Dates in cricket history

1300First probable reference to cricket: in the wardrobe accounts of King Edward I: locality Newendon, Kent.
1550(c.)Cricket played at The Free School at Guildford.
1595G. Florio's Italian-English Dictionary mentions cricket.
1610Reference to Cricketing between Weald and Upland near Chevening, Kent.
1611A reference to cricket in John Bullokar's England Expositor.
1622At Boxgrove in Sussex six parishioners were prosecuted for playing cricket in the churchyard on Sunday.
1636(c.)Reference to cricket at East Horlsey, Surrey.
1646First recorded cricket match, at Coxheath, Kent.
1647Probable reference to cricket being played by Winchester Scholars on St. Catherine's Hill, in a Latin Poem by Robert Matthew.
1654Seven parishioners of Eltham fined for playing cricket on the Lord's day.
1656Krickett proscribed by Cromwell's Commissioners throughout Ireland: all sticks and balls to be burnt by the common hangman.
1655(c.)John Churchill, Duke of Marlborough, playing cricket at old St. Paul's School.
1676First reference to cricket abroad, played by English residents at Aleppo
1677The Earl of Sussex went to a CREKITT (sic) match at ye Dicker in Sussex.
16942/6 paid for a Wagger [sic] about the Cricket Match at Lewis [sic].
1706First full description of a cricket match: in a Latin Poem written by William Goldwin of Eton, and King's, Cambridge.
1709First County Match: Kent v. London.
1710First reference to cricket at the University: Cambridge.
1727Articles of Agreement governing the conduct of matches between the teams of the second Duke of Richmond and Mr. Brodrick of Peperharow.

First mention of cricket at Oxford University.
1729Date of earliest surviving bat: inscribed J. C. (John Chitty) 1729. This bat is in the Pavilion at The Oval.
1730First recorded match on the Artillery Ground, Finsbury: London v. Surrey. This ground has continued ever since to be the ground of the HAC.
1743Picture of a match by Francis Hayman, now at Lord's.
1744June 18. The first great match of which the full score is preserved: Kent v. All-England on the Artillery Ground, Finsbury. This match, which was won by Kent by one wicket, was described in full by James Love in his Cricket: a Heroic Poem published the same year.

The first known issue of the Laws of Cricket: these, undoubtedly a recension of a far earlier code, were drawn up by the London Club of which Frederick Louis, Prince of Wales and father of George III, was President.

First recorded charge for admission: 2d. to the Artillery Ground.
1751Old Etonians play the Gentlemen of England. Cricket mentioned as far north as Durham and Yorkshire.

First recording of the score at the fall of each wicket.
1760Winchester beat Eton in Port Meadow, Oxford.
1763First mention of cricket in Wales (Pembroke).
1767(c.)Foundation of the Hambledon Club: they played first on Broadhalfpenny and then on Windmill Down, often defeated All-England, and their great days lasted till 1796, though the Club survived for many more years. Their great players immortalised in Nyren (see 1833), evolved a new and much advanced technique.
1769First recorded century: Minshull 107 for Duke of Dorset's XI v. Wrotham.
1771Sheffield play Nottingham.
1772Picture of boys playing cricket at Harrow School.
1774Batts advertised for sale by maker, William Staples of Sevenoaks.
1776Earliest known score-cards, printed by Pratt, scorer to the Vine Club, Sevenoaks.
1777First record of the bowler being credited for catches off his bowling.
1780Dukes of Penhurst (established 1760) manufacture the first six-seamed ball and present it to the Prince of Wales, afterwards George IV. Farington, in his diary in 1811, says that the Duke family had then been making cricket balls for 250 years.
1787First match, Middlesex v. Essex, on Thomas Lord's first ground, on the site of Dorset Square.

Formation of M.C.C. by members of the White Conduit Club.

First mention of a County Club: Oxfordshire.
1788June 27, M.C.C. play their first match at Lord's.

