By 1860 an estimated 10,000 Americans were playing cricket. But when the civil war broke out in 1861, cricket was one of the early casualties. The war uprooted men from their homes and leisure activity became scarce. Pitches fell into disrepair as, during the four years of war, it became difficult to mark and maintain pitches, and it also became very difficult bring cricket gear and equipment from England.
Part IV of our multi-part series on USA Cricket History
By 1860 an estimated 10,000 Americans were playing cricket. But when the civil war broke out in 1861, cricket was one of the early casualties. The war uprooted men from their homes and leisure activity became scarce. Pitches fell into disrepair as, during the four years of war, it became difficult to mark and maintain pitches, and it also became very difficult bring cricket gear and equipment from England.
Baseball suited war-time needs. It was quick, easy to learn, and required little in the way of equipment or facilities. No pitch was needed - just four sacks thrown on the ground, a simple bat and ball.
Soldiers embraced baseball fast as a way of relaxation and after the war, the sport continued to thrive. Cincinnati Red Stockings, baseball’s first professional team consisted mainly of cricketers who had moved to greener pastures of baseball. In fact, when Red Stockings and Athletics toured England in 1864, they played both baseball and cricket.
Cincinnati Red Stockings were firstly cricketers
Civil War had other more immediate impact too. For example, international cricket teams did not tour USA during the first half of the decade. During the Civil War, English tours focused on Australia (the first one in 1861 and later on in 1863) thereby popularizing the game in that part of the world. Most historians mistakenly think that the English tour of Australia was the first overseas tour by the English.
NY Times noted that in 1868, cricket had fallen somewhat in popularity across USA. “The sport of cricket had a popularity (then) that it does not enjoy now by any means. Now, the country possesses a ball game that is quickly played and yields exciting and lively contests.”
Whereas in 1858, there were between one and two thousand even for St. George Club vs New York Club games and between four and five thousand when USA played Canada, “in 1868, we see between five and six thousand spectators at the leading baseball matches paying 50 cents admission to witness the match. Whereas the highest class cricket does not attract a hundred people even without an admission fee.”
Civil War casualties exceeded 690,000 across the country. Based on 1860 census figures, 8% of all white males aged 13 to 43 died in the war, including 6% in the North and an extraordinary 18% in the South. In fact, Civil War’s casualties outnumbered the losses during all other USA wars combined. Cricket lost more than a few of its players.
Cricket made a comeback after the war, but things would not be the same. The force with which baseball propelled forward would make baseball the national game in the time to come.
In this context, it was surprising that the 1868 tour of USA by an English side led by Willsher took place at all. Willsher was the kind that pushed boundaries. As a Kent player, he bowled over-arm first (a few years after Wiles aka Willis bowled round-arm). Willsher (and Willis) were suspended from cricket for a while.
Willsher’s tour helped to revive cricket, that there is no doubt about. Even NY Times was surprised that trains were ‘once again running full carrying spectators to the venues when English toured USA’ in the Fall of 1868. That brought some cheer back to the cricket enthusiasts.
There were other cricketing events during the 1860s that helped to revive the game. In Philadelphia, University of Pennsylvania began a tradition of inter-collegiate cricket – the first match was between Haverford College and U Penn in 1864.
Elsewhere, the cricket field in New York’s Central Park was opened in 1865 and cricket was played there for the remainder of the decade until baseball jostled it out.
Victoria caught the cricket fever
Of course, cricket continued to prosper in pockets that were untouched by war. Cricket was gaining in neighboring Canada. On Vancouver Island, the Daily Colonist newspaper carried the results of cricket matches played between the Navy and the local United Victoria Cricket Club throughout the 1860s.
In Victoria, the gold rush of 1858 brought American miners in the thousands and although early in the 1860s the American sport of baseball was introduced to Victoria, cricket remained an important and socially respectable pass-time.
The Daily Colonist of March 2, 1863 reads "The season for cricketing having arrived, our old and new residents seem to be alive to the advantages resulting from the practice of this fine old English game."
July 9, 1860: Eleven Englishmen vs Eighteen Americans
The cricket ground of the Philadelphia Club in Camden was the venue for the fifth annual cricket match between local sides comprising Englishmen and Americans on the 4th and 5th of July.
In the presence of a very large number of spectators, the Americans marked their superiority by defeating the Englishmen with eight wickets to spare. The Englishmen had imported some new professionals including Sadler, who played for all England and toured as part of the English Eleven.
The Englishmen also included a pro from the St. George’s Club (Brett) and two from the New York Club (Hampshire and Sams). Barlow was the only Englishman from the Philadelphia side and Gibbes was from Newark.
The American selectors picked the best eighteen Americans they could find. Seventeen from Philadelphia, their average age was 20, and one from Amsterdam, NY (Jackson).
