1788 English cricket season
1788 was the second season of cricket in England since the foundation of Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC). On Friday, 30 May, MCC published a revised code of the Laws of Cricket, calling themselves the "Cricket Club at Marylebone". This action confirmed MCC as the body both in sole charge of the Laws and responsible for the sport's governance. Four weeks later, MCC and its predecessor White Conduit Club played each other at Lord's Old Ground in the earliest match featuring MCC to leave a surviving scorecard.
|26–28 May (M-W)||Earl of Winchilsea's XI v Sir Horatio Mann's XI||Lord's (Dorset Square)||Earl of Winchilsea's XI won by 106 runs|||
David Harris took ten wickets in the match for the losing side.
|4 June (W)||Surrey v Windsor Forest||venue at Warfield||Windsor Forest won by 206 runs|||
|5–7 June (Th-S)||Charles Powlett's XI v Gilbert East's XI||Lord's (Dorset Square)||Powlett's XI won by 25 runs|||
George Louch of East's XI took five catches. He was noted for his close fielding skills.
|9–10 June (M-Tu)||Surrey v Hampshire||Moulsey Hurst||Surrey won by 9 wkts|||
|13 June (F)||Hornchurch v Moulsey Hurst aka Essex v Surrey||Langton Park, Hornchurch||result unknown|||
Both teams were listed in full by the newspaper which announced the match but there is no surviving scorecard and the result is unknown. The teams were called Hornchurch and Moulsey Hurst in the newspaper but it was effectively an Essex v Surrey match. The stake was 500 guineas. The announcement included the warning: "no dogs admitted in the field".
|17–18 June (Tu-W)||Hampshire v England XI||Itchin Stoke Down||Hampshire won by innings & 76 runs|||
|27 June (F)||Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) v White Conduit Club (WCC)||Lord's (Dorset Square)||MCC won by 83 runs|||
This is the earliest MCC match of which the score has survived and so it is of great historical importance. It is in S&B and also in the ACS list. Haygarth in S&B says that although "this is the first recorded Marylebone match", there can be no doubt a few had "come off" previously. He explains his view by reference to the Lord's pavilion fire in 1825 which caused the loss of "many old scores and other valuable records".
|2–4 July (W-F)||Hampshire v Surrey||Perriam Down, Ludgershall||Hampshire won by 4 wkts|||
|9–11 July (W-F)||Earl of Winchilsea's XI v T. A. Smith's XI||Perriam Down, Ludgershall||Smith's XI won by 3 wkts|||
There is no surviving scorecard for this match between two scratch teams whose patrons wagered 500 guineas.
|14 July (M)||Hampshire v Surrey||Odiham Down||result unknown|||
The match was briefly pre-announced a week earlier for a stake of 100 guineas. No scorecard or other details have survived.
|15–18 July (Tu-F)||Surrey v Kent||Moulsey Hurst||Surrey won by innings & 65 runs|||
|24–25 July (Th-F)||England XI v Hampshire||Sevenoaks Vine||Hampshire won by 53 runs|||
John Crawte made his known debut in senior cricket for the England XI.
|29–31 July (Tu-Th)||Kent v England XI||Coxheath Common||All-England won by innings & 80 runs|||
George Louch took six catches in the match for All-England. The ACS Guide has this game on 22–24 July which means it would have clashed with the Sevenoaks game above that featured most of the same players. S&B has the game on 29–31 July and this date seems the more likely.
|5-7 Aug (Tu-Th)||Kent v Surrey||Bourne Paddock||Surrey won by 37 runs|||
The Kent v Surrey game listed in Waghorn as being played on 5 July was a wrongly dated duplicate of this 5-7 August game.
|13-15 Aug (W-F)||Hampshire v Surrey||Windmill Down||Hampshire won by 4 wkts|||
Andrew Freemantle made his known debut in senior cricket for Hampshire.
|26-29 Aug (Tu-F)||Sir Horatio Mann's XI v Earl of Winchilsea's XI||Bourne Paddock||Mann's XI won by 75 runs|||
|15-17 Sept (M-W)||London v Middlesex||venue unknown||London by 68 runs|||
The team totals are known but there is no other surviving information. There is no certainty of any connection between this London team, which may have been an ad hoc one, and the London Cricket Club which may have disbanded before 1788. London scored 174 and 38; Middlesex 81 and 63.
|22 Sept (M)||Leicester v Coventry||venue at Lutterworth||Leicester won by 28 runs|||
There is an extensive description in FL18C of this match which was marred by dispute. See also 6–7 August 1787.