First revision of the Laws by M.C.C., dated May 30.
1791Publication of the first record of match scores by Samuel Britcher: these subsequently covered the chief matches till 1805.
1794First recorded school match, Charterhouse and Westminster at Lord's.
1796A match between Eton and Westminster at Hounslow, played in defiance of Dr. Heath, Headmaster of Eton, who flogged the whole eleven on their return. Eton lost by 66 runs.
1800Publication of first book on technique, by Thomas Boxall.
1800?A match between Eton and Harrow.
1803William Pitt refers to cricket in introducing his Defence Act.
1805 Eton play Harrow at Lord's and win by an innings. Lord Byron, the poet, was in the Harrow XI.
1806First Gentlemen v. Players match at Lord's.
1807First mention of the straight-armed (i.e. round-arm) bowling, by John Willes of Kent.
1809Lord's second ground opened at North Bank.
1810Lowest score ever recorded in a match of importance: 6 by The Bs v. England at Lord's.
1814Lord's third ground opened on present site: the original turf of the first ground was transplanted at each move.
1817First two separate centuries: 107 and 157 by William Lambert for Sussex v. Epsom at Lord's.
1820First recorded score of 200: 278 by William Ward for M.C.C. v. Norfolk at Lord's, a record for that ground for 105 years.
1821First century in Gentlemen v. Players: 113 not out by Thomas Beagley.
1822John Willes no-balled for throwing, i.e. round-arm bowling.
1825First Harrow v. Winchester match. Winchester won.
1826First recorded century in a school match, 146 not out by W. Meyrick for Winchester v. Harrow.
1827First University match: drawn. The captains were Charles Wordsworth, Oxford, and Herbert Jenner, Cambridge.

The three Experimental Matches between Sussex and England to try out the new (round-arm) bowling, now perfected by William Lillywhite and James Broadbridge of Sussex.
1828 M.C.C. authorise the bowler to raise his hand level with the elbow.
1833John Nyren writes his Young cricketer's Tutor and The Cricketers of My Time: this is the locus classicus for late 18th century history and personalities of the game.
1835M.C.C. adopt a revised Code of the Laws on May 20.
1836First North v. South Match: for many years recognised as the greatest match of the season.
1838Opening of the Trent Bridge Ground, Nottingham, by William Clarke.
1841The Duke of Wellington issues an order that a cricket ground is to be made as an adjunct to every military barracks.
1842The Canterbury Week and The Old Stagers instituted.
1845First match on the Oval.

I. Zingari formed.
1846The All-England Eleven, organised by William Clarke, began its great work of playing matches, against odds, all over the country. The eleven was subsequently managed by George Parr. An admirable lithograph of the team, from a drawing by the famous Kent batsman, N. Felix, was published in 1847.

Last match played for the single-wicket championship, A. Mynn v. N. Felix.

Fenner's Ground, Cambridge, opened: leased by C.U.C.C. from 1873: freehold purchased 1892.

The Telegraph Score Board introduced at Lord's.

Score-cards first sold at Lord's.
1848July 18, W. G. Grace born.
1849First Yorkshire v. Lancashire match
1850J. Wisden bowls all ten batsmen in one innings, North v. South, at Lord's.
1851Oxford University C.C. rents the Magdalen Ground, Cowley, for a University Ground: they migrated to their present quarters in The Parks in 1881.
1852The United All-England XI formed, in rivalry to the All-England XI. Secretaries: Wisden and Dean.
1853First mention of a Champion County (Nottinghamshire).
1854Last of the Public Schools Weeks (Eton, Harrow, Winchester) at Lord's.
1850-55(c.)About this time the mowing machine began to be used on cricket grounds, but sheep continued to be used at Lord's for many more years.
1855 W. Clarke takes 476 wickets in a season.

Bramall Lane Ground, Sheffield, opened.
1857The Cricketers Fund Friendly Society instituted.

For ten years the great match between the A.E.E. and the U.A.E.E. was played in its support. From 1884, until his death, Lord Harris was its president, and the society has done invaluable work for professional cricketers and their dependents.
1858First recorded instance of hat being given to the bowler for taking three wickets with consecutive balls.
1862In a match at the Oval, England v. Surrey, Edgar Willsher of Kent was no-balled by John Lillywhite for having his hand higher than his shoulder. Willsher left the field, and the game was suspended for the day. Next day another umpire replaced Lillywhite, who refused to reconsider his view. This led to the change in the law in 1864.

Publication of vols. 1-4 of Scores and Biographies, compiled by Arthur Haygarth. This work recorded the full scores of all discoverable matches from 1744 onwards.
1864Overhand bowling authorised: June 10.

W. G. Grace's first appearance in big cricket: two days before his sixteenth birthday he scored 170 and 56 not out for South Wales Club v. Gentlemen of Sussex.

First known Champion County of the regular series.

