Senior & Prominent Local Leagues

Southern League

Southern League logo

Founded 1884

The first local club to join this league were St Leonards United in 1906, after the club merged with Hastings & St Leonards FC the new club took St Leonard’s place in the league and remained in the league until 1910 after they folded. Newly formed Hastings United joined the league in 1948 where they remained until 1985 after their demise and their spot was taken by Hastings Town. St Leonards Stamcroft joined the league in 1996 and competed until 2003 following their relegation. Hastings Town, now Hastings United, left the league a year later to join the Isthmian League following an FA reshuffle of the non-league pyramid and thus ended a long association between the league and senior clubs from the area.

Isthmian League

Isthmian League logo

Founded 1905

The only local side to have played in the Isthmian League are Hastings United who joined in 2004. In past years the league had a fine reputation for being one of the strongest amateur leagues in the country and with the majority of senior clubs from the area opting to join the Southern League, plus earlier amateur sides competing in other amateur leagues, Isthmian League football wasn’t played in Hastings until United joined.

Southern Combination League

Southern Combination League logo

Founded 1920 as Sussex County League

Starting with Rock-a-Nore, there have been a healthy number of clubs from the Hastings and Rother area who have competed throughout the leagues history. The league was rebranded to its current guise in 2015 and the current clubs representing the area in the league are Little Common and Bexhill United. Other local clubs to have competed in the County League are Battle Rangers, Hastings Rangers, Hastings Town, Rye United, Stamco, Sidley United and Westfield.

East Sussex League

East Sussex League logo

Founded 1896

The league was founded as the East Sussex Senior League, with the winners competing for the Irish Rifles’ Cup (now RUR Cup) against the winners of the West Sussex League to become the Sussex champions. The league has also been known as the East Sussex Border League, due to the number of clubs located in Kent who have competed in the league throughout its later history.

Southern Amateur League

Southern Amateur League logo

Founded 1907

Hastings & St Leonards FC competed in this league between 1927 and 1946 and enjoyed what was probably the most successful spell in the clubs history. Hastings won Division One four times, whilst also winning the Sussex Senior Cup twice and the Amateur Football Alliance Senior Cup during this era. During the latter years the club had looked at joining a stronger league and left the SAL to join the Corinthian League in 1946.

Hastings & District League

1921 - 1971

Founded by the Hastings Football Association who wanted to introduce a formal league system to the area, previously teams had entered for competitions such as the Carlisle and Hillier Cups. The league merged with the Eastbourne League to form the Eastbourne & Hastings League in 1971.

Hastings & East Sussex Sunday League

1965 - 2012

At its peak the league contained over ten divisions and featured some of the strongest sunday teams in the county. However numbers rapidly declined in the new millennium and league went inactive in 2012 and hasn't been in operation since. There were plans to introduce an eight team summer league in 2020, but presumably covid-19 scuppered these proposals.

Other local leagues

Battle & District League

1934 - 1939

FFormed following the demise of the Sedlescombe League, most members of its predecessor joined to compete for the Francis Cup (now held by the winners of the Robertsbridge Intermediate Cup). The league ran until the outbreak of World War Two and despite proposals, never reformed.

Hastings, Eastbourne & District League

1896 - 1921

Founded as the East Sussex Junior League, the competition name was changed weeks before the first game was played, though was still often referred to as the Junior League. Teams who weren’t quite strong enough for the East Sussex League but performed well in the Carlisle Cup would enter this league. After reforming in 1920 following the First World War, the league was competed for solely by teams from Hastings and Bexhill and with the Hastings FA forming a formal league structure in 1921, the District League disappeared following the 1921-22 season.

Mid Sussex League

Founded 1900

Despite teams from the area having historically fallen outside the MSFL radius, a number of local teams have decided to join the league in recent years. The Premier Division being given step 7 status in 2017 has seen the likes of Hollington United and Sidley United transfer from the East Sussex League in recent years.

Sedlescombe & District League

1909 - 1934

Founded for village teams in the general Battle rural area entered sides competed for the Francis Cup. There were rules put in place to ensure that players were forced to play for the village they resided in and teams were punished for fielding players from outside their area. Some present day teams such as Robertsbridge United and Herstmonceux were ever present throughout the leagues short history. However by 1934 membership was decreasing, with the best sides joining the Hastings League whose catchment area was ever increasing and the eligibility rules enforced by the league, it was likely more teams were set to leave and the decision was made to disband the competition.

Southern Counties Combination

1972 - 1988

Up until recent years little was known about this competition, only that it was an intermediate league with a mixture of first and reserves teams for teams mostly based in Sussex, though the radius also extended to parts of Surrey and Kent. Teams looking to progress from local leagues to county league football would compete in the SCC on their path to senior level and the formation of Division Three of the Sussex County League effectively killed this competition.

Ticehurst & District League

1903 - ????

Some of the first clubs to enter this league were Burwash, Hawkhurst, Lamberhurst and Goudhurst. Other teams to have entered throughout its history were Mayfield, Punnetts Town and Wadhurst.

Cup Competitions

East Sussex Challenge Cup

Founded 1911

This cup competition was formed by the East Sussex Football League as an invitational cup and was competed for by the strongest teams in the area. The cup would later be for members of the East Sussex League only and in its current format is an Intermediate Cup competed for by teams from the top two divisions of the league.

Hastings Senior Challenge Cup

1908 - 2014

Founded by the Hastings FA, the winners of the cup were awarded the Du Cros Cup, named after the Hastings FA president Harvey Du Cros. Du Cros was a wealthy businessman and brief conservative politician who served as MP for two years; it is possible he gifted the trophy to the FA and therefore named after him in his honour. The competition was briefly known as the Du Cros Cup, before reverting back to the Hastings Challenge Cup in 1930.

Sussex Senior Challenge Cup

Founded 1882

The Sussex Senior Cup was founded soon after the formation of the Sussex County FA in 1882. The first Hastings team to reach the final were Hastings & St Leonards FC, who lost to Eastbourne Swifts in 1898; Hastings based teams have reached the final on twenty occasions, lifting the trophy seven times.