Re­ports on the pass­ing of a true sport­ing leg­end

Chris Hunter

Kent Messenger Maidstone - - 102 YEARS OF SPORTING HISTORY -

THE sport­ing life of the county wouldn’t have been the same with­out it – and nor would the Beach Boys.

The chances are if you have hit a glo­ri­ous six – or edged a woe­ful at­tempted slog – on the cricket pitches of Maid­stone, Malling and the Weald at any point dur­ing the last cen­tury, you did so with a bat bought from Hub­ble and Free­man sports shop in Gabriels Hill.

The shop played its part in thou­sands of his­toric mo­ments of sport­ing drama since be­ing founded in 1910 by suc­cess­ful crick­eter Jack Hub­ble.

But hav­ing reached a daz­zling cen­tury the spe­cial­ist trader’s in­nings has fi­nally come to an end at 102 years – caught out by tough eco­nomic con­di­tions – and is set to close at the end of Septem­ber.

Mark Well­belove, chief ex­ec­u­tive of own­ers Kook­aburra Reader Ltd in Maid­stone, said it was a sad mo­ment and the end of an era but that the par­ent com­pany’s hand had been forced by the re­al­ity of spi­ralling sales and the fact Kook­aburra spe­cialised in sell­ing to the re­tail mar­ket.

In Maid­stone, the hal­cyon days be­gan back in 1910 in a shed at the Tre­bor Sharps sports ground in Lon­don Road, and af­ter a suc­cess­ful decade Jack Hub­ble upped sticks in 1923, mov­ing first to Mar­ket Build­ings and then to Gabriels Hill.

Af­ter the war Hub­ble joined forces with crick­eters Les Ames and Percy “Tich” Free­man – found­ing Hub­ble and Ames in Gilling­ham and H&F in Maid­stone.

H&F would even­tu­ally merge with cricket ball man­u­fac­tur­ers Read­ers and ex­pand un­der Mr

Pic­ture: (c) Guy Web­ster

The Beach Boys, who once vis­ited the Hub­ble and Free­man sports shop in Maid­stone town cen­tre

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