1744 English cricket season
The 1744 cricket season was the 147th in England since the earliest known definite reference to cricket in January 1597 (i.e., Old Style – 1598 New Style). Details have survived of 18 important eleven-a-side and three single wicket matches. It was a pivotal season in English cricket history because the earliest known codification of the "Laws of Cricket" was written by a group calling themselves the "Noblemen and Gentlemen" of the London Cricket Club.
The season is also notable for the two earliest known surviving match scorecards, although they are nothing like as comprehensive as modern ones. The first, containing individual scores but no details of dismissal, has survived from the London v Slindon game on Saturday, 2 June. Just over a fortnight later, Monday, 18 June, the most famous match of the 1740s was the challenge by Kent to take on a team representing the rest of England at the Artillery Ground. Kent won a dramatic contest by a single wicket despite needing several runs to win when their last pair of batsmen came together. The scorecard became the first entry in Arthur Haygarth's Scores & Biographies, though he had the date wrong. It is not until the 1772 season that any more scorecards of important matches have survived (a handful of cards from minor matches have been found).
In September, Slindon defeated London and then issued its famous challenge to play any parish in England. The challenge was accepted by the Addington and Bromley clubs, which both had fine teams, but the two challenge matches may have been hit by bad weather and it is not known if they were completed.
- 1 Laws of Cricket
- 2 The earliest known scorecard
- 3 Important matches
- 4 Single wicket
- 5 Other events
- 6 First mentions
- 7 Leading players
- 8 Notes
- 9 References
- 10 Bibliography
- 11 Additional reading
- 12 External links
Laws of Cricket
The first known issue of the "Laws of Cricket" can be traced to 1744, possibly an upgrade of an earlier code. The Laws were drawn up by the noblemen and gentlemen members of the London Cricket Club, which was based at the Artillery Ground. The intention must have been to establish a universal codification. A general set of rules was in place subject to local variations but, apart from cases where Articles of Agreement were drawn up, as in Richmond v Brodrick in 1727, the laws as such were agreed orally. By and large, the same rules had existed since time immemorial.
A summary of the main points:
- there is reference to the toss of a coin and the pitch dimensions;
- the stumps must be 22 inches (560 mm) high with a six-inch (152 mm) bail;
- the ball must weigh between five and six ounces;
- overs last four balls;
- the no ball is the penalty for overstepping, which means the hind foot going in front of the bowling crease (i.e., in direct line of the wicket);
- the popping crease is exactly 3 feet ten inches before the bowling crease;
- various means of "it is out" are included;
- it is interesting that hitting the ball twice and obstructing the field are emphatically out, given experiences in the 17th century;
- the wicket keeper is required to be still and quiet until the ball is bowled;
- umpires must allow two minutes for a new batsman to arrive and ten minutes between innings (meal and rain breaks presumably excepted);
- the umpire cannot give a batsman out if the fielders do not appeal;
- the umpire is allowed a certain amount of discretion and it is made clear that the umpire is the "sole judge" and that "his determination shall be absolute"
The Laws do not say the bowler must roll the ball and there is no mention of prescribed arm action so, in theory, a pitched delivery would have been legal, though potentially controversial.
The earliest known scorecard
When London played Slindon at the Artillery Ground on Saturday, 2 June, details of individual scores were recorded and the scorecard was kept by the Duke of Richmond at Goodwood House. It gives scores only and no means of dismissal. It does not give much information about the players except their surnames although the scorer did think to differentiate between the two sets of brothers who were playing.
The Daily Advertiser carried various notices from Thursday, 31 May until Sunday, 3 June which announced that two untitled sides would play in the Artillery Ground on Saturday, 2 June. On 31 May, the paper said that the teams would consist of "four gentlemen from Slindon, one from Eastbourne, two from Hamilton (sic) in Sussex, one from Addington and three from Lingfield in Surrey" against "four gentlemen of London, one from Richmond, one from Reigate, three from Addington in Surrey, one from Bray Wick in Berkshire and one from Arundel in Sussex". This was followed by the usual reminder about no dogs and the need to obtain a pass ticket if leaving the ground during play.
