A gloriously warm, sun drenched day at the Weald and Downland Open Air Museum in West Sussex provided the perfect backdrop for the first ever Heritage Lottery funded “Let’s Play Stoolball!” primary school celebration festival supported by bat manufacturers GrayNicolls (based at Robertsbridge) and national organisation Stoolball England.
This event, with primary schools from the Uckfield area, was the result of a Heritage Lottery funded project by Anita Broad, who is a Stoolball England Management Committee and Newick Stoolball Club member.
Coaching in the skills of playing stoolball were carried out in the weeks preceding the festival at Harlands, St. Mark’s, Framfield and Newick Junior Schools and included the local village school at Singleton on the day. Four pitches were marked out for the event producing some very competitive matches which were enjoyed by both competitors and their audience.
All the schools, some in Victorian costumes, arrived with beautifully hand-crafted banners produced by their pupils, who also took part in a singalong after the event led by their tutor Mark Broad. This was followed by the presentation of certificates for every team which took part. The winning team, Newick A, was presented with a cup, a Gray-Nicolls bat and winners’ certificates while the runners-up, Harlands A, also won a bat in addition to their runners-up certificates.
The full results were: Pitch One (4 overs) Framfield A 22 v Harlands A 30; Newick A 36 v St. Mark’s A 46; Newick A 65 v Framfield A 33;Harlands A 57 v St. Mark’s A 53; Harlands A 47 v Newick A 53; Framfield A 45 v St. Mark’s A 34.
Pitch Two (8 overs each starting with 200 runs.)
Newick B 184 v Framfield B 259; St. Marks B 237 v Newick B 215 St. Mark’s C 272 v Newick C 221; Harlands B 238 v Newick C 240; Pitch Four (8 overs each starting with 200 runs;) Newick D 244 v St. Mark’s D 229; St. Mark’s D 226 v Harlands C 24; Harlands C 219 v Newick D 246; Festival Winners: Newick A
Runners-up: Harlands A. Towards the end of the event, a team from the local primary school at Singleton was welcomed. This team played two mathces beating a Harlands’ team 64-23 and losing to Newick A 57-24.