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The long hot summer of 2018

By Becky Taylor

An opportunity to reflect and reminisce on the long hot summer of 1976

This summer has been very similar to 1976 but hopefully without the consequences. We watched horrified as great cracks appeared in the pitches - some as deep as a metre. At that time we ran 5 regular Mens teams (no Juniors or Women) and it became clear that the surface would never recover.

As Chairman, I had a series of meetings with the Chief Executive and Leader of the Council (both, helpfully, members of the Club). The first priority was to find somewhere to play - we marked out a pitch on the side of the Cricket Ground - not exactly popular with some of their members !), and Pop Carr let us use one of his fields - unfortunately, he also let his cows use it, so tackling was to be undertaken with some care. The First XV played at the Grammar School, and to their credit, Brighton Rugby, hosted all our RFU Knockout matches.

At this time, the Lewes by-pass was being built, and not 500m away from the Ground, the deep cutting meant that there were several thousand tonnes of Chalk to get rid off. After much negotiation, the contractors agreed at strip the damaged top-soil off the STG, lay 800mm of their unwanted chalk, replace the topsoil, drain and the newly laid pitches.

This took 3 years, and we did not play on the STG until 1979. It is a matter of pride that we eventually played nearly 100 home fixtures a year - and Lewes won the County Trophy in each of those 3 years.

In those days we had a small Bar where the Groundsmans space now is, and after much further pleading and arm-twisting, the Council agreed to build the current clubhouse - which also opened in 1979. In 3 stressful years, we had managed to set the Club up for the next 40 !

Peter Sealey
Chairman 1976-79

Updated 15:28 - 14 Aug 2018 by Becky Taylor

Where next?

LEWES LADIES REPRESENT at BT Sport's Rugby Tonight
Community Clean up day On 25th August we're looking for helpers to get the club house and outside areas in shape.


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