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Henry Hyndman

The Communist Cricketer

Throwback Thursday

10-Apr-2014

The Communist Cricketer It’s hard to imagine that Henry Hyndman, who played for Cambridge University and Sussex, was probably the most famous left-wing player in cricket history.

Those cricketers who take an interest in politics tend to be conservative in their outlook, which is hardly surprising given that most learned the game at public schools and emerge from middle-class backgrounds. Former Sussex captain Ted Dexter fought the 1964 election for the Conservatives in Cardiff South East, where he was heavily beaten by Jim Callaghan, a future Prime Minister.

It would have been interesting to eaves-drop on a conversation between ‘Lord Ted’ and Henry Hyndman, who played 13 first-class matches in 1864-65 as a right-handed batsman of modest ability who scored two half-centuries,

Hyndman had already decided on a career in politics whilst at Trinity College. He stood unsuccessfully as an independent in the 1860 General Election in the Marylebone constituency but after reading the Communist Party manifesto he became fascinated by the doctrine of Karl Marx and in particular his views on the capitalist society.

He wrote two well-received books on the subject and in 1881 set up the Social Democratic Federation, the first Marxist party in Britain. Although a talented writer and brilliant public speaker, Hyndman’s dictatorial approach didn’t always enthuse his fellow socialists, especially when he took a £340 bribe from the Tory party to field candidates in two London seats designed to split the liberal vote and ensure the Tories prevailed. It backfired spectacularly when the SDF candidates polled 59 votes between them.

Britain’s first Marxist political party was later subsumed into the Labour Representation committee, which was renamed the Labour Party in 1906. Hyndman died in 1921, but he did live to see the formation of the first British Communist Party in 1918. On his death-bed Hyndman admitted that his one true regret in life was that he didn’t win his cricket blue whilst at Cambridge, surely the only recorded instance of a communist cricketer regretting he wasn’t a blue.

Zac Toumazi, Chief Executive

Staff blog, Zac Toumazi, Chief Executive at Sussex CCC

Sussex CCC staff blog

08-Apr-2014

Staff blog | Zac Toumazi | Cricket sponsorship

What an opportune time to offer a few thoughts about the season ahead. 

In recent weeks I’ve been delighted to welcome Palmer & Harvey and Jointing Technologies into the Sussex family. Palmer & Harvey will sponsor our LV County Championship and Royal London County Cup shirts, while Jointing Technologies has agreed to sponsor the NatWest T20 Blast shirt. It gives the whole club a lift to have major new commercial partners in place as we start the 2014 season. 

It is so good to see the guys back in action in various warm up fixtures before our first LV County Championship fixture on 6 April at Hove against Middlesex. Our NatWest T20 Blast campaign begins on 16 May versus Surrey – we’re expecting bumper crowds as usual, especially with most of the NatWest T20 Blast games being played on Friday nights.

A word, too, for all the staff at the BrightonandHoveJobs.com County Ground who have made me so welcome since my arrival 15 months ago. We all know that change is sometimes difficult when a new boss comes in, I understand that and always make myself accessible to people if they have a concern. That said, all my colleagues have responded brilliantly to my plans and ambitions for the club.

Finally, and most significantly for our future, at our recent AGM the members overwhelmingly agreed for the integration process between Sussex County Cricket Club and the Sussex Cricket Board to take place. This historic change in constitution, in our 175th year, will see the club become one entity known as ‘Sussex Cricket’ from November 2015. This is a big step forward that will reposition the club and provide a far stronger platform for our future development.

With the season is nearly upon us, keep checking back to the website for all the latest news and updates and look out for details of our 175-year celebrations that are planned for later this summer.


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