1744 English cricket season
1744 was the 48th English cricket season since the earliest known important match was played. Details have survived of 22 important eleven-a-side and three single wicket matches. It was a pivotal season in English cricket history because the earliest known codification of the Laws of Cricket was written by a group calling themselves the "Noblemen and Gentlemen" of the London Cricket Club.
The season is also notable for the two earliest known surviving match scorecards. The first, containing individual scores but no details of dismissal, has survived from the London v Slindon game on Saturday, 2 June. Just over a fortnight later on Monday, 18 June, there was a celebrated match in which Kent challenged a team representing the rest of England at the Artillery Ground. Kent won a dramatic contest by a single wicket despite needing several runs to win when their last pair of batsmen came together. The scorecard became the first entry in Arthur Haygarth's Scores & Biographies, though he had the date wrong. It is not until the 1772 season that any more scorecards of important matches have survived (a handful of cards from minor matches have been found).
In September, Slindon defeated London and then issued its famous challenge to play any parish in England. The challenge was accepted by the Addington and Bromley clubs, which both had fine teams, but the two challenge matches may have been hit by bad weather and it is not known if they were completed.
- 1 Laws of Cricket
- 2 The earliest known scorecard
- 3 Important matches
- 4 Single wicket
- 5 Other events
- 6 First mentions
- 7 Leading players
- 8 Notes
- 9 References
- 10 Bibliography
- 11 Additional reading
Laws of Cricket
The first known coded issue of the Laws of Cricket can be traced to 1744, possibly an upgrade of an earlier code. They are here reproduced in full. The Laws were drawn up by the noblemen and gentlemen members of the London Cricket Club, which was based at the Artillery Ground. The intention must have been to establish a universal codification. A general set of rules was in place subject to local variations but, apart from cases where Articles of Agreement were drawn up, as for the Richmond v Brodrick matches in the 1727 season, the rules as such were agreed orally. By and large, the same rules had existed since time immemorial.
A summary of the main points:
- there is reference to the toss of a coin and the pitch dimensions;
- the stumps must be 22 inches (560 mm) high with a six-inch (152 mm) bail;
- the ball must weigh between five and six ounces;
- overs last four balls;
- the no ball is the penalty for overstepping, which means the hind foot going in front of the bowling crease (i.e., in direct line of the wicket);
- the popping crease is exactly 3 feet ten inches before the bowling crease;
- various means of "it is out" are included;
- hitting the ball twice and obstructing the field are emphatically out following experiences in the 17th century;
- the wicket keeper is required to be still and quiet until the ball is bowled;
- umpires must allow two minutes for a new batsman to arrive and ten minutes between innings (meal and rain breaks presumably excepted);
- the umpire cannot give a batsman out if the fielders do not appeal;
- the umpire is allowed a certain amount of discretion and it is made clear that the umpire is the "sole judge" and that "his determination shall be absolute"
The Laws do not say the bowler must roll the ball and there is no mention of prescribed arm action so, in theory, a pitched delivery would have been legal, though potentially controversial.
The earliest known scorecard
When London played a combined Surrey & Sussex team at the Artillery Ground on Saturday, 2 June, details of individual scores were recorded and the scorecard was kept by the Duke of Richmond at Goodwood House. It gives scores only and no means of dismissal. It does not give much information about the players except their surnames although the scorer did think to differentiate between the two pairs of brothers (the Harrises and Newlands) who were playing.
The Daily Advertiser carried various notices from Thursday, 31 May until Sunday, 3 June which announced that two untitled sides would play in the Artillery Ground on Saturday, 2 June. On 31 May, the paper said that the teams would consist of "four gentlemen from Slindon, one from Eastbourne, two from Hamilton (sic) in Sussex, one from Addington and three from Lingfield in Surrey" against "four gentlemen of London, one from Richmond, one from Reigate, three from Addington in Surrey, one from Bray Wick in Berkshire and one from Arundel in Sussex". This was followed by the usual reminder about no dogs and the need to obtain a pass ticket if leaving the ground during play.
The Daily Advertiser changed its notice on Friday, 1 June through 2 and 3 June by announcing the names of the players on each side, but the names in the paper are not the same as those on the scorecard kept by the Duke of Richmond. The same (i.e., incorrect) names were also reported on 3 June, the day after the match. The paper announced that the two teams would consist of: Cuddy, Richard Newland, Adam Newland, John Newland, Ridgeway, Green of Sussex; Sawyer, Stevens, Stevens, Collins of Surrey; and Norris of London versus Dingate, John Harris, Joseph Harris, Faulkner, Jackson, Maynard of Surrey; Bennett, Bryant, Smith, Howlett of London; and Waymark of Berkshire. No titles were given to the teams at the time (various titles have been applied retrospectively by modern authors). Bryant was one of the two brothers of that name, John and James, who were prominent Kent players of the time, while Bennett was one of "Little" or "Tall" Bennett, both noted batsmen in the 1740s.
