Since the College played its first matches against boys at Shoreham (1850) and the village (1852), cricket has been an important part of Hurst life. “Cricket was the most organised and popular of the games played” says Peter King in his history of the College, describing sport at Hurst in the early 1850s.
The first match between the College and the OJs took place in 1858, with the OJs recording a comfortable victory. As the school grew and standards improved, the College acquired a more extensive fixture list, playing against various village sides as well as Ardingly, Lancing and Cranleigh. On one occasion the school beat a Sussex eleven at Horsham.
Cricket continued to flourish and in 1920 the first Cricket Week, organised by M.A. Pitcher, took place in July. It turned out to be the beginning of a tradition which continues to this day.
Cricket Week now takes place in early August and comprises eight fixtures against various wandering clubs. All matches are played on the North Field at Hurst, by kind permission of the Headmaster, and begin at 11.30 am. With many staying for the whole week (some encamped on Manyweathers) and large numbers of local players and supporters, the Cricket Week is not only a major sporting event but perhaps the biggest social event in the OJ calendar.
A wide age range is represented both on and off the field of play and we are always keen to welcome new players, especially those who have left the school recently. Crucial to this is the good relationship with the school and its cricket staff, which we are fortunate to enjoy. In June a fixture against the College 1st XI helps to cement this.