Cricket has been played in Marden since the 18th century. Indeed the first match is recorded between Marden and Bearsted in 1789 (apparently Marden did not have a good day with the bat). Cricket was an integral part of village life and relatively large sums of money changed hands over many fixtures. A love of sport was clearly deep rooted in this rural community and it was not long before hockey was embraced.
The Russets Hockey Club was formed in 1921 in the aftermath of World War 1. In the early years there was a nomadic Ladies’ team and then a Mixed XI that played hockey on the cricket outfield at Marden, using the cricket pavilion and the upstairs of the adjoining Howlands barn for changing. Hockey teas were taken in the Working Men’s Club.
In 1946 separate Men’s and Ladies’ XIs were formed and the Marden Russets became noted as formidable opponents throughout Kent and Sussex.
With a need for improved facilities, the cricket and hockey clubs merged in 1960 to form the Marden Cricket & Hockey Club, building the clubhouse at Stanley Road in 1963.
During the 60s and 70s the club matured, showcasing plenty of real talent and establishing close links with Kent cricket. Many England cricketers played here in convivial surroundings.
During the 1990s the club installed its own astroturf pitch, thanks to various grants, a loan from Shepherd Neame and contributions from members. The artificial pitch was opened in February 2000 and lasted 17 seasons.
During 2017 the club began playing at the new venue, with post-match teas served initially at the ‘old’ clubhouse, then at the temporary ‘container’ clubhouse that was sited at the ground for the 2018 cricket season.
Finally, in May 2019, the new clubhouse was opened formally by Sophie, Countess of Wessex. The day marked the transition from the historic village centre ground to new state of the art premises just outside the village. With its glass frontage and wraparound balcony, it provides a spectacular view for spectators and a convivial place to socialise and meet friends after a match. We hope it continues to do so for many years.
For all the club archive photos and more click here.