First issue of Wisden Cricketers' Almanack.
1865Practice nets first used at Lord's.
1867Culmination of long period of rivalry and ill-feeling between professionals of North and South, and of the two All-England XI's: these two great matches abandoned this year.
1868Visit to England of a team of Australian aborigines, managed by Charles Lawrence.
1870The heavy roller first used at Lord's: the great general improvement of pitches begins with this innovation.
1871W. G. Grace's greatest year: the first batsman to reach 2,000 runs in a season (2,739): no other batsman achieved this until A. E. Stoddart and William Gunn did so in 1893. W.G. played in three benefit matches for three of the best-known old professionals and with much, for the beneficiaries, depending on his success, he scored 189 not out, 268, 217.
1872First experiment, at Lord's, in covering the pitch before the start of a match.
1873First recorded instance of 1,000 runs and 100 wickets in a season, by W. G. Grace.
1876W. G. Grace established the following records:-

(1) First score of 300 in first-class cricket: 344 for M.C.C. v. Kent at Canterbury. His next two scores were 177 for Glos. v. Notts. and 318 for Glos. v. Yorks., all between August 11 and August 18.

(2) He also scored 400 not out for All-England XI v. XXII of Grimsby.
1878Visit of first Australian team to England: D. W. Gregory Captain. Australian cricket established reputation by their sensational defeat in a single day and by nine wickets of a very strong M.C.C. XI.
1880First Test Match in England: England beats Australia by five wickets. W. G. Grace 152, W. L. Murdoch 153 not out.
1882First Australian victory in a Test Match in England, by seven runs at The Oval: a spectator dies from excitement.

Tradition of The Ashes established by obituary notice to English cricket in the Sporting times.
1884A completely revised Code of the Laws adopted by M.C.C. on April 21. Omitted from the new code were the laws for settling bets.

First use of words Test Match September 16, Melbourne Argus.
1884-5First series of five Test Matches in Australia. England wins three.
1888-9Present Lord's pavilion built.
1890South African Cricket Association established.
1892Instructions to umpires issued by M.C.C.
1894New Zealand Cricket Council established.
1895First 1,000 runs in May: W. G. Grace, at the age of 47, in 22 days. He also scored his 100th century.
1898Board of Control set up to administer Test Matches played in England.
1899First series of five Test Matches in England: Australia won the only finished game, at Lord's, by ten wickets.

For the first time a single Selection Committee picked the teams for all the Tests: hitherto they had been chosen by M.C.C. for matches at Lord's and for matches elsewhere by the County Committee of the ground concerned. First score of 300 by an Australian in England: 300 not out by Victor Trumper, then on his first tour, v. Sussex at Brighton.

Record individual score: 628 not out by A. E. J. Collins for Clark's v. North Town, a junior hour match at Clifton College.

The Mound Stand built at Lord's.
1902Easter classes for boys instituted at Lord's.
1903Abortive agitation for wider wickets and Timeless Tests.

First representative Public Schools XI play M.C.C. at Lord's.
1905Australian Board of Control set up. Last Test to be played to a finish if necessary. It was not until 1912 that the necessity arose when the last test at The Oval took four days
1909Imperial Cricket Conference constituted: M.C.C., Australia and South Africa the original members.
1911Warwickshire champions: first county to be so outside those who had originated the championship.

The last instance of a genuine double blue in the University match: D. C. Collins played for Cambridge v. Oxford this year, and the next year rowed bow in the Boat Race.
1912The first and the only Triangular Tournament in England.

First Trial matches for the Tests.
1926India, New Zealand and West Indies admitted to the Imperial Cricket Conference.

Women's Cricket Association formed.
1930Four-day Test Matches v. Australia in England.
1932-3The body-line controversy during the M.C.C. tour in Australia.
1935M.C.C. condemn body-line bowling and issue instructions to umpires against its future practice.
1938Test Matches at Lord's televised for the first time.
1941Centenary of Tom Brown's Match: M.C.C. v. Rugby School.
1945Australian Services XI tour England: the Victory Tests.
1947Major revision of the Laws of Cricket.
1948First Five-day Test Matches in England.
1949Election of 26 professional cricketers to Honorary Life Membership of M.C.C.
1952Pakistan admitted to Imperial Cricket Conference.
1953Imperial Cricket Memorial Gallery at Lord's opened by H.R.H. The Duke of Edinburgh.

Association of Cricket Umpires formed.
1956 J. C. Laker took 19 wickets in one match, England v. Australia, at Manchester.
1963Distinction between amateur and professional abolished in English first-class cricket.

