1729 English cricket season

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1729 English cricket season
Cricket formats major, including single wicket

The 1729 English cricket season is noted for the earliest known innings victory and the earliest known surviving cricket bat. A total of six major cricket matches have been recorded.[fc 1][fc 2]

List of matches[edit]

date match title venue result source
24 June (Tu) Kent v Sussex Walworth Common result unknown [1]

The match was for fifty pounds per side with a play or pay rule agreed. It is the earliest match featuring a team that is expressly called Sussex, though teams raised by patrons in earlier seasons are understood to have been composed of Sussex players.

30 July (Wed) Dartford v London Dartford (precise venue not specified) result unknown [2]

The teams were described as "the Gentlemen of Dartford and London"; the stake was fifty pounds.

5 August (Tu) Gentlemen of Middlesex v Gentlemen of London The Woolpack, Islington result unknown [3]

The venue was described as "in the Field behind the Woolpack Back Gate near Sadler’s Wells", the match having a stake of £50 per side. Several sources have listed the match in 1728 due to an error in original research.

5 August (Tu) London v Dartford Kennington Common Dartford won "very much" [4]

Described thus: "a great Cricket Match at Kennington Common between the Londoners and the Dartford men, for a considerable Sum of Money, Wager and Betts, and the latter beat the former very much".[5]

28 August (Th) Mr Edwin Stead’s XI v Sir William Gage’s XI Penshurst Park Sir William Gage’s XI won by an innings? [6][7]

Stead v Gage was also titled Kent (Stead) v Surrey, Sussex & Hampshire (Gage). It was 11 a side and played for 100 guineas with "some thousands" watching.[6] This match seems to have resulted in the earliest known innings victory as Gage's XI "got (within three) in one hand, as the former did in two hands, so the Kentish men (i.e., Stead's XI) threw it up". The report added re Thomas Waymark that "a groom of the Duke of Richmond signalised himself by extraordinary agility and dexterity".[6]

The report then states that "(Waymark) turned the scale of victory, which for some years past has been generally on the Kentish side".[6] This indicates that inter-county matches had been played for many years previously and that there was keen rivalry with each team seeking ascendancy: i.e., as "champions" or, given a 1728 reference to the superiority of Kent, at least of "bragging rights".[3]

 ? Sept Sussex, Surrey & Hampshire v Kent Lewes result unknown [6]

A report dated 13 September says that: the great match played at Penshurst will be played again in Sussex.[6] This is the first time that Hampshire is known to be used in a team name, though not individually.[3]

County cricket[edit]

It appears that Gage's XI was representative of three counties and so should probably be considered an All-England team representing the rest of the cricket-playing counties against Kent, who had hitherto enjoyed: "the scale of victory, which for some years past has been generally on the Kentish side" (see above). The match on 24 June involved a team specifically named Sussex, but the result is unknown. Despite losing to Gage's team in August, Kent under the patronage of Edwin Stead is generally believed to have been the strongest county team[fc 3] of the 1720s.[8]

Other events[edit]

The oldest cricket bat still in existence dates from 1729. Note the shape, which is more like that of a modern-day hockey stick than a modern-day cricket bat. It is kept in the Sandham Room in the Member's Pavilion at the Oval

There is a bat in The Oval pavilion which belonged to John Chitty of Knaphill, Surrey. Dated 1729, it is the oldest known bat.[9] It looks more like a field hockey stick than a modern cricket bat but its curvature was to enable the batsman to play a ball that was always rolled, as in bowls, never pitched. Pitching began about 30 years later and the straight bats used nowadays were invented in response to the pitched delivery.[3]

Dr Samuel Johnson attended Oxford University from October 1728 until the following summer and later told James Boswell that cricket matches were played there. Boswell mentioned this in his Life of Samuel Johnson.[1]

A local game in Gloucester on Monday 22 September is the earliest known reference to cricket in Gloucestershire.[9]


  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. ^ "Champion County" is an unofficial seasonal title proclaimed by media or historians prior to December 1889 when the official County Championship was constituted.


  1. ^ a b Maun, p. 38.
  2. ^ Maun, pp. 38–39.
  3. ^ a b c d Leach, John (2007). "From Lads to Lord's – 1729". Stumpsite. Retrieved 28 February 2015. 
  4. ^ Buckley, p. 3.
  5. ^ Maun, p. 39.
  6. ^ a b c d e f Waghorn, p. 7.
  7. ^ Wilson, p. 50.
  8. ^ Leach, John (2008). "Champion cricket teams since 1728". Stumpsite. Retrieved 28 February 2015. 
  9. ^ a b Bowen, p. 263.


  • Bowen, Rowland (1970). Cricket: A History of its Growth and Development. Eyre & Spottiswoode. 
  • 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. 
  • 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]