How walk through Sussex village led to launch of new cricket team

Over three years ago, when Covid restrictions started to ease, a group of friends took a walk through the village of Lindfield and stopped to watch a cricket match.
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They reminisced on how they all used to play cricket as children but stopped for one reason or another. Prioritising football was a common reason but the other was quite disappointing – that they felt the stuffiness, cliques and nepotistic side of the sport had forced them out of the game.

They would stand in the field for hours and rarely get the chance to bat or bowl while watching the same figures, week in week out, do it all.

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They decided that if they formed and ran their own cricket team, they could eliminate all of that and re-ignite the love of playing cricket that some lost.

Mid Sussex Heathens have had great success in their relatively short life so far | Contributed pictureMid Sussex Heathens have had great success in their relatively short life so far | Contributed picture
Mid Sussex Heathens have had great success in their relatively short life so far | Contributed picture

One of the founders and current chairman, George Barnes, got in contact with the Sussex Cricket Foundation, who were incredibly helpful and enthusiastic in guiding them through the stages of becoming an official club.

Before long they had a kit, a sponsor (Cuckfield Plumbing & Heating), a few players, a ground to play at and most importantly an incredible spirit beginning to build. Mid Sussex Heathens CC were born.

Mid Sussex Heathens are now in their third season, and it has already been an incredible journey. They have grown and attracted players from the area who have been captured by the attitude that they bring to their games.

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Barnes said, “If somebody drops a catch, we laugh with them instead of slamming them. If somebody fails to score as many runs as they would have liked, nobody moans. If we win, we are delighted, if we lose, we share a drink afterwards and look forward to the next game.

“We pride ourselves on doing cricket differently from the ‘traditional’ way of doing it. Everybody gets a go; we discourage egos, and we never get on one another’s back.

"The attitude of the club from the bottom up is very much ‘all for one and one for all’ and I wouldn’t change it for the world.”

And does fortune favour the brave? You best believe it. Three years on since founding the club, Mid Sussex Heathens have reached the T20-Plate Final, to be played at the Country Ground, Hove, on September 24, versus Middleton CC threes.

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They have tasted considerable success this season after finishing top of Division 11 Central (North).

Club captain Will Glenn said: “I couldn’t be more delighted to lead the team to league victory an up-coming cup final. We have a great bunch of guys at the Heathens and I’m looking forward to what the future holds.”

Barnes added: “If you told me on that sunny day in Lindfield that in three years the Mid Sussex Heathens would play at the county ground in Hove in a cup final after winning their division, I wouldn’t have believed you. The growth of the club has been incredible and I’m delighted we’re attracting players for the right reasons. I couldn’t be prouder.”