1797 English cricket season

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1797 English cricket season

1797 was the eleventh season of cricket in England since the foundation of Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC). It also marked the completion of 200 years since the earliest known definite reference to the sport in January 1597 (Julian date). MCC enjoyed great success on the field, winning nine of their eleven known matches.


Date Match Title Venue Source Result
11–12 May (Th-F) MCC v Middlesex Lord's (Dorset Square) SB214 MCC won by 6 wkts

15–16 May (M-Tu) C Lennox v Earl of Winchilsea Lord's (Dorset Square) SB214 Lennox's XI won by 132 runs

19–20 May (F-S) Lennox v Earl of Winchilsea Lord's (Dorset Square) SB215 Winchilsea's XI won by innings & 94 runs

WDC has this game taking place on 10–11 May and ACS includes both entries. The above is believed correct.

24–27 May (W-S) MCC v Middlesex Lord's (Dorset Square) SB216 MCC won by 288 runs

6–9 June (T-F) All-England v Surrey Lord's (Dorset Square) SB216 All-England won by 6 wkts

12–13 June (M-T) Montpelier v MCC ^ Montpelier Gardens SB217 MCC won by 42 runs

19–23 June (M-F) All-England v Surrey Lord's (Dorset Square) SB218 All-England won by 23 runs

This was postponed till Mon 3 July: it must have rained.

26–27 June (M-T) MCC v Montpelier ^ Lord's (Dorset Square) SB218 MCC won by 5 wkts

4–6 July (Tu-Th) C Lennox v Earl of Winchilsea Lord's (Dorset Square) SB219 Winchilsea's XI won by 4 wkts

10–12 July (M-W) MCC v London Lord's (Dorset Square) SB220 MCC won by 109 runs

12–13 July (W-Th) All-England v Surrey & Middlesex Montpelier Gardens SB221 S/M won by 4 wkts

20–21 July (Th-F) Earl of Winchilsea v C Lennox Swaffham Racecourse SB223 Winchilsea's XI won by 27 runs

S&B calls this Earl of Winchilsea v Beauclerk but that is unlikely; Britcher has Lennox as the patron and that seems more probable at this time.

7-8 Aug (M-Tu) Hampshire v MCC Stoke Down SB224 MCC won by 113 runs

14-16 Aug (M-W) MCC v Hampshire Lord's (Dorset Square) SB225 MCC won by 6 wkts

17 Aug (Th) Montpelier M&S v Montpelier Thur Montpelier Gardens FLPV M&S won by 53 runs

This a game between two sections of the Montpelier Club: i.e., its Monday & Saturday members versus its Thursday members.

21-23 Aug (M-W) All-England v MCC Moulsey Hurst SB226 MCC won by 6 wkts

23-24 Aug (W-Th) Woolwich v Croydon # Barrack Field, Woolwich brit Woolwich won by 23 runs

# This match was unknown until Britcher’s scores came to light recently. It is a minor match involving the same teams as in the game reported by WDC on 27 Sept. Both sources refer to the counties in their match titles (Kent v Surrey) but they are definitely the Woolwich and Croydon clubs playing in each game.

28-31 Aug (M-Th) MCC v All-England Lord's (Dorset Square) SB226 All-England won by 8 wkts

4-6 Sept (M-W) Montpelier v MCC ^ Montpelier Gardens SB227 Montpelier won by 6 wkts

^ Montpelier’s teams in these three games against MCC were much stronger than the normal club sides of the time, especially with given men. The majority of players are recognised and these are major fixtures.

21-26 Sept (Th-Tu) MCC v All-England Lord's (Dorset Square) SB228 MCC won by 4 wkts

There was no Sunday play in this game (i.e., on Sun 24 Sept).

27 Sept (W) Woolwich v Croydon # Barrack Field, Woolwich WDC Woolwich won by 179 runs

# WDC calls this "Kent v Surrey" but the teams were weak and unrepresentative of the counties so it was surely a rematch of Woolwich v Croydon on 23–24 August.|-

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.

Lord Frederick Beauclerk scored 758 runs to top the 1797 run-scoring list

Others who scored more than 200 runs were John Hammond 603; John Tufton 592; Tom Walker 491; William Beldham 430; Edward Bligh 382; William Fennex 346; Robert Robinson 310; James Aylward 296; Charles Lennox 270; Henry Tufton 246; Harry Walker 243; Jack Small 227; Thomas Ray 214

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.

Lord Frederick Beauclerk with a massive haul of 66 wickets was easily the top bowler

Other leading wicket-takers were John Wells 31; Thomas Boxall 24; Thomas Lord 20; Sylvester 20; John Hammond 18

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.

Thomas Ray took the most known catches with 19 but he may have been beaten by John Tufton who definitely took 18 (plus one definite stumping) but could have had more. The Tufton brothers again starred in the field and Henry was the best keeper with 11 ct, 15 st. There were another 3 catches and 3 stumpings credited to one or other of the Tuftons.

Other good performances were by Charles Lennox 16 ct, 1 st; Lord Frederick Beauclerk 12 ct; John Wells 11 ct 5 st; Edward Bligh 10 ct; William Beldham 9 ct; William Fennex 9 ct; Andrew Freemantle 9 ct; John Hammond 9 ct, 7 st; Sylvester 8 ct



  • 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. 

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. 
  • 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. 

External links[edit]