A game known to have been played near Guildford in about 1550
Cricket was probably the earliest locally organised sport during the 19th century. However, the game may have been played in the 18th century at Marble Hill House. Lady Suffolk wrote, from Stowe, in 1735 to her new husband “I have learnt all the theory of cricket, and have some thoughts of practising this afternoon”. Perhaps she brought her new skills to Twickenham.
Laetitia Hawkins recalled games at Gifford Lodge on Twickenham Green, in the 1760s. A painting of about 1790 in the Pavilion at Lords shows a match on Molesey Hurst, opposite Hampton village. Molesey Hurst was one of the most important names in the history of early cricket: a match is recorded in 1726. This takes the shine off Hambledon’s claim to be “the cradle of the game”, its club founded in about 1750
Hampton’s first cricket club, the Clarence, was founded under the active patronage of the Duke in 1828, its pitch on the Hurst. The Twickenham Cricket Club was formed in 1833, playing early matches in a field off the Hampton Road before moving to Twickenham Green. The field, known as Withers’ Meadow, behind the Carpenters Almshouses, was named after William Withers, a butcher and secretary of the Club. Probably the most distinguished visiting player at Twickenham was W G Grace who played in charity matches on The Green
There was a school cricket ground in a field between Richmond Road and Amyand House. This ground belonged to Mr Gittins’ private school at Bath House in London Road and is shown on a map of the late 1840s, drawn by the pupils.
Annual fêtes in support of the Volunteers in the 1860s at Whitton Park included cricket matches. In 1878 the visiting Australian XI played a two day cricket match against an Orleans XI at Orleans House.
A number of clubs obtained permission to establish grounds in Bushy Park. These included Teddington Cricket Club and Hampton Wick Cricket Club from 1863, and Hampton Hill Cricket Club in 1890.
In 1871, looking for an alternative sport, Teddington formed the oldest hockey club in the world.
Teddington Cricket Club played for many years on a ground which was taken by the railway in the 1860s. The club moved to Bushy Park in the 1863. Teddington Town Cricket Club was formed in 1891 from members of the choir of St Peter’s and St Paul’s Church. The club was largely made up of the tradesmen of the town.
It is believed that Hampton Hill Cricket Club was established in 1855. However, its early history is intertwined with a number of other clubs, so that an exact date cannot be established. Sadly, in 2010 its pavilion in Bushy Park was destroyed by arson and valuable club history and mementoes were lost