1797 English cricket season
The 1797 cricket season was the 200th in England since the earliest known definite reference to cricket in January 1597 (i.e., Old Style – 1598 New Style). MCC enjoyed great success on the field, winning nine of their eleven known matches.
|11–12 May (Th-F)||MCC v Middlesex||Lord's (Dorset Square)||SB214||MCC won by 6 wkts|
|15–16 May (M-Tu)||C Lennox v Earl of Winchilsea||Lord's (Dorset Square)||SB214||Lennox's XI won by 132 runs|
|19–20 May (F-S)||Lennox v Earl of Winchilsea||Lord's (Dorset Square)||SB215||Winchilsea's XI won by innings & 94 runs|
WDC has this game taking place on 10–11 May and ACS includes both entries. The above is believed correct.
|24–27 May (W-S)||MCC v Middlesex||Lord's (Dorset Square)||SB216||MCC won by 288 runs|
|6–9 June (T-F)||All-England v Surrey||Lord's (Dorset Square)||SB216||All-England won by 6 wkts|
|12–13 June (M-T)||Montpelier v MCC ^||Montpelier Gardens||SB217||MCC won by 42 runs|
|19–23 June (M-F)||All-England v Surrey||Lord's (Dorset Square)||SB218||All-England won by 23 runs|
This was postponed till Mon 3 July: it must have rained.
|26–27 June (M-T)||MCC v Montpelier ^||Lord's (Dorset Square)||SB218||MCC won by 5 wkts|
|4–6 July (Tu-Th)||C Lennox v Earl of Winchilsea||Lord's (Dorset Square)||SB219||Winchilsea's XI won by 4 wkts|
|10–12 July (M-W)||MCC v London||Lord's (Dorset Square)||SB220||MCC won by 109 runs|
|12–13 July (W-Th)||All-England v Surrey & Middlesex||Montpelier Gardens||SB221||S/M won by 4 wkts|
|20–21 July (Th-F)||Earl of Winchilsea v C Lennox||Swaffham Racecourse||SB223||Winchilsea's XI won by 27 runs|
S&B calls this Earl of Winchilsea v Beauclerk but that is unlikely; Britcher has Lennox as the patron and that seems more probable at this time.
|7-8 Aug (M-Tu)||Hampshire v MCC||Stoke Down||SB224||MCC won by 113 runs|
|14-16 Aug (M-W)||MCC v Hampshire||Lord's (Dorset Square)||SB225||MCC won by 6 wkts|
|17 Aug (Th)||Montpelier M&S v Montpelier Thur||Montpelier Gardens||FLPV||M&S won by 53 runs|
This a game between two sections of the Montpelier Club: i.e., its Monday & Saturday members versus its Thursday members.
|21-23 Aug (M-W)||All-England v MCC||Moulsey Hurst||SB226||MCC won by 6 wkts|
|23-24 Aug (W-Th)||Woolwich v Croydon *||Barrack Field, Woolwich||brit||Woolwich won by 23 runs|
* This match was unknown until Britcher’s scores came to light recently. It is a minor match involving the same teams as in the game reported by WDC on 27 Sept. Both sources refer to the counties in their match titles (Kent v Surrey) but they are definitely the Woolwich and Croydon clubs playing in each game.
|28-31 Aug (M-Th)||MCC v All-England||Lord's (Dorset Square)||SB226||All-England won by 8 wkts|
|4-6 Sept (M-W)||Montpelier v MCC ^||Montpelier Gardens||SB227||Montpelier won by 6 wkts|
^ Montpelier’s teams in these three games against MCC were much stronger than the normal club sides of the time, especially with given men. The majority of players are recognised and these are major fixtures.
|21-26 Sept (Th-Tu)||MCC v All-England||Lord's (Dorset Square)||SB228||MCC won by 4 wkts|
There was no Sunday play in this game (i.e., on Sun 24 Sept).
|27 Sept (W)||Woolwich v Croydon #||Barrack Field, Woolwich||WDC||Woolwich won by 179 runs|
# WDC calls this "Kent v Surrey" but the teams were weak and unrepresentative of the counties so it was surely a rematch of Woolwich v Croydon on 23–24 August.|-
- John Bennett (Hampshire cricketer) – played 61 matches from 1797 to 1818
- John Gibbons (MCC cricketer) (MCC; amateur) – played 18 matches from 1797 to 1801
- J. Pontifex (MCC; amateur) – played 15 matches from 1797 to 1810
- Hon. Charles Douglas (MCC; amateur) – played 13 matches from 1797 to 1799
- Benjamin Clifton (Middlesex; amateur) – played eleven matches from 1797 to 1798
- G. Cooper (MCC cricketer) (MCC; amateur) – played six matches from 1797 to 1807
- Earl of Dalkeith (MCC; amateur) – played four matches in 1797
- May (Hampshire cricketer) – played four matches from 1797 to 1798
- Lord Yarmouth (MCC and Surrey; amateur) – played three matches from 1797 to 1799
- George Boult junior (Middlesex; amateur) – played two matches in 1797
- Clair (Hampshire cricketer) – played two matches from 1797 to 1803
- Gunnell (Surrey cricketer) – played two matches from 1797 to 1810
- Wilson (Surrey cricketer) – played two matches from 1797 to 1809
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: e.g., the missing not outs prevent computation of batting averages. The "runs scored" are in fact the runs known.
Lord Frederick Beauclerk scored 758 runs to top the 1797 run-scoring list
Others who scored more than 200 runs were John Hammond 603; John Tufton 592; Tom Walker 491; William Beldham 430; Edward Bligh 382; William Fennex 346; Robert Robinson 310; James Aylward 296; Charles Lennox 270; Henry Tufton 246; Harry Walker 243; Jack Small 227; Thomas Ray 214
Note that the wickets credited to an 18th-century bowler were only those where he bowled the batsman out. The bowler was not credited with the wickets of batsmen who were caught out, even if it was "caught and bowled". In addition, the runs conceded by each bowler were not recorded so no analyses or averages can be computed.
Lord Frederick Beauclerk with a massive haul of 66 wickets was easily the top bowler
Note that many scorecards in the 18th century are unknown or have missing details and so the totals are of 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.
Thomas Ray took the most known catches with 19 but he may have been beaten by John Tufton who definitely took 18 (plus one definite stumping) but could have had more. The Tufton brothers again starred in the field and Henry was the best keeper with 11 ct, 15 st. There were another 3 catches and 3 stumpings credited to one or other of the Tuftons.
Other good performances were by Charles Lennox 16 ct, 1 st; Lord Frederick Beauclerk 12 ct; John Wells 11 ct 5 st; Edward Bligh 10 ct; William Beldham 9 ct; William Fennex 9 ct; Andrew Freemantle 9 ct; John Hammond 9 ct, 7 st; Sylvester 8 ct
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