Cricket Article

Remembering cricket from 1726 till 1763

The history of cricket from 1726 till 1763 includes the time when pitched delivery was introduced to cricket as well as the establishment of the Hambledon Club. Cricket has already gained grounds in London and the southern part of England. After having thrived as a rural past time, cricket was now emerging as an interest for the wealthy gamblers. Money started pouring in from the rich patrons who created the earliest county teams. All this led to establishment of the first of the professional players and the initial major clubs.

In 1726, significant clubs included Dartford and London while Middlesex, Sussex, Surrey and Kent could place strong teams up on the pitch. Popular grounds in those times were Dartford Brent, Moulsey Hurst, Richmond Green, Kennington and Artillery Ground. Before 1969 because the Licensing Acts controlled the press, no cricket reports were reported. But after mid-1970s, things started to change for good and advertisement reports for an organized match or on a brief discussion of the gambling odds started to appear.

Cricket had grown its popularity in England and travelling constraints had not introduced it to the rest of the country. The centre point of all the major games in cricket was the Artillery Ground in London. It was home to the London Cricket Club and hosted many major events that also include lucrative single wicket competitions. In competition of the metropolitan club London, there were many rural clubs that staged great teams like Addington and Slindon.

The major revenues for funding the cricket matches came from sponsorship, enthusiastic crowds coming over to watch the games and gambling. After 1750s, the popularity of the sport started spreading towards the south-eastern heartland as well as the northern regions. Further on, the game found its way to India and the Americas around the beginning of the 18th century, as was confirmed by references of the sport being played on foreign lands by English sailors and colonists.

Popular patrons from those times include Edward Stead, the Prince of Wales, Sir William Gage as well as the 2nd Duke of Richmond. Well known players were Richard Newland, Thomas Waymark, Tom Faulkner, John Frame and Robert Colchin. The earliest of the rules were formed and applied in a match in 1727 while the official rules were formally listed down in 1744.

Those were the days of single wicket cricket where two individuals take turns to bowl and bat against each other. The bowler is assisted by a group of fielders who also remain as fielders at the change of an innings. The winner is picked as the one who scored the maximum runs. The halcyon days of cricket ran into troubled waters during the Seven Years War from 1756 till 1763. There was a reduction in the number of matches being played over the years to the extent of no match being played in the year 1760.

This period also witnessed the very first bowling revolution in cricket history. Soon after 1760, bowlers began to pitch their deliveries instead of skimming or rolling it along the ground. What followed as a result was that leading bowlers like Lumpy Stevens and John Frame started to study flight and work out line and length variations. As a counter-result, John Small and other batsmen of his like adopted to the modern straight bat which helped them face the pitched deliveries.

Abhay burande
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