Dartford Cricket Club

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Dartford Cricket Club
Team information
Establishedearly 18th century
Home venue Hesketh Park
History
Notable players William Bedle
John Frame

Dartford Cricket Club is one of the oldest cricket clubs in England with origins which date from the early 18th century, perhaps earlier. The earliest known match involving a team from Dartford took place in 1722, against London, [1] but the club's own website says it was formally established in 1727. [2] The club is still in existence and now plays in the Kent Cricket League.

History

Dartford players were reckoned by Robert Harley, Earl of Oxford, writing in his diary in 1723, to "lay claim to the greatest excellence" among English cricketers. The club played a number of big matches against London and, in 1756, they were involved in a tri-series against the sport's rising power, the Hambledon Club.

Dartford produced several famous players in the 18th century including cricket's earliest known great player William Bedle. Later players included William Hodsoll, John Bell, John Frame and Ned Wenman.

The club originally used Dartford Brent, an area of common land, as its ground. By the end of the 18th century it had moved to Bowman's Lodge on Dartford Heath before its current ground at Hesketh Park was established in 1905. In 2002 the club merged with Dartford Halls Cricket Club, retaining the name Dartford Cricket Club for its First XI. [3]

Related Research Articles

Kent County Cricket Club English cricket club

Kent County Cricket Club is one of the eighteen first-class county clubs within the domestic cricket structure of England and Wales. It represents the historic county of Kent. A club representing the county was first founded in 1842 but Kent teams have played top-class cricket since the early 18th century, and the club has always held first-class status. The current Kent County Cricket Club was formed on 6 December 1870 following the merger of two representative teams. Kent have competed in the County Championship since the official start of the competition in 1890 and have played in every top-level domestic cricket competition in England. The club's limited overs team is called the Kent Spitfires after the Supermarine Spitfire.

History of cricket to 1725

The earliest definite reference to cricket is dated Monday, 17 January 1597. It is a deposition in the records of a legal case at Guildford, Surrey, regarding the use of a parcel of land in about 1550 in which John Derrick, a coroner, testified that he had played cricket on the land when he was a boy. Derrick's testimony makes clear that the sport was being played by the middle of the 16th century, but its true origin is unknown. All that can be said with a fair degree of certainty is that its beginning was earlier than 1550, probably somewhere in south-east England within the counties of Kent, Sussex and Surrey. Unlike other games with batsmen, bowlers and fielders, such as stoolball and rounders, cricket can only be played on relatively short grass, especially as the ball was delivered along the ground until the 1760s. Forest clearings and land where sheep had grazed would have been suitable places to play.

The years from 1726 to 1763 are the period in which cricket established itself as a leading sport in London and the south-eastern counties of England. In 1726, it was already a thriving sport in the south east and, though limited by the constraints of travel at the time, it was slowly gaining adherents in other parts of England, its growth accelerating with references being found in many counties to 1763. Having been essentially a rural pastime for well over a century before the Restoration in 1660, cricket became a focus for wealthy patrons and gamblers whose interests were to fund its growth throughout the 18th century. Their investment poured money into the game and created the earliest county teams, the first professionals and the first important clubs, all participating in games that have important match status.

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White Conduit Fields

White Conduit Fields in Islington was an early venue for cricket and several major matches are known to have been played there in the 18th century. It was the original home of the White Conduit Club, forerunner of Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC). Later it was used by The Islington Albion Cricket Club, who played their last game at the ground in 1834. Maps from the time show that the cricket field was a few hundred metres north of the White Conduit House, in the land surrounding the modern Richmond Crescent, and paintings suggest it was also possibly on the adjacent field to the south at the modern Barnard Park.

Dartford Brent

Dartford Brent was an extensive area of common land on the outskirts of Dartford in Kent. Historically, it was the scene of a confrontation between King Henry VI and Richard Plantagenet, 3rd Duke of York in 1452 and in 1555 thousands of spectators were to witness the burning to death at the stake of Christopher Ward, a Dartford linen weaver, executed for his Protestant faith.

Kennington Common park in the United Kingdom

Kennington Common was a large area of common land mainly within the London Borough of Lambeth. The area was notable for being one of the earliest venues for cricket within London and top-class matches were played there from 1724 to 1785. The common was also used for public executions, fairs and public gatherings.

Kent county cricket teams have been traced back to the 17th century but the county's involvement in cricket goes back much further than that. Kent, jointly with Sussex, is generally accepted as the birthplace of the sport. It is widely believed that cricket was first played by children living on the Weald in Saxon or Norman times. The world's earliest known organised match was held in Kent c.1611 and the county has always been at the forefront of cricket's development through the growth of village cricket in the 17th century to representative matches in the 18th. A Kent team took part in the earliest known inter-county match, which was played on Dartford Brent in 1709. Several famous players and patrons were involved in Kent cricket from then until the creation of the first county club in 1842. Among them were William Bedle, Robert Colchin and the 3rd Duke of Dorset. Kent were generally regarded as the strongest county team in the first half of the 18th century and were always one of the main challengers to the dominance of Hambledon in the second half. County cricket ceased through the Napoleonic War and was resurrected in 1826 when Kent played Sussex. By the 1830s, Kent had again become the strongest county and remained so until mid-century.

