1756 English cricket season

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1756 English cricket season

1756 was the 60th English cricket season since the earliest known important match was played. Details have survived of five important eleven-a-side and one single wicket matches. The season may be said to mark the beginning of the so-called "Hambledon Era". The Hambledon team, then probably run by a parish organisation rather than the famous club which is believed to have been formed in about 1765, makes its first recorded appearances in three matches against Dartford.

The Seven Years' War began in 1756 and ended in 1763. It is possible this reduced the number of "great matches", as did the Napoleonic and the two World Wars later. It is probable that cricket's first bowling revolution occurred sometime between 1756 and 1763. Bowlers were certainly pitching the ball by 1770, but there are no surviving reports to describe the reception that pitching had when it was tried and implemented.[1]

Important matches[edit]

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

date match title venue result source
date unknown Dartford v Hambledon [2] venue unknown Dartford won [3]
18 August (W) Hambledon v Dartford [2] Broadhalfpenny Down Dartford won [3]
30 August (M) Dartford v Hambledon [2] Artillery Ground Dartford won [3]

These three Dartford v Hambledon games are the earliest known references to matches involving a Hambledon team. The one on Broadhalfpenny Down is known about because of a famous advert in the Reading Mercury concerning a dog called Rover whose owner lost him at the match. He was offering five shillings for Rover’s return but it is not known if the dog was recovered.[4] It should be said that the advert does not conclusively prove that Hambledon was playing Dartford that day, but in the light of subsequent reports it seems a more than reasonable assumption.[1]

Nothing is known of the first match except that the last of the three on Monday 30 August was billed as "the deciding match between the two elevens" and played for £50 a side. Furthermore, in the Public Advertiser announcement which H T Waghorn recorded re the game below on Mon 6 September, Dartford is said to have beat Hampshire (sic) 3 matches successively.[2]

There is no definite knowledge of Hambledon cricket before 1756 but the team may have gained repute already to be capable of attempting three matches against Dartford, which had been a famous club since the 1720s if not earlier. It is not known for certain when the Hambledon Club was founded and it seems likely that some kind of parish organisation was operating in 1756, although there may well have been a patron involved. The ground is however some distance from the village.

6 September (M) London v Dartford [2] Artillery Ground result unknown [3]

Played for £50 a side. London had John Bryant, Joe Harris, Durling and George Smith playing for them.

9 September (Th) Dartford v London [2] Dartford Brent result unknown [3]

In the announcement for the game on Mon 6 September, it says "the second match will be played on Dartford Brim (sic) by the same gentlemen".

Other events[edit]

In Dawn of Cricket, H T Waghorn records a pre-announcement that a "fives" game involving a Hambledon side would be played on Sat 28 August at the Artillery Ground. The Hambledon players are unnamed but their opponents were a strong team: Tom Faulkner, Joe Harris, John Frame, John Bell and Durling. No details of the result were recorded. Stakes were £20 a side. This may have been a curtain raiser for the main event on Monday 30 August.[2]


  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.


  1. ^ a b From Lads to Lord's; The History of Cricket: 1300 – 1787
  2. ^ a b c d e f g H T Waghorn, The Dawn of Cricket, Electric Press, 1906
  3. ^ a b c d e ACS, Important Matches, p. 23.
  4. ^ G B Buckley, ‘’Fresh Light on 18th Century Cricket’’, Cotterell, 1935


  • Buckley, G. B. (1935). Fresh Light on 18th Century Cricket. Cotterell. 
  • McCann, Tim (2004). Sussex Cricket in the Eighteenth Century. Sussex Record Society. 
  • Waghorn, H. T. (1899). Cricket Scores, Notes, etc. (1730–1773). Blackwood. 
  • Waghorn, H. T. (1906). The Dawn of Cricket. Electric Press. 
  • Wilson, Martin (2005). An Index to Waghorn. Bodyline. 

Additional reading[edit]

  • ACS (1981). A Guide to Important Cricket Matches Played in the British Isles 1709 – 1863. Nottingham: ACS. 
  • 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. 
  • Major, John (2007). More Than A Game. HarperCollins. 
  • Maun, Ian (2011). From Commons to Lord's, Volume Two: 1751 to 1770. Martin Wilson. ISBN 978-0-9569066-0-1. 
  • Mote, Ashley (1997). The Glory Days of Cricket. Robson. 
  • Underdown, David (2000). Start of Play. Allen Lane.