Gillette Cricket Cup Competition inaugurated.
1964Dinner in the Long Room at Lord's to celebrate 150th Anniversary of present ground. New drainage system laid.
1965Imperial Cricket Conference changed its title to International Cricket Conference and introduced Associate Membership.
1967Cricketers' Association formed.
1968Cricket Council formed: Test and County Cricket Board replaces Board of Control for Test Matches at Home and Advisory County Cricket Committee.

Proposed M.C.C. tour of South Africa cancelled because of non-acceptance by South African government of B. L. d'Oliveira.
1969John Player League for Sunday cricket inaugurated.
1970Proposed South African tour of England cancelled at request of British government following anti-apartheid protests.
1972Benson and Hedges League Cup inaugurated.
1973Bookmakers in operation at Trent Bridge, Lord's, The Oval, Hove and Yorkshire grounds.
1975First International (Prudential) World Cup single innings tournament in England. Eight countries take part, but not South Africa.


The Pitch

The 22 yards laid down in the laws of 1744 has never varied: it may well have originated from the width of the Saxon acre-strip of the mediaeval measure of the gad = 5½ yards. It is identical with the length of the agricultural chain.

The Popping Crease

The 46 inches between the creases, laid down in 1744, represent the old English unit of the cloth yard, 45 inches, plus 2 half-inches to the middle of each crease.

1819.The 46 inches between creases increased to 48 inches.

The Bowling Crease

1902.The length of the bowling crease, which since 1774 had been 3 feet on either side of the wicket, increased to 4 feet. Both creases were originally cut in the turf; whitewash was not used till the 1830's, at Lord's not till the early sixties. Since 1939, when the width of the wicket was increased from 8 to 9 inches, the bowling crease has measured 3 feet 11½ inches either side of the stumps.
Sweeping, Rolling and Footwear
1788.Originally the pitch was left untouched during a match, but in 1788 by mutual consent the pitch could be rolled, watered, covered and mown during a match.
1788.Sawdust was authorised in the laws.
1849.The pitch could be swept and rolled before each innings at the request of either side.
1860.The rolling between the innings to be solely at the request of the side batting next.
1883.Rolling permitted for 10 minutes before the start of play on each day.
1910.Covering the bowler's footholds and the batsmen's standing ground authorised.
1931.Period of rolling reduced to 7 minutes.
The Wicket

†Optional till 1947.

c. 1700222 inches16 inches
c. 1776322 inches16 inches
1785322 inches2 or 16 inches
1798324 inches2 or 17 inches
c. 1819326 inches27 inches
c. 1823327 inches28 inches
1931328 inches29 inches
The Bat

No dimensions specified in original laws, when the bat was curved and much longer in the handle.

1771.Width of bat limited to 4¼ inches.
1835.Length of bat limited to 38 inches.
1836.Dark's bats were sold by Sadd of Cambridge for 8s. 6d.
1853-4.Cane handles were invented by Nixon.
1880.Rubber handle-covers patented.

Early bats were very heavy: the bat with which William Ward made his record score of 278 in 1820 weighed 4 lb. 2 oz.

The Ball

1744.Between 5 and 6 ounces.
1774.Between 5½ and 5¾ ounces.
1838.Circumference to be between 9 and 9¼ inches.
1927.Circumference to be between 8 13/16 and 9 inches.
c. 1800.A player named Robinson experiments with boards strapped to his legs. He is laughed out of his invention.
c. 1836.Pads invented by (?) H. Daubeny of Oxford.
1880.Skeleton pads advertised for sale in Wisden.
c. 1827.Tubular gloves produced by Daniel Day: no doubt in reaction to the new round-arm bowling.
c. 1850.Wicket-keeping gauntlets first appeared.
The Over
1744.4 balls. Though nowhere mentioned in the official Laws, unofficial manuals in the early 19th century make it clear that 6-ball overs were customary in rural cricket.
1884.5-or 6-ball overs legalised in one-day cricket; they were already widely used.

