In English cricket, the period from 1776 to 1800 saw significant growth and development in English cricket to the point that it became a popular sport nationwide, having outgrown its origin in the south-eastern counties. Prominent northern clubs were established at Nottingham and Sheffield.
Cricket has its first documented mentions in Canada (1785) and the West Indies (1780; in Barbados). British clubs were established in India in Calcutta (1792) and, following the siege there, Seringapatam (1799). In America, the game was popular among soldiers in the revolution and George Washington is known to have played in at least one game.
At the highest level of English cricket, two clubs pre-dominated – Hambledon from the early 1770s until the late 1780s and then Marylebone Cricket Club, known as MCC, from its foundation in 1787. County cricket thrived during the Hambledon period. The Hambledon Club organised matches played by the Hampshire team, who often challenged teams representing the rest of England. Soon after its foundation, MCC assumed ownership of the Laws and re-drafted them in 1788.
Leading players of the period included batsmen John Small and Billy Beldham; bowlers Lumpy Stevens and David Harris; and the controversial all-rounder Lord Frederick Beauclerk. Throughout the period, underarm bowling prevailed by means of a pitched delivery, this method having been recently introduced in the 1760s. In response to pitching of the ball, the modern straight bat had been created, replacing the old "hockey stick" design that had been in use when balls were bowled all along the ground.
Further reading edit
- ACS (1981). A Guide to Important Cricket Matches Played in the British Isles 1709–1863. Nottingham: ACS.
- Altham, H. S. (1962). A History of Cricket, Volume 1 (to 1914). London: George Allen & Unwin. ASIN B0014QE7HQ.
- Birley, Derek (1999). A Social History of English Cricket. London: Aurum Press Ltd. ISBN 978-18-54107-10-7.
- Bowen, Rowland (1970). Cricket: A History of its Growth and Development. London: Eyre & Spottiswoode. ISBN 978-04-13278-60-9.
- Buckley, G. B. (1935). Fresh Light on 18th Century Cricket. Birmingham: Cotterell & Co. ISBN 978-19-00592-48-2.
- Buckley, G. B. (1937). Fresh Light on pre-Victorian Cricket. Birmingham: Cotterell & Co. ISBN 978-19-00592-49-9.
- Haygarth, Arthur (1862). Scores & Biographies, Volume 1 (1744–1826). Kennington: Frederick Lillywhite. ISBN 978-19-00592-23-9.
- Major, John (2007). More Than A Game. London: HarperCollins. ISBN 978-00-07183-64-7.
- McCann, Tim (2004). Sussex Cricket in the Eighteenth Century. Lewes: Sussex Record Society. ISBN 978-08-54450-55-8.
- Nyren, John (1998). Ashley Mote (ed.). The Cricketers of my Time. London: Robson Publishing. ISBN 978-18-61051-68-4.
- Underdown, David (2000). Start of Play. Westminster: Allen Lane. ISBN 978-07-13993-30-1.
- Waghorn, H. T. (1906). The Dawn of Cricket. London: Electric Press. ISBN 978-09-47821-17-3.