|1700 – the start of our knowledge
|John Nyren writing in 1833 about discussions with a Mr Ward who himself had a document which contained the recollections of an old cricketer who was playing around the turn of the Eighteenth Century.
|Bowling suggested to be as in lawn bowls – all along the ground. I suggest, in reality it was skimmed.
|Ward says the wicket was one foot high and two feet wide; Nyren disbelieves this and so do I. An informed guess (from illustrations) would be that one foot high might be accurate but 6 inches was more probably the width.
|Nyren describes the bat as that time as being like a dinner knife, curved at the back and sweeping on the form of a volute (i.e. a curved end). It would seem that we are talking about the hockey stick shaped bat of which at least three examples survive.
|c1750 – first printed code of laws
|Code of laws printed in 1755 which is believed to relate back to 1744 and illustrations generally.
|No evidence of development away from the ititial model.
|Now defined as twenty two inches high and six inches wide. It should be noted, this is rarely reflected in illustrations.
|It seems like the bat from around 1740, the bat had developed into a shoulderless implement with a proper face, albeit with curved edges.
|c1770 – pitched underarm delivery emerges with implications for batting
|1774 code of Laws, John Nyren, Pycroft, illustrations, Fredrick Gale
|Lumpy Stevens of Surrey is generally thought to have been the player who did most to introduce the pitched delivery, his career was 1756-1789. It was very effective and so was copied widely – David Harris of Hambledon was to develop it further.
|The modern bat shape had come in by now to combat the pitched delivery. John Small of Hambledon (career c1760-c1780) was the first to master batting with it and even made them for a living.
|1771 – large bat incident
|Oversize bat incident (at Laleham Burway between Hambledon and Chertsey) gives rise to maximum width of 4.5 inches, included in 1774 Laws
|1776 – third stump begins to feature
|Nyren, also press report in 1776
|Ball passing through wickets three times in an innings (at Artillery Ground, between five of the Hambledon Club and five of All England) gives rise to introduction of the third stump.
|1798 – new code of laws
|Still underarm bowling, pitching (not rolled) perhaps with topspin to induce bounce. Lobs (high, slow full pitchers) may or may not have been introduced but were not far away.
|Wicket extended to 24 inches high and 7 inches wide.
|The modern shape was by now well established. The bats were however still a one piece affair, no cane handles, no springing to ease vibrations on impact.
|Laws of cricket
|Evolution of overarm bowling: 1816, first definition of fair bowling – hand to be below the elbow (i.e underarm only); 1835, hand not to be above the shoulder (i.e. round-arm allowed); finally 1864 no limit as to height of hand.
|Around 1819, the wicket became 26 inches by 7 inches, around 1823 it became 27 inches by 8 inches and in 1931 it became 28 inches by 9 inches.