1783 English cricket season

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1783 English cricket season

1783 was the 87th English cricket season since the earliest known important match was played. The Whitehall Evening Post reported on Tuesday, 8 July that "the 3rd Duke of Dorset’s cricketing establishment, exclusive of any betting or consequential entertainment, is said to exceed £1000 a year", a colossal sum at the time. A portrait of Edward "Lumpy" Stevens was probably executed this year. The famous portrait is at Knole House, seat of the Duke of Dorset in Sevenoaks.

Important matches[edit]

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

date match title venue source result
20 & 21 May (Tu-W) Odiham v Maidenhead Odiham Down FL18 Odiham won

Apparently this match was preceded by the conclusion of one left over from last season and that must have been the one due to start at Odiham Down on Mon 7 October 1782.

25–26 June (W-Th) Duke of Dorset v Sir H Mann Sevenoaks Vine SB56 Mann's XI won by 2 wkts

Duke of Dorset’s XI 97 (W Bowra 28, Mr G Louch 24; – Martin 5w) & 135 (W Bedster 43, W Bullen 31; – Martin 2w, R Clifford 2w); Sir Horace Mann’s XI 147 (T Pattenden 52, J Aylward 26; J Boorman 2w) & 86-8 (J Aylward 25; W Bullen 3w)

Mr Haygarth recorded that: "Stevens was not to bowl, by agreement. This being the case, he could not have been much use as a given man, as he was no batsman".

The Duke of Dorset’s team included six players whose name began with B.

8–9 July (Tu-W) Hampshire v Kent Windmill Down SB57 tied

Hampshire 140 (T Taylor 51, T Sueter 42; W Bullen 4w) & 62 (W Bullen 2w); Kent 111 (W Brazier 27; E Stevens 2w, D Harris 2w, R Francis 2w) & 91 (J Aylward 27; E Stevens 2w)

This is the first tied match for which a detailed scorecard has survived. There are earlier tied matches of which we have few details.

According to Arthur Haygarth: "Kent actually won the match. It was discovered afterwards that Pratt, the scorer, whose method (which was the usual one at that time) was to cut a notch on a stick for every run, and to cut every tenth notch longer, in order to count the whole more expeditiously, had, by mistake, marked in one place the eleventh notch instead of the tenth. The stick was afterwards produced; but the other scorer could not or would not produce his. The play was excellent on both sides, and the game was saved by Clifford’s attention. Both sides were alternatively the favourites, and high odds laid". Mr Haygarth found a lot of conflicting information in his sources.

17 July (Th) Maidenhead v Odiham Oldfield Bray FL18 Odiham won by 9 wkts

Reported by the Reading Mercury on Mon 21 July. WDC also has this match but incorrectly dates it as Thurs 31 July.

24 July (Th) Strood v Dartford Strood WDC Dartford won by 1 run

Any Dartford match in C18 has historical interest but the club seems to have lost its lustre by 1783. Even so, this must have been a very exciting game at the end.

6-9 Aug (W-S) Kent v Hampshire Bishopsbourne Paddock SB58 Hampshire won by 85 runs

Hampshire 160 (John Small 52, J Bayley 25; W Bullen 3w, R Clifford 3w) & 192 (T Taylor 66, T Sueter 36, R A Veck 31, R Nyren 25; W Bullen 2w); Kent 204 (J Ring 82, W Bedster 61; E Stevens 5w) & 63 (W Bullen 23; D Harris 2w)

26-29 Aug (Tu-F) Hampshire v All-England Windmill Down SB59 drawn (rain)

All-England 218 (W Brazier 79, F Booker 25, W Yalden 22; E Stevens 3w, D Harris 2w) & 133 (J Ring 27; D Harris 2w); Hampshire 217 (John Small 78, T Sueter 53, R Nyren 22; W Brazier 3w, W Bullen 2w) & 63-5 (N Mann 32, R A Veck 24; W Brazier 2w)

This is the first instance among matches with recorded scores of a draw. Hardly surprisingly, it was due to persistent rain! Arthur Haygarth says: "This match was put off, on account of bad weather, and never resumed".

