Rules and regulations

Rules and Regulations1760-1771: During the period of Hambledon’s primacy, several rule changes occurred that turned the sport into its modern recognisable form.

Bowling: Delivery of the ball changed from a fast, underhand bowl all along the ground, to an overarm bowl where the ball pitched up before the batsman. This was finally ratified in 1864.

Wicket: The third (middle stump) was introduced in 1775. Before this if the ball passed through the two stumps the batsman was deemed not out.

Bats: The original bats had been of crooked or ‘hockey-stick’ design but evolved into a flat-faced type to cope with the new bowling style. In 1776 the width of the bat was defined as 4¼ inches. But noted cricketer ‘Shock’ White emerged onto the pitch one September day with a bat the full width of the wicket.

This unsporting behaviour led the Hambledon Club to minute: ‘In view of the performance of one White of Ryegate on September 23rd that four and quarter inches shall be the breadth forthwith.’ The ruling was accepted by most other clubs elsewhere and recognised in the
Code of 1774.

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