The Americans were - Eakin of Hamilton; Greely, Kingston, Hunt, Union; E Davis Jr., Germantown; T Davis, Southwark; Jones Wister, Germantown; W Newhall, Germantown; Kephardt, Germantown; Bayard, Germantown; Jackson , Amsterdam; Howe, Union; Vernou, Union; WR Wister, Philadelphia; Johnson, Philadelphia; Johnson, Philadelphia; Stevens, Philadelphia; Provost, Young America; J Davis,St. George; Knox, Philadelphia Club.
Several of the Americans were high school students from the Philadelphia Free Academy – and out of the 500 students in that fine institution, some 300 played cricket.
And their full fields of practice days and their consequent perfection in the intricacies of the science of the game culminated in this splendid victory over the strong English cricketers more than half of whom were professionals. Plans were made to play eleven Americans vs Eighteen Englishmen as a more balanced contest.
Large throngs of Americans visited the ground during the two days and some paid a quick visit stolen from business engagements of the post holiday season on the 5th.
England chose to bat first and made 92 runs. Sadler’s score of 13 was the highest individual score for Englishmen. When it was their turn to bat, the Americans fell short and scored just 85. Even that might not have been possible without the fine performance of Kephardt who made 23.
Sams made 15 in the Englishmen’s second innings of 42. Eakin had a wonderful spell of bowling (5 wickets) along with Provost who got 4.
Americans did not take long in running off to the score of 50 needed to win the game. Kephardt was the backbone of the chase with 14 against his name. Not to forget the fine catches he took for his team.
Mr. Warburton presented a hat to Kephardt and a dove-tail bat to Knox for making the second highest score for the Americans. Eakin was the bowler of the match. Sharp presented a ball to the Americans amidst much cheering.
In his speech, the American captain Stevens said that it was the proudest moment of his life. He had never doubted amidst all their defeats that one day they would achieve a victory.
He said that he hoped that one day the American eleven would compete with the English eleven on their own ground although he candidly confessed that that time was far distant.
English cricketers – First Innings
Sharp b Provost ..5
Hampshire c Stevens b Provost..2
Gibbes c Knox b Provost..7
Brett b T Davis..12
Sadler c Hunt b Provost..13
Sams c Kephardt b Provost..5
Wilby c Stevens bTDavis..7
Barlow run out..12
Higham not out..5
Beach bEakin ..2
Byes 3, leg byes 1, wides 12, no ball 1 ..17
American Cricketers – First Innings
Johnson c Sadler b Gibbes..8
Bayard b Gibbes..2
Vernou c Higham b Hallis..0
Hunt b Gibbes..2
Knox b Hallis..15
Jones Wister run out..0
Newhalls c and b Sadler..11
Kephardt c Wilby b Sadler..23
WR Wister b Sadler..0
Jackson b Sadler..0
Howe b Sadler..0
Stevens b Sadler..0
T. Davis b Sadler..3
E Davis Jr. not out..7
Provost b Sadler..0
J Davis c and b Sams..1
Creeley c Wilby b Sadler..0
Eakin c Wilby b Sadler ..3
Byes 3, Leg Byes 1, Wides 6 ..10
English cricketers – Second Innings
Sharp b Provost ..11
Hampshire c Stevens b Provost..3
Brett c Kephardt b Vernou..1
Sadler c Vernou b Provost..0
Sams c Vernon b Eakin..15
Wilby c WR Wister b Eakin..2
Barlow c Bayard b Eakin..2
Higham b Eakin..0
Beach not out..0
Hallis c Stevens b Eakin ..0
Leg bye 1, wides 4..5
American cricketers – Second Innings
Johnson lbw Sadler..0
Hunt c Hallis b Sadler..5
Knox b Sadler..0
Jones Wister no out ..5
Newhall b Wilby..0
Kephardt b Wilby..14
Jackson c Sadler b Wilby..5
T. Davis c Wilby b Sadler..5
E Davis Jr. run out..4
J Davis b Sadler..2
Creeley not out..0
Eakin lbw Wilby..1
August 30, 1860: USA vs Canada at St. Lawrence Hall, Montreal
USA won convincingly in the match between USA and Canada which ended on August 30. The margin was 1 innings and 45 runs. From 1858 to 1860, the USA won successively.
Harry Wright – USA Pro
While USA was represented by their best eleven with handpicked men from 100 clubs around Philadelphia including Barclay (wicket-keeper) Walter Newhall, J Davis, Vernou and Stevens all good batsmen. Then there were the professionals on the American team including Brett and Harry Wright.
Canadians on the other hand were missing their best players from outside Montreal with the exception of Patterson (Toronto) and Wise (Canada West).
Canada batted first and was sent out for 42. In reply, USA scored 165 giving it a mammoth 123 run lead. In the second innings, Canada scored 78 with Hardinge scoring 21.
Back in the clubhouse, the Canadian captain Mr. Daly presented the ball as a trophy to the Americans and said that they played in the most cricketer-like manner. The Americans were then invited to the Grand Regatta to honor the Prince of Wales visit.
It was expected that the Prince of Wales would visit the ground and a large number of spectators showed up in anticipation of such a visit. Among the spectators were a large number of ladies and a stage was erected for the Prince, the Duke of Newcastle and the Governor. A slight indisposition prevented this visit.
