1786 English cricket season

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1786 English cricket season

1786 was the 90th English cricket season since the earliest known important match was played. The famous Walker brothers make their first appearances in senior cricket and the rare dismissal of hit the ball twice was first recorded.

Important matches[edit]

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

date match title venue source result
16 May (Tu) Farnham v Warfield Datchet Common WDC result unknown
23 May (Tu) Thursley v Godalming Thursley WDC result unknown
13 June (Tu) Farnham v Warfield Holt Pound, Farnham WDC Farnham won by 7 wkts
14 June (W) Maidstone v Kent Bearsted Green WDC result unknown
22–24 June (Th-S) White Conduit v Kent White Conduit Fields SB64 WCC won by 5 runs

White Conduit Club 103 (T Taylor 33; R Clifford 2w, W Bullen 2w) & 123 (John Small 49, Hon. G Monson 26; R Clifford 3w); Kent 121 (W Bullen 26, Mr R Hosmer 26; E Stevens 2w) & 100 (Mr R Hosmer 25; E Stevens 4w)

Arthur Haygarth commented: "Henry Bentley's 'correct' (sic) book of matches commences in 1786 and ends in 1825. Several matches in (S&B) are taken from that publication. The above match is not arranged in the order of going in. Many matches in the early part of (Bentley's) book have always the gentlemen placed first".

26–28 June (M-W) Kent v Hampshire Sevenoaks Vine SB65 Kent won by 4 wkts

Hampshire 143 (T Walker 43, H Walker 39, R Purchase 25; R Clifford 3w, W Bullen 2w) & 89 (H Walker 24; W Bullen 3w, J Boorman 2w, R Clifford 2w); Kent 123 (W Bowra 28, W Bullen 27; E Stevens 3w, R Purchase 2w) & 110-6 (J Ring 61*, J Aylward 27; E Stevens 3w)

13–15 July (Th-S) Hampshire v Kent Windmill Down SB66 Hampshire won by 1 wkt

Kent 83 (W Bullen 23; D Harris 4w) & 189 (F Booker 55*, J Aylward 53, W Bullen 29; R Purchase 4w, N Mann 2w); Hampshire 163 (H Walker 66, T Walker 55; R Clifford 3w, W Bullen 2w) & 110-9 (T Walker 26, John Small 24; W Bullen 2w, R Clifford 2w)

Tom Sueter of Hampshire was given out for hitting the ball twice. This is the first recorded instance of this type of dismissal.

Re the Walker brothers, it cannot be confirmed but it is possible that this match included the first instance of a century partnership involving two brothers.

Arthur Haygarth says: "In this match, 'hit wicket' is scored down only for the second time, the first being in 1773. Evidently (as in the case of leg before wicket and stumped out) it was written down as bowled merely for some years". In fact, there were other instances of hit wicket in scores recorded elsewhere.

Haygarth also comments that: "In another account, the Hambledon Club is called England; but they are all belonging to the club, and therefore the above (i.e., Hambledon Club) is no doubt correct. But Hambledon and All England were much the same about this time".

17 July (M) Guildford v Five Parishes Guildford WDC Guildford won by 5 wkts
25 July (Tu) Guildford v Five Parishes Guildford WDC result unknown
28 July (F) Farnham v Hambledon & Sussex Northchapel WDC result unknown
2-5 Aug (W-S) Hampshire v Kent (ABC game) Moulsey Hurst SB66 Hampshire won by 35 runs

Hampshire 116 (T Walker 56; R Clifford 3w) & 144 (Mr E Hussey 28, R Purchase 26; R Clifford 3w, W Brazier 2w); Kent 143 (Mr S Amherst 33, F Booker 26; E Stevens 2w) & 82 (F Booker 39; E Stevens 3w)

Hampshire won after being behind on first innings. Tom Taylor, who was not a wicketkeeper, took six catches in the match.

