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Loxwood Sports Association
Organised cricket, football and stoolball clubs have existed in Loxwood, West Sussex, since at least the start of the 20th century, but details of the very earliest activity is sparse. The current cricket club celebrated their 75th anniversary in 2006, commemorating their foundation in 1931, and the current football club is of about the same age.
The sports existed separately, the cricketers and stoolballers on the same pitch that they use today, and the footballers elsewhere. The footballers moved to their current pitch, adjacent to the cricket pitch, during the 1940s. A major development came about in the 1960s when the three sports decided to join forces, and pool their resources, to give them greater and better facilities. The collaboration took the form of establishing an “umbrella” organisation to manage the joint venture, which was called the Loxwood Sports Association.
Initially, this only extended as far as constructing joint changing facilities, which also served as a cricket pavilion, but in time further developments came about. In the 1970s the original wooden structure was replaced by a more substantial brick building, while a licence was obtained and a very basic bar installed.
In 1980 there was a major program of expansion, which gave the Association the appearance and profile that it has today. The catalyst was the decision to construct a squash court, thereby widening the range of activities beyond the traditional three village sports. There was a major program of fund raising, while local authorities and organisations were approached for loans and grants. Several breweries were also approached to find a sponsor for a substantial expansion of the social side, which was seen as a source of revenue to support sporting activity, but also as a useful social adjunct to sport.
All these actions were very successful, and the result was the construction of the squash court, and a much larger and pleasanter lounge bar, while the three original sports gained improved and expanded changing facilities, and showers. The 1980s were a time of great success as a result of these developments; social and squash memberships were both in the hundreds, and the revenue generated meant that further expansion was possible.
In 1986 the Association extended the club house to install a snooker room with two first class tables, and our snooker club was born. This also attracted a substantial membership. Other sports have become established at the Association from time to time. Darts teams are now a regular winter feature. We do not currently have a stoolball team, though we hope to restart one next year.
The pitches on which football, cricket, and stoolball were played had never been owned by the Association. The cricket pitch was, and remains, Parish Council property, while football was played on adjacent ground that was the property of a local landowner who allowed free use of the pitch. During the 1980s the owner of the football pitch died, and his widow decided on the break up of his estate. Faced with the possibility of losing our traditional pitch, the Association approached the estate to enquire about the possibilities of purchasing the land. The approach was favourably received, and by a combination of internal fund raising and a grant from the Sports Council the money was raised to purchase the pitch, which became and remains to this day the property of Loxwood Sports Association.