husband was Les, a regular Inter-League player, and former brother-in-law Rick still plays in the Horsham league.
Also Cyril O'Prey who was Chris Tupper's father-in-law and played for the Ugly Duckling, Jim Martin who I remember managed to get in a Singles Semi-Final when advancing in years, and J.Duncan, father of Peter and father-in-law of Jenny who both played - most recently around the year 2000 for the Bent Arms.
I've actually played at a good many of those venues and many bring back good memories. These are the only ones I never got to play at: Country Club, T/Hill; Gardeners, Ardingly; Oak, Ardingly; Red Lion, Chelwood Gate and the Royal George, B/Hill.
Some players of notoriety associated with the venues:
Crown, Newick - Trevor Rees
Cowdray, Balcombe - Roger Gardner, the Greensteds (later of the Balcombe Club)
Eight Bells - Peter and Lorraine (before the Reaper, Boball and Rolly were born !)
Gardeners Arms - Brian Grove, Dave Lovejoy, Norman Vidler
Green Man - Gerry Smith, Mick Roberts, Steve King (the other one !), Mick Abbot
Half Moon - some of the now-Watermill team, apparently ?
North Star - Dave Cragg, Trevor Howes
Pierpoint - Peter Burchell, Paul Goodwin
Red Lion, Chelwood Gate - Reg Beard, Steve King, Jimmy Wilson
Rose & Crown - Tony Franks, Di and Les Langridge, Eric Tysoe, Ron Tattersall
Royal Oak - Mark and Dave Spicer, Reg Beard, Nigel Tolhurst
St Francis - most of those who still play there now !
White Harte - Tim Peacock, Mike Bowring, Ron Wales
Wheatsheaf - Terry Gasson
Victory - Peter Wren, Ray Manser, Keith Newman, Jackie Spooner
Mens Interleague was played at the North Star, Ditchling, and I have a vague recollection of Trevor Howes playing in the team, though when I spoke to him he denied it !
Ladies Interleague, which included Sue Ixer, Marion Petitpierre and Jenny Duncan in the team, was played at the Pierpoint.
According to Ralph Tarratt's excellent publication "Knight of the Whistle", the Wheatsheaf was the very first venue in Sussex to have one of his bar billiards tables installed.
Talking of the Pierpoint, it was part of the Chinese Garden Complex - not there now any more of course, but holds some good memories for Peter Burchell, now of the Greyhound Keymer.
Peter has sent me a photo of some of his early trophies which I must say look nice and clean with not a speck of dust in evidence:
Left to right.....Div 1 Runners-up 1967/68; Div 1 Winners 1976/77; Knockout Cup Winners 1976/77; SCBBA Interleague Winners 1967/68.
At this stage, a small bit of Hurstpierpoint history would seem to be in order, courtesy of the Mid Sussex Times:
In 1929, the Chinese Garden Cinema opened in Western Road. This was attached to the Chinese Gardens Hotel and Pleasure Grounds founded by Adam Adams that opened on a 5½ acre site in 1843.
Families from all over the county flocked to them.
The Pierpoint public house survived until the mid 1990s, with films on show until the 40s, but like the rest of the complex it had no Chinese connection other than its Oriental name!
Finally, Peter has sent another gem which is Mid Sussex’s winning team of the 1967/68 SCBBA Interleague campaign – held at the Chinese Gardens, Hurstpierpoint…..
(L to R) Albert Laithwaite (Windmill); Tim Peacock (White Harte); Aggy Cragg (Eight Bells) – father of Norman; J.Banfield (Windmill); Tony Bowles (Eight Bells); Edwin Lindfield (Snowdrop); and Peter Burchell (Pierpoint).
The names in the lineup have been established thanks to information from three different sources - firstly Peter Burchell of course, then we had:
07 June 2010 - Wow - people read this site, as I have had a response from Shaun Morris, who writes:
"Ran into Tim Peacock in The Heath last night. Told him about the photo. He remembered it and has a copy himself. He asked for a pen and paper, and this is what he wrote. P. Burchell, T. Bowles, J. Banfield, E. Lindfield, Stevens(no initial), P. Cragg(known as Aggie), and Tim Peacock. If you arrange to meet him and buy him a big glass of rose, I would think that you could get a mountain of stuff from him. His memory is incredible.
Told me about a season when he won the first 21 games of the season. Lost the 22nd and last game. It was at home, he played fourth so he had the break. Even knew who beat him and what the opening breaks were! "
Finally, 07 Aug 2011 a note from W.Lovell of Hailsham, thus:
" Came across the Bygone Days page on your website and the photograph of Mid Sussex's winning team of the 1967/68 SCBBA Interleague campaign - held at the Chinese Gardens, Hurstpierpoint. I can name one person in the photograph. Second from the right is my wife's uncle, Edwin Lindfield. Ted is still alive and living in Hove with his wife Mary. He often played doubles with my wife's father, David Lindfield, probably for the Snowdrop."
Peter Burchell of the Greyhound has had a further rummage around, and very kindly provided a copy of the 1974/75 season's booklet:
Comparing the list of participating venues with those for 1971/72, we find we have lost:
Gardeners, Ardingly; Kings Head, Albourne; Plough, Plumpton Green; Red Lion, Chelwood Gate; Royal George, B/Hill, Sussex Hotel, H/H; and Snowdrop, Lindfield.
