Senior Football Venues

Pilot Field

Hastings Town vs Weymouth, 1992. First acquired for sporting use in 1920, the first tenants were Rock-a-Nore who had joined the Sussex County League following the move from their old East Hill home, the Pilot Field has been the town's premier football venue ever since. Currently home to Hastings United (Town) and formerly of the old Hastings United, the ground also hosted speedway and greyhound racing during its history, with much of the old track still surrounding the pitch.

The Firs

View of the Firs on matchday. Originally part of the Pilot Field, was known as the upper pitch before being renamed the 'Firs', the ground had been home to Hastings Town and St Leonards. Most of the ground is now sadly derelict and the pitch now unusable since Hastings Borough Council's decision to construct a small all-weather pitch on part of the pitch. The remaining pitch is currently used for youth football.

Central Recreation Ground

Hastings v Portsmouth on Central Recreation Ground. The famous cricket ground, which played host to first class Sussex fictures throughout its history, also once hosted football games and for the early years of football in the town was the premier venue for the sport. It was opened in 1864 and the first known game of football to be played at the ground was 1893, though the game was probably played using a blend of rugby and football rules. Prior to this "football" fixture, the field had been used for rugby at least for five years.
The first clubs to use the Central Ground as their home pitch were Hastings Athletic and Hastings Alliance around 1890, both teams became defunct by 1897 and Hastings & St Leonards FC moved in. The ground would go on to host visiting teams from Arsenal, Tottenham Hotspur and Queens Park Rangers throughout it's time playing host to football. By 1910 the recreation ground committee had prevented football from being played in the ground, due to favouring summer sports and wishing to preserve the ground over the winter months for cricket and tennis.

Sports Ground

Old map detailing the Sports Ground c1908. Opened in 1904 for football and hockey, the venue was built on what was back then known as the 'Brisco Estate', today the site of the bowling greens in front of Falaise gym. The first teams to use the ground were St Leonards Football Club and Rock-a-Nore, as the primary and secondary tenants respectively. The ground became the premier venue for football in Hastings and hosted Southern League football between 1906 and 1910. The ground was lost as part of a local 'Improvement Scheme' which turned the Sports Ground and surrounding waste land into White Rock Gardens (Bowls, Tennis Courts and Falaise pavilion) and the Hastings Museum and Art Gallery, which had been completed by 1919.

Other venues

Bulverhythe Recreation Ground

Also known as: Bexhill Road

Was laid out as a recreation ground in 1927 and opened by Edward, Prince of Wales the same year. During his visit to the town, the Prince was reported to have become extremely bored and perhaps having to open a very bare and basic recreation field only added to his boredom and he asked what the field was actually used for. Originally there were two pitches located on the lower part of the ground, next to where the white pavilion stands today. The row of pitches on the next tier up are on the site of the old Pebsham Aerodrome, which had ceased to be used as an airfield by the 1960s. The pitch closest to the garden centre was home to Hastings Rangers, during their time in the County League, who were also the first team to play on the ground in 1927, before moving there permanently in 1928.

Catholic Ground

Also known as: Brisco Ground, Falaise Road

Located on what is now the tennis courts and skate park at White Rock Gardens. With the more senior sides in the area having use of the Sports Ground (sometimes also referred to as the Catholic Ground) on the other side of Falaise Road, Junior clubs were allocated a pitch on the sloping site with more basic facilities. Presumably the ground gets its name given its proximity to the Magdalen Road convent.

Dave Brown Memorial Field

Also known as: Barley Lane

Home to The JC Tackleway since it was first laid out in 1997. The club were offered a 50 year lease of the land by the Magdalen & Lasher charity and £94,000 funding from the National Lottery enabled them to lay two football pitches and construct changing facilities. The ground was named in honour of Dave Brown who'd dedicated many years to the club, 20 of those as club leader.

East Hill

First recorded use for football was in the 1890s, though had probably been previously used for casual games and had been used for cricket. Used by teams such as Rock-a-Nore and JC Tackleway, plus Priory Road School. The ground was notorious for the walk up to the ground, it's basic facilities and the ball being kicked over the cliff edge. By the 1980s the facilities had become poorly maintained and dilapidated and were eventually abandoned. One pitch did remain up until the 2000s closer to Ecclesbourne Glen, before also eventually being abandoned.

Gibbons Memorial Field

Also known as: Wishing Tree Road, The Den (1950s)

Has been used as a football pitch since 1933, first by Hollington United and then by Hollington Old Church, who also used the tennis courts (now long gone) and bowling green on the site. During the late 1940s/early 1950s Hollington United had spells playing on the pitch whilst also using a ground at Silverhill. United moved here on a permanent basis in the 1950s where they have remained ever since. The ground was officially opened as the Gibbons Memorial Field by Mayor Alderman A. Blackman on 9th May 1935. The field was given to the Hollington parish by Miss Rosina Overton-Gibbons, who had passed away in 1933, in memory of her late parents.

For more information on Gibbons Memorial Field visit the website of Hollington Old Church Bowls Club.

Goddens Field

Also known as: Ore

First laid out as a football pitch in 1911 on land as part of Bricklands Farm, Rock Lane and named after the family who rented the land out. The first club to use the pitch were St Clements for the 1911-12 season and other clubs would go onto use the ground throughout its history. Most of the site is now forms most of the playing fields for Sandown School and is still used for youth football and training.

The Oval

Also known as: Hickmans Field (Pre 1920s)

Originally known as Hickmans Field, this site was first used as a rugby pitch in 1915 and by the post World War One years was playing host to football matches, used by various local teams. The field was renamed the 'Oval' after the Borough Improvement Scheme between 1914 and 1919, which saw the creation of the present day White Rock Gardens.

The Pines

Small field located on the Ridge used by Sandown School, before it had moved to its present site. Also used by other schools and youth clubs, the field was lost to development and Playden Gardens, just off St Helen's Down, stands on the site of the old ground.

St Leonards Green

Was recorded for sporting use in 1866 and located on the site now occupied by the Green Tennis Club. Was the site of the very first known game of football being played within the town, between The Lindens (Located just down the road in Upper Maze Hill) and Eastbourne College. St Leonards United, when they were just St Leonards used the pitch between 1898 and 1904. The ground was used for tennis, bowls and hockey as far as the 1950s; one can only assume that the construction of the houses along The Green between Charles Road West and Dane Road made the site too small for football use.

Silverhill

Also known as: Drapers Field

Located mostly on what is now the car park for ASDA, was first in use in the 1870s by Silverhill Cricket Club. St Leonards United used the venue when not playing at The Green in their early days, but the venue was mostly used by the cricket club. The field became allotments in the 1920s which put a stop to any sporting until the late 1940s when Hollington United used the ground for home games before moving to the Gibbons Field in the 1950s. By the 1950s the Ponswood estate was rapidly expanding but the field remained, being used by Hollington Juniors School, until the 1970s.

West Hill

Played host to football for a short period of time in the 1890s, before the site was handed to developers in 1898. Located on what is now Collier Road and the adjacent allotments.

Windmill Road

Located on what is now Bluebell Gardens, part of the housing estate off Gillsmans Hill which back onto the Ponswood Estate. Access to this remote playing field was past the allotments and piggeries located down Windmill Road. Hollington United used the field as their home pitch during their successful 1949-50 season, before making Gibbons Memorial Field their permanent home.