The club was founded in 1920 by a grand old local cricketer, Harry Hort, a horticultural builder then residing in Harold Road, Clive Vale. At that time many war-time servicemen had been demobilized and naturally, were looking around for a game of cricket. Hort, who had been connected with cricket for many years before the 1914-1918 war, arranged fixtures with clubs in the district that were restarting and new clubs that were being formed. There was no fixture list in 1920, matches being arranged as the opportunity occured, but somehow there was a match each Saturday afternoon during that season.

At that time, although there was an attendant/constable employed by the local authority, very little attention was given either to the local cricket pitch of the neighbouring football pitches. Ours was a "natural" wicket with all the glorious uncertainties that worry batsmen and help bowlers.

During the first year there was no club organisation as we know it today. Hort obtained the equipment from some unknown source, probably paying for it himself. He selected the team and on Saturdays, when playing at home, he chose the best of likely places for the wickets, marked them out himself and in more ways than one he "carried the bag". The team he named "Clive Vale". Hort was probably one of the first five-days-a-week workers, at least in the summer, because every Saturday morning, after marking out the wicket, he would run round to various players in the district, filling up the gaps in the team due to others dropping out. I never remember him using the telephone. He was an indefatigable worker for cricket and his keenness on the game would be difficult to surpass.

The subscription was 5 shillings, but Hort never pressed the matter. There was no pavilion on the East Hill at that time, but the club was allowed the use of a toolshed dug out of a bank for storing their equipment.

Among the players that first year, apart from Hort and his brother, were H C White (well know also in Sussex football circles), D R Phillips (son of the Sussex cricketer), James Phillips, C Drury (who the following year became the first Honorary Secretary), A L Wisden (for many years Honorary Secretary of the Hastings and St Leonards CC and later President), George Matthews and C F Haward.

During the following winter, 1920-1921, a number of the players held a meeting at Hort's house in Harold Road and decided to place the club on a proper basis. A President, Vice-Presidents, officers and a committee were elected and rules drawn up and approved. The first President was Thomas Parkin, who had been connected with local cricket since 1964. The Vice-Presidents were elected, as usual, from well known local residents interested in cricket. Three Vice-Presidents elected at that meeting subsequently became Presidents, each remaining in office until their death. They were T Rymer Jarvis (1926-1932), H C Davenport Jones (1932-1947) and W H Langdon (1947-1948).

In 1921, owing to an exceptionally fine summer, cricket was played until October 21st. There are very few records of the earlier years, but on September 24th 1921, Clive Vale played the P O Telephones on the Central Cricket Ground and the scores were: Clive Vale 209 for 3 declared, Post Office Telephones 68. D R Phillips scored 105 not out and C F Hayward took six wickets for 19 runs. D R Phillips who at that time played for the Municipal Officers CC, played four games for Clive Vale during this season and his batting average was 134.5

The revival of interest in cricket created an experiment in 1922 in the form of a local cricket league. A Saturday and Wednesday section were inaugurated and Clive Vale entered a team for the Wednesday section and tied for first place; Hastings Ramblers winning the Saturday section. Generally, the experiment was not a success and it was discontinued at the end of the year.

About this time the club was fortunate in having a stock bowler in George Matthews, a local school-teacher over 6ft tall, who bowled fast-medium left underhand. For some years he had remarkable success, as he could break a ball a yard from the off.

In 1922 he took 85 wickets for 5.01 runs per wicket, and in a subsequent year he took over 100 wickets for less than five runs each. In judging these performances with present-day cricket one must remember that he could only play on Saturday afternoons and Bank holidays, and the matches usually of one innings.

From 1922 to 1936 the club continued with more or less success, several young players who afterwards became well-known cricketers commencing their playing career with the club. T Spencer, who subsequently played for Kent, and Vic Pain, who has been a tower of strength both in batting and administration to the Hastings Priory CC in recent years, are two of those forger young players.

The outstanding problem during those years was the state of be pitch on the East Hill, and it was realized that the club could rot retain good young players under those conditions . So in 1936 the club moved to a triangular ground near St. Helens church on The Ridge. This ground had two disadvantages; it was on the small side and it was a long way from the centre of the town. It was the responsibility of the players to mow the pitch and mark out the wicket, whilst the ladies took on the responsibility of dispensing teas from a small pavilion. On practice evenings, which were Friday’s, the captain and the stock bowler were usually seen at work with the motor mower and marking out the wickets in preparation for Saturday’s matches.

