During the 18th and 19th centuries, cricket was a game of two formats. Cricket played on a pitch with two wickets was known as double-wicket; played with only one wicket, it was single-wicket. Both formats were widely played and watched but, during the second half of the 19th century, the single-wicket game began to fall from favour. Cricket would become the double-wicket game..
By the second half of the 20th century, the single-wicket game had been so completely forgotten that a newly contrived form of one-on-one cricket, played on a pitch with two wickets, could be given the name single-wicket cricket. For several years, this new game would be played annually at Lord’s and, with a few changes, would spread to clubs in England and around the world. As if to prove that we no longer understood the fundamentals of our own game, a similarly contrived two-a-side contest would become known, inevitably, as double-wicket cricket.
Single-wicket, in its true sense, means only cricket played with one wicket. For over 170 years the Laws of Cricket contained Laws which applied specifically to this game. Whilst it often was played as a one-on-one contest, single-wicket should be understood, first and foremost, as a game for small teams.
On these pages you will find information on how the single-wicket game was played during the 18th and 19th centuries, the Laws of Cricket covering single-wicket play, and records of over 5000 known single-wicket matches.
About Single-Wicket Cricket