1791 English cricket season

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1791 English cricket season

1791 was the fifth season of cricket in England since the foundation of Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC). The emergence of the Brighton club heralded a brief revival of Sussex cricket which had been prominent during the early 18th century. As with Hornchurch Cricket Club and Essex, the Brighton team was a fair representation of Sussex as a county and the county name is used where the opposition is another county team or All-England. The club's venue was the Prince of Wales Ground in Brighton, which had its name changed over the years and was known as Box's Ground in the 19th century.


Date Match Title Venue Source Result
16–18 May (M-W) MCC v Middlesex Lord's (Dorset Square) SB110 Middlesex won by 30 runs
23–25 May (M-W) MCC v Middlesex Lord's (Dorset Square) SB111 Middlesex won by 6 wkts
30 May-2 Jun (M-Th) Old Etonians v Gentlemen Lord's (Dorset Square) SB111 Gents won by 6 wkts

The Old Etonian and Gentlemen teams in the list were major sides. They were composed mainly of leading amateurs and had noted professionals as given men.

2–3 June (Th-F) MCC v Kent Lord's (Dorset Square) SB112 MCC won by innings & 113 runs
13–14 June (M-Tu) MCC v Essex Lord's (Dorset Square) SB115 Essex won by 45 runs
20–22 June (M-W) All-England v Hampshire Burley-on-the-Hill, Rutland SB115 All-England won by 54 runs

Burley-on-the-Hill in Rutland was the Earl of Winchilsea's country retreat, which he used as his base for foxhunting parties. It is not far from the Great North Road so communication with London was relatively easy at the time. Burley-on-the-Hill has been confused with Burghley Park near Stamford but it is quite different.

23–24 June (Th-F) Old Etonians v MCC Burley-on-the-Hill, Rutland SB116 MCC won by 6 wkts
25 June (S) Leicestershire v MCC ^ Burley-on-the-Hill, Rutland SB117 MCC won by innings & 4 runs
6–8 July (W-F) All-England v Hampshire Sevenoaks Vine SB117 All-England won by 1 wkt
13–15 July (W-F) Hampshire v All-England Windmill Down SB118 All-England won by 60 runs
22–23 July (F-S) West Sussex v Hambledon Town Goodwood Park brit drawn

A return match took place on 20 Sept (see below) and was recorded in S&B.

25–28 July (M-Th) All-England v Hampshire Perriam Down SB119 All-England won by innings & 68 runs
28–29 July (Th-F) Andover v MCC Perriam Down SB120 MCC won by innings & 43 runs
? July Earl of Winchilsea v E Bligh Burley-on-the-Hill SB119 Bligh's XI won by innings & 64 runs

Definitely a minor match with numerous irregulars. The date is also in doubt as Mr Haygarth points out.

11-13 Aug (Th-S) Essex v MCC Langton Park, Hornchurch SB121 MCC won by 166 runs
15-18 Aug (M-Th) MCC v Kent Lord's (Dorset Square) SB121 Kent won by 5 wkts
19-20 Aug (F-S) MCC &c. v Essex # unknown brit Essex won by 4 runs

The venue was probably Lord’s but it is unrecorded.

23-25 Aug (Tu-Th) Surrey v Hampshire Holt Pound, Wrecclesham SB122 Surrey won by 17 runs

Wrecclesham is in Surrey. Holt Pound was a small ground partly designed by William Beldham on behalf of the owner Mr Holt.

26-27 Aug (F-S) Waltham v Hornchurch Waltham brit Hornchurch won by 10 wkts
29-30 Aug (M-Tu) Nottingham v MCC ^ King's Meadow, Nottingham SB123 MCC won by 10 wkts

^ The MCC teams were good quality and it is clear from reference to 1789 that the Leicester and Nottingham teams were representative of the counties. These two matches are historically important and are major fixtures. The Nottingham v MCC game is also in William North's 1832 book of Nottingham Old Club Match Scores.

? Sept Windsor & Eton v Warfield Eton Brocas WDC Warfield won by 2 wkts
12-14 Sept (M-W) Hornchurch v Waltham Langton Park, Hornchurch brit Waltham won by 57 runs
15-16 Sept (Th-F) Essex v MCC &c. # Langton Park, Hornchurch brit Essex won by innings & 23 runs

# These two games were unknown until recently as Britcher is the sole source. The MCC &c. team in both games is properly titled 5 of Herts and 5 of MCC and Mr S Amherst.

19-22 Sept (M-Th) Sussex v Middlesex PoW Ground, Brighton SB125 Middlesex won by 21 runs

The emergence of the Brighton club at this time heralded a brief revival of Sussex cricket which had been prominent during the early C18. As with Hornchurch/Essex, the Brighton team was a fair representation of Sussex as a county and the county name is used where the opposition is another county team or All-England.

20-22 Sept (Tu-Th) Hambledon Town v West Sussex Windmill Down SB125 West Sussex won by 11 runs

The Hambledon Town v West Sussex game recorded in SB125 is considered minor due to lack of recognised players. Many of the Sussex team were in the Duke of Dorset’s side that played in the minor match at Lord’s on 3 June 1790 (SB101).

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.

William Beldham with 532 runs was the top scorer in 1791

Others were Henry Fitzroy with 386 runs; Earl of Winchilsea 345; George Louch 336; William Fennex 296; Edward Bligh 271; Charles Lennox 269; Tom Walker 196; Charles Cumberland and Jack Small 181 each

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.

Captain Charles Cumberland with 41 known wickets was the leading bowler in 1791

Others were William Fennex with 34; Richard Purchase 19; Thomas Boxall and Thomas Lord 17 each; John Boorman 15

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.

Star fielder George Louch with 21 took the most catches in 1791

Other leading fielders were William Beldham 20 ct; Tom Taylor 15 ct; Charles Lennox 9 ct, 3 st; John Wells 11 ct; Thomas Ingram 10 ct, 1 st; Edward Bligh 10 ct; Stephen Amherst 7 ct, 2 st; William Fennex 9 ct.



  • 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.
  • Britcher, Samuel, A list of all the principal Matches of Cricket that have been played (1790 to 1805), annual series
  • 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]