Wicket

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Game Wicket
Game Family Baseball Baseball
Regions US
Eras 1700s, 1800s, Predecessor"Predecessor" is not in the list (Pre-1700, 1700s, 1800s, Post-1900, Contemporary) of allowed values for the "Game Eras" property.
Invented No
Description

The game of wicket was evidently the dominant game played in parts of Connecticut, western MA, and perhaps areas of Western New York State, prior to the spread of the New York game in the 1850’s and 1860’s. Wicket resembles cricket more than baseball. The “pitcher” bowls a large, heavy ball toward a long, low wicket, and a batter with a heavy curved club defends the wicket. Some students of cricket note that it resembles cricket before it evolved to its modern form, with its higher narrower wicket.

A 1834 book published in Boston (See Robin Carver, below) includes, as a final word on cricket, an account of a simpler form of cricket, this view:

"This is, I believe, the old and original way of playing cricket.  It is also played in a simpler way. Two wickets are placed at some distance from each other. The  consist each of two short stakes fixed in the ground, and a cross stick places in notches, in the stakes about the height of the ball from the ground.  Two bowlers stand at each wicket and roll the ball along the ground with the view of knocking off the cross stick.  The striker strives to prevent this by hitting the ball  with his bat: but if he strike it so that it is caught by any of the other players, he is out."

This very low wicket certainly resembles the target in the game called wicket in the Nineteenth Century.

 

 

Sources

Short descriptions of the game are found in Protoball Chronology items #1846.8, #1850s.16, and #1855c.3.  There is also a Protoball Subchronology  at http://protoball.org/Chronology:Wicket.  As of 2022, Protoball lists over 50 milestones for to wicket.

Robin Carver, The Book of Sports (Boston, 1834).  See chapter III, "Games with a Ball.  The simpler game appears on pages 48-49."  Carver does not name the simpler game as  wicket.

An excellent article on wicket in CT, by Alex Dubois, appeared in the March 2022 Origins/Protoball Committee Newsletter.

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