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Cricket on Horseback: a short-lived sport

Cricket on horseback was a variation of traditional cricket that was only known to be played once. We don't know any more about this game, we can only guess what it might have looked like and some of the rules.

what cricket on horseback may have looked like (AI generated image)What cricket on horseback may have looked like (AI generated image)

The game may have resembled polo, which was also played at that time. A later reference to a game of equestrian cricket is believed to refer to the sport of polo. Did the cricketers on horseback use mallets like in polo, or long cricket bats? However they played, it is assumed that, like in modern cricket, the basic objective was to score runs by hitting the ball and running between wickets.

The following is from the advertisement columns of the KENTISH GAZETTE for April 29, 1794 :-

"Cricketing on Horseback - A very singular game of cricket will be played on Tuesday, May 6 in Linsted Park, between the gentlemen of the Hill and the gentlemen of the Dale, for one guinea a man. The whole to be performed on horseback. To begin at 9 o'clock, and the game to be played out. A good ordinary on the ground by John Hogben."

Image by James McNeill Whistler - bucking horse, NGA, Washington DCImage by James McNeill Whistler - bucking horse, NGA, Washington DC

Another reference to cricket on horseback was in Lilywhite's Score Sheets. It is stated that, in or about 1800, Sir Horace Mann caused a cricket match to be played on ponies at Harrietsham.

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