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  • Added: November 14, 2021

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The first known match was at Coxheath near Maidstone in 1646. A tree stump was utilized but because on the downs of Sussex and Kent, where the game had its stronghold, there weren’t many trees, a new target had to be found–the ‘wicket-gate’, through which passed throngs of sheep. This gate took the form of a minor hurdle, comprising two uprights known as stumps. The stumps were 12 inches high and set 24 inches apart. On top of them was laid a crosspiece, known to this day in Australian meadows as a bail. This produced a superior target to a tree stump, as there could be no argument when the bail fell to the ground.

By 1730, cricket was being constantly played in London at White Conduit Fields in Islington, the Artillery Ground in Finsbury and Kennington Common. The ‘bat’ resembled a hockey stick. The ball started off as a round piece of wood till seventeenth-century cobblers began stitching a leather cover round cork stuffing. In 1774 the laws were amended to assure the ball should not weigh over 5¾ ounces and no less than 5½ ounces. The design of the bat reflected the type of bowling that was prevalent at the time—fast, underarm bowls rolled along the ground.

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