After the match the boys went to Lake Champlain where they enjoyed a delightful trip. Then they headed back to the St. Lawrence Hall, which has always been the resort of the cricketers from the US and other parts of Canada.
Canada - First innings
Fourdrinier c Stevens b Wright..4
Wise b Wright..0
Daly c Newhall b Wright..3
Chapman lbw Brett .. 0
Hester b Wright..6
Hardinge b Brett..4
Patteson b Wright..0
Leigh not out..17
Napier c Brett b Wright..1
Fisher b Wright..0
Morgan b Brett..3
Leg byes 1, Wides 3..4
USA - First innings
Waller c Harginge b Hester..6
H Wright c Fisher b Hester..21
Vernou c Napier b Hardinge..3
Gibbes c Morgan b Hardinge..37
Barclay run out..7
Newhall c Morgan b Fisher..2
Brett not out..59
Walker c Hardinge b Hester..18
Stevens c Wise b Hester..0
Davis c Daly b Hardinge..2
Burnett b Hester..4
Byes 1, leg byes 1 wides 4..6
Canada - Second innings
Fourdrinier run out..0
Wise c Newhall b Wright..5
Daly b Barclay..4
Chapman b Barclay..9
Hester b Barclay..11
Hardinge c Brett b Gibbes..21
Patteson c Stevens b Gibbes..9
Leigh b Wright..5
Napier b Barclay..1
Morgan not out..9
Leg byes 3 wides 2..5
1861: San Francisco Cricket Club and Harvard University Cricket Club were founded this year. San Francisco Cricket Club was renamed St. George’s in 1868.
School cricket was catching on. Authorities supported cricket at private secondary schools such as Haverford School (then part of Haverford College), John Quincy Adams Grammar School (Philadelphia), Protestant Episcopal Academy (Philadelphia), Racine College (Wisconsin), Farmer’s High School of Bellafonte (predecessor of Penn State), Central High School (Philadelphia), St. Paul’s School (Concord, New Hampshire), and Lawrenceville School (near Trenton) where cricket continues in 2007 under the guidance of former English teacher Mr. Maxwell. This makes it the longest running high-school cricket program on the American continent.
Protestant Episcopal in Philadelphia - The first school to play inter-school cricket
Mr Faire’s school played the Protestant Episcopal Academy in 1861 in what might be the first inter-school cricket event. (In 1887 the school helped to form the first "school-boy" sports league in the United States.)
June 1862: July 30, 1862: Eleven English vs Sixteen Americans
The first eleven of the New York Club and the sixteen Americans drawn from various cricket and baseball clubs played a match at the New York Club Ground in Hoboken. Sadler, Hammond and groundkeeper Crossley were ‘professionals’ playing for the New York Club. Hudson, Higham, Wilby, Marsh, Sharp, Balliere, Scudder, and Steward, all were highly rated players on the New York Club side.
The Americans insisted that Harry Wright of the St. George’s Club who had lived in America since he was 12 months old be treated as an American and their wish was granted. But three other players Dr. Andrews, Creighton and Brainard, all fine bowlers, were not available to the Sixteen Americans which ended up playing 13 main players with 3 substitute fielders.
The Americans made 49 runs in their first innings but vastly improved their performance in the second innings, scoring 67 for the loss of 5 wickets. George Wright scored a whopping 6 which turned into a 7 thanks to an overthrow owing to the rules of the game prevailing in those days.
Harry Wright scored 34 and he was not out. His score included 3 hits to the boundary. The Englishmen scored 132 which included a splendid 38 by Sadler and a good display of cricket by Hudson who made 24. Harry Wright got six wickets and although the younger George bowled well, he ended with just three wickets. New York Times wrote that for matches such as these to be interesting, the teams should be more evenly balanced with professionals either left out or allowed to represent both teams.
Hall b Balliere..8
J Sudam b. Marsh..0
R. Suydam run out..3
H.Wright b. Marsh..3
Robinson run out..13
G. Wright run out..0
Van Buren b.Balliere..0
Reed b. Balliere…1
Moore b. Balliere..0
Hamer st. Higham b. Balliere…0
Henry b. Balliuere..0
Hudson not out…0
Vanderlip b. Marsh..0
D. Andrews absent..
A Brainard absent
Byes 8, Wides 13…21
Sharp c H. Wright b G. Wright…3
Hudson b H. Wright..24
Higham c and b G. Wright 0
Hammond b H Wright 9
Sadler lbw b J Suydam..38
Scudder st. Moore b. G. Wright…4
Wilby c Hamer b J Suydam..5
Steward c Robinson b H Wright..15
Marsh b H. Wright..8
Crossley c Hudson b H. Wright..7
Byes. 7, Leg Byes 4, Wides 5…16
September 11, 1862: USA vs Canada - The great cricket match
The grand cricket match between a selected eleven of the USA and an Eleven comprising mostly of the Military of Canada commenced for the tenth time on Sept 10th at the Hoboken ground, home of the St. George’s Club. At the end of the first day, Canadians were favored to win.
