1730 English cricket season
|Cricket formats||major, including single wicket|
The most noticeable aspect of the 1730 English cricket season record is that it had the largest number of matches recorded to date, with much more coverage in the newspapers than in any previous season. However, the most significant aspect of the time was the growing importance of the sport in metropolitan London and its surrounding areas. The Artillery Ground entered the historical record for the first time and it is clear that the London Club was establishing predominance over its rivals, which were all representative of counties with teams called Kent, Middlesex, Surrey and Sussex all involved in major cricket matches.[fc 1][fc 2]
List of matches
|12 June (F)||Duke of Richmond's XI v Sir William Gage's XI||Bury Hill, Arundel||result unknown|||
In a letter written by one Henry Forster two days earlier, he says: "Ye say in Chichester his grace (sic; i.e., the Duke of Richmond) is to play a cricket mach (sic) friday with Sr Willm Gaige (sic) on Bery (sic) Hill". No other details have been found and there is no certainty that the match was ever played.
|2 July (Th)||London v Kent||Grays Inn, London||Kent won|||
The precise location was "a field near the lower end of Gray's Inn Lane, London". The original source reports "a cricket-match between the Kentish men and the Londoners for £50, and won by the former".
|2–4 July (Th–Sa)||Surrey v Middlesex||Richmond Green||Surrey won|||
Waghorn's original source was imprecise about the date and he simply recorded it in his Cricket Scores as "June" but subsequent research revealed that the match was played in early July.
|9 July (Th)||Surrey v Sussex||Merrow Down, Guildford||Surrey won|||
One contemporary source refers to the teams in terms of their respective patrons: Mr Andrews of Sunbury-on-Thames for Surrey; the Duke of Richmond for Sussex. Kent patron Edwin Stead was among the spectators.
|29 July (W)||Greenwich v London||Blackheath Common||result unknown|||
The match scheduled to be played at Blackheath on 31 July was to be for a prize of 20 guineas.
|5 August (W)||Duke of Richmond’s XI v Sir William Gage’s XI||The Dripping Pan, Lewes||result unknown|||
|5 August (W)||Kent v London||Blackheath Common||drawn?|||
The report says the "Kentish champions would have lost their honours by being beat at one innings if time had permitted". A repeat was scheduled for 12 August at Islington. It is not clear if "Kentish champions" meant that Kent had claims to being the champion county.
|10 August (M)||Middlesex v Surrey||Artillery Ground||Middlesex won|||
This game is the earliest definite match at the Artillery Ground in Finsbury between Chiswell Street and Bunhill Fields. It was referred to in contemporary reports as the "old Artillery Ground", but that may be because it was used frequently for other forms of sport or entertainment. It came to be the featured venue for London cricket until about 1765, after which the game's focus shifted to Hambledon and the London Club disbanded.
|12 & 18 August (W/Tu)||London v Kent||Islington / Kennington Common||result unknown|||
The match started at Frog Lane in Islington on 12 August "but being obliged by their articles to leave off at seven o’clock, they could not finish it". London had a lead of 30 when play ended that day but no report has survived of the resumption at Kennington Common on 18 August.
|17 August (M)||London v Surrey||Kennington Common||London won by 1 run|||
London's single run victory over Surrey was "thought to be one of the completest matches that ever was played".
|21 August (F)||Middlesex v Surrey||venue unknown||result unknown|||
No details are known.
|31 August (M)||London v Surrey||Artillery Ground||London won by 6 runs|||
The stake in this return match on 31 August was 20 guineas.
|4 September (F)||London v Surrey||Artillery Ground||result unknown|||
The match on 4 September was the third between the London and Surrey teams in 1730.
|9 September (W)||Putney v Fulham||Putney Heath||Putney won|||
The stakes in the "great cricket-match" at Putney Heath were "50 guineas per side". But for the high stakes, this would probably be classified as a minor fixture.
As was generally the case through the 1720s in the time of its noted patron Edwin Stead, the "Champion County"[fc 3] per se would have been Kent. By process of elimination using the known results, Kent seems to have been the strongest county team in 1730. Surrey had beaten Middlesex early in the season but lost twice to London in August. London played Kent three times: one result is unknown, one was apparently a draw (arguably the earliest known drawn game) and the other was won by Kent. The drawn game between Kent and London is significant in this. The St James Evening Post on Saturday, 8 August reported: "'Twas thought that the Kentish champions would have lost their honours by being beat at one innings if time had permitted". This is the first time that a team is called the "champions" while "losing their honours" suggests loss of a title.
During April, there were reports in a number of journals about the Duke of Richmond and other members of the nobility playing cricket in Hyde Park. One such report on Tuesday, 7 April, stated: "His Grace the Duke of Richmond, and several other young Noblemen and gentlemen, have begun to divert themselves each Morning at the Play of Cricket in Hide (sic) Park, and design to pursue that wholesome Exercise every fair Morning during the Spring". A report on Wednesday, 22 April, mentioned an intention to play a match for 100 guineas, but no further details have been found.
Monday, 29 June. There was a "two threes" single wicket match for £50 at Mickleham Downs in Surrey between three men of Surrey and three of Sussex. The newspaper report says the players were "esteemed the best in the respective counties" but does not name them. The Sussex three won.
Monday, 17 August. A twelve-a-side game was played at Tonbridge and "backed by a great many of the noblemen and gentry of that place". It seems to have been a tight contest which was unfinished on the day, so another date was chosen for the conclusion, but nothing further is known.
Wednesday, 26 August. Edwin Stead and three colleagues played a four-a-side single wicket match against four Brentford men on Walworth Common "for a considerable wager". The Brentford men won. Given Stead's Kent connection, this may have been a repeat of the games on 28 May and 4 June (see above).
- 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.
- 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.
- An unofficial seasonal title proclaimed by media or historians prior to December 1889 when the official County Championship was constituted.
- McCann, p. 10.
- Ashley-Cooper (KCM), p. 96.
- Waghorn (CS), p. 1.
- Wilson, p. 44.
- Maun, p. 42.
- Buckley (FL18C), p. 4.
- Maun, p. 43.
- Maun, p. 44.
- Waghorn (CS), p. 2.
- Maun, p. 45.
- Waghorn (CS), p. 3.
- Maun, p. 45.
- Leach, John (2008). "Champion cricket teams since 1728". Stumpsite. Retrieved 28 February 2015.
- Maun, p. 41.
- Buckley (FLPVC), p. 1.
- Waghorn (CS), pp. 3–4.
- Maun, p. 46.
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