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Single-Wicket Laws

The Laws of Cricket, revised at the Star and Garter, Pall-Mall, February 25, 1774, mention single-wicket as a distinct form of the game. The following is the final clause relating to the Striker, and appears immediately before the Law for the Wicket-keeper.

  In single-wicket matches, if the striker moves out of his ground to strike at the ball, he shall be allowed no notch for such a stroke.

This one line would be retained, in editions of the Laws of Cricket deemed reliable by RS Rait Kerr, until 1823, when it was moved to within a section entitled Laws for Single Wicket. These single-wicket Laws were placed after the main Laws and before the section covering Bets. There they remained until the publication of the 1947 Code when, it appears, they were simply dropped.

Though we have no direct evidence of why the Laws for Single-Wicket were dropped, it is clear that even by the 1880s top-flight single-wicket was a thing of the past; by the start of the First World War, the game had all-but disappeared even at club level.

The following links show the Laws for Single-Wicket, as they appeared in various reliable editions of the Laws of Cricket from 1823 to 1945.

For more information on the reliability of different editions of the Laws of Cricket, see Rait Kerr RS, 1950, The Laws of Cricket, Their History and Growth, Longmans, Green and Co.

Many thanks to Neil Robinson of the MCC Library at Lord’s for his invaluable assistance.