Canada was represented by officers of the British Army, including Captains Pemberton, Phillips, Berestord, Slade and Bloomfield and Lieutenants, Cholley, Elphinstone, Hamilton, Patten, and Lord Clinton. The US Eleven consisted of Gibbes, Walker, Burnett, Waller, Creighton and Harry Wright of the St. George Club, Sharp, Hudson, Sadler and Hammond of the New York Club, and Stevens of the Philadelphia Club.
A fine wicket had been pitched and tents were created for fairer sex. (a good number were present), and the match saw the largest assemblage ever seen at the ground. Capt Philips and Lieut Patten put down 38 runs before three wickets fell rapidly. Capt Pemberton then steadied the innings with the help of Lieut Elphinstone, and Capt Slade. “The bowling of Gibbes and Wright of St. George was well on the wicket and of good length.”
When the last wicket fell at 1:40PM, Canadians had put on a score of 104. By ‘dinner’ break at 2PM, USA had already lost two wickets (those of Waller and Wright). Opener Sharp and Hudson were at bat. After ‘dinner’, the two returned to take the score 54.
After this the USA innings collapsed. In the Canadian second innings Capt Slade scored 14 and Patten 20 when the stumps were drawn.
Canada First Innings
Capt. Phillips b. H wright…23
Mr. Patten c H. Wright b. Gibbes..15
Mr. Cholmsley b H.Wright..0
Mr. Elphinstone b. H. Wright ..12
Mr. Hamilton b Gibbes..0
Capt. Pemberton c H. Wright b Gibbes..27
Capt. Berestord c. Waller b. H.Wright..5
Mr. Bent c. Creighton b. Gibbes..6
Capt. Slade b Gibbes..10
Capt. Bloomfield c H. Wright, bGibbes..0
Lord. E Clinton not out..0
Byes 5, leg byes 1..6
USA First Innings
Sharp c Bloomfield b Cholmsley..20
Waller c Patten b. Hamilton..0
H. Wright run out..19
Gibbes c Bloomfield b Cholmsley..1
Sadler c Slade b Hamilton..0
Creighton b Hamilton..4
Walker b Hamilton..5
G. Wright b Cholmsley..4
Stevens not out..1
Burnett b Hamilton..2
Byes 8, leg byes 2, no balls 3..13
March 16, 1863 Canada - Daily Colonist
Victoria’s Daily Colonist newspaper carried this description of baseball: “The first match of the baseball season:
The first match of the season of this game, was played in Beacon Hill Saturday last, chiefly by Canadians. It is essentially an American game, but was introduced into Canada and has been practiced there in various parts of the country for many years. It is somewhat allied in nature to cricket, with the exception that there are no wickets used.
Cricket match in Vancouver
Among those practicing on Saturday, there were very few adepts, and consequently not so much interest excited amongst the spectators as would otherwise have been the case. To those engaged in the game there is always sufficient interest kept up to keep them vigilant to get an opponent out. No doubt there will be many trials at this new sport here on future occasions.”
July 21, 1863: Birth of Charles Aubrey Smith
“It is foggy back there, you know,” is reported to have said Aubrey Smith, about his early years in entertainment. 78 years young, 6 ft 2 inch tall, and one of the ranking cricketers in Southern California even at that age, when he was interviewed by Theodore Strauss for an article he was writing. He appeared to remember his cricketing days with Sussex more than his early acting career.
Charles Aubrey Smith
Some years earlier, he was in Lord’s Pavilion, this was after he had won acclaim as an actor. One Lord’s member wondered aloud, “seen this chap somewhere.” His friend replied, oblivious of Smith’s world-wide fame as an actor, “name is Smith, played for Sussex in his youth.” It is not surprising that the high-brow Lord’s members did not know him as an actor.
Throughout his life, Smith lived a double existence. And there is never any doubt which life he loved.
When Smith, at 67 moved to America, he did not like what he saw. English expats were using broken wickets and playing on poor turf fields (sounds very much like cricket in the 21st century). So he took matters into his own hands.
He imported equipment and turf, organized twelve teams, and together with Boris Karloff of Frankenstein fame, offered to teach the game to UCLA’s students.
He was a cricket progressive and considered the MCC types as very unenlightened conservatives. Way before 1941, he took a stance on shortening the game from the 3 day format then in existence for county games. “In 1938, I saw a match between England and Australia, it was so drawn out.”
C Aubrey Smith was a cricketer inside and out. Born in 1863, he already acquired the nick name “round the corner Smith” for his peculiar style of play.
After two years at Cambridge, where he gained a reputation as a cricketer, he dropped out and began coaching aspirants to Sandhurst and Woolwich in higher mathematics. Following that, he joined a theater company and toured Britain. This took him away from cricket, but not for long. He organized a cricket team within the cast which played everywhere the group performed. Benson, a head of a rival troupe presenting a repertory of Shakespeare once called from London asking for a cast replacement, “please send me a slow bowler to play Cassius.” Cricket and acting co-existed easily.
