1790 English cricket season
|Cricket formats||first-class and single wicket|
The 1790 English cricket season was a successful one for Hampshire who won all three of their known matches, two against All-England and one against Kent. Samuel Britcher, the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) scorer, began his annual publication of A list of all the principal Matches of Cricket that have been played, a compilation of match scorecards. His 1790 edition features fourteen scorecards, including six from matches played at Lord's Old Ground, the MCC venue. Details of fifteen first-class matches are known.
Note that these matches are unofficially first-class.[fc 1]
|10–12 May (M–W)||Left-handed v Right-handed||Lord's Old Ground (Lord's), Marylebone||Left-handed won by 39 runs|||
The earliest known example of left-handed players in opposition to right-handed. There were three more such fixtures until 1870. Haygarth listed some exceptions on the left-handed team as John Crawte batted with his right and only threw with his left; David Harris and Robert Clifford batted left but bowled right. Since Harris and Clifford took nine wickets between them in the match (i.e., bowled only as catches were not credited to the bowler), the left-handed team's victory was due in considerable part to having two right arm bowlers.
|20–21 May (Th–F)||Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) v Essex||Lord's||MCC won by 8 wickets|||
The noted amateur batsman George Leycester made his first-class debut in this match. He was active until 1808 and made fifty known first-class appearances. Essex scored 116 and 96; MCC scored 177 (George Louch 43) and 36 for 2.
|10–12 June (Th–S)||Kent v Hampshire||Lord's||Hampshire won by 8 wickets|||
Haygarth comments on 18th century nomenclature saying that, in one account the teams are called the Earl of Darnley's XI and the Earl of Winchilsea's XI. He explains that "in the old scores the true names were often altered" to those of the team captains or patrons, "thereby creating confusion". This was a low-scoring match in which David Harris and Richard Purchase were dominant as Hampshire's main bowlers. Kent scored 52 and 85; Hampshire scored 119 and 19 for 2. The highest score in the match was 33 by the veteran John Small for Hampshire.
|24 June (Th)||Middlesex v Surrey||Lord's||result unknown|||
There was an announcement in The World on the previous day which gave the teamsheets, but there is no report of the game having taken place. Middlesex: Hon. T. J. Twistleton, Mr G. Louch, Mr W. Turner, W. Fennex, T. Shackle, W. White, Butler, Knowles, Cantrell, Mr Mansfield, T. Lord senior. Surrey: T. Sueter, John Wells, James Wells, J. Walker, E. Stevens, Butcher, Mr Vincent, T. Ingram, N. Graham, Flint, Mr Harrington.
There are three unrecognised players: Mansfield, Flint and Harrington. In terms of recorded matches and his known first-class appearances, Lumpy Stevens last played in 1789, but it appears that he did intend to play occasionally in 1790.
|5–6 July (M–Tu)||Essex v MCC||Langton Park, Hornchurch||MCC won by 67 runs|||
|12–16 July (M–F)||All-England v Hampshire||Vine Cricket Ground, Sevenoaks||Hampshire won by 44 runs|||
|19–21 July (M–W)||Earl of Winchilsea's XI v T. A. Smith's XI||The Park, Burley-on-the-Hill, Rutland||T. A. Smith's XI won by 7 wickets|||
"The Park" at Burley-on-the-Hill in Rutland was the Earl of Winchilsea's country retreat, which he used as his base for foxhunting parties. It is not far from the Great North Road so communication with London was relatively easy at the time. Burley-on-the-Hill has been confused with Burghley Park near Stamford but it is quite different. Samuel Britcher refers to this game as "All-England v Hampshire".
|27–29 July (Tu–Th)||T. A. Smith's XI v Sir Horatio Mann's XI||Perriam Down, Ludgershall, Wiltshire||T. A. Smith's XI won by 6 wickets|||
Billy Beldham with 60 out of 152 made the difference in this game. Mann's XI scored 91 and 96; Smith's XI 152 and 36 for four.
|4–7 Aug (W–S)||Earl of Darnley's XI v Earl of Winchilsea's XI||Windmill Down, Hambledon||Earl of Darnley's XI won by 185 runs|||
This was called Hampshire v All-England in one account but, as Haygarth pointed out, Darnley's "Hampshire" team had only five Hampshire players. Darnley's XI batted first and scored 278, a large total for the time. Richard Purchase, better known for his bowling, scored 73 and Joey Ring 68. Although their second innings total was a modest 108, Winchilsea's XI could only score 116 and 85.
|16–17 Aug (M–Tu)||MCC v Middlesex||Lord's||MCC won by 2 wickets|||
The scorecard has been published in Scores & Biographies. Buckley recorded a notice in The World on Thursday, 12 August, which confirmed the cost of admittance as three pence. Middlesex scored 104 and 182; MCC scored 145 and 142 for 8. MCC fielded nine amateurs but, crucially in terms of performance, they also had the professionals Billy Beldham and Robert Clifford as given men.
