Kent county cricket teams
Kent county cricket teams have been traced back to the 17th century but the county's involvement in cricket goes back much further than that. Kent, jointly with Sussex, is the birthplace of the sport. It is widely believed that cricket was invented by children living on the Weald in Saxon or Norman times.
The first definite mention of cricket in Kent relates to a match at Chevening in 1610 between teams from the Weald and the Downs.
Cricket became established in Kent during the 17th century and the earliest village matches took place before the English Civil War. It is believed that the earliest county teams were formed in the aftermath of the Restoration in 1660.
Kent was a major county throughout the 18th century, largely due to the Dartford Cricket Club and famous patrons such as Edward Stead, Sir Horatio Mann and John Frederick Sackville, 3rd Duke of Dorset. Noted Kent players included William Bedle, Robert Colchin, John Frame and Joseph Miller.
In the 1822 MCC versus Kent match at Lord’s, John Willes of Kent opened the bowling and was no-balled for using a roundarm action, a style he had attempted to introduce since 1807. Willes promptly withdrew from the match and refused to play again in any important fixture. His action proved the catalyst for the so-called "roundarm revolution".
Kent struggled against the prominence of Sussex in the early roundarm years but then enjoyed a glorious period in the middle of the century. Rowland Bowen has recorded that a Maidstone newspaper in 1837 described a match between Kent and Nottinghamshire as for the County Championship. This is the earliest known use of the term although the concept of a Champion County was much older. Kent was duly proclaimed "Champion County" in 1837 and through most of the 1840s. Mainstays of the Kent team in those years included Alfred Mynn, Fuller Pilch, Nicholas Wanostrocht aka "Felix", Ned Wenman and William Hillyer.
On 6 August 1842, formation of the original Kent County Cricket Club took place in Canterbury. The new Kent CCC played its initial first-class match against All-England at the White Hart Ground in Bromley on 25, 26 & 27 August 1842. On 1 March 1859, a substantial reorganisation occurred to create the present Kent CCC.
For the history of Kent cricket since the foundation of the county club, see : Kent County Cricket Club.
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- Derek Birley, A Social History of English Cricket, Aurum, 1999
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