Thomas Waymark

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Thomas Waymark
Personal information
Full nameThomas Waymark
Born(1705-06-17)17 June 1705
Mitcham, Surrey, England
BowlingRight-arm fast-medium
Domestic team information
c.1725–c.1740 Sussex
c.1741–c.1750 Berkshire
Source: CricketArchive, 13 July 2009

Thomas Waymark (probably born 17 June 1705 [1] ) was an English professional cricketer in the first half of the 18th century. He is one of the earliest known players on record and is widely accounted the sport's first great all-rounder.

Cricket Team sport played with bats and balls

Cricket is a bat-and-ball game played between two teams of eleven players on a field at the centre of which is a 20-metre (22-yard) pitch with a wicket at each end, each comprising two bails balanced on three stumps. The batting side scores runs by striking the ball bowled at the wicket with the bat, while the bowling and fielding side tries to prevent this and dismiss each player. Means of dismissal include being bowled, when the ball hits the stumps and dislodges the bails, and by the fielding side catching the ball after it is hit by the bat, but before it hits the ground. When ten players have been dismissed, the innings ends and the teams swap roles. The game is adjudicated by two umpires, aided by a third umpire and match referee in international matches. They communicate with two off-field scorers who record the match's statistical information.

All-rounder cricket role

An all-rounder is a cricketer who regularly performs well at both batting and bowling. Although all bowlers must bat and quite a few batsmen do bowl occasionally, most players are skilled in only one of the two disciplines and are considered specialists. Some wicket-keepers have the skills of a specialist batsman and have been referred to as all-rounders, but the term wicketkeeper-batsman is more commonly applied to them, even if they are substitute wicketkeepers who also bowl.


Cricket career

1720s and 1730s

Surviving details of Waymark's career are few but it is known that he began in the 1720s and the earliest definite mention of him is in the 1730 season when a first-class match between the teams of his patron Charles Lennox, 2nd Duke of Richmond and that of Sir William Gage was postponed "on account of Waymark, the Duke's man, being ill". [2] Waymark was last recorded in the 1749 season playing for All-England in a lucrative single wicket contest. [3]

The 1730 English cricket season was the 34th cricket season since the earliest recorded eleven-aside match was played. Details have survived of 14 matches as well as four notable single wicket matches.

First-class cricket is an official classification of the highest-standard international or domestic matches in the sport of cricket. A first-class match is of three or more days' scheduled duration between two sides of eleven players each and is officially adjudged to be worthy of the status by virtue of the standard of the competing teams. Matches must allow for the teams to play two innings each although, in practice, a team might play only one innings or none at all.

Charles Lennox, 2nd Duke of Richmond English patron of cricket

Charles Lennox, 2nd Duke of Richmond, 2nd Duke of Lennox, 2nd Duke of Aubigny, was a British nobleman, peer, and politician. He was the son of Charles Lennox, 1st Duke of Richmond, an illegitimate son of King Charles II. He held a number of posts in connection with his high office but is best remembered for his patronage of cricket. He has been described as the most important of the sport's early patrons and did much to help its evolution from village cricket to first-class cricket.

Waymark was initially a groom by trade and was employed as such by his patron, the 2nd Duke of Richmond. There was probably no shortage of capable grooms and it is fair to assume that Richmond employed Waymark because of his outstanding ability with bat and ball, Richmond being the foremost investor in cricket at the time. Richmond's teams were representative of Sussex as a county and the few reports in which Waymark is mentioned make clear that he was the first great all-rounder in the game's history. For example, in the report of Mr Edwin Stead’s XI v Sir William Gage’s XI at Penshurst Park on 28 August 1729, it states that "a groom of the Duke of Richmond signalised himself by extraordinary agility and dexterity". It is generally believed that this was Waymark playing for Gage's XI who won the match by an innings. [4]

Sussex county cricket teams have been traced back to the early 18th century but the county's involvement in cricket dates from much earlier times as it is widely believed, jointly with Kent and Surrey, to be the sport's birthplace. The most widely accepted theory about the origin of cricket is that it first developed in early medieval times, as a children's game, in the geographical areas of the North Downs, the South Downs and the Weald.

Edwin Stead was a noted patron of English cricket, particularly of Kent teams in the 1720s. He usually captained his teams but nothing is known about his ability as a player. There is uncertainty about his name because his forename has been rendered "Edwin", "Edwyn" or "Edward"; his surname "Stead", "Stede" or "Steed". In the various sources, "Edwin Stead" is the most common version. He was born at Harrietsham in Kent and died in London.

Sir William Gage, 7th Baronet KB of Firle Place was a British landowner and politician who sat in the House of Commons from 1727 to 1744. He introduced greengages into Great Britain from France. He was an early patron of cricket, in association with his friend Charles Lennox, 2nd Duke of Richmond.


