1871 in sports

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Years in sports: 1868 1869 1870 1871 1872 1873 1874
Centuries: 18th century · 19th century · 20th century
Decades: 1840s 1850s 1860s 1870s 1880s 1890s 1900s
Years: 1868 1869 1870 1871 1872 1873 1874

1871 in sports describes the year's events in world sport.

American football[edit]

College championship


Association football[edit]


The Wanderers win the Cup on 16 March 1872.


National championship




  • With the main American Championship title claimant Mike McCoole inactive this year, attention focuses on two fights between Jem Mace and Joe Coburn. Both fights are drawn and Mace continues to state his claim to the American Championship. However, having suffered a hand injury in his second fight with Coburn, Mace relinquishes all his title claims and returns to exhibition boxing.[3]
  • McCoole is now generally regarded as the champion by default, his main challenger being Tom Allen who was defeated by McCoole in 1869.[4]




  • Most runs – W. G. Grace 2,739 @ 78.25 (HS 268), a staggering feat on the pitches of the time. Richard Daft has the next highest average among batsmen playing 10 innings or more, with 37.66, less than half of Grace's figure. Harry Jupp has the next highest runs aggregate, with 1,068. Grace makes ten centuries in the season, while no other player can manage more than one.
  • Most wickets – James Southerton 151 @ 15.72 (BB 8–63)

Gaelic football[edit]

  • During the 1860s and 1870s, rugby and association football have started to become popular in Ireland. According to Gaelic football historian Jack Mahon, caid has begun to give way to a "rough-and-tumble game" which even allows tripping.
  • County Limerick is the stronghold of the native game around this time and the Commercials Club, founded by employees of Cannock’s Drapery Store, is one of the first to impose a set of rules that is later adopted by other clubs in the county.


Major tournaments

Horse racing[edit]







The Boat Race


  • There is no Harvard–Yale Regatta. From the third Race in 1859, the only exceptions outside major wars are 1871 and 1896.

Rugby football[edit]


  • 26 January — the Rugby Football Union (RFU) is founded at the Pall Mall Restaurant, which is situated near Trafalgar Square at 1 Cockspur Street, London. The formation of the RFU establishes the "handling game" as a different sport to the "dribbling game" that is increasingly being played under the auspices of the Football Association.
  • 21 clubs are represented at the meeting: Blackheath, Richmond, Ravenscourt Park, West Kent, Marlborough Nomads, Wimbledon Hornets, Gipsies, Civil Service, Law Club, Wellington College, Guy’s Hospital, Flamingoes, Clapham Rovers, Harlequins, King’s College, St Paul’s School, Queen’s House, Lausanne, Addison, Mohicans, Belsize Park. Algernon Rutter of Richmond is elected the first president. A committee is selected to produce a definitive national set of Rugby Football laws.
  • 27 March — the first ever official international fixture in any kind of football takes place with a rugby football game between Scotland and England. Scotland (i.e., Scottish members of the RFU) defeats England (i.e., English members of the RFU) by 1 goal & 1 try to 1 try at Raeburn Place in Edinburgh. The match is played by teams of 20–a–side and the game lasts for 50 minutes each way.
  • Foundation of Worcester RFC

Yacht racing[edit]

America's Cup


  1. ^ "National Champions: 1869–1879". Jimmy Atkinson. Retrospective National Championship Project. College Football Blog. 20 March 2006.
  2. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2013-04-05. Retrieved 2013-04-05. . history-waltercamp.htm (the-game.org).
  3. ^ Cyber Boxing Zone – Jem Mace. Retrieved on 8 November 2009.
  4. ^ Cyber Boxing Zone – Mike McCoole. Retrieved on 8 November 2009.