1726 English cricket season

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1726 English cricket season
Cricket formats major, including single wicket

The 1726 English cricket season is the first in which a newspaper report names a participant in a cricket match and it is from this time that a continuous history of English cricket in terms of major matches[fc 1][fc 2] is possible, although the details in most seasons through the 18th century remain sparse. Newspaper reports seemed to be widening in scope and the first players mentioned were Perry of London and Piper of Hampton who played a single wicket match. The main story of the year, as in some earlier seasons, concerns cricket's relationship with the law, though once again the issue was non-payment of gambling debts.

List of matches[edit]

The London Evening Post dated 27 August carried an advertisement for a single wicket match between players called "the noted Perry (of London) and the famous Piper (of Hampton", the earliest definite reference to a single wicket contest.[1] The venue was Moulsey Hurst, near Molesey in Surrey, famous for various sporting activities, especially prizefighting, and was often used for cricket throughout the 18th century.[2]

date match title venue result source
29 August (M) London & Surrey v Edwin Stead’s XI (Kent) Kennington Common result unknown [3]

A major match played "for 25 guineas between the men belonging to Edwin Stead, Esq. of Maidstone and the men of London and Surrey".[3]

 ? Sept (see 1724) Edwin Stead's XI v Chingford Dartford Brent result unknown [3]

This was the conclusion of the 1724 match which was unfinished at that time and became the subject of a lawsuit. Lord Chief Justice Pratt ordered it "to be played out", but he died in 1725 before it was played out.[3]

County cricket[edit]

The match on 29 August is the only one in 1726 that could be considered an inter-county fixture and its result is unknown. Although Kent, based on the esteem of the Dartford club, is generally believed to have been the strongest county in the 1720s, any claims to "Champion County"[fc 3] in 1726 are inconclusive.[4]

Other events[edit]

On the subject of legal matters, a letter has survived that was written by an Essex resident. The writer complained that a local Justice of the Peace (JP) had seen fit to literally "read the Riot Act" to some people who were playing cricket on Saturday, 10 September. He had a constable with him who dispersed the players.[5] G. B. Buckley commented that it seems the JP considered any game or sport as a pretence covering the gathering of disaffected people in order to raise a rebellion. Given the ruling by Lord Chief Justice Pratt, who in effect ordered the Chingford v Stead's XI game to be played on Dartford Brent, the issue raised was that it was apparently lawful to play cricket in Kent but not in Essex.[6][5]


  1. ^ The term "major cricket" deserves some qualification. It is not limited to "first-class cricket" which is a misleading concept that is essentially statistical and may typically ignore the more important historical aspect of a match if statistical information is missing, as is invariably the case re matches played prior to 1772. From that season, scorecards began to be created habitually and there is a continuous and adequate, though incomplete, statistical record commencing in 1772. Major cricket in the Stuart and Hanoverian periods includes both single wicket and eleven-a-side games. Features of these matches include high stakes, large crowds and evidence that the teams are representative of several parishes, perhaps of whole counties. Except in rare instances, village cricket in the shape of a match played between two parish teams, would be classified as minor.
  2. ^ Note that surviving match records to 1825 are incomplete and any statistical compilation of a player's career in that period is based on known data. Match scorecards were not always created, or have been lost, and the matches themselves were not always recorded in the press or other media. Scorecard data was not comprehensive: e.g., bowling analyses lacked balls bowled and runs conceded; bowlers were not credited with wickets when the batsman was caught or stumped; in many matches, the means of dismissal were omitted.
  3. ^ An unofficial seasonal title proclaimed by media or historians prior to December 1889 when the official County Championship was constituted.


  1. ^ Maun, p. 33.
  2. ^ Leach, John (2007). "From Lads to Lord's – 1726". Stumpsite. Retrieved 2 February 2013. 
  3. ^ a b c d Waghorn, p. 6.
  4. ^ Leach, John (2008). "Champion cricket teams since 1728". Stumpsite. Retrieved 28 February 2015. 
  5. ^ a b Buckley, p. 3.
  6. ^ "Our history: Cricket in Dartford". Dartford Cricket Club. 2012. Retrieved 2 February 2013. 


  • Buckley, G. B. (1935). Fresh Light on 18th Century Cricket. Cotterell. 
  • Maun, Ian (2009). From Commons to Lord's, Volume One: 1700 to 1750. Roger Heavens. ISBN 978-1-900592-52-9. 
  • Waghorn, H. T. (1906). The Dawn of Cricket. Electric Press. 
  • Wilson, Martin (2005). An Index to Waghorn. Bodyline. 

Additional reading[edit]

  • ACS (1981). A Guide to Important Cricket Matches Played in the British Isles 1709 – 1863. Nottingham: ACS. 
  • Altham, H. S. (1962). A History of Cricket, Volume 1 (to 1914). George Allen & Unwin. 
  • Birley, Derek (1999). A Social History of English Cricket. Aurum. 
  • Bowen, Rowland (1970). Cricket: A History of its Growth and Development. Eyre & Spottiswoode. 
  • Buckley, G. B. (1937). Fresh Light on pre-Victorian Cricket. Cotterell. 
  • Major, John (2007). More Than A Game. HarperCollins. 
  • Marshall, John (1961). The Duke who was Cricket. Muller. 
  • McCann, Tim (2004). Sussex Cricket in the Eighteenth Century. Sussex Record Society. 
  • Underdown, David (2000). Start of Play. Allen Lane. 

External links[edit]