Soon, he was cast by Pinero to appear with John Hare in London in “The notorious Mrs. Ebbsmith.”
By 1896, he came to USA to act in “The Prisoner of Zenda.” Thereafter, he returned to London and appeared in a succession of plays including “The light that failed.” In 1905, this play came to USA and he came along.
In 1910, he toured USA for “The woman’s way.” He acted in some 120 plays in the intermittent period. He toured USA with Forbes Robertson with “Hamlet” and in 1926 with Ethel Barrymore in “The constant wife.”
In 1915, he acted in four movies for Frohman Enterprises shot in New York shot in a church on tenth avenue. He went to Hollywood with some misgivings in 1930 to act in “The bachelor father.” By 1941, he had acted in 80 films and appeared on Broadway too.
All between cricket matches. Living in the Hollywood hillside, he erected a weathervane of three stumps, a bat and a ball on the rooftop. He also created a cricket pitch smooth as a billiards table at the bottom of the hill.
August 6, 1864: Baseball pros defeat English Club cricketers (at cricket!) in London
A cricket contest between the visiting American players from the Red Stockings and Athletics (visiting baseball teams with more than a handful professional cricketers in their ranks) and the Englishmen players of the Prince’s Club was held at Prince’s in London. Seven of the Englishmen did not score and the side folded for just 21 runs.
Following this innings, the Red Stockings and Athletics faced off in a baseball game. Upward of 4000 spectators attended the game including some nobility. The Red Stockings of Boston won without a problem.
The cricket game resumed the next day and the Americans went to bat. They scored 110 (Harry Wright 22, McGeary 18) and bowled out the Prince’s Club for 39 in their second innings.
Most of the best players of Prince’s Club were out of town and one of the American Red Stockings team members ended up fielding for the Prince’s Club to make up the number when it was Americans’ turn to bat. A large number of spectators gathered to witness the match.
The premature end to the cricket game meant that there was enough time to play another baseball game. It was a scratch game and to make things interesting, two members of The Athletics played for Red Stockings and vice versa. The Athletics won by a score of 15 to 8.
August 14, 1864: Cricket game between Surrey and Red Stockings
Another cricket game between the eleven of Surrey and the eighteen of American baseball players from Red Stockings and Athletics commenced at the Kensington Oval on August 13. The Americans batted first and scored 100 runs.
As was the prevailing norm, the Americans played a baseball match and Red Stockings beat The Athletics yet again. The Bostonians won 14 to 6.
When the cricket resumed, the Englishmen came to bat and at end of day had scored nine runs with two wickets down when it started pouring. The match was therefore drawn.
1864: Over arm bowling legalized forever changing the nature of the game. Cricket, already reeling from Civil War, was impacted by fundamental changes to the game in England. It would be a few years before Americans adjusted to this new style of delivery.
1864: Cricket experienced a revival at the University of Pennsylvania in the 1860s, and then, with only a few short breaks, would continue as an organized sport until 1924.
After the Civil War, just as it was before the War, cricket was very popular, as were the emerging campus sports of baseball, crew, football and track and field. Class teams were competing with each other at cricket and in 1864, the Penn cricket team played its first intercollegiate cricket match. This match was against Haverford College and was played at Haverford College. Penn was defeated by a 29 run margin.
Horace Magee scored twenty of Penn’s sixty runs.
Team members for Penn included Charles Eldridge Morgan (1844-1917), captain; William Samuel Armstrong, William Ashbridge, Frederick Williamson Beasley Jr., Cadwalader Evans, Isaac Minis Hays, Francis J. Collins Headman,
John White Hoffman, Horace Magee, Thomas Mitchell,
John Buck Morgan, Walter George Oakman,
Henry Reed, John Clark Sims, Newcomb Butler Thompson.
Courtesy: UPenn Archives
May 8, 1865: Exhibition Match: The St. George Club at the Central Park
When the St. George Club lost their grounds at Hoboken during the Spring of 1865, they made immediate application to the Central Park Commissioners for the user of the Park cricket ground but it was not until Wednesday that they were permitted use of the ground, that too on an experimental basis so that the Park Commissioners could assess the injury to the turf through the game of cricket.
Central Park ca 1865
On the appointed day, the bachelors of the St. George Club played a single innings match against the benedicts in front of an invited audience leading to the defeat of the bachelors.
They then proceeded to the Central Park Hotel where the players, their guests including the Park commissioners sat down for dinner.
The Park commissioners have not yet decided on the use of the ground for cricket. Their worry appears that if they grant the Park ground to the English cricketers, they may be asked to offer a ball ground to their baseball counterparts.
The New York Club’s opening game was played at the Bedford Cricket Grounds in Brooklyn, wickets being pitched at 11AM. NY Times helpfully pointed out that the Fulton Avenue and East New York cars go directly to the grounds.