According to the Duke of Richmond’s papers, which are now in the possession of the West Sussex Record Office, including the recorded scores of this match, the teams were somewhat different from those advertised. No team names were allocated at the time and future accounts label the match in different ways. London v Surrey & Sussex is used here because London (with their "given men") was the home club and their opponents were all from Surrey or Sussex.
|Saturday, 2 June 1744 – London v Surrey & Sussex (Artillery Ground)|
|Surrey & Sussex||1st||2nd||–||London||1st||2nd|
|Edward Aburrow senior||5||0||–||Howlett||1||5|
|? Bryant (James or John)||5||10||–||Stephen Dingate||0||19|
|Richard Newland||0||0||–||William Sawyer||4||4|
|Ridgeway||6||dnb||–||? Bennett (Little or Tall)||11||7|
|Joseph Harris||13||14||–||Tom Faulkner||1||0|
|George Jackson||19||1||–||Thomas Waymark||13||16|
|Surrey & Sussex won by 55 runs|
There were two players called Bryant (James and John) and two called Bennett who were always referred to as Little Bennett and Tall Bennett. It is not known which player in each of these pairs took part. Note also that there were two Harrises who both played; and the three Newland brothers, of whom John did not play. Edward Aburrow senior, alias Cuddy and a notorious smuggler, was the father of the later Hambledon player of the same name. Thomas Waymark was formerly employed by Sussex's benefactor the Duke of Richmond but he was here given as a Berkshire resident and playing for the London XI.
The match included one of cricket's earliest known declarations by Surrey & Sussex in their second innings at 102–6, although the term "declaration" was not in use at that time and neither was the concept generally recognised. Rather it was a case of Surrey & Sussex "forfeiting" part of their innings in order to allow time to bowl out their opponents. This was also the first known game at which tickets for readmission were issued to the spectators.
|10 May (Th)||Kent v England||venue unknown||Kent won (IM)|||
This match and its return on 17 May are known because of a 1748 court case over unpaid gambling debts.
|14 May (M)||Surrey v England||Moulsey Hurst||Surrey won by 4 runs|||
The Prince of Wales was involved in the promotion of this match and arranged the next match the following Monday at the Artillery Ground.
|17 May (Th)||Kent v England||venue unknown||Kent won (IM)|||
The return to the match on 10 May, again known because of the 1748 court case.
|21 May (M)||England v Surrey||Artillery Ground||result unknown|||
The match started at 11 o’clock and was completed in one day.
|2 June (S)||London v Surrey & Sussex||Artillery Ground||Surrey & Sussex won by 55 runs|||
See "The earliest known scorecard" above.
|15 June (F)||Kent v England||Coxheath Common||result unknown|||
In his Index to Waghorn, Martin Wilson states that the famous match at the Artillery Ground on Monday, 18 June (see below) was the return of a match played at Coxheath on Friday, 15 June.
|18 June (M)||England v Kent||Artillery Ground||Kent won by 1 wicket|||
This is the first match for which a full scorecard including dismissals has survived and it is the opening entry in Scores & Biographies. Haygarth, however, gave the date as 1746 instead of 1744. In his Dawn of Cricket, Waghorn specified a source called the London Magazine, published in 1744, which reported the match on page 307. The scorecard presents the problem of players sharing names and not being differentiated by the scorers, whom Haygarth denounced for their "laziness". It was not until the 1772 season that scorecards began to be kept on a regular basis.
The game was arranged by Lord John Philip Sackville who challenged "all England" to play against his county, Kent. The match was extremely close and must have had an exciting finish. It was low scoring: England totalled 40 and 70; Kent responded with 53 and 58–9 to win by one wicket. The two not out Kent batsmen at the end (Hodsoll and Cutbush) scored 5 and 7, so Kent must have needed at least five to win when their ninth wicket fell. Sackville himself is reported to have held a remarkable catch to dismiss England's best player Richard Newland and that may have been the defining moment of the match. Most of the players had already taken part in the London v Slindon match on 2 June but this match's scorecard provides the first known mentions of five Kent cricketers: Bartram, Danes, the noted wicket-keeper Kipps, the bowler John Mills and his brother.
The Daily Advertiser reported on Saturday, 30 June: "It was observed by the noblemen and gentlemen there present that there was great disorder so that it was with difficulty the match was played out. It is ordered for the future that each person pay for going into the Ground sixpence, and there will be for the better conveniency (sic) of all gentlemen that favour me with their company, a ring of benches that will hold at least 800 persons. And it is further desired that no person whatever, except those appointed to keep order and the players engaged for the day, be admitted to walk within the ring".