- 21–22 August (Th–F): Six of England v Six of Hampshire at Lord's Old Ground. Hampshire won by 5 wkts.
- 29 August – 3 Sept (F–W): Six of Kent v Six of Hampshire at Bourne Paddock. Hampshire won by 6 runs.
A partial score exists of a minor game between Eastbourne and Alfriston that was played on or about 26 July (FLPV).
- Andrew Freemantle (Hampshire; professional) – played in 134 matches to 1810
- John Crawte (Kent; professional) – played in 57 matches to 1803
- Henry FitzRoy (Surrey; amateur) – played in 42 matches to 1793
- Charles Anguish (Middlesex & MCC; amateur) – played in 32 matches to 1795
- Annett (Hampshire cricketer) – played 6 matches from 1788 to 1792
- Hunt (Hampshire cricketer) – played 6 matches from 1788 to 1796
- J. Neale (Hampshire; amateur) – played three matches to 1792
- Thomas V. R. Nicoll (Middlesex; amateur) – played in 13 matches to 1794
- Horsey (Hampshire) – played two matches to 1789
- Eli Small (Hampshire) – played two matches to 1796 (son of John Small, brother of Jack Small)
- Henry Stewart (Hampshire) – played three matches to 1806
- Vincent (Surrey; amateur) – played five matches to 1789
- Richard Wyatt (Essex; amateur) – played in 17 matches to 1797
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. The leading batsmen in 1788 included Billy Beldham, Tom Walker, Richard Purchase, Harry Walker, James Aylward, John Small, Noah Mann and John Wells.
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. The leading bowlers in 1788 included David Harris, Edward "Lumpy" Stevens, Robert Clifford, Butcher (Surrey), Noah Mann, Richard Purchase, Gilbert East, Tom Taylor, William Brazier, William Bullen and John Boorman.
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. The leading fielders in 1788 included George Louch, Harry Walker, Billy Beldham, Thomas Taylor, Richard Purchase, Robert Clifford, William Bullen and John Wells.
- 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.
- Haygarth, p. 81.
- ACS, Important Matches, p. 27.
- Waghorn, pp. 91–92.
- Haygarth, p. 82.
- Buckley, FL18C, p. 125.
- Haygarth, p. 83.
- Haygarth, pp. 83–84.
- Waghorn, p. 93.
- Buckley, FL18C, p. 126.
- Haygarth, p. 85.
- Haygarth, p. 86.
- Haygarth, p. 87.
- Haygarth, p. 88.
- Buckley, FL18C, p. 131.
- Buckley, FL18C, pp. 132–134.
- Haygarth, pp. 79–89.
- 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.
- Haygarth, Arthur (1862). Scores & Biographies, Volume 1 (1744–1826). Lillywhite.
- Waghorn, H. T. (1906). The Dawn of Cricket. Electric Press.
- Wilson, Martin (2005). An Index to Waghorn. Bodyline.
- Altham, H. S. (1962). A History of Cricket, Volume 1 (to 1914). George Allen & Unwin.
- Ashley-Cooper, F. S. (1924). Hambledon Cricket Chronicle 1772–1796. Jenkins.
- 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.
- Mote, Ashley (1997). The Glory Days of Cricket. Robson.
- Nyren, John (1998). Ashley Mote, ed. The Cricketers of my Time. Robson.
- Underdown, David (2000). Start of Play. Allen Lane.