Vine Cricket Ground
|Sevenoaks Vine Cricket Ground|
|Home club||Duke of Dorset's XI
Sevenoaks Vine CC
|County club||Kent (pre-county club)|
The Vine Cricket Ground (aka Sevenoaks Vine) is one of the oldest cricket venues in England. It was given to the town of Sevenoaks in 1773 by John Frederick Sackville, 3rd Duke of Dorset (1745 – 1799) and owner of Knole House. The land was thought previously to have been used as a vineyard for the Archbishops of Canterbury (hence the name).
The weatherboard pavilion is 19th-century and listed. Sevenoaks Vine Cricket Club and Sevenoaks Hockey Club are the two sports sections of The Sevenoaks Vine Club which now holds the head lease from the Town Council.
Sevenoaks Vine Cricket Club pay Sevenoaks Town Council a rent of 1 peppercorn per year for the use of the ground, the archetypal peppercorn rent, but pay for all of the upkeep of The Vine even though it is common ground. SVCC used to pay one peppercorn for the pavilion but that has now assumed a more commercial rent of about £3600 p.a. and is paid by the The Sevenoaks Vine Club. In keeping with tradition SVCC pay Lord Sackville (if asked) one cricket ball on 21 July each year. In practice this ceremony happens every year on the Wednesday of cricket week, which is the second week in July.
Sevenoaks Vine was a famous venue for major cricket matches in the 18th century and is notable for being the first place in England where cricket was played with three stumps rather than two. Its earliest known use was for Kent v Sussex on Friday 6 September 1734, a game which Kent won.
The world record for the highest (known) individual score was twice established at the Vine. First, Joseph Miller playing for Kent v Hampshire in August 1774 made 95 out of 240 and enabled Kent to win by an innings and 35 runs.
Then in June 1777 came one of the most remarkable innings of cricket's early history when James Aylward scored 167 for Hampshire v All-England. In a contemporary report, it is stated that: "Aylward went in at 5 o’clock on Wednesday afternoon, and was not out till after three on Friday". Hampshire won by an innings and 168 runs.
In addition to the cricket Club, Sevenoaks Hockey Club also shares the Vine Clubhouse, having done so since 1911.
Minor counties cricket
The ground is the home venue of Sevenoaks Vine CC which plays in the Shepherd Neame Kent Cricket League First XI Premier Division.
- Ashley Mote, The Glory Days of Cricket, Robson, 1997
- Ashley Mote, John Nyren's "The Cricketers of my Time", Robson, 1998
- David Underdown, Start of Play, Allen Lane, 2000