The poet James Love (1722–1774) commemorated this match in his Cricket: An Heroic Poem. There is a reference in Buckley's "FL18C" to the first publication of his poem. As announced in the Daily Advertiser on 4 July 1745, it was priced 1/- and "illustrated with critical observations of Scriblerus Maximus (!)". A footnote says: "Printed for W. Bickerton at the Gazette in the Temple Exchange near the Inner Temple Gate, Fleet Street". Love was himself a cricketer and a member of Richmond Cricket Club in Surrey.
|5 July (Th)||Two Elevens||Artillery Ground||result unknown|||
Described as "a scratch match between 22 picked players from Kent, Sussex, Surrey and London and all the most-famed places in England". It was postponed from the previous day because of the weather (Daily Advertiser: Thurs 5 July).
The Penny London Morning Advertiser on Friday, 6 July observed that: "the small appearance of the company is a plain proof of the resentment of the Public to any imposition, for the price on going into the ground being raised from twopence to sixpence, it is thought there were not 200 persons present when before there used to be 7,000 to 8,000; which plainly verifies the old proverb "all cover, all loose (sic)".
|6 & 7 July (F-S)||Two Elevens||Moulsey Hurst / Artillery Ground||result unknown|||
It is known that this was a return game to the one played on 5 July and that it was unfinished at Moulsey Hurst on Friday, 6 July so the players continued at the Artillery Ground on Saturday, 7 July. The state of play on Friday night was that one side led by 31 runs with 2 second innings wickets standing. On the Saturday, price of admission was reduced to the "as usual" two pence.
|9 July (M)||London v Richmond||Kennington Common||result unknown|||
Advertised in the Daily Advertiser same morning but no match report was found.
|9 July (M)||Addington & Bromley v Rest of Kent & Surrey||Duppas Hill, Croydon||result unknown|||
Kipps of Eltham, the noted wicketkeeper was a given man for Addington & Bromley. The Rest team was described as "the best Eleven in other Parts of Kent and Surrey". An additional item in the announcement was no person being allowed to bring liquor into the ground "that don't live in the Parish".
|13 July (F)||Bromley v Addington||Bromley Common||result unknown|||
The announcement of this match stated that no person was allowed to sell liquor on the common "but who belong to the Parish".
|21 July (S)||London v Woburn||Artillery Ground||result unknown|||
This match was postponed from Thursday, 19 July because the Honourable Artillery Company required the ground.
|30 July (M)||London v Addington||Artillery Ground||result unknown|||
"The wickets were pitched at one o'clock".
|24 August (F)||Surrey v London||Moulsey Hurst||London won|||
|27 August (M)||London v Surrey||Artillery Ground||London won|||
Robert Colchin of Bromley and Val Romney of Sevenoaks were again given men for London.
|3 September (M)||London v Bromley||Artillery Ground||result unknown|||
Bromley was a leading club at the time and later in the month was one of two (Addington being the other) to accept Slindon's challenge to play any parish in England.
|7 September (F)||London v Surrey||Artillery Ground||result unknown|||
Val Romney of Sevenoaks was a given man for London.
|10 & 11 September (M-Tu)||London v Slindon||Artillery Ground||Slindon won|||
The Newland brothers and "Cuddy" (Edward Aburrow senior) all played for Slindon. Play commenced at noon on the first day but was affected by bad weather. Play on the Tuesday commenced at ten o'clock.
It was at the conclusion of this game that Slindon issued its famous challenge to play "any parish in England". They received immediate acceptances from Addington and Bromley who played Slindon in the next two matches.
|12 & 13 September (W-Th)||Slindon v Addington||Artillery Ground||result unknown|||
This was affected by bad weather on the 12th. At close of play each side had completed its first innings and Slindon had a lead of just two runs. It is not known if the match was completed on the 13th and it may have been rained off.
|14 September (F)||Slindon v Bromley||Artillery Ground||result unknown|||
As with the first challenge game, details of the result are unknown. Possibly it was rained off.
|19 September (W)||Two Elevens||Artillery Ground||result unknown|||
Described a "scratch match" but between 22 of the "best players in England". No post-match reports were found.
Monday, 17 September. A big game between two "threes" at the Artillery Ground. Billed as "Long Robin's Side v Richard Newland's Side", the teams were Robert Colchin (aka "Long Robin"; Bromley), Val Romney (Sevenoaks) and John Bryant (Addington) against Richard Newland (Slindon), Edward Aburrow senior (Slindon) and Joe Harris (Addington). Aburrow replaced John Mills of Horsmonden, the "famous Kent bowler" who was originally chosen. The stake was two hundred guineas and the players involved were stated to be the "best in England". Once again, despite this being a senior fixture, the outcome is unknown.
