Reports on the passing of a true sporting legend
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
The Beach Boys, who once visited the Hubble and Freeman sports shop in Maidstone town centre