1734 English cricket season
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The 1734 cricket season was the 137th in England since the earliest known definite reference to cricket in January 1597 (i.e., Old Style – 1598 New Style). Four counties (Kent, Middlesex, Surrey and Sussex) and two clubs (Croydon and London) took part in all the known games.
Importantly for the expansion of cricket throughout England, road transport continued to improve under the twin schemes of turnpikes and stagecoaches. Relays of horses were first provided in 1734 for stagecoaches on the London-Newcastle route, enabling journey time to be reduced from twelve days to nine. The service was called the Flying Coach.
|12 June (W)||Kent v London||Dartford Brent||London won|||
London beat Kent on Dartford Brimp (sic) "though there was 6 to 4 laid against London in the middle of the game".
|19 June (W)||London v Kent||Artillery Ground||London won by an innings & 25 runs|||
Team scores are known: Kent 31 & 51; London 107. A resounding win for London, especially given their victory at Dartford the previous Wednesday.
|c.25 July (Th)||Croydon v London||Duppas Hill, Croydon||Croydon won|||
No details are given of this game except the winners. The report includes a pre-announcement of the following game.
|1 August (Th)||London v Croydon||Artillery Ground||London won|||
It is known that London won the game. Reported in the Grub Street Journal of Thursday, 8 August.
|26 August (M)||London v Surrey||Kennington Common||result unknown|||
Pre-announced in the London Evening Post of Thu 22 August. It says: "the wickets to be pitched precisely (sic) between 12 and 1 o'clock"! No surviving post-match report has been found and so there is no evidence that the game took place.
|6 September (F)||Kent v Sussex||Sevenoaks Vine||Kent won|||
Lord Middlesex (1710–1769) and his brother Lord John Philip Sackville (1713–1765) played for Kent; and Sir William Gage for Sussex. On a biographical note, Lord Middlesex (Charles Sackville) was 2nd Duke of Dorset 1765–1769. The famous 3rd Duke of Dorset was his nephew, being the son of Lord John Philip Sackville.
|11 September (W)||Sussex v Kent||Lewes||result unknown|||
The report of the previous game states that "the same Gentlemen were to play on the Downs near Lewes in Sussex". No surviving post-match report has been found and so there is no evidence that the game took place.
|September||London v "any eleven excluding Croydon"||Artillery Ground? (unconfirmed)||result unknown|||
London issued a challenge "to play with any eleven men in England, with this exception only, that they will not admit of one from Croydon". No surviving post-match report has been found and so there is no evidence that the game took place. As London wished to play "any eleven men in England" (excluding players from Croydon), and not just "any team in England", it appears that they welcomed allcomers and that the players in the "any eleven" team, if it was formed, would have been drawn from a number of clubs and counties. Whether, in the absence of any concrete data, such a team comes under the heading of "Non-international England cricket teams" is open to speculation.
There was a dispute between London and Croydon after the latter apparently failed to attend an arranged match between the two clubs. London were especially aggrieved that Croydon did this after "having been regaled with a good dinner".
Thu 13 June. The St James Evening Post reported a couple of serious injuries in a private match at the Artillery Ground. "...a stander-by (sic) had the misfortune to have his knee-pan (i.e., patella) put out by a blow from the ball, and another was much bruised in the face by a like accident".
A game between London and Sevenoaks, arranged for Monday 8 July on Kennington Common, was not played due to the non-appearance of the Sevenoaks team. The Whitehall Evening Post reported that according to the Articles of Agreement their deposit money was forfeited. Since the first mention of Articles of Agreement in 1727 (Richmond v Brodrick), it had perhaps become common practice to draw up such an agreement before important matches, especially if large stakes were involved.
September. A report included in WCS states that London was due to have played Croydon but that the Croydon team withdrew "having been regaled with a good dinner"! The London Club thereupon announced its intention to have one more match before the end of season and so challenged any eleven men in England except that "they will not admit of one from Croydon". See the last match in the above list.
The game on 6 September (see above) is earliest known use of Sevenoaks Vine as a venue. It is one of the oldest cricket grounds in England. It was given to the town of Sevenoaks in 1773 by John Frederick Sackville, 3rd Duke of Dorset (1745–1799) and owner of Knole House, where the ground is sited. The land was thought previously to have been used as a vineyard for the Archbishops of Canterbury (hence the name). The weatherboard pavilion is 19th-century. The Vine Cricket Club must pay Sevenoaks Town Council a rent of 2 peppercorns per year - one for the ground and one for the pavilion. They, in turn, must pay Lord Sackville (if asked) one cricket ball on 21 July each year.
Clubs and teams
- 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.
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