Ancient Sussex game wants new players

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With spring around the corner it will soon be stoolball season again. You may have played stoolball at school but, in case you don’t know it, stoolball is similar to cricket, but a lot easier for beginners

to pick up.

Now a local stoolball club is hoping to recruit new players. Maresfield Stoolball Club is looking for new male and female team members who would like to try out the game over the coming season.

Team spokesman Rick Mason explained the club has been going for more than 100 years ands plays at Maresfield Recreation Ground. He said: “We’re competitive but we enjoy our stoolball and we won’t shout at you if you drop a catch or misfield a ball!”

For newcomers to Sussex, or anyone unfamiliar with the game, two teams of 11 play, with two batsmen at a time aiming to score runs by running between two wickets, or hitting the ball across the boundary for a four or a six - as in cricket. Meanwhile the fielding team tries to bowl, catch or run them out, or even trap them body-before-wicket. Just about anyone can play, young or old. It doesn’t matter if you’re not usually a sporty person, and it’s a great way to

meet new friends.

Rick went on: “Our mixed team (six men and five women) plays on Tuesday evenings from 7pm, and occasionally

on Thursday evenings. Matches last about two hours and we visit Cowfold, Cuckfield, East Hoathly, Plumpton and other teams in the Mid Sussex league. Our ladies team plays on Monday and Wednesday evenings from 6.45pm, visiting villages such as Ditchling, Fletching, Hartfield, Nutley and Newick. We aim not only to win the local league, but to make it to the county finals at Seaford – a great day out playing against teams from right across Sussex.”

The teams also play in tournaments on a few Sundays each season, where teams of eight soak up the summer sunshine while playing in a series of shorter games throughout the day. Their pre-season practices are coming up soon, and they’re the ideal opportunity to give the game a try. It’s free, and the team provides all the equipment. They are at Maresfield Recreation Ground starting at 6pm on Monday, April 8, Tuesday April 16, Wednesday, April 24, Tuesday, April 30 and Thursday, May 2.

If you’d like to find out more about Maresfield Stoolball Club or come along to a practice, contact Rick on 01273 477125 or 07910 777207, or email rick@stoolball.org.uk or visit the Stoolball England website at www.stoolball.org.uk.