1769 English cricket season
The 1769 cricket season was the 172nd in England since the earliest known definite reference to cricket in January 1597 (i.e., Old Style – 1598 New Style). Details have survived of eleven important matches. 1769 was the last season in which the original London Cricket Club and the Artillery Ground feature prominently in the records.
The increasing stature of the Hambledon Club was encouraging a shift in focus from the Artillery Ground towards Broadhalfpenny Down, which became a significant venue through the 1770s. The process may have been accelerated by Hambledon’s innings victory over Surrey in September. The highlight of this match was one of the earliest known century opening partnerships, between Tom Sueter and George Leer of Hambledon, described by a contemporary reporter as "remarkable".
|8 May (M)||Coulsdon & Caterham v All-England ||Smitham Bottom, Croydon||result unknown|||
The fixture was announced in the Daily Advertiser on Fri 12 May but not reported. The exact venue was a field belonging to the Red Lion at Smitham Bottom and it was a Whitsuntide event. Coulsdon and Caterham challenged any 11 men in England, rather in the style of Slindon Cricket Club 25 years earlier: "The winners to have 10/6 each man, and the losers 5/3 each man, to be paid by Edward Smith at the Red Lion. Wickets pitched at 12 noon, and dinner to be ready at 11: a very good Ordinary, and good eating at any time".
|8 June (Th)||Surrey v Berkshire ||Datchet Common||Surrey won by 6 runs|||
Reported by the St James Chronicle on Tues 13 June.
Apart from the references to Thomas Waymark and others who took part in single wicket contests in the 1740s, this is the first time Berkshire is recorded as a county team. Although Berkshire has been classified as a minor county for the last two centuries, it was a strong centre of the game in the late 18th century and produced numerous players good enough to take part in major matches. As with other counties such as Essex, the strength of Berkshire was vested in one prominent club, in this case the Oldfield Club of Maidenhead which had a noted venue at Oldfield Bray.
|29 June (Th)||Hambledon v Caterham ||Broadhalfpenny Down||result unknown|||
Announced by the Reading Mercury on Mon 26 June as the first match between the two clubs, with wickets to be pitched at nine (which is very early).
|31 July & 1 August (M-Tu)||Caterham v Hambledon ||Guildford Bason||Hambledon won by 4 wkts|||
The report of the game in the Reading Mercury on Sat 5 August reads: "On Monday last began to be played at Guildford, in Surrey, the decisive grand match at cricket between the Hambledon and Caterham Clubs, which, after a long and vigorous contest, was determined on Tuesday evening in favour of the former. The utmost activity and skill in the game was displayed by each individual through the whole course of this match, but particularly the batting of Messrs Small and Bayton on the Hambledon side. There were near 20,000 spectators, and it is generally allowed by the best judges to have been the finest match that ever was played".
The team totals were: Caterham – 104 + 137 = 241; Hambledon – 99 + 143-6 = 242-6
A report in the Whitehall Evening Post on Tuesday 8 August states: "Guildford. The benefit arising to this town by the last great match at Cricket has set many projections on foot for more sport of that sort. They talk of a match soon for £1,000 a side between a certain Duke against All England".
The "certain Duke" was surely the Duke of Dorset, the former John Frederick Sackville, who had succeeded to his title on 6 January 1769.
The Middlesex Journal dated Thurs 3 August states: "The afternoon of the first day was wet; the close of play scores were: Caterham, 104 ; Hambledon, 51 for 4". As this was the "decisive grand match", it leaves open the question of another one played between the "first match" on 29 June (see above) and this one.
|9 & 10 August (W-Th)||Kent v London ||Blackheath||Kent won by 47 runs|||
The Middlesex Journal on Sat 19 August described the teams as: Greenwich, Woolwich and Deptford beat the Artillery Club of London by 47 notches.
|17 & 18 August (Th-F)||London v Kent ||Artillery Ground||London won by 56 runs|||
Described as: "A great match at cricket was played in the Artillery Ground, for a very large sum of money (i.e., £20,000), and great bets depending, between eleven gentlemen of London and eleven of Kent : the match not being played out, they began again yesterday at two in the afternoon; when the Londoners beat by 56 notches".
