1785 English cricket season
1785 was the 89th English cricket season since the earliest known important match was played. Scores & Biographies bemoans the lack of fixtures (though there were no less than in the previous few seasons) but there is a historical significance in that state of affairs because it reflected the decline of the Hambledon Club’s influence while the emergence of the White Conduit Club foreshadowed a shift in focus by the cricket authorities from rural to metropolitan.
|9 May (M)||Farnham v Alresford||Holt Pound, Farnham||FL18||Alresford won by 5 wkts|
|30 & 31 May (M-Tu)||Middlesex v Essex||Kennington Common||WDC||Essex won by 6 wkts|
The match was played for £500 a side. William Fennex and George T Boult were given men for Middlesex, who in one report are called London & Westminster.
|9–10 June (Th-F)||Berkshire v Essex||Datchet Common||WDC||Berkshire won by 148 runs|
Berkshire 113 (Mr G T Boult 53) & 115 (Mr G T Boult 55, James Wells 37); Essex 37 & 43 (Hon. G H Monson 20*). No bowling or fielding details known.
The game was announced as: "A match of cricket, for 100 guineas, the Berkshire club against the Hornchurch club, with Davidson and Rimmington". We do not know which of the three Rimmingtons was involved.
The Hornchurch club was the strongest in Essex and its team could claim to be representative of the county. The sources differ among themselves re whether the team should be called Essex or Hornchurch. Several of these Essex players appeared frequently in subsequent seasons.
Berkshire was becoming a top-class county at this time and their team in 1785 does include Beldham, Bedster, Boult, Fennex, Harris, James Wells and Yalden.
|13 June (M)||Essex v Middlesex||Langton Park, Hornchurch||FL18||result unknown|
This match was pre-announced to be played out same day for 100 guineas. No report was found.
|20 June (M)||Gents of Kent v White Conduit||Sevenoaks Vine||WDC||Kent won by 104 runs|
Gentlemen of Kent 105 (Mr R Stanford 38) & 131 (Mr S Amherst 22, Mr R Whitehead 22) White Conduit Club 46 & 86 (Hon. Col. C Lennox 25). No bowling or fielding details known. Announced in WDC as: "A grand match of cricket between 11 gentlemen of the White Conduit Club, London, against 11 gentlemen of Kent, which was won by the latter".
There were a number of significant "debutants" in this game, in the sense that this was their first recorded match, none more so than the Earl of Winchilsea and the Hon. Colonel Charles Lennox, who both played a major role in the organisation of cricket at Lord’s from 1787.
|27 June (M)||Hornchurch v Windsor||Langton Park, Hornchurch||WDC||Windsor won by 5 wkts|
No individual details are known. FL18 records that the stake was £500. It is possibly that it was the equivalent of Essex v Berkshire.
|27 June (M)||Farnham v Petworth||North Green, Reading||TJM||Farnham won by innings & 18 runs|
|30 June - 1 July (Th-F)||White Conduit v Gents of Kent||White Conduit Fields||SB62||WCC won by 304 runs|
White Conduit Club 170 (Hon. Col. C Lennox 42, Capt – Monson 29; Mr R Hosmer 4w) & 284 (Sir P Burrell 97, Mr R Newman 56; Mr R Hosmer 3w); Gentlemen of Kent 122 (Mr R Stanford 59; Capt – Monson 5w) & 28 (Mr G East 4w)
The two Gentlemen teams are considered major because most of their players are recognised and did appear quite frequently though, admittedly, not with any great success.
S&B bemoans the lack of fixtures in this season (though there were more than in 1784) but there is a historical significance in that state of affairs because it reflected the decline of Hambledon's influence while the emergence of WCC foreshadowed a shift in focus to London. Cricket at this time had reached a watershed.
|4 July (M)||Bucks v Herts||Nottis Green, Beaconsfield||WDC||Bucks won by 16 runs|
WDC has a full scorecard for Bucks and Herts which is in the ACS list but both of these were minor counties at the time, as they are now, and relied on given men to have any recognised players.
|21 & 22 July (Th-F)||Petworth v Farnham||Petworth||TJM||Farnham won by 4 wkts|
|29 & 30 July (F-S)||Farnham v Petworth||Holt Pound, Farnham||TJM||Farnham won by 213 runs|
|1 & 2 August (M-Tu)||Lingfield v Sussex||Lingfield Common||TJM||Sussex won by 42 runs|
|15 August (M)||Odiham v Hambledon||Odiham Down||WDC||result unknown|
|22 August (M)||Farnham v Hambledon||Holt Pound, Farnham||WDC||Hambledon won by innings & 119 runs|
|27 August (S)||Bucks v Berkshire||Langley Broom||FL18||result unknown|
|19 Sept (M)||Hambledon v Farnham||Windmill Down||WDC||result unknown|
Although the scorecard has been lost, according to Beldham (who played in this game), Farnham beat Hambledon.
|26 & 27 Sept (M-Tu)||Bucks v Berkshire||Langley Broom||WDC||Berkshire won by 215 runs|
- William Beldham
- George T Boult
- William Fennex
- J Gouldstone
- George Henry Monson
- J Wyatt
- Henry Hervey Aston
- Sir Peter Burrell
- Charles Lennox, 4th Duke of Richmond
- George Talbot
- R Whitehead
- George Finch, 9th Earl of Winchilsea
- Gilbert East
- Captain Monson
- Barker (Essex; amateur) – played six matches to 1793
- J Russell (Essex; amateur) – played nine matches to 1793
- Dampier (WCC; amateur) – played five matches to 1787
- Peachey (WCC; amateur) – played two matches in 1785 only
- Slater (Berkshire; amateur) – played four matches to 1787
- Lord Strathavon (Surrey; amateur) – played four matches to 1792
- Tyson (WCC/MCC; amateur) – played seven matches to 1794
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.
|108||George T Boult|
|97||Sir Peter Burrell|
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.
|3||Mr Thompson (Kent)|
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.
- 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.
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