1728 English cricket season

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1728 English cricket season

1728 was the 32nd English cricket season since the earliest known important match was played. The concept of a champion county is first discerned in the sources with definite inter-county rivalry between Kent and Sussex. Details have survived of four important matches.

A Swiss traveller in southern England recorded county cricket as "a commonplace" and wrote that it unites "the common people and men of rank". Teams of county strength were being formed as the patrons sought stronger combinations to help them in the serious, for them, business of winning wagers. Easily the most successful this year was Edwin Stead whose Kent teams were "too expert" for the Sussex teams led by the 2nd Duke of Richmond and Sir William Gage.

Important matches[edit]

The following matches are classified as important:[fc 1]

date match title venue result source
25 June (Tu) Edwin Stead's XI v 2nd Duke of Richmond's XI Coxheath Common Edwin Stead's XI won? [1][2]

The date of the match on Coxheath Common is confirmed by G. B. Buckley in his Fresh Light on 18th Century Cricket Appendix B, based on a report in the Kentish Weekly Post on 19 June. Buckley was correcting an oversight in F. S. Ashley-Cooper's Kent Cricket Matches. The full reference is given by Timothy J. McCann and confirms the patrons, date and venue; the 18th century rendition of Coxheath was Cock's Heath. The results of this match and the next one at Penshurst Park are surmised from the report of the Stead v.Gage game (see below).

? July Edwin Stead's XI v 2nd Duke of Richmond's XI Penshurst Park Edwin Stead's XI won? [1][2]

The only known primary source is a brief mention in the Whitehall Evening Post dated 6 August 1728. The results of this match and the previous one at Coxheath Common are surmised from the report of the Stead v. Gage game (see below).

early August Edwin Stead's XI v Sir William Gage's XI Penshurst Park Edwin Stead's XI won [3][4][2][5]

The results of the first two games above are surmised from the report of this game at Penshurst Park, which states that the victory of Stead's XI over Sir William Gage's XI was "the third time this summer that the Kent men (i.e., Stead's XI) have been too expert for those of Sussex (i.e., Gage's XI)". In the Stead v Gage game, it seems that Stead's team won the game although Gage's XI needed just 7 in their second innings. The report clearly infers that the teams selected by Richmond, Gage and Stead were representative of the respective counties.

date unknown 2nd Duke of Richmond's XI v Sir William Gage's XI Lewes (precise venue not specified) result unknown [1][2]

All that is known is "a match between elevens" organised by the two patrons. The exact location of the ground in Lewes is unknown.

County cricket[edit]

The proclamation of Kent's superiority is the first time that the concept of a "Champion County"[fc 2] can be seen in the sources and it is augmented by the "turned the scales" comment made by a reporter after Sussex defeated Kent in 1729.[4][6] The 1729 report added that the "scale of victory had been on the Kentish side for some years past".[4] In 1730, a newspaper referred to the "Kentish champions".[7] It must be noted, however, that the County Championship was not formally constituted until December 1889 and such claims have no official basis as would be understood now: they should perhaps be viewed as early examples of "bragging rights" but it cannot be said for certain that a form of "championship", or at least the idea of one, was not recognised.[8][9]

Other events[edit]

Swiss traveller César-François de Saussure noted in his journal the frequency with which he saw cricket being played while he was making his journeys across southern England in June.[10] He referred to county matches as "a commonplace" and wrote that "everyone plays it, the common people and also men of rank".[11]

In several sources, a Gentlemen of Middlesex v Gentlemen of London match is listed as due to take place in Islington on Tuesday (sic), 5 August.[3][4][2][5] In fact, 5 August 1728 was a Monday[12] and recent research has confirmed that the match in question was due to be held on Tuesday, 5 August 1729.[13][14]

First mentions[edit]


  • none

Clubs and teams[edit]

  • none


  • none



  1. ^ 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.
  2. ^ An unofficial seasonal title proclaimed by media or historians prior to December 1889 when the official County Championship was constituted.


  1. ^ a b c d e f McCann, p. 8.
  2. ^ a b c d e ACS, Important Matches, p. 19.
  3. ^ a b Wilson, p. 50.
  4. ^ a b c d Waghorn, p. 7.
  5. ^ a b Maun, volume 1, p. 37.
  6. ^ Wilson, p. 50.
  7. ^ Buckley (FL18C), p. 4.
  8. ^ Leach, John (2007). "From Lads to Lord's – 1728". Stumpsite. Archived from the original on 29 June 2011. Retrieved 28 February 2015. 
  9. ^ Maun, volume 1, pp. 36–37.
  10. ^ César de Saussure. "Letters from London 1725-1730 : Introduction". Adnax Publications. Retrieved 9 June 2013. 
  11. ^ César de Saussure, A Foreign View of England in the Reigns of George I and George II. The Letters of Monsieur César de Saussure to his Family, General Books LLC, 2010.
  12. ^ "Historical Calendar 1728". arc.id. Retrieved 17 February 2015. 
  13. ^ Leach, John (2007). "From Lads to Lord's – 1729". Stumpsite. Archived from the original on 10 October 2012. Retrieved 17 February 2015. 
  14. ^ Maun, volume 2, p. 248.


  • ACS (1981). A Guide to Important Cricket Matches Played in the British Isles 1709 – 1863. Nottingham: ACS. 
  • Maun, Ian (2009). From Commons to Lord's, Volume One: 1700 to 1750. Roger Heavens. ISBN 978 1 900592 52 9. 
  • Maun, Ian (2011). From Commons to Lord's, Volume Two: 1751 to 1770. Martin Wilson. ISBN 978 0 9569066 0 1. 
  • McCann, Tim (2004). Sussex Cricket in the Eighteenth Century. Sussex Record Society. 
  • Waghorn, H. T. (1906). The Dawn of Cricket. Electric Press. 
  • Wilson, Martin (2005). An Index to Waghorn. Bodyline. 

Additional reading[edit]

  • 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. (1935). Fresh Light on 18th Century Cricket. Cotterell. 
  • Buckley, G. B. (1937). Fresh Light on pre-Victorian Cricket. Cotterell. 
  • Major, John (2007). More Than A Game. HarperCollins. 
  • Marshall, John (1961). The Duke who was Cricket. Muller. 
  • Underdown, David (2000). Start of Play. Allen Lane.