1768 English cricket season

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1768 English cricket season

1768 was the 72nd English cricket season since the earliest known important match was played. Details have survived of nine important matches. There was a brief return by Sussex to top-class cricket and the possibility of the earliest known century in senior cricket.

Important matches[edit]

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

date match title venue result source
10 June (F) Caterham v Bourne [1] Westerham Common Caterham won by 14 runs

Caterham 63 (Smailes 25) & 150 (Foule 33, Mr H Rowett 30); Kent 60 & 139 (R Simmons 45, W Palmer 23)

The Kentish Weekly Post of Sat 11 June records the teams and individual scores. The Caterham club is referred to as "Westerham & Caterham", probably because of the venue. Bourne is actually Mr (later Sir) Horatio Mann’s team and the newspaper on this occasion calls it Bourne, where Mr Mann had his residence and his own very famous venue: Bourne Paddock. In other reports, Mr Mann’s teams are variously referred to as Kent or, perhaps most accurately, East Kent.

This is the third time (and the first since 1744) that the individual scores of an important match have survived. No details of dismissal were recorded.

26 July (F) Caterham v Bourne [1] Caterham result unknown

Announced in the St James Chronicle on Sat 23 July. Caterham was to give Bourne two men. The St James Chronicle referred to the teams as Mr Horatio Mann’s Club and Mr Henry Rowett’s Club.

29 July (F) Middlesex v Surrey Stamford Hill result unknown [2][3]

Pre-announced in Lloyd’s Evening Post on Wed 27 July. To be played for 100 guineas a side.

2 August (F) Caterham v Bourne [1] Caterham result unknown [2]

Announced in the St James Chronicle on Sat 23 July. Bourne (Horace Mann) was to give Caterham (Henry Rowett) one man.

5 August (F) Hampshire v Sussex [4] Broadhalfpenny Down result unknown

Referred to in a letter dated Wed 27 July 1768 from Sir Matthew Fetherstonhaugh of Uppark to Thomas Pelham-Holles, 1st Duke of Newcastle: "I hear there is to be a great Cricket match play’d next Friday Sennight upon Broad-halfpenny, about 7 miles West of this place in Hampshire & at wch. The Duke of Richmond & many from the Chichester Div. Of the County will be present, for it is a match made by the Duke (Sussex against Hampshire) with a Mr. Ridge near Warnford; at wch. Mr. Sackville is to play on the Sussex side".

The now archaic word s’ennight often occurs in 18th century writing. It is an abbreviation of "seven nights" and means "seven nights hence". In this instance, Sir Matthew refers to a game taking place "a week on Friday", as we would say.

12 August (F) Bourne v Surrey [1] Bourne Paddock result unknown [2]

The Kentish Gazette on Wed 10 August announced this game by saying: The last match was thought to be as good a match as was ever played. This is the last match that will be played in Bourne Paddock this year. Although billed as "Bourne v Surrey", it was probably a fourth game in the Caterham v Bourne series.

29 & 30 August (M-Tu) Hambledon v Kent [5] Broadhalfpenny Down Hambledon won by 144 runs [2]

Reported in the Reading Mercury on Sat 3 September. The report stated: Last Tuesday the second great match at cricket was played on Broad-Halfpenny between eleven gentlemen of the Hambledon Club against eleven gentlemen of the county of Kent for a considerable sum, which was won by the former by upwards of 100 notches; but what is very remarkable, one Mr Small, of Petersfield, fetched above seven score notches off his own bat.

The team scores were: Hambledon – 131 + 194 = 325; Kent – 141 + 40 = 181

One of early cricket’s most tantalising questions is: did John Small score the earliest known first-class century in this game?

The Mercury is ambiguous as it cannot be said for certain if his 140-plus was his match total or his score in the second innings. Ashley Mote states that if he scored 140-plus out of 194 it would have been a truly astonishing performance.[6] Astonishing, but not impossible. Even if it was his match total, it remains possible that his second innings was a century if he scored less than 50 in the first innings.

5 September (F) Hambledon v Sussex [4] Broadhalfpenny Down Hambledon won by 7 wkts [2]

A report states: Last Monday another great match at cricket was played on Broad Halfpenny between eleven gentlemen of the county of Sussex, against eleven of the Hambledon Club, for a large sum, which was won by the latter, who had seven wickets to go down. Mr Small got above four score notches in this match, and was not out when the game was finished. Once again, it is not known if John Small scored his 80-plus in one innings or if it was his match total.

Other events[edit]

Sat 28 May. The Kentish Weekly Post reported that "last week in the Artillery Ground", a "fives" game between Hon. J F Sackville’s team and Mr Horace Mann’s team lasted two days. Sackville (soon to become 3rd Duke of Dorset) won by 4 wickets. The players and their individual scores are known. Mann’s team of Bellchambers, John Boorman, James Fuggles, May and Muddle scored 26 and 29; Sackville’s team of Brobham, John Bayton, John Small, Birchett and Mandy scored 20 and 36-1. May scored 10 and 12 for Mann and Bayton of Hambledon scored 8 and 36* for Sackville, so Bayton’s performance decided the match. The more notable John Small scored only 3 and 0.[1]

Fri 3 June. William Bedle died at his house near Dartford. He was "near 90" and was formerly accounted the most expert cricket player in England. He must have been in his prime during the first quarter of the 18th century. His death was reported by the Lloyd’s Evening Post on Fri 10 June.[1]

An Essex v London match was arranged for Wed 8 June on Epping Common but the London team did not appear and forfeited their deposit.[1]

The secondary sources have recorded three ladies’ matches that took place in June between teams from Harting and Rogate in Sussex. These games attracted crowds of two to three thousand.[1]

First mentions[edit]


Clubs and teams[edit]




  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 c d e f g h G. B. Buckley, Fresh Light on 18th Century Cricket, Cotterell, 1935
  2. ^ a b c d e ACS, Important Matches, p. 23.
  3. ^ Buckley, FLPVC, p. 4.
  4. ^ a b Timothy J. McCann, Sussex Cricket in the Eighteenth Century, Sussex Record Society, 2004
  5. ^ H. T. Waghorn, Cricket Scores, Notes, etc. (1730-1773), Blackwood, 1899
  6. ^ Ashley Mote, The Glory Days of Cricket, Robson, 1997


  • ACS (1981). A Guide to Important Cricket Matches Played in the British Isles 1709 – 1863. Nottingham: ACS.
  • Buckley, G. B. (1935). Fresh Light on 18th Century Cricket. Cotterell.
  • Buckley, G. B. (1937). Fresh Light on pre-Victorian Cricket. Cotterell.
  • Haygarth, Arthur (1862). Scores & Biographies, Volume 1 (1744–1826). Lillywhite.
  • 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.

Further 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.
  • 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.