The League had, however expanded by one team in each division, thanks to some 'B' teams and the gain of the following:
Chequers, Maresfield; Kings Head, Cuckfield; Potters Arms, B/H; Red Lion, Lindfield, White Horse, Lindfield................and one I had never heard of before: the Stone Quarry, Chelwood Gate.
"Memories of the Stone Quarry, Chelwood Gate:
This was a great pub which unfortunately has now disappeared!
When I went camping in Ashdown Forest during the 1980's, this was my 'local'. The food was excellent and not forgetting to mention the KING & BARNES ales from the pumps. You always got a perfect pint. Many a time I staggered out of that pub ;-)
I was 'mortified' when I returned there in the early 1990's and found houses were standing where the pub once was. A criminal act in my opinion!" - John Mills (now living in the Canary Islands)
- Clive Thompson, May 2010.
The all-conquering Royal Oak team of 1979/80, left to right: (top) Colin Budgen, Alan Collins, Cyril O’Prey, Reg Beard; (bottom) Linda Tolhurst, Nigel Tolhurst, landlord Ted Budgen, captain Mark Spicer and Min Beard.
Mark Spicer writes thus:
This line-up only played together for one glorious season , with a clean sweep of titles only being prevented by the Chequers’ Audrey Wickens defeating Min Beard in the Ladies Singles final.
In Reg Beard, Nigel Tolhurst and Mark Spicer the Royal Oak had multiple Singles winners – Reg winning it five times in all.
As to what happened to the team members, C.Budgen, Collins and O’Prey became the Ugly Duckling, whilst Tolhurst, Spicer and Beard (along with Dave Spicer and Terry Smith) became the Kings Head D for one season – winning the League and Team Cup double.
Over the years, Reg Beard won Team and Individual titles with the Red Lion (Chelwood Gate), the Crown (Newick), the Royal Oak and the Kings Head, and Tolhurst similar with St Francis, the Royal Oak and Kings Head and Spicer with Royal Oak (whilst of tender years), Kings Head, Potters Arms and the Brewers B.
Tolhurst and Spicer won the Mens Doubles each time they entered (three times running) – a feat which Mark later repeated partnering Adrian Swift.
One match in the 1979/80 season particularly sticks in the memory, with White Harte’s Tim Peacock’s 10,500 score the fourth highest on the card behind three Royal Oak players !
The luminaries of the Mid Sussex League – directly involved in the running of the league from 1995 – onwards... (years of committee involvement are shown in brackets).
Adrian Swift (1995-7) Fixtures Secretary 1995-97
Andy Farmer-Wright (1996- ) Chairman 2001-05; President 2014 -
Bernie Lawrance (2002-6) Secretary/Treasurer 2002-03
Clive Thompson (1995-7 & 2009-10) President 1995-97 & 2009-10
Derek Taylor (2012- ) Chairman 2012 -
Graham Sparksman (1997-2014) President 2010-14
Ian Giffen (2015- ) Fixtures Secretary 2015 -
Jan Smith (2016- ) General Secretary 2016 -
Jan (Teague) Wells (1997-2012) Fixtures Secretary 1997-2009; Life Vice-President 2009-12
Jenny Edwards (2006-17) Secretary/Treasurer 2007-13; General Secretary 2015-16
John Lear (2004- ) Vice-President 2004-16; Life Vice-President 2016 -
Lorraine Hall (1997- ) Competitions Secretary 1997-2012 & 2013- ; Treasurer 2015- ; Vice President 2011-16; Life Vice-President 2016 -
Peter Edwards (2007- ) Chairman 2008-12; Vice-Chairman 2016 -
Peter Heasman (1995-2002) Secretary/Treasurer 1995-96 ; Vice President 1996-97; President 1997-2002
Richard Deadman (1997-2002) Chairman 1997-2001
Rob Hall (2009- ) Competitions Secretary 2012-13
Ros Appleby (1997-2008) Chairperson 2005-08
Roy Wells (1995-2015) Secretary/Treasurer 1996-2002 & 2003-07 & 2013-15; Fixtures Secretary 2009-15
Shaun Morris (1995-2009) Competitions Secretary 1995-97; President 2003-09
Terry Gasson (1980s - ) Secretary/Treasurer 1980’s; Chairman 1995-97; Vice-President 1997-2004; Life Vice-President 2016 -
Tim Peacock (1980s - ) President 1980-95; Life Vice-President 2016 -
Tony Francis (2000-3) Vice-President 2000-02; President 2002-03
The following have at some stage held a Vice-Presidency:
Dave Copping (1995-8), Terry Smith (1995-8), A.Wadham (1995-6), M.Collins (1996-7), Mary Turner (2000-11), Laurence Peplar (2002-5)
The following have also at some stage served on the Committee as playing members:
Ken Owen (1995-6),Graham Lewis (1995-6), Angela Smith (1995-6), Barry Timson (1996-2001), Des Gasson (1996-7), Kevin Stevens (1996-7), Ian Powell (2000-3), Chris Kirkham (2000-8), Val Gritton (2001-3), Brian Coleman (2003-4), Peter Burchell (2004-8), Richard Jeffrey (2006-9 & 2012-13), Mike White (2006-7), Dave Ingram (2007-10), Adam Bateup (2008-11), Trevor Rees (2008-11), Margo Thompson (2009-11), Darren Newnham (2010-17), Geoff Fairs (2010-16), Richard Spurrier (2011-15), Lynne Moyes-Robb (2011-14) and Paul Moyes-Robb (2017- )