1 Sept (M) Melton Mowbray v Nottingham Melton Mowbray FL18 Nottingham won by 4 wkts

The scorecard for this game is bizarre. All 11 players in the Melton first innings were out! In the Nottingham second innings, six are shown as out including one who was "out of ground" (so presumably stumped given that "run out" is used elsewhere in the card) but there is only one shown as "last man" and he didn’t score!

5-6 Sept (F-S) Chertsey v Berkshire Laleham Burway WDC Berkshire won by 10 wkts

Chertsey 145 (W Bedster 44, H Attfield 41, W Yalden 23) & 62 (H Attfield 18); Berkshire 179 (T Taylor 93, Mr G T Boult 31) & 30-0

This was reported as: "A match of cricket, between the Berkshire Club, with Taylor of Hampshire, and Chertsey, with Bedster and Lambert, which was decided in favour of the Berkshire Club, by 2 runs and 10 wickets to go down".

Although both Chertsey and Berkshire have been recognised as participants in major matches at other times, only 7 or 8 recognised players were involved in this game and its status is marginal. Five of the Berkshire players played for Maidenhead v Chertsey in 1780 (see above).

11 Sept (Th) Nottingham v Melton Mowbray Nottingham FL18 Nottingham won by 13 runs

Thurs 11 September. The Nottingham Journal mentions "a Close near Trent Bridge" as the venue for the return match between Melton Mowbray and Nottingham. This was over 60 years before William Clarke opened the Trent Bridge Cricket Ground! The report goes on to say that the Nottingham players uniformly dressed in green jackets and the Melton players in white jackets.

The Nottingham games against Melton Mowbray are historically interesting reports of the old Nottingham Club that ultimately evolved into Nottinghamshire CCC.

Single wicket[edit]

  • 16–19 Sept (Tu–F) : Six of England v Six of Hambledon Club @ Bishopsbourne Paddock. Hambledon won by 31 runs.

First mentions[edit]

Leading batsmen[edit]

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: e.g., the missing not outs prevent computation of batting averages. The "runs scored" are in fact the runs known.

runs player
157 John Small
147 James Aylward
144 William Bedster
141 Thomas Taylor
137 William Brazier
134 Tom Sueter
131 Joey Ring
100 William Bullen
95 Thomas Pattenden

Leading bowlers[edit]

Note that the wickets credited to an 18th-century bowler were only those where he bowled the batsman out. The bowler was not credited with the wickets of batsmen who were caught out, even if it was "caught and bowled". In addition, the runs conceded by each bowler were not recorded so no analyses or averages can be computed.

wkts player
18 William Bullen
14 Edward "Lumpy" Stevens
10 David Harris
7 William Brazier
7 Robert Clifford
7 Martin
3 Richard Francis

Leading fielders[edit]

Note that many scorecards in the 18th century are unknown or have missing details and so the totals are of the known catches and stumpings only. Stumpings were not always recorded as such and sometimes the name of the wicket-keeper was not given. Generally, a catch was given the same status as "bowled" with credit being awarded to the fielder only and not the bowler. There is never a record of "caught and bowled"the bowler would be credited with the catch, not with the wicket.

ct/st player
10 Robert Clifford
8 Thomas Taylor
5 William Bowra
5 John Small
5 William Yalden
4 several players


  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.



  • Ashley-Cooper, F. S. (1924). Hambledon Cricket Chronicle 1772–1796. Jenkins.
  • Buckley, G. B. (1935). Fresh Light on 18th Century Cricket. Cotterell.
  • Haygarth, Arthur (1862). Scores & Biographies, Volume 1 (1744–1826). Lillywhite.
  • Mote, Ashley (1997). The Glory Days of Cricket. Robson.
  • Nyren, John (1998). Ashley Mote, ed. The Cricketers of my Time. Robson.
  • Waghorn, H. T. (1906). The Dawn of Cricket. Electric Press.
  • Wilson, Martin (2005). An Index to Waghorn. Bodyline.

Further 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.
  • McCann, Tim (2004). Sussex Cricket in the Eighteenth Century. Sussex Record Society.
  • Major, John (2007). More Than A Game. HarperCollins.
  • Underdown, David (2000). Start of Play. Allen Lane.

External links[edit]