6-ball overs first used in Australian first-class cricket.
1885.6 balls introduced to Philadelphia.
1889.5 balls.
1890.8 or 10 balls permitted in Philadelphia. Generally 8 balls used there in competitions until 1920's.
1900.6 balls.
1918.8-ball overs used in all domestic cricket in Australia henceforth, except M.C.C. matches in 1920-1, all Tests 1928-9 to 1932-3 inclusive and Victoria v. M.C.C., March, 1929.
1939.8 balls used experimentally in England in first-class matches.
1946.6 balls.
1947.At the request of either captain the final over of a match must be completed, even though time has been reached.
c. 1809.Foot over crease, the only no-ball.
1816.First attempt to legislate against throwing; the hand to be below the elbow.
1835.The hand not to be above the shoulder.
1864.Revised to present form.
1884.The absolutely satisfied clause inserted in the no-ball law.
1899.Either umpire... shall call no-ball.
1947.The back foot, at the moment of delivery, need not be grounded though it must be behind the bowling crease.
1963.Experimental change of law under which the front foot must land behind the popping crease.
1889.First authorised, but only on the third day or in a one-day match.
1900.Any time after lunch on the second day.
1906.Allowed on the first day of a two-day match.
1910.At any time on the second day.
1957.At any time.
1787.First recorded instance.
1835.Compulsory after a deficit of 100 runs.
1854-94.After a deficit of 80 runs.
1894.Compulsory after a deficit of 120 runs.
1900.Optional after a deficit of 150 runs.
1961.In abeyance in County Championship for two years.
Handled Ball
1797.First recorded.
1744.Toss confers choice of pitch and innings.
1774.Visiting side to have the choice of pitch and innings.
c. 1809.Umpires to select pitch, and toss to give choice of innings.
1744.No mention.
1774.If, with design, the striker prevents the ball hitting the wicket with his leg.
1788.Design clause omitted, and ball must pitch straight.
1795.First recorded.
c. 1821.Ball need not pitch straight, but must be delivered straight.
1839.Reverts to 1788.
1901.Very strong move to alter law by omitting pitch straight clause, but two-thirds majority necessary for any alteration of laws not secured in M.C.C. meeting.
1937.Extended to include ball pitched on the off-side of the wicket, after a two seasons' trial, 1935-36.
1970.Experimental law to include ball pitched outside off-stump to which batsman has made no genuine attempt to play the ball with his bat. Revised in 1972 to 1937 law, but intent clause retained.
1744.First recorded.
1751.First recording of the score at the fall of each wicket.
1769.First known stroke-by-stroke record of a match.
1777.First recording of the bowler being credited for catches off his bowling.
1827.Wides first recorded as such.
1829.No-balls to be scored as such, and a run debited; first recorded thus, 1830.
1836.The bowler to be credited by name with the wickets caught and stumped.
1840.Bowling analysis first kept in M.C.C. score-book.
1844.Wides to be run for.
1848.Leg-byes first recorded as such.
1884.First mentioned in the laws, though operative, with varying allowances, long before.
1910.Advisory County Cricket Committee recommended allowance of six runs for hits over the boundary, hitherto for hits out of the ground only.


Eighteenth Century
Three-cornered or jockey hats, often with silver or gold lace; shorts, generally frilled; nankeen breeches, silk stockings, buckled shoes. The Hambledon Club has sky-blue coats with buttons engraved "C.C.". The first uniform of the M.C.C. was in azure blue.

1800 - 1850
From about 1810-15 trousers began to replace breeches, though Eton and Harrow still wore the latter in 1830. Tall "beaver" hats in black or white, became the rule. Shirts no longer frilled, but now worn with rather high collars and spreading bow ties; singlets instead of shirts not uncommon. Wide braces often seen, especially on professionals. Black "Oxford" shoes universal. Belts, with metal clasps, for the waist.
Towards the end of this period the tall hat began to give place to a full flannel cap, white or chequered, or, less commonly, to a straw hat, often rather of a haymaker's shape. Short, white flannel jackets, mentioned as early as 1812, began to appear as frontrunners of "the blazer"; T. Lockyer, the Surrey cricketer, is thought to have been the first to wear "a cricket coach".

1850 - 1880
Under the lead of I Zingari (established 1845) Club cricket colours begin to appear, often as ribbons round the white bowler hats now replacing the tall and straw hats of the previous two decades. Club caps date from about 1850, but Eton may have sported their light blue caps in 1851 and the Rugby XI were "habited alike" in 1843. The Winchester XI first wore their blue caps in 1851 and Harrow their striped caps in 1852. The Cambridge "blue" seems to date from 1861, the Oxford "blue" certainly from 1863. Coloured shirts became common as uniform, e.g. a pattern of coloured spots, stripes or checks on a white ground: the All England XI wore white shirts with pink spots.

1880 - 1895
Coloured shirts disappear. White shirts, with starched or semi-starched fronts, the rule. Ties not so common, but small bow ties in low turned-down starched collars common enough. White buckskin boots were first worn about 1882, but they only gradually superseded the old brown-and-white type.

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