Hampshire county cricket teams have been traced back to the 18th century but the county's involvement in cricket goes back much further than that. Given that the first definite mention of cricket anywhere in the world is dated c.1550 in Guildford, in neighbouring Surrey, it is almost certain that the game had reached Hampshire by the 16th century.

The 1747 English cricket season was the fourth season following the earliest known codification of the Laws of Cricket.

The 1752 English cricket season was the ninth season following the earliest known codification of the Laws of Cricket. Details have survived of 12 eleven-a-side matches between significant teams.

Addington Cricket Club fielded one of the strongest cricket teams in England from about the 1743 season to the 1752 season although the village of Addington is a very small place in Surrey about three miles south-east of Croydon. The team was of county strength and featured the noted players Tom Faulkner, Joe Harris, John Harris, George Jackson and Durling. The team immediately accepted the Slindon Challenge, in 1744, to play against any parish in England. The only other club to accept was Robert Colchin's Bromley.

Hadlow Cricket Club

Hadlow Cricket Club was one of the early English cricket clubs, formed in the early to mid eighteenth century. Hadlow is a village in the Medway valley near Tonbridge in Kent.

Slindon Cricket Club

Slindon Cricket Club was famous in the middle part of the 18th century when it claimed to have the best team in England. It was located at Slindon, a village in the Arun district of Sussex.

Sunbury Cricket Club had a noted team in the early 18th century which played in major matches. One of its players was William Goodwin, whose skill received comment in a 1724 newspaper report. Goodwin is one of the earliest cricketers named in contemporary sources. In 1730, a Sunbury patron known only as Mr Andrews successfully led the team in a match against the Duke of Richmond's XI. In 1731, Sunbury defeated Kent on Sunbury Common. In 1732, a combined Brentford and Sunbury team lost to London on Walworth Common. Little is known of cricket in Sunbury for the next 200 years.

Woolwich Cricket Club was an English cricket club based in the town of Woolwich, Kent. It was formed sometime in the first half of the 18th century, or earlier, and its earliest known record is in 1754 when its team played two matches against the prominent Dartford Cricket Club. The club, or at least a successor of it, then played a number of matches from 1797 to 1806 against Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC), Montpelier Cricket Club, Croydon Cricket Club and other leading town clubs. After playing MCC in 1806, the club disappeared from the records. Throughout the period from 1754 to 1806, Woolwich's home ground was Barrack Field, part of Woolwich Common, which remains the home ground of the Royal Artillery Cricket Club (RACC). Mainstays of the club in its "Napoleonic" period were William Ayling, John Tanner and John Ward.

Hesketh Park is a cricket ground in Dartford in Kent. The ground is the home of Dartford Cricket Club, one of the oldest cricket clubs in the United Kingdom. The ground was established at the beginning of the 20th century and has been used as a first-class cricket venue by Kent County Cricket Club.

East Kent and West Kent were titles sometimes given to two cricket teams from their respective areas of the English county of Kent which generally played in matches prior to the foundation of the official Kent County Cricket Club in the mid 19th century. West Kent teams have been recorded from 1705 but there is no known record of an East Kent team until 1781. There were seven major matches from 1781 to 1790 in which teams of this type faced each other, although there is doubt about the match titles with sources using different team names.

English cricket matches to 1725 Wikimedia list article

The earliest definite mention of cricket is dated Monday, 17 January 1597. The reference is in the records of a legal case at Guildford re the use of a parcel of land c.1550 and John Derrick, a coroner, testified that he had at that time played cricket on the land when he was a boy. Cricket may have been a children's game in the 16th century but, about 1610, the earliest known organised match was played and references from that time indicate adult participation. From then to 1725, less than thirty matches are known to have been organised between recognised teams. Similarly, a limited number of players, teams and venues of the period have been recorded.

Ian Maun is a retired university lecturer who has written two chronological researches of 18th century cricket matches and events. Maun was a senior lecturer at the University of Exeter from 1999 until 2009, teaching French and German. His published cricket works are From Commons to Lord's, Volumes One and Two which cover the years 1700 to 1750 and 1751 to 1770 respectively; his intention is to ultimately publish researches of the whole 18th century. Maun's books have been generally well-received and he was voted "Cricket Statistician of the Year" by the Association of Cricket Statisticians and Historians in 2009, following the publication of his first volume.

References

  1. Association of Cricket Statisticians and Historians (1981) A Guide to Important Cricket Matches Played in the British Isles 1709 – 1863, p. 19. Nottingham: Association of Cricket Statisticians and Historians.
  2. Our history: Cricket in Dartford, Dartford Cricket Club. Retrieved 2017-11-28.
  3. Merger gives town's cricket more clout, Kent Online , 2002-03-21. Retrieved 2017-11-28.