The Daily Advertiser changed its notice on Friday, 1 June through 2 and 3 June by confusingly announcing the names of the players on each side. However, the names in the paper are not the same as those on the scorecard kept by the Duke of Richmond. The same (i.e., incorrect) names were also reported on 3 June, the day after the match. The paper announced that the two teams would consist of: Cuddy, Richard Newland, Adam Newland, John Newland, Ridgeway, Green of Sussex; Sawyer, Stevens, Stevens, Collins of Surrey; and Norris of London versus Dingate, John Harris, Joseph Harris, Faulkner, Jackson, Maynard of Surrey; Bennett, Bryant, Smith, Howlett of London; and Waymark of Berkshire. No titles were given to the teams at the time (various titles have been applied retrospectively by modern authors). Bryant was one of the two brothers of that name, John and James, who were prominent Kent players of the time, while Bennett was one of "Little" or "Tall" Bennett, both noted batsmen in the 1740s.
According to the Duke of Richmond’s papers, which are now in the possession of the West Sussex Records Office, including the recorded scores of this match, the teams were somewhat different from those advertised. Team names are provisionally  given as London versus Slindon, these being the two main clubs represented:
|Sat 2 June 1744 - London v Slindon (Artillery Ground)|
|Edward Aburrow senior||5||0||-||Howlett||1||5|
|? Bryant||5||10||-||Stephen Dingate||0||19|
|Richard Newland||0||0||-||William Sawyer||4||4|
|Ridgeway||6||dnb||-||? Bennett (Little or Tall)||11||7|
|Joseph Harris||13||14||-||Tom Faulkner||1||0|
|George Jackson||19||1||-||Thomas Waymark||13||16|
|Slindon won by 55 runs|
There were two players called Bryant (James and John) and two called Bennett who were always referred to as Little Bennett and Tall Bennett. It is not known which player in each of these pairs took part. Note also that there were two Harrises who both played; and of course the three Newland brothers, of whom John did not play. Edward Aburrow senior, alias Cuddy the notorious smuggler, was the father of the later Hambledon player of the same name. Thomas Waymark was formerly employed by Slindon's benefactor the Duke of Richmond but he is here given as a Berkshire resident and playing for the London XI.
The match included one of cricket's earliest known declarations by Slindon in their second innings at 102–6, although the term "declaration" was not in use at that time and neither was the concept generally recognised. Rather it was a case of Slindon "forfeiting" part of their innings in order to allow time to bowl out their opponents. This was also the first known game at which tickets for readmission were issued to the spectators.
|14 May (M)||Surrey v All-England ||Moulsey Hurst||Surrey won by 4 runs|||
The Prince of Wales was involved in the promotion of this match and arranged the next match the following Monday at the Artillery Ground.
|21 May (M)||All-England v Surrey ||Artillery Ground||result unknown|||
All we know is that it started at 11 o’clock and was completed in one day.
|2 June (S)||London &c. v Slindon &c.||Artillery Ground||Slindon won by 55 runs|||
see The earliest known scorecard above.
|15 June (F)||Kent v All-England ||Coxheath||result unknown|
In his Index to Waghorn, Martin Wilson states that the famous match at the Artillery Ground on Mon 18 June (see below) was the return of a match played at Coxheath on Friday 15 June.
|18 June (M)||All-England v Kent ||Artillery Ground||Kent won by 1 wkt|||
This is the first match for which a full scorecard including dismissals has survived and it is the opening entry in Scores & Biographies. The scorecard presents the problem of players sharing names and not being differentiated by the scorers, whom Arthur Haygarth denounced for their "laziness". It was not until the 1772 season that scorecards began to be kept on a regular basis.