June 21, 1865: The Grand Match in Philadelphia – New York vs Philadelphia
First day’s play
The match between the Eleven of NY consisting of players from the St. George, New York, Newark and Long Island clubs and Eleven of Philly consisting of players from the Young America Club of Germantown, the Philadelphia Club commenced on the Camden Cricket Ground in Philadelphia on June 19.
The match was watched by the “most numerous assemblages” seen for a cricket match in a number of years and the match itself was a benefit for a “worthy professional” Tom Senior. People came from across the country, the attendance of visiting cricketers and fans from other cities reminded us of a match with the England Eleven.
List of players included Gibbes, Kendall, Richardson and Harry Wright from St. George, Hudson, Sharp, Byron and Crossley from the New York, and Hallis and Bullis from Newark. Pratt represented Long Island.
The Philadelphia side included Harry, George and Dan Newhall, Davis and Johns of the Young America Club, and Barclay, Hunt, Stevens, Howe, George Wright and Tom Senior of the Philadelphia club. These elevens may not have been the strongest but were a good representation of the areas that they represented.
The weather was just the thing for cricket and the ground was in splendid condition, “the handsomest we ever saw pitched.”
Every spot for viewing the contest was occupied , the tent set apart for the fairer sec being filled with a “beauteous delegation of the belles of the Quaker City.”
At 11:50, New York won the toss. Sharp and Hudson opened to the bowling of Johns and Barclay. Johns was very “swift and straight” while the latter was medium paced of fine length.
Although Sharp opened play very prettily making several fine hits, superb fielding prevented them from yielding more than singles. Sharp made 8 when his wicket fell on 24. George Wright bowled a fine spell and got three wickets within the space of 2 runs. Gibbs just made it to take the bat and Pratt was not on hand!
New York ended their innings with 38.
After a “dinner” break and some interruptions to get pictures taken, Philadelphia opened with the brothers George and Harry Newhall.
The Newhalls took the score to 47 despite having to face the duo of Harry Wright and Gibbes of the St. George Club. That is when Harry got his namesake’s leg stump when the Philadelphian was for 14. The second wicket did not fall until the score read 83 with George Newhall aiming for 50 which his brother had made in the previous match. He made 49 before giving a catch to Gibbes off Kendall’s first ball. The remaining batsmen too gave a sound thrashing to the NY bowlers who did not get any assistance form the pitch as the temperatures hit the 90s. George Wright carried his bat making 47 including one boundary. The total read 166
Second Day’s Play
On Tuesday morning, NY went in at 11:30 to obtain 129 runs to save a defeat. They did well to score some 101 runs. The final result was one of the most ‘creditable and satisfactory triumphs ever achieved by Philadelphia.”
New York first innings:
Sharp b. Barclay….11
Hudson c and b Johns…8
H. Wright b Johns…0
Byron c Johns b Barclay…0
Crossley b. G. Wright…0
Bullis run out…12
Richardson b G. Wright…0
Hallis b G. Wright…1
Kendall b Barclay…0
Gibbes not out…0
Leg byes 2; Wides 4. Extras: 6
Philadelphia First innings:
G. Newhall c. Gibbes b. Kendall…49
H. Newhall b. H. Wright…14
Barclay b. Crossley…10
Tom Senior c. Sharp b. Crossley…9
G. Wright not out…47
Hunt st. H Wright b Crossley…2
Stevens b H Wright…4
Howe c. Bullis b. Kendall…11
Davis b. Gibbes…0
D. Newhall c. H. Wright b Gibbes…2
Byes 3; Wides 13, Extras 16
New York Second Innings
Sharp b Bullis…2
Bullis b. and c. G. Wright…38
H. Wright b G. Wright…2
Gibbes hit wicket…2
Hudson b. Wright…14
Byron c. Senior b. Hunt…2
Crossley not out…13
Richardson b. Wright…2
Hallis b. Wright…9
Kendall c and b. Wright…6
Umpires- White and Crossley
Scorers- Evans and Richardson
1865: Lord’s freehold is up for sale again. William Nicholson, hailing from a famous gin family, helps out and contributes to the fundraising effort for GBP 18,000.
September 6, 1865: Cricket in Central Park: First match ever played on the North Meadow
When Central Park was first created, the commissioners set aside a large swathe of land for cricket and other ball games. The North Meadow has largely been used for lawn tennis.
A cricket club – Riverside- has recently been formed by uptown residents. They were permitted by the Park Commissioners to play on the North Meadow.
The weather was not alt all favorable when the Essex Club of Belleville, NJ were escorted on the grounds by the Riversides. The field is a fine one and the surrounding trees give spectators and players enough space to lounge and watch the progress of the game. The rain stopped any possibility of a full match and the second innings was not played. But the Essex Club had already taken a lead of 19 runs in their reply to the Riverside total of 31. That was enough to win them the match. Here is the scorecard of the first ever non-exhibition match played at Central Park.
