Broadwater Cricket Club - the cricket club older than the LBW law

Through its history, Worthing has been through plenty of change; yet for the past 250 years of our town there has been at least one constant: Broadwater Cricket Club, who are celebrating their 250th anniversary in 2021.

Wednesday, 17th March 2021, 3:10 pm
A Broadwater CC line-up from the 1940s. All pictures courtesy of Rob Silverthorne

Cricket has been played on Broadwater Green since around the 1720s, but it wasn’t until 1771 that Broadwater became the first cricket club established in the area.

The club’s first fixture was on June 13, 1771 with another Sussex club, Henfield, coincidentally also formed in 1771. According to the Sussex Weekly Advertiser (June 17, 1771) it is understood that Broadwater beat Henfield by “upwards of 30 notches”.

If it sounds as though we’re talking a different sport compared to cricket to nowadays, it’s worth noting that at this time not even the LBW law existed: that was only introduced in 1774, three years after this game!

The 1922 team

Broadwater Cricket Club’s archives provide plenty of nostalgia, and through its long history the club’s continued to play a part through supporting the local community and maintaining a cricketing presence on the Green every year.

Interestingly, even WWII failed to stop Broadwater CC playing each year, with even Worthing CC pausing in wartime, when they had to convert their Manor Ground facility into an allotment to support the war effort.

In cricketing terms, the club has maintained its historic cricket week, including some incredibly well attended games through wartime, which entertained hundreds in the local community with games against local sides and Armed Forces teams.

Another constant through this time has been the club’s long-standing HQ, The Cricketers pub, which has been the club’s spiritual home since the early 20th century. More recently, Broadwater was a founder member of the historic Sussex Invitation Cricket League when it was formed in 1979.

Broadwater's first XI for the 2018 campaign

While an honours board, and various pieces of Broadwater CC memorabilia are maintained at HQ, the club has also achieved various honours, the most notable of which are:

Sussex Invitation League winners 1987, 2008, 2009, 2016

West Sussex Championship League Cup Winners in 1992 and 1993

Achieving promotion into the Sussex County League in 2016

Under 12 Colts crowned Champions of the 2012 Sussex Junior Cricket Festival

Currently the club has three senior teams in the Sussex League and a colts section which is always on the lookout for young talent at all levels ages and sexes.

In the lead-up to the club’s 250th anniversary celebrations, significant efforts have been made to raise funds to develop a new community facility on Broadwater Green to replace the existing pavilion – which has seen better days.

Despite the club’s best efforts they were not able to achieve that in time for this landmark year, but they continue to work with the council and others to seek ways to build a new community facility in keeping with the history of the club, and its location as gateway to Worthing.

First XI captain Nigel Waller said: “The club has had its ups and downs over the years, but we’re pleased to see the first XI currently playing in the third tier of a large countywide structure within the Sussex Cricket League.

“We are very lucky to have the dedication of a number of volunteers who give up a lot of time to try to provide an environment where the players enjoy their cricket and where the club thrives both on and off the pitch.

“It’s essential that this continues to try to progress the club on the pitch and within the local community.”

Once the club is free from pandemic restrictions, members look forward to hosting community and fund raising events throughout 2021 to secure the future and facilities for this truly historic club.

If you wish to participate at either senior or colts level (girls or boys), email [email protected] or contact @BroadwaterCC on Twitter.