Eighteenth Century Matches


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'Important' Eighteenth Century Matches

In the eighteenth century, matches involving ‘Essex’ weren’t truly representative sides i.e. they didn't necessarily compr
ise the best players in the county.  The composition of these teams was somewhat ad hoc, the prime purpose of the title being to attract as many spectators as possible - particularly the gambling community who, in the main, regarded their financial wagers as being more important than the cricket spectacle itself! 

According to 'A Guide to Important Cricket Matches Played in the British Isles 1707 to 1863' published in 1981 by The Association of Cricket Statisticians and Historians (www.acscricket.com), the ‘important’ matches involving 'Essex' teams and teams from Essex (often attended by thousands of spectators) were:

London v Essex & Herts

at Epping 6th July 1732

London v Essex
at the Honourable Artillery Ground 25th July 1737

Essex v London
at Ilford 1st August 1737

Essex v Kent
at Billericay 27th June 1761

Blackheath v Middlesex & Essex
at Blackheath 29th June 1772

Essex v Kent
at Ingatestone 8th August 1774

Hornchurch v Middlesex
at Hornchurch 13th June 1785

Hornchurch v Windsor
at Hornchurch 27th June 1785

Hornchurch v Moulsey Hurst
venue unknown 15th-16th May 1787

Hornchurch v Middlesex
at Hornchurch 5th-6th July 1787

Essex v Kent
at Swanscombe 16th July 1787

Hornchurch v White Conduit
at Hornchurch 2nd August 1787

Hornchurch v Mousley Hurst

at Hornchurch 13th June 1788

MCC v Essex
at Lord's 6th-7th August 1789

Hornchurch v MCC

at Hornchurch July 5th-7th 1790

MCC v Hornchurch

at Lord's 13th June 1791

Hornchurch v MCC
at Hornchurch 11th-13th August 1791

Hornchurch v Waltham Abbey
at Hornchurch 12th September 1791

Hornchurch v Herts
at Hornchurch 15th September 1791

West Kent v Essex

at Hornchurch 29th-31st August 1792

Essex v Kent
at Hornchurch 27th-28th September 1792

Hornchurch v MCC
at Hornchurch 30th-31st May 1793

MCC v Hornchurch
at Lord's 6th-7th June 1793

MCC v Essex
at Lord's 17th-18th June 1793

West Kent v Essex
at Gravesend 27th June 1793

Kent v Essex
at Brighton 29th-31st August 1793

Waltham & Herts v Middlesex
at Waltham Abbey 17th-19th September 1799

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Of the three hundred or so clubs in Essex that still exist today, only eleven of them were formally established in the eighteenth century - Woodford Green, Tillingham, St Osyth, Navestock, Great Bentley, Harlow, Hornchurch, Woodham Mortimer, Great Braxted & Tiptree, Stock and West Mersea - but only one, Hornchurch CC, was involved in matches considered 'important'.  Belhus Cricket Club wasn't formally established until long after these great clubs, although we do know that cricket was played at the club's first ground, Belhus Park, in 1803 ('Gentlemen of Kent' v 'Gentlemen of Essex') and on 22nd June 1815 ('Eleven Gentlemen of Aveley' v 'Eleven Gentlemen of the Liberty Club') - in the grounds of the grand Belhus Mansion owned by Sir Thomas Barrett-Lennard.

Should you have any information about matches being played at Belhus Park prior to these dates, please let us know.

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