H. Manley c. Mace. B Smith…7
RK Savage c Beresford b Smth..2
J Sheridan b Beggs..2
A drury b Smith..13
CC Savage b Smith..0
FJ Savage not out..2
J Nordick b Smith..0
GE Dye c Beggs b Smith..0
WP Young C Wayrick b Smith..0
J Mulligan b Beggs..0
C Woodman b Beggs—0
Byes. 1; Leg byes. 1; Wides. 3: ..5
P Beggs c Sheridan b Manley..0
C Beresford c Drury b F Savage..8
J Bahr c Drury b Sheridan..18
J Dunn not out..14
EG Mace c Mulligan b Manley..0
F Ashworth bManley..0
C Smith b Manley..0
RG Minon not out 0
H Ashworth did not bat..
G Sandford did not bat..
A Wayrich did not bat..
Byes 3, leg byes 1..4
Umpires – Mackin and G Foghill.
1865: Merion Cricket Club founded in Philadelphia. This was also the year in which the Germantown Cricket Club moved from property owned by William Wister to Nicetown where it acquired a nice ground equipped with a pavilion and grandstand. The new ground was to be a venue for most international matches held in Philadelphia for over 2 decades.
1866: When Penn resumed playing intercollegiate matches with Haverford College in 1866; their rivalry continued until 1869. That year, the Haverford faculty banned cricket away from their college grounds.
Penn Cricketers in the late 1800s
During the early 1870s the Penn cricket team led a precarious existence. Class matches were sometimes held, and occasionally a Penn eleven played a team from a local cricket club. The yearbooks list Penn cricket teams from 1865 through 1872, but no teams for 1873, 1874 and 1875, the years right after Penn's move from Ninth Street to its new West Philadelphia campus.
1866: Princeton Cricket Club and California Cricket Club founded.
1867: By the time Canada became a nation in 1867, the game was so popular it was declared the national sport of the fledgling country by the first Prime Minister, Sir John A. Macdonald and his colleagues, according to Canadian cricket historian Donald King in the columns of ‘The Canadian Cricketer’ in April 1973. However, with the advancement of baseball in the United States following the Civil War (1861-65), cricket began to decline, despite tours by Australian and English teams.
September 13, 1868: The Second advent of the Englishmen
Times Reporter laments about the condition of cricket
In September 1859, when an Eleven of the best English players visited Canada and the United States on a professional tour, the Americans got whitewashed. Even though, the tour was one-sided and matches finished prematurely, the organizers and the touring Englishmen earned a nice package.
On the 2nd of September, 1868, the second party of English cricketers left Liverpool, England to play a series of games in New York, Canada, Boston and Philadelphia.
This eleven included Edgar Wilshire(Edgar Willsher according to USA historians) (Captain and wicketkeeper); Tarrant, Shaw, James Lillywhite, Griffths, Humphrey, and Jupp (all bowlers); and batsmen Smith, Biddulph, Pooley, Charlwood, and Rowbotham. The Englishmen came from the teams of Kent, Cambridge, Sussex, Surrey, Nottingham and Yorkshire.
When they arrived on September 13, the Englishmen were not expected to have an easy time like their predecessors but they were expected to sweep the series. NY Times noted that in 1868, cricket had fallen somewhat in popularity in New York. “The sport of cricket had a popularity (then) that it does not enjoy now by any means. Now, the country possesses a ball game that is quickly played and yields exciting and lively contests.”
New York times wrote that whereas in 1858, there were between one and two thousand even for St. George Club vs New York Club games and between four and five thousand when USA played Canada, “in 1868, we see between five and six thousand spectators at the leading baseball matches paying 50 cents admission to witness the match. Whereas the highest class cricket does not attract a hundred people even without an admission fee.”
“That a different and more favorable condition of things for the interest of cricket would have existed had our resident English cricketers observed a less exclusive and more liberal policy of action in the government of their clubs, we have not the least doubt; and had they taken the pains to Americanize cricket, to the extent of playing their matches in strict accordance with the rules of cricket, rather than by English custom, with its occupancy of days for a match, we have not the least doubt that cricket would have gained much of the popularity its innate attractions make it deserving of.”
The reporter was especially annoyed by the tedious delays incident to the game, and advocated changes to the game as was played in and around Philadelphia.
Although, on paper, the outcome of the 1868 English tour was just as NY Times had predicted and the English eleven easily won all the matches they played on the American continent, the actual proceedings were more exciting. Also, the reporter would have been surprised to see the crowds at the matches. In Philadelphia alone, some 5000 spectators turned up on each day of the two matches played there.
The Englishmen played and lost the three baseball matches they played against the Americans versus the Unions in New York, Athletics of Philadelphia and the Harvard combined team in Boston.
New to the game, they were offered a handicap. But the Englishmen politely declined the odds of extra men or outs. Of course, the media was still unkind to the touring side. Writing about the baseball games, Wilkes commented that the “Englishmen fell easier victims to the Unions than would the Unions have fallen to them” at cricket. This was viewed as proof of the superiority of baseball over cricket. This is an unfair assessment. Neither were the Americans weak at cricket (as Charles Newhall had shown in Philadelphia), nor was the English side weak at baseball (having never played that game).
