1741 English cricket season
1741 was the 45th English cricket season since the earliest known important match was played. Details have survived of twelve important matches. They include the first appearance in surviving match records of the soon-to-be-famous Slindon Cricket Club. The Surrey v London match on Richmond Green resulted in the earliest known tie in an important match.
Among primary sources for the season are letters written by the Duke and Duchess of Richmond to each other and to the Duke of Newcastle. One example is a gloating letter from Richmond to Newcastle after "poor little Slyndon (sic)" beat "almost your whole county of Surrey". Meanwhile, the spread of cricket from the southeastern counties had continued into the south Midlands with three counties mentioned for the first time in surviving records.
|1 June (M)||Surrey v London||Charlwood, Surrey||Surrey won|||
The report of this match announced a return fixture (see below) a fortnight later.
|15 June (M)||London v Surrey||Artillery Ground||London won|||
This was the return to the match on Monday, 1 June, pre-announced in the report of that match. F. S. Ashley-Cooper noted in his personal copy of Waghorn that "London won" but his source has not been rediscovered.
|24 June (W)||Kent v London||Chislehurst Common||rained off|||
A comment about the Kent team was that it was "eleven out of three parishes for the county". Expectations were high but the whole day was ruined by the rain. The date is deduced from a newspaper report on Thursday, 2 July, which says the match took place "yesterday se'ennight". "Se'ennight" was a common contemporary expression used for "a week ago (on)" or "a week (ahead) on"; therefore, as "yesterday" was Wednesday, 1 July, "se'ennight" was a week earlier on Wednesday, 24 June.
|3 July (F)||London v Chislehurst||Artillery Ground||Chislehurst won by 60 runs|||
Described by the primary source as "one of the best matches that has been played these many years". Chislehurst's margin of victory, however, was substantial for the time.
|6 July (M)||London v Kent||Artillery Ground||result unknown|||
Pre-announced in the report of the match on 24 June.
|22 July (W)||Surrey v London||Richmond Green||tied|||
The scores are not recorded but the result was "a Tye (sic), which occasioned the Betts (sic) to be drawn on both Sides". It is the earliest known instance of an eleven-a-side game being tied. The first-ever known tie was the single wicket "threes" match at Lamb's Conduit Field on Wednesday, 1 September 1736, between the same two teams.
|2 August (M)||London v Surrey||Artillery Ground||result unknown|||
Interest in this match must have been high after the previous one was tied but surprisingly there is no report.
|10 August (M)||Bedfordshire v Huntingdonshire & Northamptonshire||Woburn Park||Huntingdonshire & Northamptonshire won|||
This is the earliest known match in Bedfordshire and the earliest mention of cricket in respect of all the three counties involved. The match was hosted by John Russell, 4th Duke of Bedford, who captained Bedfordshire. The Northants/Hunts team included its patrons George Montagu-Dunk, 2nd Earl of Halifax (Northants) and John Montagu, 4th Earl of Sandwich (Hunts).
|15 August (S)||Huntingdonshire & Northamptonshire v Bedfordshire||Cow Meadow, Northampton||Huntingdonshire & Northamptonshire won|||
This is the earliest known match in Northamptonshire. It was the return match to the one at Woburn the previous Monday (see above), involving the same parties and, as the newspaper report says, "the like success attended the two united Counties".
|18 August (Tu)||Northamptonshire v Buckinghamshire||Cow Meadow, Northampton||result unknown|||
|7 Sept (M)||Surrey v Slindon||Merrow Down, Guildford||Slindon won|||
The first known appearance by Slindon in what is generally considered to be an important match. The Duke of Richmond in a letter to his friend the Duke of Newcastle before the game spoke of "poor little Slyndon (sic) against almost your whole county of Surrey". Next day he wrote again, saying that "wee (sic) have beat Surrey almost in one innings".
The Duchess of Richmond wrote to her husband on Wednesday, 9 September, and said she "wish’d..... that the Sussex mobb (sic) had thrash'd the Surrey mob". She had "a grudge to those fellows ever since they mob'd you" (apparently a reference to the Richmond Green fiasco in August 1731). She then said she wished the Duke "had won more of their moneys".
|14 September (M)||London v Surrey||Artillery Ground||result unknown|||
Waghorn's source pre-announced the match and gave the start time as: "wickets to be pitched at half an hour past 11 o'clock".
Monday, 15 June. Slindon v Portsmouth at Stansted Park, near Chichester, is the earliest known match involving Slindon, though the club must have been playing for some time beforehand. The Duke of Richmond in a letter said that "above 5,000 people" were present. In a second letter, he gave the result which was a win for Slindon by 9 wickets.
Among the main primary sources for the events of the 1741 season are letters written by Charles Lennox, 2nd Duke of Richmond (1701–50) and his wife Duchess Sarah (1706–51). She was formerly Lady Sarah Cadogan, daughter of William Cadogan, 1st Earl Cadogan. They married on 4 December 1719 at The Hague, Netherlands, and had eight children including Charles Lennox, 3rd Duke of Richmond (1733–1806). It seems that the marriage of Richmond to Duchess Sarah was a success, not always the case among the Georgian aristocracy. The Duchess took a keen interest in all the Duke's doings including his cricket. Several references and letters written by her, including some financial accounts, have survived.
Thursday, 9 July. In a letter to her husband, the Duchess of Richmond mentioned a conversation with John Newland re a Slindon match against a team from East Dean at Long Down, near Eartham, a week earlier.
Tuesday, 28 July. In two subsequent letters to the Duke of Newcastle, the Duke of Richmond spoke about a game on this date which resulted in a brawl with "hearty blows" and "broken heads"! The game was at Portslade between Slindon and unnamed opponents. Apparently, Slindon won the battle but the result of the match is unknown.
There was a match at Wotton Underwood in Buckinghamshire that was reportedly attended by 6,000 people. Details, including the date, are unknown except that the patrons were the Duke of Bedford (who lost) and Richard Grenville. Grenville was then the MP for Buckingham and he later became the brother-in-law of William Pitt, 1st Earl of Chatham (Pitt the Elder). This is the first match known to have taken place at a location which is still part of Buckinghamshire (the earliest record of cricket in the county was in 1730 at Datchet Common, now in Berkshire).
Clubs and teams
- Huntingdonshire & Northamptonshire
- John Russell, 4th Duke of Bedford (Bedfordshire)
- George Montagu-Dunk, 2nd Earl of Halifax (Northamptonshire)
- John Montagu, 4th Earl of Sandwich (Huntingdonshire)
- Richard Grenville (Buckinghamshire)
- 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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- ACS, Important Matches, p. 21.
- Maun, p. 104.
- Maun, p. 105.
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- Maun, p. 108.
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- McCann, p. 19.
- McCann, p. 20.
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