Friday, December 14, 2012

Early Cricket in Hertfordshire

I am currently carrying out a series of searches in the British Newspaper Archives with a view to writing a guide to some of the techniques for getting the best out of them. One search was for records of early cricket in the county. I came up with the following two entries from 1737:
Last Wednesday a great Cricket-Match was play'd at Stanstead Abbot in Hertfordshire between 11 Gentlemen of the Corporation of Hertford and 11 of Stanstead, for 200 Guineas, when the Gentlemen of the Corporation were beat, There was up to 1000 l. won and lost on the match.
Derby Mercury, Thursday 14 July, 1737
On Friday last a Cricket Match was play'd at Ware in Hertfordshire, between eleven Gentlemen of Burntwood inEssex and eleven of Hertford, for 200 l., when the former won by six Notches; and it was generally believ'd that they would have beat them at one Innings, had they not met with ill Usage by a Mob of Bargemen. It is said the Bets which were laid on both sides amounted to 2000 l.
Derby Mercury, Thursday 25th August, 1737
I then looked for an early reference to cricket being played in Tring and found:
A Week or two ago was played, for a considerable Sum of Money, on Bohawk-Hill, Wendover, a great Match of Cricket between Wendover and Tring, which was won by the former by a large Number of Notches, at one Innings, notwithstanding Tring was allowed two famous extra Players from another Place. Wendover is soon to play another grand set Match, for a number of Silver Cups.
Northampton Mercury, Monday 3 July 1775
I then looked later for the earliest match I could find involving Tring that named the players and found one played at Tring Park between Tring and Berkhamsted in 1835, published in the Hertford Mercury and Reformer. [Full details - including the names of the two teams].

Some real difficulties were encountered in carrying out these searches and I will be reporting on these later.

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