Monday, 1 October. Another "threes" game was played at the Artillery Ground for a considerable sum and again the outcome is unknown. The sides were Robert Colchin, James Bryant and Joe Harris versus John Bryant, Val Romney and Thomas Waymark.
Monday, 11 June. The Penny London Morning Advertiser announced a match on Walworth Common in Surrey between "11 gentlemen of the Borough of Southwark and 11 gentlemen of High Kent and Blackman; the wickets to be pitched at one o'clock". The announcement continued: "The gentlemen who play this match have subscribed for a Holland smock of one guinea value, which will be run for by two jolly wenches, one known by the name of The Little Bit of Blue (the handsome Broom Girl) at the fag end of Kent Street, and the other Black Bess of the Mint. They are to run in drawers only and there is excellent sport expected". As for security: "Captain Vinegar with a great many of his bruisers and bulldogs will attend to make a ring, that no civil spectators may be incommoded by the rabble".
Thanks to the survival of scorecards from two matches in 1744, the names of a great many players from the period are known. The players listed below are named on the two scorecards but the spans of their careers is generally unknown. It is believed that Dingate, for example, was active in the 1720s while others may have continued into the 1760s.
Clubs and teams
- Addington & Bromley
- Kent & Surrey
- Long Robin's XI (or "Side")
- Richard Newland's XI (or "Side")
- Surrey & Sussex
- Edward Aburrow senior aka "Cuddy"
- Little Bennett
- Tall Bennett
- James Bryant
- Stephen Dingate
- Tom Faulkner
- Joe Harris
- John Harris
- George Jackson
- James Love
- John Mills
- Adam Newland
The best batting performances by those players who took part in both the games with scorecards are given below. 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. For example, the missing not outs prevent computation of batting averages. The "runs scored" are in fact the runs known.
The other noted Kent bowler taking part was John Mills of Horsmonden. His exact tally is not known, as his brother may have taken some wickets. The same is true of the Harrises and Newlands who bowled for All England. Seven wickets each were taken by players called Mills, Harris and Newland.
Fielders and wicketkeepers
Thomas Waymark held two catches for All England against Kent, and he was praised many years earlier for his agility and dexterity. The most memorable catch in the All England v Kent match was a diving effort held by Lord John Philip Sackville to dismiss Richard Newland.
- 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.
- ACS, Important Matches, p. 21.
- Leach, John (2007). "From Lads to Lord's (1744) – The First Laws of Cricket". Stumpsite. Archived from the original on 29 June 2011.
- McCann, Tim (2004). Sussex Cricket in the Eighteenth Century. Sussex Record Society. pp. 26–27.
- Waghorn, H. T. (1906). The Dawn of Cricket. Electric Press. p. 14.
- Maun, Ian (2009). From Commons to Lord's, Volume One: 1700 to 1750. Roger Heavens. p. 135.
- ACS, Important Matches, p. 21.
- Ashley-Cooper, At the Sign of the Wicket, 22 February 1900, p. 22.
- Wilson, An Index to Waghorn, p. 46.
- Ashley-Cooper, At the Sign of the Wicket, 29 March 1900, p. 35.
- Haygarth, Arthur (1862). Scores & Biographies, Volume 1 (1744–1826). Lillywhite. pp. 1–2.
- Waghorn, Cricket Scores, p. 33.
- Waghorn, Dawn of Cricket, p. 15
- Wilson, pp. 45–46
- Buckley, FL18C, pp. 18–19.
- Buckley, G. B. (1935). Fresh Light on 18th Century Cricket (FL18C). Cotterell. pp. 19–20.
- McCann, p. 27.
- Buckley, FL18C, p. 19.
- McCann, p. 28.
- Maun, p. 141.
- Maun, p. 142.
- Ashley-Cooper, At the Sign of the Wicket, 29 March 1900, p. 36.
- McCann, pp. 28–29.
- McCann, pp. 29–30.
- McCann, p. 31.
- McCann, pp. 30–31.
- Buckley, FL18C, p. 18.
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- Ashley-Cooper, F. S. (1900). At the Sign of the Wicket: Cricket 1742–1751. Cricket: A Weekly Record of the Game. London: Cricket Magazine. OCLC 28863559.
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- Maun, Ian (2009). From Commons to Lord's, Volume One: 1700 to 1750. Roger Heavens. ISBN 978 1 900592 52 9.
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- Wilson, Martin (2005). An Index to Waghorn. Bodyline.
- Altham, H. S. (1962). A History of Cricket, Volume 1 (to 1914). George Allen & Unwin.
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- Bowen, Rowland (1970). Cricket: A History of its Growth and Development. Eyre & Spottiswoode.
- 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.
- Collins, A. R. (2016). "Historical Calendar". Dr A. R. Collins.
- Marylebone Cricket Club (2017). "The official Laws of Cricket". MCC.