The team scores were: London – 81 + 99 = 180; Kent – 65 + 59 = 124
|24 August (Th)||London v Kent ||Artillery Ground||Kent won by 6 wkts|||
The Middlesex Journal on Sat 26 August reported: "in the third match between Kent and London, Kent won by 6 wickets".
|26 August (S)||Middlesex v London ||Stanmore||London won|||
The Bath Chronicle reported this on Thurs 31 August and said that "London beat Middlesex for 50 guineas".
|31 August (Th)||Duke of Dorset’s XI v Wrotham||Sevenoaks Vine||result unknown|||
A partial score has survived. John Minshull, whose name was given as Minchin on the scoresheet, scored 107 for Dorset’s XI in the second innings and this is the earliest century in any class of cricket that has definitely been recorded. Minshull scored 34 singles, 15 twos, 9 threes and 4 fours. There are no details at all of Wrotham’s team or its scores. All the scores and means of dismissal were recorded for Dorset’s team who made 68 and 236. Apart from Minshull and Dorset, the team included the well-known players Thomas Pattenden, John Wood, William Bowra and Jasper Fish.
|22 September (F)||West Kent v Surrey ||Sevenoaks Vine||result unknown|||
Announced in the St James Chronicle on Thurs 21 September. West Kent was the Duke of Dorset’s team.
|28 September (Th)||Hambledon v Surrey ||Broadhalfpenny Down||Hambledon won by an innings & 41 runs|||
The second known century partnership was achieved in this game when Tom Sueter and George Leer of Hambledon scored 128 for the first wicket. The report says: "On Thursday, 28 Sept. 1769, the second great match of cricket was played on Broad-halfpenny, Hampshire, between the Hambledon Club, and the County of Surrey, which was decided in favour of the former, by 41 notches, in one innings ; what is very remarkable, the two first mates on the Hambledon side (Sueter and Leer) fetched 128 before they were parted".
From the Middlesex Journal (Thurs 6 July) — "Yesterday a Mr. Carter, a very eminent butcher of Grub Street, but of a corpulent body, was playing at Cricket in the Artillery Ground, making a stroke at the ball which he missed, he threw himself round with so great force that he broke his knee pan (knee cap). He was carried home, with little hope of ever recovering the use of his leg again".
From the Whitehall Evening Post (Thurs 20 July) — "Nothing can exceed the vogue that Cricket has in some parts of Surrey and Hampshire: the people are so fond of it that it is common for them to ride 40 miles to be mere spectators at a Cricket match. A few days ago 22 expert players played a match not far from Godalming when each side got the same number of notches at both innings, which was esteemed very extraordinary".
From the Reading Mercury (Mon 24 July) — "A letter from "An old Cricket Player" re the match Reading v. Sonning on Bulmarsh Heath on Fri., 21 July, complaining of the latter’s unfair tactics. Sonning batted first and made 86: Reading then made 187, sacrificing their last five wickets: Sonning then made 125 which put them 24 ahead. There had been a bet between a player on each side on their total individual scores. The Sonning player made 9 the first innings, and between 60 & 70 the second : the Reading player having made 41 the first innings could not exceed the other’s total as only 25 runs were wanted to win the match. There was a dispute over that, but finally the Reading player agreed to go in for the game. Sonning at first refused to play or to pay the money, although there was nearly an hour to go ; they finally went into the held, and ‘by throwing the ball about, out of the way’ so delayed the game that it could not be played out".
From the Whitehall Evening Post (Tues 1 August) — "We are informed that the great match at Cricket, which has been so long in agitation, will be decided one day next week on the downs at Calais. On this match near £5,000 is depending : the players are to be all English men".
Clubs and teams
- S. Bartram (Dorset's XI)
- Bishop (Dorset's XI)
- William Bowra (Dorset's XI)
- Thomas Brett (Hambledon/Hampshire)
- Jasper Fish (Dorset's XI)
- Glazier (Hambledon/Hampshire)
- George Leer (Hambledon/Hampshire)
- Joseph Miller (Kent)
- John Minshull (Dorset's XI)
- Oliver, – (Dorset's XI)
- Page (Chertsey/Surrey)
- Thomas Pattenden (Dorset's XI)
- Purdy (Hambledon/Hampshire)
- Thomas Quiddington (Chertsey/Surrey)
- Shearcy, – (Dorset's XI)
- Shepherd (Chertsey/Surrey)
- Wessing (Chertsey/Surrey)
- Whiting, – (Dorset's XI)
- John Wood (Dorset's XI)
- John Wood (Surrey)
- 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.
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