1784 English cricket season

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1784 English cricket season

1784 was the 88th English cricket season since the earliest known important match was played. It was significant for the appearance in important matches of the White Conduit Club, although the surviving references this year are merely around two "great matches" played on White Conduit Fields.

Although not directly connected with cricket, it was in 1784 that the India Act was passed, creating a department of the British government to exercise political, military and financial control over the Indian affairs of the East India Company. During the next half century British control was extended over most of the sub-continent and cricket spread throughout the country as a consequence of that.

Important matches[edit]

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

date match title venue source result
18 May (Tu) Berkshire v Bucks Little Marlow WDC Berkshire won by innings & 21 runs

Bucks has never had a top-class county team and Berkshire clearly won this with ease.

22 May (S) "A Great Cricket Match" White Conduit Fields FLPV result unknown
27 May (Th) "A Great Cricket Match" White Conduit Fields FLPV result unknown

It is almost certain that these matches involved the White Conduit Club but few details are known. George Finch, 9th Earl of Winchilsea was noted as "the best bat" in the first game; a few players in the second game were named including Dorset, Winchilsea, Talbot and Lennox.

1–2 June (Tu-W) All-England v Hampshire Sevenoaks Vine SB61 All-England won by 7 wkts

Hampshire 70 (T Sueter 35*; W Bullen 6w, R Clifford 2w) & 116 (John Small 38; W Bullen 2w, R Clifford 2w); All-England 124 (J Aylward 37, R Clifford 31; R Francis 4w) & 63-3 (J Ring 28*)

This was the only top-class match recorded in 1784. Mr Haygarth says in S&B that his original source was the Hampshire Chronicle, as the game "was not inserted in the old book of scores".

The match included the first recorded appearance by John (Jack) Small junior. Another debutant was the professional player Davidson, possibly of Hythe, about whom little is known. He was occasionally recorded in matches over the next few years, his name sometimes spelled Davison.

9 June (W) Bucks v Berkshire Datchet Common WDC result unknown

This was a return of the game on Tues 18 May above. It was pre-announced with the result of the first one but was not itself reported.

22–23 June (Tu-W) Chertsey v Coulsdon Laleham Burway WDC Chertsey won by 313 runs

Chertsey 219 (Mr G T Boult 52*, - Hart 52) & 186 (T Taylor 44, W Bedster 31); Coulsdon 63 & 29. No bowling or fielding details known.

Mr Waghorn recorded: "A match between the Chertsey and Coulsdon clubs, for £50 a side, which was won by the former by 313 runs. This match does not state how out".

This match is sometimes found in lists of top-class games as these were both strong clubs for most of the 18th century. But Coulsdon was a shadow of its former self by 1784 and lost the game heavily by 313 runs. Apart from the occasional Surrey players Muggeridge and Quiddington, none of the Coulsdon team is recognised, whereas the majority of Chertsey players are.

15–16 July (Th-F) Hambledon Parish v Petworth venue unknown FL18 Petworth won by 52 runs

Hambledon Parish v Petworth is recorded in FL18 and included in the ACS list but it seems to have been a minor match between two parish teams only, although a handful of regulars did play for the Hambledon team. The scorecard has been preserved.

30 July (F) Farnham v Odiham & Alton Holt Pound, Farnham FL18 result unknown

Farnham v Odiham & Alton was played at Holt Pound in Farnham and the teams are known but no details of the play. The Wells and Beldam brothers all played for Farnham. Odiham’s team included David Harris and Thomas Scott, who became a noted Hampshire player in the 1790s.

Single wicket[edit]

  • 26–28 July (M–Tu) : Six of Hambledon Club v Six of Kent @ Itchin Stoke Down. Kent won by 20 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
55 James Aylward
42 Robert Clifford
41 John Small
36 Tom Sueter

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
8 William Bullen
5 Richard Francis
4 Robert Clifford
2 Edward "Lumpy" Stevens
1 Thomas Taylor

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
3 William Bowra
2 William Bedster
2 Richard Francis
2 Thomas Taylor


  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. 

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. 
  • 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]