Doggart still holds a place in cricket’s record books and a life-long love of the game.
Former Sussex captain Hubert Doggart was hoping to pay a visit to the Horsham Festival this week, 70 years after he first represented the county at Cricket Field Road.
Last week he celebrated his 89th birthday watching the Lord’s Test, travelling from his home in Chichester on the Arun Valley line that passes by the Horsham ground.
Doggart could never be said to have had a quiet life. A former treasurer and president of MCC, for ten years he chaired the Friends of Arundel Cricket Club. He was at the Sussex players’ reunion at Hove last month and still keeps in touch with old team-mates from the 1950s and 1960s.
His enthusiasm for cricket has never left him. But for deciding aged 15 that he would become a teacher, his first-class career would have lasted much longer. He captained Sussex in 1954 having played twice for England, against West Indies in 1950.
His unbeaten innings of 219 for Cambridge University, against Lancashire in 1948, remains the highest score on debut in a first-class match Back then, he was a member of a distinguished batting order at Fenner’s featuring, in different years, Trevor Bailey, John Dewes, Doug Insole, the great Peter May and David Sheppard.
Doggart played on and off for Sussex until 1961, making 10,054 first-class runs at an average of 31.51 and buried deep in cricket’s archives is a scorecard that depicts a Horsham match in which Doggart played in 1944. He was representing Sussex as a teenager against the RAF – and was dismissed for a single by another famous Sussex figure, Arthur Gilligan. Three years later he did make a century on the ground, for MCC against the Horsham club.
So what have been the biggest changes in game during his time? “The big bats have altered it. My bats weighed 2lb 3oz,” he said. “Yet Denis Compton could still time his shots, whereas batsmen today thump the ball. I used to bounce a ball on my bat to find the driving spot. But players now have to contend with extra pressure that we did not have.”
His book ‘Cricket’s Bounty’ - 33 articles on the game and what he refers to as ‘six extras’ on history, literature, heroes and friendships – comes out in October.