Message from the President
David Frith in the Golden Age of Cricket 1890-1914 brilliantly chronicles that age:
“Country-house cricket was enjoying its heyday, played by carefully-chosen teams on the private grounds of some of the more sporting landlords of England, mostly in the South. There are the gentlemen of such clubs as I Zingari, Free Foresters, the Grasshoppers, and Eton Ramblers who played their cricket, exercised impeccable table manners ( if they desired a return invitation ) and danced the evening away.”
Of course, our world has changed fundamentally but it is onto this stage at Sheffield Park that the Armadillos CC have stepped and we are mindful of the spirit of the place and the history of the many great men who went before us.
Founded in The Green Man public house in Hosted Keynes in 1983, the club until 2009 was a wandering side with no ground, no subscriptions and no written rules or constitution but a steadily increasing playing and social membership.
Naming the club the Armadillos – for reasons not entirely clear at the time – was a master stroke. The name, as first chronicled by Rudyard Kipling and others, was descriptive of many of the club’s original members:
Armadillos are slow and steady with a long tail, gregarious and like to come out at night.
In the early years, the club developed a taste for touring and visited Corfu and the Caribbean on a number of highly successful tours which proved to be the mortar that subsequently held the club together. Over the years the Armadillos membership has prospered. Members are mainly from the local Sussex area, the home counties and London although Armadillos can also be found in Australia, New Zealand, USA, Scotland and even Wales. Second generation Armadillos are proliferating and the club is actively seeking new members.
With the considerable help of the National Trust and the generosity of the club’s members, Founder Members and Donors, the ground has been brought to life again.
It is almost unique in the world of cricket for a former first-class ground to be resurrected after so many years of disuse. However, it would certainly be recognisable today to W.G., C.B. Fry, Ranji and others who played here all those years ago.
Armadillos are now into our fifth year of residence at Sheffield Park. We have a fine pavilion, an improving square and outfield and a strong and growing fixture list.
The Armadillos are proud to have their own home, identified by the unmistakeable colours flying above the pavilion and signifying the re-emergence of cricket at one of England’s finest old grounds.
We welcome new members young and old as the club is essentially a family club with ambitions to grow and play cricket at all levels.
Anthony Scott-Gall – Club President
“I tend to believe that cricket is the greatest thing that God ever created on earth” (Harold Pinter, Observer 5/10/1980)
Message from the President-Chapter 2.
Staying with Harold Pinter’s beliefs concerning the almighty, Ray Illingworth made a similar observation also in 1980:
“I am sure that the Almighty never intended that cricket should be played in anything but golden sunshine, especially if the wicket was doing a bit.”
Since my first message the sun has not always shone on match days at Sheffield Park, but with the exception of summer 2012 we have been very lucky with our weather and the wicket has been doing “a bit” all summer. Only one match was cancelled due to the threat of rain which proved unfounded.
We have continued to develop and improve the square and outfield and many of our opponents have commented favourably. Much praise is due to The Chairman and Charlie Burchell who have given many hours of their time to the project.
In addition the National Trust now look after the park “ beyond the boundary “ to great effect. We have a wonderful ground set in true parkland as a result.
Those visiting this website should see not only our impressive fixture list but read also the match reports for this year. They are lucid, erudite, and full of good humour and self deprecation-exactly what you would expect of the Armadillos. Our results for this season have been very good and congratulations to the Captain of Cricket and the match managers for putting out full teams for each match. Hugo, our captain of cricket leaves us for what we hope will only be a couple of years to work in New York. We wish him and his family well and hope that he will be back, wearing whites, very soon.
Our residence at this wonderful groundhas been quite a learning curve in both ground, budget and match management. We have a full fixture list and a core of 40 regular players but as I said in my first message we welcome new playing members, young and old. Our aspiration is to play good cricket at all levels in a family friendly (and very safe) environment.
As John Arlott said in his book An Eye for Cricket: “ All cricketers are cricketers, none the less so for not being ‘first class’, which is no more than a statistical distinction”.
The cricket, the atmosphere and ambience at Sheffield Park is we like to think first class for which good fortune all Armadillos are due credit.
I leave the last words of this second chapter to AA Milne, a keen cricketer, resident of Sussex and author of some repute. He could be speaking of cricket at Sheffield Park.
“But what care I? It’s the game that calls me-
Simply to be on the field of play:
How can it matter what fate befalls me,
With ten good fellows and one good day!”
Lady Collum, John Barclay, Anne Scott MBE
Phil Davy (email@example.com)
Damian Greenish (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Captain of Cricket
Anthony Pickering (email@example.com)
Tom Bourne, Johnny Colville, Alex Derrick, Ben Langman, James Mann
Social Events (Golf) Officer
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Sussex Cricket Board Affiliation
The Armadillos CC is affiliated to the Sussex Cricket Board