|19–20 Aug (Th–F)||Middlesex v MCC||New Ground, Uxbridge Moor||MCC won by 56 runs|||
There were five debutants in this match: R. Beeston, W. Beeston, Tyson, Packer and Talmash. MCC again had Beldham and Clifford as given men. MCC scored 110 and 101 (Beldham 46); Middlesex 89 and 66. William Fennex scored 41 in Middlesex's first innings and was recorded as a hit wicket dismissal, as was Thomas Lord in the second innings.
|30–31 Aug (M–Tu)||All-England v Hampshire||Lord's||Hampshire won by 10 wickets|||
Hampshire's team included four MCC men (the venue was Lord's) and the ACS Guide calls the fixture MCC & Hampshire v All-England. All-England had first innings lead after they scored 177 and Hampshire replied with 165 but, with David Harris taking at least six wickets, All-England were out for 66 in their second innings. Andrew Freemantle (44*) and Jack Small (32*) shared an unbeaten first wicket partnership of 79 to secure victory for Hampshire. Harris bowled four men out in the first innings and so completed ten in the match (i.e., bowled only).
|7–11 Sept (Tu–S)||Sir Horatio Mann's XI v S. Amherst's XI||Bishopsbourne Paddock||S. Amherst's XI won by 130 runs|||
|8–9 Sept (W–Th)||Middlesex v Berkshire||Uxbridge Moor||Middlesex won by 2 wickets|||
Berkshire had David Harris as a given man and the match was described as "a severe contest". The Middlesex team was called "the City of London and county of Middlesex". The venue was described as "the new cricket ground at Uxbridge".
|14–16 Sept (Tu–Th)||Berkshire v Middlesex||Warfield, Berkshire||Middlesex won by 3 wickets|||
This is recorded in the source as London & Middlesex against "the parish of Warfield" which also had David Harris as a given man. Warfield is believed to have been the venue, hence this reference to it instead of Berkshire as the host team. There is an earlier game (in 1786) involving "the parish of Warfield" but for that match the teamsheet has survived and it is the Berkshire XI. It follows that this team was the same, especially with Harris involved, and that therefore it was a first-class match and the return to the match at Uxbridge Moor a week earlier. Middlesex won by 3 wickets but the scorecard has not survived.
Although important in the historical context of early cricket, these matches cannot be rated first-class because of doubts about their status in the main sources, often because the majority of players taking part are relatively unknown.
|3 June (Th)||Duke of Dorset's XI v Earl of Winchilsea's XI||Lord's||Earl of Winchilsea's XI won by 3 wickets|||
This game is not considered first-class as eight players in Dorset's team are unrecognised. John Hammond is recorded for the first time; he became one of the outstanding players of the next 25 years. The Earl of Winchilsea's side was mostly known amateurs plus John Boorman. Some of Dorset's team reappeared in the West Sussex side that played in a minor match at Hambledon in September 1791.
|10 July (S)||Meopham v Chatham||Meopham, Kent||Meopham won by 39 runs|||
This was played for a stake of 100 guineas and several matches between the two clubs are on record. However, none of the players taking part were notable so it must be considered a village match only.
|11–12 August (W–Th)||Sir Narborough D'Aeth's XI v Sir Horatio Mann's XI||Sandwich Flats, Sandwich||incomplete (drawn?)|||
The source says the match could not be "played out for want of time", so it was probably a draw. None of the participants have been identified except the two patrons.
|13 August (F)||Sir Horatio Mann's XI v Sir Narborough D'Aeth's XI||Dandelion Paddock, Margate||incomplete (drawn?)|||
An immediate return to the match above and the source again says it could not be "played out for want of time".
|27–28 August (F–S)||Brighton v Wadhurst & Lamberhurst||Prince of Wales Ground, Brighton||Wadhurst & Lamberhurst won by 3 wickets|||
Brighton were often rated a first-class team as they tended to be representative of Sussex as a county in the 1790s. Their matches against Wadhurst & Lamberhurst and Tunbridge Wells are considered minor because of several unrecognised players taking part. Full scorecards of all four matches have survived and were first reproduced in Buckley's FL18.
|3–4 Sept (F–S)||Wadhurst & Lamberhurst v Brighton||"Woodburn Down" (sic)||Brighton won by 5 wickets|||
See notes re 27 August match above. The name of the venue is unknown and may be an error in the original report.
|13 Sept (M)||Brighton v Tunbridge Wells||Prince of Wales Ground, Brighton||Tunbridge Wells forfeited|||
See notes re 27 August match above.
|13 Sept (M)||John Hammond's XI v Earl of Winchilsea's XI||Dandelion Paddock||Hammond's XI won by 5 runs|||
Again, a lack of recognised players means that this cannot be considered a first-class match.
|17 Sept (F)||Tunbridge Wells v Brighton||Royal Tunbridge Wells||Brighton won by 8 wickets|||
See notes re 27 August match above.
Best individual performances
Based on the available scorecard data, these are the best individual performances of the season.[fc 2]
Because of incomplete scorecard data, it is impossible to provide a complete analysis of batting performances: e.g., missing "not outs" prevent computation of batting averages. The "runs scored" are in fact the runs known.
