A Tale of Three Managers: The Old Hurst Johnian Cricket Week 1920 to 2020
Written by Roger Moulton
This book tells the story of the first hundred years of the annual Old Hurst Johnian Week, which began in 1920 and which, apart from the interruption caused by the Second World War, has continued ever since. Taking place in the first week of August at Hurstpierpoint College, there are now eight matches against a variety of wandering clubs and old boys’ teams. It is a Week of traditional cricket – declarations, white clothing, lunch and tea intervals and 20 overs to be bowled in the last hour – all played against the backdrop of the College chapel.
The Week is a remarkable survivor in a world dominated by league cricket, limited-overs matches played in coloured clothing and involving various gimmicks in the hope of attracting spectators. This continuity has enabled the nature of the Week to evolve over the years from the original bachelor week, with players sleeping in one of the College dormitories, into one where players are joined by their families, many of whom cover Manyweathers – the field adjacent to the North Field – with their tents, caravans, motor-homes and on one notable occasion a double-decker bus.
It is a Week in which 90 first-class players, a total which includes five Test cricketers, have appeared in 615 matches against opponents such as the Sussex Martlets, the Stoics, the Eton Ramblers, the Free Foresters, the Old Rossallians, the Cryptics, the Buccaneers and the South Wales Hunts, who will be joined in 2020 by MCC. It is also a Week in which some poor unfortunate Old Hurst Johnian will fail to score, thereby joining the Duck Club, membership of which is to be deplored. Finally, it is a Week in which friends old and new come together united in their love of the greatest of all games.