Saturday 3rd October 2015 ko 15.00
Southern Combination Division Two
HURSTPIERPOINT 1 (Ojo 44)
FERRING 1 (Godfrey 75og)
As far as I’m concerned Hurstpierpoint is the village with the long name whose sign you see on the A23 north of Brighton as you pass Hickstead Show Jumping Ground. The name of the village os a classic case of combining the Old English word for wood “Hurst” with the surname of the family that were lords of the manor here. Other than that the village is known for Hurstpierpoint College whose must famous alumnus is former Master of College Sabine Baring-Gould who wrote the hymn “Onward Christian Soldiers.”
The football club play at the Fairfield Recreation Ground, in a classic “shared with cricket” set-up. You really couldn’t be anywhere other than England complete with with cricket scorecard on the pavilion wall from the 1960’s featuring India and Sussex captain Nawab of Pataudi guesting and the Parish Church of the Holy Trinity visible to one corner of of the ground. The church was designed by Sir Charles Barry who also designed the Houses of Parliament.
Life isn’t easy when you’re bottom of the Sussex County League (as was). They’ve never played higher than this division with one runners-up finish, and with houses so close by the ground getting floodlights will be difficult if not impossible, impeding progress still further. As if to illustrate the point someone lit a bonfire with around 15 minutes left; wonderful for my photographs, but appalling for the players.
Last season the club merged with Mid-Sussex League Burgess Hill Albion, the idea being that Albion had the committee and players, but the venture stalled, and in June Hurstpierpoint found themselves back on their own with 3 committeemen and two players. So all credit should go to Dave Jeanes and his friendly band of players and officials that they’re still alive and kicking.
Predictably on the field they’re struggling, with just the one point from 7 games. Just the 11 players too, just to make a tough job still more difficult. Ferring dominated possession and early on I wondered how many Hurst would concede. But then it became clear that Ferring were poor in front of goal, and of nothing else Hurst’s defence was obdurate.
Hurtspierpoint scored through Oluwatimilyin Ojo just before half time utterly against the run of play, and the neutral half wondered, half hoped that they could hold out for a morale-boosting victory. Sadly it didn’t happen, a routine Ferring shot was diverted into his own net by the unfortunate Jake Godfrey. When you’re struggling things like this happen to you.
Still the players and officials seemed happy to have doubled the season’s points tally, and as this friendly club proves, where there’s life there’s hope.