The game was arranged by Lord John Philip Sackville who challenged All-England to play against his county, Kent. The match was extremely close and must have had an exciting finish. It was low scoring and the two not out batsmen at the end scored 5 and 7, so Kent must have needed at least 5 to win when their 9th wicket fell. Sackville himself is reported to have held a remarkable catch to dismiss All-England's best player Richard Newland and that may have been the defining moment of the match. Most of the players had already taken part in the London v Slindon match on 2 June but this match's scorecard provides the first mentions in sources of five Kent cricketers: Bartram, Danes, the noted wicketkeeper Kipps and the bowler John Mills and his brother.
The poet James Love (1722–1774) commemorated this match in his Cricket: An Heroic Poem. There is a reference in FL18 (on p. 19, under 1745) to the first publication of his poem. As announced in the Daily Advertiser on 4 July 1745, it was priced 1/- and "illustrated with critical observations of Scriblerus Maximus (!)". A footnote says: Printed for W Bickerton at the Gazette in the Temple Exchange near the Inner Temple Gate, Fleet Street. Love was himself a cricketer and a member of Richmond Cricket Club in Surrey.
|5 July (Th)||Two Elevens ||Artillery Ground||result unknown|||
Described as "a scratch match between 22 picked players from Kent, Sussex, Surrey and London and all the most-famed places in England". It was postponed from the previous day because of the weather (Daily Advertiser: Thurs 5 July).
The Penny London Morning Advertiser on Fri 6 July observed that: "the small appearance of the company is a plain proof of the resentment of the Public to any imposition, for the price on going into the ground being raised from twopence to sixpence, it is thought there were not 200 persons present when before there used to be 7000 to 8000; which plainly verifies the old proverb "all cover, all loose (sic)". (FL18)
|6 & 7 July (F-S)||Two Elevens ||Moulsey Hurst/Artillery Ground||result unknown|||
It is known that this was a return game to the one played on 5 July and that it was unfinished at Moulsey Hurst on Friday 6 July, so the players continued at the Artillery Ground on Saturday 7 July. The state of play on Friday night was that one side led by 31 runs with 2 second innings wickets standing. On the Saturday, price of admission was reduced to the "as usual" two pence.
|9 July (M)||London v Richmond ||Kennington Common||result unknown|||
Advertised in the Daily Advertiser same morning but no match report was found.
|21 July (S)||London v Woburn ||Artillery Ground||result unknown|||
This match was postponed from Thursday 19 July because the Hon. Artillery Company required the ground.
|30 July (M)||London v Addington ||Artillery Ground||result unknown|||
"The wickets were pitched at one o'clock".
|24 August (F)||Surrey v London ||Moulsey Hurst||London won|||
|27 August (M)||London v Surrey ||Artillery Ground||London won|||
Robert Colchin of Bromley and Val Romney of Sevenoaks were given men for London.
|3 September (M)||London v Bromley ||Artillery Ground||result unknown|
Bromley was a leading club at the time and later in the month was one of two (Addington being the other) to accept Slindon's challenge to play any parish in England.
|7 September (F)||London v Surrey ||Artillery Ground||result unknown|
Val Romney of Sevenoaks was a given man for London.
|10 & 11 September (M-Tu)||London v Slindon ||Artillery Ground||Slindon won|
The Newland brothers and "Cuddy" (Edward Aburrow senior) all played for Slindon. Play commenced at noon on the first day but was affected by bad weather. Play on the Tuesday commenced at ten o'clock.
It was at the conclusion of this game that Slindon issued its famous challenge to play "any parish in England". They received immediate acceptances from Addington and Bromley who played Slindon in the next two matches.
|12 & 13 September (W-Th)||Slindon v Addington ||Artillery Ground||result unknown|||
This was affected by bad weather on the 12th. At close of play each side had completed its first innings and Slindon had a lead of just two runs. It is not known if this match was completed on the 13th.
|14 September (F)||Slindon v Bromley ||Artillery Ground||result unknown|
As with the first challenge game, details of the result are unknown. Possibly it was rained off.
|19 September (W)||Two Elevens ||Artillery Ground||result unknown|||
Described a "scratch match" but between 22 of the "best players in England". No post-match reports were found.
