The days of dual sportsman, who played football in the winter before switching to cricket in the summer, have long gone.
These days football continues well into the season when our summer game should be holding sway and it’s not just cricket fans that regret the intrusion.
Sussex’s most famous dual sportsman was almost certainly Cuckfield-born TE ‘Tommy’ Cook, who was good enough to represent England against Wales in 1925 whilst still playing with Third Division Brighton & Hove Albion. He scored 123 goals for the Seagulls in 209 games and also had a prolific spell with Bristol Rovers.
As a powerful right-handed batsman for Sussex, he played throughout the 1930s, scoring more than 20,000 runs. A mainstay of the side that finished runner-up in the County Championship in 1933 and 1934 he made back to back double hundreds against Worcestershire, the county who are the first visitors of the new season to Hove this Sunday.
In 1933 at Eastbourne he scored 214 and a year later at Worcester trumped that with 220. In total, he made 32 centuries in 460 first-class games.
There was certainly a lustre to Cook’s life, despite his quiet modesty. He was a hero in both world wars, first in the Royal Navy, where he was decorated, then in the South African Air Force, where he sustained serious injuries in 1943.
At the end of the war he returned to England and briefly managed the Seagulls, but the end for Cook was extremely sad. Physically and mentally ill, and separated from his wife, he committed suicide a month before his 49th birthday in 1950.
These days he is immortalised on the 623 bus around Brighton and Hove.