Peter Watson (27 July 1957 – 8 February 2014)
(Pete is pictured in the front row, second from right)

Many Club members, past and present, joined 200+ people from Peter’s family, from his work and from football and golf to say farewell to Peter at his funeral which was held on 26 February 2014.

Pete played for the club from 1975 to 1993 and in that time amassed the 4th highest ever tally of wickets with 790. A recount is going on, as he would demand, as we have a record that it was 808. Only Charlie Adams, Bert Mayatt and Rob Hurrell have taken more.

During the 1980’s Clive Vale won the Hastings and the Polegate 6-a-side competitions and only lost off the last ball in the Observer Cup final, to Northiam - with the scores level (we had lost more wickets). A very successful Saturday X1, captained by Laurie Relph, were runners-up in the inaugural East Sussex Cricket League and we had two Sunday teams every week from April to September. Pete was a key part in all this giving his all in his bowling, stalking the outfield when he was taken off and making ‘bring me back on’ signals to the skipper of the day. On one occasion after signalling his short leg in so close he could almost touch the batsman, but refused to go even closer, Pete bowled a ball at and hit said fielder, saying “if you’d gone where I put you that wouldn’t have happened!”

The batting was so strong then that Pete became a member of the ‘Straw Club’ with Trev Thwaites and Laurie, both of whom opened for the Sunday teams many times. They drew straws for numbers 9,10,11 in the batting order and tried to outscore each other – Peter’s rather more cavalier approach to batting, otherwise known as ‘6 or out’, meant that he often had to buy the first round – but he excelled himself when the chips were down and he made his top score of 59 at Westfield.

In 1982 Pete took 100 wickets in a season, one of only 4 players ever to do this alongside Bert, Charlie and Steve Hurrell. This is a good place to mention post match celebrations. It was customary in those days for a visit to the opposition’s pub and then make a few pit-stops on the way home often including a Chinese meal or a curry. On the night of the 100 wickets, with just one game of the season left, the team was in very high spirits. We were asked to leave The White Hart at Newenden after what I thought was a very good rendition of ‘Good old Sussex by the Sea’, before we were reminded we were in Kent – only by a hundred yards, but we were! We rather meekly entered the Six Bells at Northiam but had to ‘leave’ following a conga and the usual chorus of ‘Any Old Iron’ led by Johnny Woodhams, during which a number of glasses mysteriously left the tables and mantelpiece and ended up on the floor....some revenge for the Observer cup final perhaps.

Just a couple of the many, many happy memories of Peter. It was a fitting tribute to one of those truly great lads, who everyone loved, that all the old team were there, from all over the country, except those who had gone before like Gordon Regelous, Laurie Relph and Ron Harte.

As Mick Woodhams said in his eulogy “Bye, Bye Mr American Pie........”

Trevor James President 8th March 2014