In 1938 the club returned to the East Hill, where conditions were slightly better than in 1936.

At this time the policy of the club was still to encourage young players and an eleven of under-18’s was organised. This policy would have been of great value to the club but for the coming of the Second World War. Incidentally, some of the then under-18’s was had distinguished war records, which included two D.F.C’s, one D.F.M and one A.F.M., of which for a team of possibly twelve young players, we were justifiably proud. Two of our young players did not return and a memorial clock which is fixed to the pavilion (built in 1937) at the commencement of each match is a tribute to their memory.

In April 1939, a dinner commemorating the Centenary of the Sussex County Cricket Club was held at the Queens Hotel, Hastings, and the club tied for first place for table decoration, which consisted of cricket equipment with the club colours of maroon and gold in silk and flowers. The prize was a cheque, with which the club purchased a cup suitably engraved, to commemorate for all time the Centenary of Sussex Cricket.

The club decided to carry on, as far as possible, cricket daring the 1940 season, but it ended abruptly in August, 1940, due to interruption by considerable machine-gun fire from a German plane.

During the war the club lost its founder-member, Harry Hort, “the skipper” as he was called by all the players in those early years. He bad retired from actual play on account of age in the late 1920's, but his enthusiasm for the game of cricket was an example to all who knew him.

Play was resumed in 1947 when bhe majority of the pre-war players had been demobilized. One of the factors that had to be taken into account at the end of the war was that an Act-Act Unit had dug a very large gun-pit right in the middle of the playing table in July and August, 1944. The local authority was post helpful in filling in and re-turfing, and the ground took a certain time to settle down, but now the pitch compares favorably with other Corporation-owned grounds.

The post-war years have seen a revival of cricket throughout the county and country, and the Clive Vale Cricket Club has endeavored to assist in several ways. Keen interest was shown in the then newly-formed Sussex Cricket Association and two of the club's members served on the committee of that Association for some years. The formation of the Hastings and District Cricket Association was largely' due to their efforts; they being responsible for calling the inaugural meeting.

Members of the Clive Vale C.C. at one period were elected Chairman, Honorary Secretary pad Honorary Treasurer of the local association. They also assisted in the formation of the kneel Umpires Panel.

In 1947 the club commenced playing Sunday cricket and also organised first and second elevens.

From the playing point of view, many successful seasons have been enjoyed by members and friends, several centuries having been recorded. One score of 108 by Bernard Moore on the East Hill in May, 1949, was made in 45 minutes and included 15 fours and two sixes. In 1951, Charlie Ralph scored a total of 1,447 runs during the season, which is another club record. No century was recorded in this total, but on two occasions he scored 92 runs.

Two outstanding bowling records were established in 1955 which will probably not be beaten for many years to come. C Adams took 11 wickets for 38 runs in 17.4 overs in a twelve-a-side match against Willowbrook (Lewes) at Lewes on June with, 1955, and R Morgan, playing against the Young Conservatives on July and, 1955, took 10 wickets for 8 runs in 10.4 overs. C Adams, who has been the 1st XI stock bowler for many years, has repeatedly taken over 100 wickets in a season and has on many occasions taken eight or nine wickets in an innings.

The local knock-out competition now organised by the Hastings and District Cricket Association for the Argus Cup was won by Clive Vale in two consecutive years - 1951 and 1952.

From 1947 to 1952 the club enjoys the company of many friends at their annual dinners, and anong those whose presence gave pleasure to all members were the late Group-Captain A. J. Holmes , A.F.C. , whose courtesy and charm equaled his knowledge of Commonwealth, national and county cricket; and the late Billy Walker, the pivot round which the Sussex Cricket Association revolved for many years. It is unfortunate that the annual dinner has had to be discontinued in recent years.

The policy of the club today is similar to that in the pioneer days of 1920-1921. It is to create and foster the team spirit, to encourage young players, to work for the game in all its aspects, and to take pride in the results of the work.

Looking back over the years since the club was formed, it is felt that the Clive Vale Cricket Club, a junior club perhaps in playing strength, like so many clubs throughout the country, but one that has been an appreciable asset to Hastings and District in many ways.

As a certain well-known cricketer in a broadcast in 1947 said, “Cricket is grand game, as long as it remains a game”

Written by C.F.Hayward in 1957