1739 English cricket season
The 1739 cricket season was the 142nd in England since the earliest known definite reference to cricket in January 1597 (i.e., Old Style – 1598 New Style). Details have survived of seven important matches. The growth of cricket is evident in the creation of teams representing the Rest of England and the huge public interest in them, a crowd of over 10,000 assembling for one match. The "all England" teams were formed to take on Kent which, as in previous seasons, had the game's strongest county team. Cricket joined the art world in 1739, an engraving called Youth Playing Cricket being the earliest known cricket subject on public display.
|18 June (M)||Lingfield v London||venue unknown||Lingfield won by 2 wkts|||
The report does not state the venue of this match but does confirm the rematch to be played at the Artillery Ground on the 27th. This is the first reference to the Lingfield club which had a noted team in the 18th century.
|27 June (W)||London v Lingfield||Artillery Ground||result unknown|||
No post-match report was found. The announcement is contained in the report of the previous match and said that "several large bets are depending".
|5 July (Th)||Kingston & Moulsey v London||Moulsey Hurst||Kingston & Moulsey won|||
Referenced in the report of the return match two weeks later (see below).
|9 July (M)||Kent v Rest of England||Bromley Common||Kent won|||
This is the earliest known instance of a non-international England cricket team, loosely termed "all-England" or, more accurately, the Rest of England. The match report defines the all-England concept very well by saying that the match was billed as between "eleven gentlemen of that county (i.e., Kent) and eleven gentlemen from any part of England, exclusive of Kent". An all-England team is, in effect, the rest of England outside its opponents so, in this case, players resident in Kent were ineligible for selection. Kent, which had a very strong team in this period and was described as "the Unconquerable County", won by "a very few notches".
|19 July (Th)||London v Kingston & Moulsey||Kennington Common||Kingston & Moulsey won by 3 runs|||
The London & Country Journal dated Tuesday, 24 July, reported on the second of these two matches but made references to the previous one on Thursday, 5 July. It seems that Kingston & Moulsey won the first game because of "the Londoners turning out three bad men who played on Moulsey Hurst". Kingston & Moulsey won the second game by three runs despite losing "five of their best hands" from the earlier match. London replaced the "three bad men" with Lord John Sackville, Mr Dunn and Mr Boarer (sic) who were described as "three very good gamesters".
|23 July (M)||Rest of England v Kent||Artillery Ground||drawn|||
A report of this game includes the phrase "eleven picked out of all (sic) England". Kent led by over 50 on the first innings, and betting was then 2 to 1 in their favour. The report says: "The Kentish Men were likely to have won, but a Dispute arose whether one of the Londoners was fairly out, which put an End to the Game. There were upwards of 10,000 People to see this Match". One account stated that Kent's opponents were London, but that was an error because "all England" confirms that the match was a return to that played two weeks earlier at Bromley Common.
|5 September (W)||London v Chislehurst||Artillery Ground||result unknown|||
Pre-announced by the London Evening Post on Saturday, 1 September.
The earliest known cricket picture was first displayed this year, an engraving called Youth Playing Cricket by Hubert-François Gravelot (1699–1773). The picture showed two groups of cherubic lads gathered around a batsman and a bowler. The wicket shown is the "low stool" shape, probably 2-foot (0.61 m) wide by 1-foot (0.30 m) tall, naturally with two stumps and a single bail. Gravelot helped to establish the French Rococo style in English publishing and was one of the most celebrated illustrators of the time. He worked in England between 1732 and 1745, opening a drawing school on the Strand which had Thomas Gainsborough (1727–1788) among its pupils.
Monday, 20 August. A 12-a-side game was organised on Coxheath Common by the Earl of Middlesex and Lord John Sackville between teams from the Sevenoaks (aka the Hills) and Maidstone (aka the Dales) areas.
According to Maun on page 96 of his book, there was an Essex v London match in Ilford on "Monday, 1 August" (sic), but this is an error as 1 August 1739 was a Wednesday. The match in question is the one played on Monday, 1 August 1737 (qv).
Clubs and teams
- First-class cricket was officially defined in May 1894 by a meeting at Lord's of Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) and the county clubs which were then competing in the County Championship. The ruling was effective from the beginning of the 1895 season. Pre-1895 matches of the same standard have no official definition of status because the ruling is not retrospective and the important matches designation, as applied to a given match, is based on the views of one or more substantial historical sources. For further information, see First-class cricket, Forms of cricket and History of cricket.
- Waghorn, p. 22.
- ACS, Important Matches, p. 20.
- Buckley, pp. 15–16.
- Waghorn, pp. 22–23.
- Maun, pp. 95–96.
- Waghorn, p. 23.
- Buckley, p. 16.
- Major, pp. 95 & 299.
- Maun, p. 97.
- Maun, pp. 96–97.
- "Historical Calendar". A. R. Collins. Retrieved 18 December 2016.
- Maun, p. 96.
- ACS (1981). A Guide to Important Cricket Matches Played in the British Isles 1709 – 1863. Nottingham: ACS.
- Buckley, G. B. (1935). Fresh Light on 18th Century Cricket. Cotterell.
- Major, John (2007). More Than A Game. HarperCollins.
- Maun, Ian (2009). From Commons to Lord's, Volume One: 1700 to 1750. Roger Heavens. ISBN 978-1-900592-52-9.
- Waghorn, H. T. (1899). Cricket Scores, Notes, etc. (1730–1773). Blackwood.
- Wilson, Martin (2005). An Index to Waghorn. Bodyline.
- Altham, H. S. (1962). A History of Cricket, Volume 1 (to 1914). George Allen & Unwin.
- Ashley-Cooper, F. S. (1880). Kent Cricket Matches 1719–1796. Gibbs & Sons.
- 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.
- McCann, Tim (2004). Sussex Cricket in the Eighteenth Century. Sussex Record Society.
- Marshall, John (1961). The Duke who was Cricket. Muller.
- Waghorn, H. T. (1906). The Dawn of Cricket. Electric Press.
- Underdown, David (2000). Start of Play. Allen Lane.
- Leach, John (2008). "Classification of cricket matches from 1697 to 1825". Stumpsite. Archived from the original on 29 June 2011.
- Leach, John (2007). "From Lads to Lord's; The History of Cricket: 1300 – 1787". Stumpsite. Archived from the original on 29 June 2011.
- Collins, A. R. (2016). "Historical Calendar". Dr A. R. Collins.