Some interesting comments by Arthur Haygarth about this game and about team naming conventions: "It may here be mentioned that the Earl of Winchilsea's or the Hambledon Eleven always played in silver laced hats. Knee breeches of course in use now by everyone. It is very curious that the above Kent Eleven consisted entirely of A, B, and Cs, in fact in another account the two sides are called A, B, and Cs v the Rest of the Alphabet. This match is in 'the Old Scores' called Earl of Winchilsea's v Sir Horace Mann's side, but it is decidedly a match between Hambledon Club (i.e., Hampshire) and Kent, and has been so altered by the Compiler of this work. Often in the old score books, the name of the principal patron or backer of each side is prefixed, instead of the proper name, which is very incorrect, and apt to mislead the reader".

Team names can be misleading but in fact none of the contemporary labels are incorrect. As we have seen, the same team could have several labels not just successively but also concurrently. The whole issue is a storm in a teacup and it is up to each writer to follow his own preference, which is precisely what Mr Haygarth himself did!

8-12 Aug (Tu-S) Kent v White Conduit Bishopsbourne Paddock SB68 WCC won by 164 runs

White Conduit Club 183 (T Walker 95*, Mr G East 26; R Clifford 4w) & 296 (T Taylor 117, T Walker 102; W Bullen 4w); Kent 218 (Mr – Stanford 73, Mr S Amherst 39, J Boorman 32; D Harris 3w) & 97 (R Clifford 41, – Collier 35; D Harris 3w, E Stevens 2w)

Tom Walker was very close to becoming the first batsman ever to score two centuries in a match. The centuries by Walker and Thomas Taylor are the first instance of two players scoring centuries in the same match, let alone the same innings. Although it cannot be confirmed, it is possible they shared a 200-plus partnership. These were the third and fourth centuries in recorded top-class cricket, following the previous hundreds by John Small and James Aylward who were both playing in this game.

Arthur Haygarth commented: "There are only a few recorded matches of the White Conduit Club. The Marylebone Club was formed in 1787 from its members The date of the formation of the White Conduit could not be found".

16 Sept (M) Berkshire v Middlesex Warfield WDC result unknown

WDC recorded that: "a match of cricket will be played on the New Ground at Hayley Green, Warfield, Berks, the counties of Middlesex and Bucks, against Warfield, with G. East, Esq., Finch and Thompson. Wickets to be pitched at 10 o’clock.

Players for Middlesex and Bucks: Fennex, Bedster, White, Grange, Shackle, Webb, Spriggs, Belch, Pontifex, Dean and Grainger.

Players for Warfield: G. East, Esq., Osmer (i.e., Mr R Hosmer), G. T. Boult, A. Boult, Z. Boult, Baker, Finch, Fouch (i.e., Mr G Louch), Lawrence, Simkins, and Thompson. (Not reported.)"

The Warfield team here is effectively a Berkshire XI and their opponents are near enough a Middlesex XI, presumably with a couple from Bucks, so this is an important inter-county match. Many of these names will be familiar if you have studied matches in the 1790s.

Single wicket[edit]

  • 6–9 Sept (W–S) : Six of Kent v Six of Hambledon Club @ Bishopsbourne Paddock. Kent won by 1 wkt.

Other events[edit]

WDC in 1786 has games involving the Farnham club of Surrey and the Warfield club of Berkshire. We know that David Harris played for Farnham and Lumpy for Warfield in the first one on Tues 16 May, but we have to assume (as in 1785) that these are parish matches only despite the guest stars. A similar assumption must be made re other matches involving the Guildford and Godalming clubs. The games are included in the season summary list.

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
423 Tom Walker
222 Thomas Taylor
165 Harry Walker
161 John Small
147 James Aylward
141 William Bullen
133 Francis Booker
111 Richard Stanford
109 Stephen Amherst
103 Joey Ring
88 John Boorman

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
23 Robert Clifford
20 Edward "Lumpy" Stevens
15 William Bullen
12 David Harris
11 Richard Purchase
6 John Boorman

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
11 Thomas Taylor
8 William Bullen
7 Harry Walker
6 James Aylward
5 John Boorman
5 William Bowra
4 George Louch
4 John Small


  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]