The Rules of Cricket – 1727

What follows is a very early set of cricket rules, as agreed in 1727:

The Articles of Agreement by and between His Grace the Duke of Richmond and Mr Brodrick (for two cricket matches) concluded the 11th of July 1727.

Imprimis. ‘Tis by the aforesaid Parties agreed that the first Match shall be played some day or this instant July in the county of Surrey; the Place to be named by Mr Brodrick; the second match to be played in August next and in the County of Sussex, the Place to be named by the Duke of Richmond.

2nd. That the wickets shall be pitched in a fair and even place, at 23 yards from each other.

3rd. A ball caught, cloathed or not cloathed the Striker is out.

4th. When a Ball is caught out, the Stroke counts nothing.

5th. Catching out behind the Wicket allowed.

6th. That ’tis lawful for the Duke of Richmond to choose the Gamesters, who have played in either of his Grace’s two last matches with Sir William Gage; and that ’tis lawful for Mr Brodrick to choose the Gamesters within three miles of Pepperharowe, provided they actually lived there last Lady day.

7th. That 12 Gamesters shall play on each side.

8th. That the Duke of Richmond and Mr Brodrick shall determine the Ball or Balls to be played with.

9th. If any of the Gamesters shall be taken lame or sick after the match is begun, their places may be supplied by any One chose comformably to the Sixth Article, or in Case that not be done, the other side shall be obliged to leave out one of their Gamesters, whomsoever they please.

10th. That the that each Match shall be for twelve guineas of each Side; between the Duke and Mr Brodrick.

11th. That there shall be one Umpire of each Side; and that if any of the Gamesters shall speak or give their opinion, on any point of the Game, they are to be turned out and voided in the Match. This not to extend to the Duke of Richmond and Mr Brodrick.

12th. If any Doubt or Dispute arises on any of the aforementioned articles, or whatever else is not settled therein, it shall be determined by the Duke of Richmond and Mr Brodrick on their Honours; by whom the Umpires are likewise to be determined on any Difference between them.

13th. The Duke of Richmond’s Umpire shall pitch the Wickets when they play in Sussex; and Mr Brodrick’s when they play in Surrey; and Each of Them shall be obliged to conform himself strictly to the Agreements strictly contained in the said Article.

14th. The Batt Men for every One they count are to touch the Umpires Stick.

15th. That it shall not be lawful to fling down the wickets, and that no Player shall be deemed out by any wicket put down, unless with the Ball in Hand.

16th. That both the Matches shall be played upon, and determined by these Articles.

The Duke signed first in a bold, impeccable hand. Mr Brodrick’s signature was smaller and it would not have occasioned much surprise had he been compelled to play second fiddle on the field of play, too.