- Highest individual innings: 73 – Richard Purchase (Earl of Darnley's XI v Earl of Winchilsea's XI, Windmill Down, 4–7 August)
- Most runs scored in season: 316 – Billy Beldham; 257 – James Aylward; 245 – Jack Small; 239 – George Louch; 231 – Joey Ring; 209 – George Finch, 9th Earl of Winchilsea
Until the 1860s at least, scorecards did not record the runs conceded by each bowler so no analyses or averages can be computed. Equally, the wickets credited to bowlers were generally limited to those achieved by bowling the batsman out.[fc 2]
- Best innings return: 6 wickets – David Harris (Hampshire v All-England, Lord's, 30 August – 2 September)
- Best match return: 10 wickets – David Harris (as above)
- Most wickets taken in season: 32 – Robert Clifford; 29 – Billy Beldham; 24 – David Harris; 21 – Richard Purchase
Because of incomplete scorecard data, the totals are the known catches and stumpings only. Stumpings were not always recorded as such and sometimes the name of the wicket-keeper was not given. Generally, a catch was given the same status as "bowled" with credit being awarded to the fielder only and not the bowler. There is never a record of "caught and bowled": the bowler would be credited with the catch, not with the wicket. "Run outs" were not credited to a specific fielder.[fc 2]
Six county teams were recorded in 1790 and there were four inter-county matches. Based on the known results, the strongest team[fc 3] was Hampshire who won all three of their matches against strong opposition, defeating All-England (twice) and Kent.
Clubs and teams
- Earl of Darnley's XI
- John Hammond's XI
- Left-handed XI
- Right-handed XI
- Tunbridge Wells
- Wadhurst and Lamberhurst
- John Hammond (Sussex) – one of the outstanding players of the Napoleonic War period, active in 72 known matches until 1816
- George Leycester (MCC; amateur) – played 50 matches to 1808
- Richard Fielder (Kent) – played 20 matches to 1801
- Thomas Nicoll (Middlesex; amateur) – played 12 matches to 1794
- W. Beeston (Middlesex cricketer) (Middlesex) – played 11 matches to 1801
- Knowles (Middlesex) – played 9 matches to 1797
- Hon. Robert Brudenell (MCC; amateur) – played 8 matches to 1793
- W. Oxley (Essex) – played 8 matches to 1793
- Hon. Edward Capel (MCC; amateur) – played 3 matches in 1790 only
- Simmonds (Essex) – played 3 matches to 1791
- Stone, Mr (Kent; amateur) – 2 matches in 1790 only
- R. Beeston (Middlesex) – 1 match only
- Flint (Surrey) – 1 match only
- French (Darnley's XI) – 1 match only
- J. S. Grover (MCC; amateur) – 1 match only
- Harrington, Mr (Surrey; amateur) – 1 match only
- Mansfield, Mr (Middlesex; amateur) – 1 match only
- Packer (Middlesex) – 1 match only
- Thomas Selby (Kent) – 1 match only
- Talmash (Middlesex) – 1 match only
- Walker (Kent) – 1 match only
- "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 "unofficial first-class" 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.
- 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.
- "Champion County" is an unofficial seasonal title proclaimed by media or historians prior to December 1889 when the official County Championship was constituted.
- Haygarth, p. 101.
- ACS, Important Matches, p. 27.
- Britcher 1790, p. 4.
- Haygarth, p. 103.
- Buckley (FL18), p. 145.
- Britcher 1790, p. 7.
- Buckley (FL18), p. 146.
- Haygarth, p. 104.
- Britcher 1790, p. 9.
- Haygarth, p. 105.
- Haygarth, p. 106.
- Buckley (FL18), p. 147.
- Haygarth, p. 107.
- Haygarth, p. 108.
- Waghorn, p. 108.
- Haygarth, p. 125.
- Britcher 1790, p. 8.
- Waghorn, p. 106.
- Buckley (FL18), p. 148.
- Buckley (FL18), p. 149.
- Buckley (FL18), p. 150.
- Haygarth, p. 109.
- Buckley (FL18), p. 151.
- Leach, John (2008). "Champion cricket teams since 1728". Stumpsite. Archived from the original on 29 August 2008. Retrieved 10 February 2016.
- ACS (1981). A Guide to Important Cricket Matches Played in the British Isles 1709 – 1863. Nottingham: ACS.
- Ashley-Cooper, F. S. (1924). Hambledon Cricket Chronicle 1772–1796. Jenkins.
- Britcher, Samuel (1790). A list of all the principal Matches of Cricket that have been played. MCC.
- Buckley, G. B. (1935). Fresh Light on 18th Century Cricket. Cotterell.
- Haygarth, Arthur (1862). Scores & Biographies, Volume 1 (1744–1826). Lillywhite.
- Waghorn, H. T. (1906). The Dawn of Cricket. Electric Press.
- Wilson, Martin (2005). An Index to Waghorn. Bodyline.
- Altham, H. S. (1962). A History of Cricket, Volume 1 (to 1914). George Allen & Unwin.
- 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.
- Major, John (2007). More Than A Game. HarperCollins.
- Mote, Ashley (1997). The Glory Days of Cricket. Robson.
- Nyren, John (1998). Ashley Mote, ed. The Cricketers of my Time. Robson.
- Underdown, David (2000). Start of Play. Allen Lane.