My first game for East Grinstead 2nd XI was in early 1950 while still at School at the East Grinstead Grammar School. I fully joined the Club in September 1950 having just left School to work at home on the Farm; I played in the 2nd XI till February 1951 when I progressed into the 1st XI, and stayed there for many years, till the early 1960s.
I went to Rouen in France on the first visit there in 1951, again in 1956, and again in 1960. Also flew to Hamburg on the first visit there at Whitson Week-end, either 1960 or 1961.
I played for Sussex Schoolboys 2 years running 1949 and 1950 at Seaford College, Petworth. Played for Sussex Colts during the early 1950s. Did National Service from November 1954 to November 1956, where I played Hockey at 3 different R.A.F. Stations; R.A.F.West Kirby, on the Wirral, then at R.A.F. Marham in Norfolk, and for the 2nd Year at R.A.F. Gaydon in Warwickshire. Then played for Sussex As for some years in the late 1950s.Following 1st XI time I became 2nd XI Captain for some years till early 1970s, then took up Umpiring for the lower Teams for a few years.
Other activities at the Club: On a very Foggy Day in November (4th) 1958, the Club bought the Ground at Saint Hill, when the Saint Hill Estate was split into about 15 different lots, we ALL put in money into a Long Term Interest Free Loan !!!, but a great investment at the time.
1959, 2 or 3 of us ploughed the whole ground, cultivated and levelled it, and one of the Men that worked on my Farm, sowed the Grass seed, with a hand “Shandy Barrow”, in 2 different directions, to get a good even cover of seed. I played in the first ever Hockey Game at Saint Hill, one year later, September 1960.
Another story, the club bought a sectional wooden building from Ship Street (a former play school building) East Grinstead, along with Mike Dickson and one of his lorries, but the loads where rather wide (12ft to 14ft) and the road between East Grinstead and Saint Hill was not as wide as it is now, so we asked for a Police Escort,at the Local Police Station then in West Street, we were told we needed 48 hours notice, we said we are on the road NOW, 10 minutes later the Police provided the necessary escort.
I was made Ground Manager on the early days and spent many hours on Saturday Mornings getting all the Grass Pitches ready for the after noon entertainment. Tom Buckley and I took turns to supply the Milk for the teas, these all prepare and served by all the Home teams wives and girl friends, and what a great job they ALL did, always the best teas in the fixture list.
I had the great fortune to serve under the great leadership of Denis Leman, who always made every body so welcome, and the whole Team were a very Happy Bunch, and a great atmosphere was had at the club, many very Happy Memories.