Mon 20 August. There was a single wicket match "for a large sum" between a Sevenoaks player (perhaps Val Romney) and a London player. No other details are known.
Mon 17 September. A big game between two threes at the Artillery Ground. Billed as Long Robin's Side v Richard Newland's Side, the teams were Robert Colchin (Bromley), Val Romney (Sevenoaks) and John Bryant (Addington) against Richard Newland (Slindon), Edward Aburrow senior (Slindon) and Joseph Harris (Addington). Aburrow replaced John Mills of Horsmonden, the "famous Kent bowler" who was originally chosen. The stake was two hundred guineas and the players involved were stated to be the "best in England". Once again, despite this being a senior fixture, the outcome is unknown.
Mon 1 October. Another "threes" game was played at the Artillery Ground for a considerable sum and again the outcome is unknown. The sides were Robert Colchin, James Bryant and Joseph Harris versus John Bryant, Val Romney and Thomas Waymark.
Mon 11 June. The Penny London Morning Advertiser announced a match on Walworth Common in Surrey between "11 gentlemen of the Borough of Southwark and 11 gentlemen of High Kent and Blackman; the wickets to be pitched at one o'clock". The announcement continued: "The gentlemen who play this match have subscribed for a Holland smock of one guinea value, which will be run for by two jolly wenches, one known by the name of The Little Bit of Blue (the handsome Broom Girl) at the fag end of Kent Street, and the other Black Bess of the Mint. They are to run in drawers only and there is excellent sport expected". "Captain Vinegar with a great many of his bruisers and bulldogs will attend to make a ring, that no civil spectators may be incommoded by the rabble".
The Penny London Morning Advertiser on Wed 27 June advertised a match to be played next day on Woolwich Common between Woolwich and "the Club in Long Lane, Southwark".
The Daily Advertiser reported on Sat 30 June re the famous match on Mon 18 June: "It was observed by the noblemen and gentlemen there present that there was great disorder so that it was with difficulty the match was played out. It is ordered for the future that each person pay for going into the Ground sixpence, and there will be for the better conveniency (sic) of all gentlemen that favour me with their company, a ring of benches that will hold at least 800 persons. And it is further desired that no person whtever, except those appointed to keep orderand the players engaged for the day, be admitted to walk within the ring".
Thanks to the survival of scorecards from two matches in 1744, the names of a great many players from the period are known. The players listed below are named on the two scorecards but the spans of their careers is generally unknown. It is believed that Dingate, for example, was active in the 1720s while others may have continued into the 1760s.
Clubs and teams
- Adam Newland
- Edward Aburrow senior aka "Cuddy"
- George Jackson
- George Smith
- James Bryant
- James Love
- Joe Harris
- John Harris
- John Mills
- Little Bennett
- Stephen Dingate
- Tall Bennett
- Tom Faulkner
The best batting performances by those players who took part in both the games with scorecards are given below. Note that many scorecards in the 18th century are unknown or have missing details and so it is impossible to provide a complete analysis of batting performances. For example, the missing not outs prevent computation of batting averages. The "runs scored" are in fact the runs known.
The other noted Kent bowler taking part was John Mills of Horsmonden. His exact tally is not known, as his brother may have taken some wickets. The same is true of the Harrises and Newlands who bowled for All-England. Seven wickets each were taken by players called Mills, Harris and Newland.
Fielders and wicketkeepers
Kipps of Kent was the leading wicketkeeper at the time and is the earliest specialist keeper that we know of.
Thomas Waymark took two catches for All-England v Kent, and he was praised many years earlier for his agility and dexterity. But the most memorable catch in the All-England v Kent match was a diving effort taken by Lord John Philip Sackville to dismiss Richard Newland.
- 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.
- per CricketArchive
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- ACS, Important Matches, p. 21.
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- The official laws of cricket