There were many factors that caused this type of an outcome. Aside from the level of cricket or baseball that the two teams played, there were the actual changes to the way the two games were played. In England, over-arm bowling was legalized in 1864 and American batsmen were inexperienced when facing this type of bowling. Likewise, 1868 was the year when baseball pitching dropped the run-up and adopted the stand – and – pitch system.
Reading the match reports for this English tour, one can see that the media continued to promote baseball although spectator interest was still strong for cricket. By mid-1870s, all the media interest and organizational attention to baseball ensured that not only was baseball a crowd-puller, it was able to attract and retain the very best of American ball-game talent.
September 28, 1868: All England Eleven in New York, Canada and Boston
After easily defeating St. George Cricket Club in New York, the Englishmen left for Canada. The Englishmen enjoyed the stopover at Niagara Falls on their way to Montreal but the cricket was not so memorable. They bowled out the All Canada team for a paltry 28 runs.
The English cricketers arrived from Montreal into Massachusetts on September 26th. From the depot, they were conveyed to the Bromfield House in carriages. They saw a baseball match by the Harvard students in the afternoon. On Sunday morning, they attended the St. Paul’s Church and in the afternoon the performance on the great organ.
When the match commenced on September 28th, a heavy rain had made the turf soft and the outfield was damp and Willsher thought it unfit for cricket. But a large attendance of spectators had already gathered to witness the match between the Englishmen and United States Twenty Two, selected from the Boston and other clubs in Massachusetts, the St. George’s and New York Clubs, and the Young America and other Philadelphia Clubs. This was the strongest twenty two ever brought together up to that time.
The twenty two won the toss and put the Eleven to the wickets against Norley and Newhall. Bowling and fielding were both very good. Humphrey and Jupp were very cautious with the bat. Humphrey fell to Newhall in the seventh over when he was caught by Norley. The score read just three runs. When the score read 34 for 4, “betting” was decidedly in favor of the Twenty Two Americans.
The total when time was called was 80 runs and the match was looking very much in favor of the English.
October 3, 1868: International Cricket match at Philadelphia – October 3-6.
The international cricket match between the All England eleven and the American Twenty Two, of Philadelphia was played at Nicetown near Philadelphia.
The Americans won the toss and sent the English team to field. Overnight rain necessitated a delayed start and it was 2 PM on October 3rd when the first man appeared at the bat. The game continued with several interruptions by the rain until 5 PM when stumps were drawn for the day. By that time, Americans lost thirteen wickets for 55 runs. The best stand made was by Cadwalder and Morgan. The former by a safe and steady play secured fifteen and the latter nine.
On Monday morning, the Americans battled hard to put on a total of 88 in their first innings despite a fiery spell by Freeman who was very effective. Charles Newhall produced a magical bowling spell for the Americans and tied the Englishmen in knots with his Yorkers. His 5 for 34 severely damaged the Englishmen’s confidence and had Willsher not played a captain’s knock, they would have ended with a deficit in the first innings. In the event, they scored 92, a mere 4 run lead.
English bowlers Freeman and Humphrey each bowled a furious spell in the second innings and reduced the Americans to just 35. Freeman taking 14 wickets for 15 runs. Charles Newhall took 5 for 21 and once again the Englishmen struggled barely making their target with 2 wickets to spare.
The international cricket match resumed with beautiful weather and spectator interest was strong. Trains were running full.
After scoring 117 in their first innings, the Englishmen bowled the Americans out for 47 runs leaving the English 70 runs ahead. In the second innings, the Englishmen scored just 64 after yet another remarkable bowling effort by Charles Newhall who took 6 for 30. The Americans scored 62 to lose the match by 72 runs.
Charles Newhall who had taken 8 for 57 in the first innings was the top bowler for the Americans, that too against a first-rate batting side!
Sixth Game at Hoboken: Last (sixth) game was played in Hoboken between 13th and 16th October where the Englishmen won by an innings and 8 runs.
Picture and archive credits: Not a word on USA cricket can be written without acknowledging Tom Melville, P David Sentance, Amar Singh, and Deb Das. We are grateful to them for their terrific books and/or articles which provide in-depth and insightful commentary. What we have done here is merely constructed a timeline. Also fascinating are the rich histories available via UPenn and Haverford + Bryn Mawr Archives. Canadian cricket pictures were obtained from the provincial government archives.
Most of all, we relied on NY Times archives as well as our own collection of books and magazines that we were fortunate to obtain when the KA Auty Library was auctioned off by the Ridley College in Ontario.
We depended on New England colleges for history of college cricket, especially Yale, Dartmouth, and Harvard archives. Of course, Wikipedia is among the most extensive sources these days. Pictures are presumed to be out of copyright owing to their antiquity. Copyright for this compilation contained here belongs to dreamcricket.com and reprinting is permitted with proper acknowledgement and link back.