1774 English cricket season

The 1774 English cricket season was the third in which matches have been awarded retrospective first-class cricket status. The scorecards of five first-class matches have survived.

1774 English cricket season

The Laws of Cricket were revised during the season, the first major revision since the 1744 season. The revision of the Laws introduced leg before wicket as a means of dismissal and formalised the standard width of a cricket bat.

Laws revisionEdit

The Laws of Cricket were revised during a meeting held at the Star and Garter on Pall Mall, London during February. This was attended by a range of influential cricket figures who produced "New Articles of the Game of Cricket", essentially a revised version of the 1744 Laws.[1][2]

The revision of the Laws formalised the standard width of a cricket bat at 4.25 inches (10.8 cm), a measure that had been introduced by the Hambledon Club following the Monster Bat Incident of 1771.[3] The size of a cricket ball was narrowed to between 5.5 inches (14 cm) and 5.75 inches (14.6 cm), having previously been limited to between 5 inches (13 cm) and 6 inches (15 cm),[3][4] and the toss of a coin was removed from the game, with the listing team instead having the choice of whether to bat or bowl first.[5][6]

The revision introduced Leg Before Wicket (LBW) as a means of dismissal, stating that "the striker is out if he puts his leg before the wicket with a design to stop the ball and actually prevent the ball from hitting it".[7] The introduction of LBW stemmed from batsmen deliberately blocking the ball using their legs rather than attempting to play it with their bat, most notably a player named Ring.[8] While the Law was revised nine times between its introduction and 1831,[8] it was not until 1839 that the Law was amended to state that the ball had to pitch in line with the stumps in order for the batsman to be out.[9]


Five first-class match scorecards survive from 1774.[10][11]

In the match between Hampshire and England on 7–8 July, bowler William Bullen took the first known five wicket haul in first-class matches: note that bowlers in this era were only credited with a wicket when they bowled the batsman.

Six other matches are known to have been played during the season, including matches between county teams. Full scorecards do not survive from these matches.[17]


The following players made their first known appearance during the 1774 season.


  1. ^ Ross G (1975) 200 years of laws, Wisden Cricketers' Almanack, 1975. Retrieved 2019-02-16.
  2. ^ Mortimer G (2013) Object 5: Laws of the game], in A History of Cricket in 100 Objects. London: Profile Books. Retrieved 2019-02-16.
  3. ^ a b Vamplew W (2007) Playing with the Rules: Influences on the Development of Regulation in Sport, p.33–34. University of Stirling. Retrieved 2019-02-16.
  4. ^ Cricket, Encyclopædia Britannica online (revised 2019-01-03). Retrieved 2019-02-16.
  5. ^ Dates in cricket history, Wisden Cricketers' Almanack, 1953. Retrieved 2019-02-16.
  6. ^ Rundell M (2009) Wisden Dictionary of Cricket. London: A & C Black. Retrieved 2019-02-16.
  7. ^ Quoted at The evolution of the lbw, CricInfo, 2016-12-28. Retrieved 2019-02-16.
  8. ^ a b Nasim R (2000) LBW -The cause of crisis in cricket, CricInfo, 2000-09-27. Retrieved 2019-02-16.
  9. ^ The evolution of the lbw, op. cit.
  10. ^ Association of Cricket Statisticians and Historians (ACS) (1981) A Guide to Important Cricket Matches Played in the British Isles 1709 – 1863. Nottingham: ACS.
  11. ^ Results, English Domestic Season 1774, CricInfo. Retrieved 2019-02-14.
  12. ^ England v Hampshire, Scorecard, CricInfo. Retrieved 2019-02-14.
  13. ^ England v Hampshire, Scorecard, CricInfo. Retrieved 2019-02-14.
  14. ^ Surrey v Hampshire, Scorecard, CricInfo. Retrieved 2019-02-14.
  15. ^ Kent v Hampshire, Scorecard, CricInfo. Retrieved 2019-02-14.
  16. ^ Hampshire v Kent, Scorecard, CricInfo. Retrieved 2019-02-14.
  17. ^ Other matches in England 1774, CricketArchive. Retrieved 2019-02-10.

Further readingEdit

  • 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.
  • Major, John (2007). More Than A Game. HarperCollins.
  • Underdown, David (2000). Start of Play. Allen Lane.