County cricket makes its de­but

The first cricket match in­volv­ing county teams was played this year be­tween Kent and Sur­rey.

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Cricket was de­vel­op­ing into the na­tional sport as a re­sult of the linked fac­tors of pa­tron­age and gam­bling. Heavy bet­ting meant that there was money to stage the matches, so they were no longer sim­ply vil­lage af­fairs. The pa­tron­age of aris­to­crats made a vi­tal dif­fer­ence too, be­cause they set up their own teams in or­der to strengthen their bets.

Large crowds flocked to matches at lo­ca­tions such as the Ar­tillery Ground in Fins­bury, which de­vel­oped a fair­ground at­mos­phere on match days.

The wicket’s third, mid­dle stump to sup­port the bails wasn’t in­tro­duced un­til 1775

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