By the 1740s, Waymark was no longer in the Duke's employ as he was working at Bray Mills in Berkshire. He is given as a Berkshire resident and playing for the Berkshire XI or the London XI. [5]

Berkshire County of England

Berkshire is a county in South East England. One of the home counties, Berkshire was recognised by the Queen as the Royal County of Berkshire in 1957 because of the presence of Windsor Castle, and letters patent were issued in 1974. Berkshire is a county of historic origin, a ceremonial county and a non-metropolitan county without a county council. The county town is Reading.

Berkshire county cricket teams have been traced back to the 18th century but the county's involvement in cricket goes back much further than that.

The original London Cricket Club was formed by 1722 and was one of the foremost clubs in English cricket over the next four decades, holding important match status. It is closely associated with the Artillery Ground, where it played most of its home matches.

In the 1744 season, Waymark played in both of the two games of which the earliest known scorecards have survived. On 2 June, he played for London versus Slindon at the Artillery Ground. Slindon, backed by his old employer the Duke of Richmond, won by 55 runs. [6] On 18 June, Waymark played for the All-England team against Kent at the Artillery Ground in the match which commences Arthur Haygarth's Scores & Biographies. [7] Kent won by 1 wicket. [8]

The 1744 English cricket season was the 48th cricket season since the earliest recorded eleven-a-side match was played. The earliest known codification of the Laws of Cricket dates from this year as do the two earliest surviving match scorecards. Details have survived of 20 significant eleven-a-side and three single wicket matches.

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.

Artillery Ground park in the United Kingdom

The Artillery Ground in Finsbury is an open space originally set aside for archery and later known also as a cricket venue. Today it is used for military exercises, rugby and football matches. It belongs to the Honourable Artillery Company (HAC), whose headquarters, Armoury House, overlook the grounds.

Waymark was an outstanding single wicket player and took part in several big money contests. Single wicket was the most lucrative form of cricket in the 1740s. For example, on 16 & 17 September 1748, Waymark teamed up with Robert Colchin to play two doubles matches against Tom Faulkner and Joe Harris at the Artillery Ground. At the time, these four were arguably the best players in England. The matches were played for huge prizes of fifty guineas each. Waymark and Colchin won them both, the first by 12 runs and the second by an unrecorded margin. [9]

Single wicket cricket is a form of cricket played between two individuals, who take turns to bat and bowl against each other. The one bowling is assisted by a team of fielders, who remain as fielders at the change of innings. The winner is the one who scores more runs. There was considerable interest in single wicket during the middle part of the 18th century when it enjoyed top-class status.

Robert "Long Robin" Colchin was a highly influential professional English cricketer and match organiser of the mid-Georgian period at a time when the single wicket version of the game was popular. He was born at Chailey, East Sussex and died at Deptford.

Thomas Faulkner (c.1719–1785), known as 'Long Tom', was a noted English cricketer, wrestler and boxer. A Surrey man, he was a prominent single wicket player who is recorded playing in challenge matches at the Artillery Ground. He played regularly for the prestigious Addington Cricket Club in Surrey and appears in the records from 1744 until 1761.

The last surviving record of Thomas Waymark is in July 1749 when he was part of an All-England team that played three single wicket "fives" matches against Addington, though Waymark did not play in the third match. He seems to have ceased playing c.1750.

Style and technique

Waymark was a right-handed all-rounder who excelled at both the single wicket and 11-a-side variants of the sport. He was noted (see above) for his "extraordinary agility and dexterity" which would indicate that he was an outstanding fielder in addition to his batting and bowling skills.

Throughout his career, the ball was bowled underarm along the ground at a two-stump wicket. It is believed that Waymark bowled at a fastish pace with variations. He was also an accomplished batsman, though not as highly regarded in this department as his single wicket partner Colchin. The bat was curved like a modern hockey stick and the batsman generally attacked the rolled ball. Batsmen did not develop defensive techniques until the straight bat was invented in response to the pitched delivery, which was introduced in the 1760s, more than a decade after Waymark's career ended.

Family and personal life

Nothing is known of Waymark's family life. He was initially a groom employed by the Duke of Richmond but latterly he was a Berkshire resident employed in some capacity at Bray Mills. Details of his final years are unrecorded and the date and place of his death are unknown.

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  1. "Thomas Waymark's likely birth record". Archived from the original on 13 March 2007. Retrieved 13 July 2009. Note – the date and location strongly suggest that this Thomas Waymark was the famous cricketer.
  2. Waghorn, Cricket Scores, pp. 1–2.
  3. Ashley-Cooper, p. 67.
  4. Waghorn (DC), p. 7.
  5. Ashley-Cooper, p. 85.
  6. "London v Slindon 1744". CricketArchive. Retrieved 13 July 2009.
  7. Haygarth, p. 1.
  8. "Kent v All-England 1744". CricketArchive. Retrieved 13 July 2009.
  9. Buckley, p. 22.