1751 English cricket season
The 1751 cricket season was the 154th in England since the earliest known definite reference to cricket in January 1597 (i.e., Old Style – 1598 New Style). Details have survived of nine important eleven-a-side and two single wicket matches. The earliest known references to cricket in each of Durham, Somerset, Warwickshire and Yorkshire occur in 1751.
The population of Great Britain in 1751 reached 7,250,000 and, although the figure was rising, the country remained a small rural society with London the only real urban centre. Cricket reflected this scenario as it was still essentially a rural game at this time with London Cricket Club at the Artillery Ground its one "big club" and "feature venue".
|13 May (M)||Surrey v London||Artillery Ground||result unknown|||
The actual title of the match as advertised beforehand was Addington, Warlingham, Croydon & Cheam versus Ripley, Thursley & London. Wickets to be pitched at one o'clock and the game was arranged by the noblemen and gentlemen of the London Club. No match details were reported afterwards.
|20 & 21 May (M-Tu)||Rest of England v Kent||Artillery Ground||Rest of England won by 9 runs|||
Kent had Tom Faulkner (Addington and Surrey) as a given man. All-England scored 26 and 122; Kent replied with 76 and 63. So 287 runs were scored in the match and this was a lot for the time, given the uncertain state of all wickets.
A. N. Other played for Thursley, as did Stephen Harding (later of Chertsey) who was a noted bowler. In England's second innings, these two went in first and scored 51 for the first wicket, which would be like a double century partnership nowadays. Harding apparently made 50 of these himself and had one hit out of the ground and against a house on Bunhill Row opposite. He was given four for this mighty effort. You could only score six if you were actually able to run that many and to do that you would need the help of overthrows.
Play on the first day started at one o'clock and on the second day at ten o'clock. At the end of the first day, Kent in their second innings were 23-2, still needing 73 to win. Kent were reduced to 43-9 when the last pair came together so the final wicket added 20.
For the first time ever, the fall of wickets in an innings is known. This is England's second innings: 1 – 51, 2 – 72, 3 – 77, 4 – 77, 5 – 78, 6 – 84, 7 – 87, 8 – 119, 9 – 119, 10 – 122.
|22 May (W)||Rest of England v Kent||Artillery Ground||Rest of England won by an innings & 9 runs|||
Kent scored 88 and 67; Rest of England scored 164. The teams were the same as on the two previous days and again the name of the second Thursley player is unrecorded. It would seem that Kent was no longer good enough to challenge the Rest of England.
|1 June (S)||Addington v Hadlow||Hayes Common, Bromley||result unknown|||
Pre-announced in the Daily Advertiser on Thursday, 30 May.
|24 June (M)||Surrey v Middlesex||Kennington Common||result unknown|||
Announced in the Daily Advertiser same day with a one o'clock start.
|23 July (Tu)||Dartford v Bromley||Dartford Brent||result unknown|||
This was played for one hundred guineas. Apparently, there was a challenge from the Newmarket players to take on 22 of the players in this game for any sum, but nothing further is known about it.
|1 August (Th)||Bromley v Dartford||Bromley Common||result unknown|||
This was a return to the match on 23 July.
|19 August (M)||London v Country XI||Artillery Ground||London won by 5 runs|||
London scored 30 and 5; the Country XI replied with 24 and 6.
|4 September (W)||Richmond v Kingston & Hampton||Moulsey Hurst||result unknown|||
Announced in the Daily Advertiser on Monday, 2 September: "for two guineas a man; 11 a side, and to play home & home" (sic).
Monday, 3 June. A "fives" match was played in the Artillery Ground between Kent and Surrey. The Kent team was Tom Faulkner (given man), John Bell, Thomas Bell, Stone and Val Romney. The Surrey team was Stephen Dingate, John Harris, Joseph Harris, Stephen Harding and Perry. Kent won although the betting was in favour of Surrey.
Wednesday, 5 June. The same two teams met in a return match at the Artillery Ground with Kent winning by 14 runs. Kent scored 4 and 57; Surrey replied with 26 and 21. Kent achieved a huge batting improvement in their second innings.
Monday, 26 August. There were two matches on the same day at the Artillery Ground between Five of London and Five Country Players. Neither result is known.
Having lost the Duke of Richmond in 1750, cricket was hit by the death of another significant patron, the Prince of Wales, on Sunday, 31 March. The loss of these patrons had an adverse impact on the game's finances and the number of top-class matches reduced for some years to come, although economic difficulties arising from the wars of the period certainly inhibited many potential investors. It was said that the Prince of Wales died as a result of being struck on the head by a cricket ball. He may well have been hit on the head but that did not kill him; the cause of death was a burst abscess in a lung. The early death of Prince Frederick Louis meant that his son Prince George became heir to the throne and he succeeded in 1760 as George III.
The earliest reference to cricket in Durham is a game at Raby Castle on or soon after Monday, 5 August between the Earl of Northumberland's XI and the Duke of Cleveland's XI. The game was commemorated by a ballad which starts:
- Durham City has been dull so long,
- No bustle at all to show;
- But now the rage of all the throng
- Is at cricketing to go.
The earliest known references to cricket in Yorkshire were re local matches in Sheffield and a game on or soon after Monday, 5 August at Stanwick, near Richmond, between Duke of Cleveland's XI and Earl of Northumberland's XI (the same teams that played in Durham, as noted above).
Four matches were played at Newmarket and Woburn between Gentlemen of England and Eton College Past & Present. The four games were played during June and July. The second game has a surviving scorecard but the teams in all four matches are decidedly minor.
Clubs and teams
- Stephen Harding (Thursley/Chertsey)
- Mathews (All-England)
- Stephens (Dartford)
- Stone (Kent)
- Wilden (Kent)
- 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.
- Ashley-Cooper, At the Sign of the Wicket, 19 April 1900, p. 68.
- ACS, Important Matches, p. 22.
- Buckley, FL18C, p. 25.
- Ashley-Cooper, At the Sign of the Wicket, 19 April 1900, p. 69.
- Ashley-Cooper, At the Sign of the Wicket, 26 April 1900, p. 83.
- Buckley, FLPVC, p. 2.
- Maun, p. 13.
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