Hacking Hospital Darts League, which was played on Tuesday evenings in Rye to raise money for Rye Memorial Hospital, was started in 1939 and all the teams had to play at a venue in Rye.
Teams consisted of five players with matches commencing no later than 8:30pm with five individual games, best of three legs, 501, straight in and double out, with the team game one leg, 601. Entrance fee was £1 per team, with match fees of 20p per player per week.
The Hacking family have a long association with Rye farming on the outskirts of Rye at Cadborough and John Hacking was Mayor in 1965, his father was a member of Rye Town Council from 1912-19 and his mother became the first lady councillor in 1926. Mrs Joan Yates, his sister, was mayor in 1977.
The first winner of the league was the British Legion Club 1939/40 and in the 40s the British Legion club won the league six times, the Home Guard three times, Rye Workmen’s Conservative Club won it in 1947/48 and, at the end of the decade, in 1949/50, East Kent Social Club won it.
In the 50s the winners were Rye Club three times, and the British Legion Club three times, and other winners were R.E.O.C.A & H.S. Social Club, Rother Iron Works, and Long Bros.
The 60s started with the British Legion Club winning in 1959/60 and beside the British Legion winning the league four more times in the 60s, other winners in the sixties were Corrals, Winter’s Dairies Social Club, Rye Club, and Udimore Football Club.
In the 80s there were two leagues, A & B, and while the A league had all the good teams, the B league was mainly a fun league and in those days all the pubs in Rye had a dart board for the teams – not forgetting the hotels like The George, Hope Anchor and The Salting (Rye Lodge). There were also member clubs like the British Legion, Conservative Club, Granary Club and Rye Club. The police had a social club above the police station and the cricket pavilion all had dart boards and teams.
Some of the twenty plus teams playing in the 80s were named Stepping Stones, Saltcote Ladies, The Union Flowers, Legionnaires, Landgate Players, Pocketful of Rye, Rye Fire Men, Woolworth Girls, Bedford Ladies, Kaff Girls, Crown Jewels, The Travel Club, East Guldeford Football Team and the Old Bell S.C – and it was a good social evening with a lot of the community taking part with pubs and club being the hub of the community and raising money for local charities.
Image Credits: Dennis Leeds-George .