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Early English cricketers Val Romney Personal information Full name Valentine Romney Born 1718 Sevenoaks, Kent, England Died December 1773 Sevenoaks, Kent, England Role batsman; team captain Batting style unknown hand Bowling style unknown Domestic team information Years Team c.1738 to c.1753 Kent As of 29 December, 2009 Main source: F S Ashley-Cooper Valentine "Val" Romney (born c.1718, probably at Sevenoaks, Kent; died December 1773 at Sevenoaks) was an English professional cricketer who played first-class cricket during the 1740s. A specialist batsman, he was mainly associated with Kent but also represented All-England. Although information about his career is limited by a lack of surviving data, he is known to have made 11 single wicket and 14 first-class appearances between 1743 and 1751. Contents 1 Cricket career 1.1 First mention 1.2 1744 to 1745 1.3 1746 to 1750 1.4 Last known season 1.5 Cricket in Romney's time 2 Legacy 3 Personal life 4 References 5 External links 6 Bibliography // Cricket career First mention The first definite mention of Val Romney is dated Monday, 11 July 1743, when he took part in a single wicket "threes" match at the Artillery Ground and the six players were stated to be "the best in England".[1] They were William Hodsoll, John Cutbush and Romney playing as Three of Kent; and Richard Newland, William Sawyer and John Bryant playing as Three of All-England. Hodsoll and Newland were the captains. Kent won by 2 runs. The London Evening Post says the crowd was computed (sic) to be 10,000. A return match was arranged at Sevenoaks Vine on Wednesday 27 July but "it did not come off".[1] 1744 to 1745 Romney was lauded as a "mighty play'r" (sic) in Cricket, An Heroic Poem (1745) by James Love.[2] This poem was written to commemorate a celebrated match between Kent and All-England at the Artillery Ground on 18 June 1744,[3] in which Romney was captain of the Kent XI.[4] In August and September of the same year, Romney played for London Cricket Club as a "given man" in three matches against Surrey.[5] At the end of the 1744 season, Romney played in two "threes" matches at the Artillery Ground. The first was billed as "Long Robin's Side v Richard Newland's Side", the teams being Robert Colchin (aka Long Robin), Romney and John Bryant against Richard Newland, Edward Aburrow senior (replacing John Mills) and Joe Harris. The stake was two hundred guineas and the players involved were stated to be the "best in England".[5] In the second match on Monday, 1 October, the sides were Colchin, James Bryant and Joe Harris versus Romney, John Bryant and Thomas Waymark.[5] In the 1745 season, Romney again played in a major "threes" match at the Artillery Ground on Monday, 24 June, when he was teamed with Hodsoll and Newland against Colchin, John Bryant and one of the Harris brothers. Hodsoll, Newland and Romney won by 7 runs.[5] The biggest first-class match of the year took place two days later between Long Robin's XI and Richard Newland's XI at the Artillery Ground. Long Robin's XI, including Romney, won "by over 70 runs".[5] 1746 to 1750 Romney is not mentioned in 1746 sources. In 1747 he played for Kent against All-England on Monday, 31 August, at the Artillery Ground; and on Wednesday, 2 September, on Bromley Common.[6] On Saturday, 5 September, there was a "threes" game at the Artillery Ground billed as "Long Robin's Side versus Stephen Dingate's Side". The teams were Colchin, John Harris and Romney against Stephen Dingate, Richard Newland and Thomas Jure. It was played for sixty guineas per side and the players were specially chosen from those who had played in the two Kent v All-England games.[6] In 1748, Romney is recorded in two single wicket matches. On Monday, 8 August, he and Colchin opposed Tom Faulkner and Joe Harris at "twos" in the Artillery Ground for twenty guineas a side.[7] On Monday, 29 August, he took part in a "fives" game at the Artillery Ground in which Tom Faulkner's Side defeated Long Robin's Side by four runs. The prize was 200 pounds. Romney was badly injured and could not run but, the rules being "play or pay", he was obliged to play as well as he could. The teams were Faulkner, Joe Harris, James Bryant, John Bryant and Durling versus Colchin, Romney, John Larkin, Jones and Maynard.[7] In 1749, Romney made first-class appearances for All-England against Surrey at Dartford Brent and for Long Robin's XI against Stephen Dingate's XI at the Artillery Ground. In July he played for All-England in a "fives" match" against Addington.[8] There is just one mention of Romney in 1750 when he played in the Kent side that defeated Surrey by 3 wickets in a first-class match at Dartford Brent.[9] Last known season 1751 is Romney's last known season although he may have continued for a few years more. Surviving data about matches in the 1750s is scarce. There was a general reduction in matches through the decade caused initially by the deaths of key patrons and then compounded by the impact of the Seven Years War. Romney made two first-class appearances in May 1751 when he played for Kent against All-England. Kent, weakened by the recent death of Robert Colchin, were well beaten in both games.[9] Val Romney's last recorded appearance was in a single wicket "fives" match for Kent against Surrey at the Artillery Ground on Monday, 3 June 1751. The Kent team was Tom Faulkner (given man), John & Thomas Bell, Stone and Romney. The Surrey team was Stephen Dingate, John Harris, Joe Harris, Stephen Harding and Perry. Kent won "although the betting was in favour of Surrey".[10] Cricket in Romney's time In Romney's career, the cricket bat was shaped like a modern hockey stick, this being the ideal shape for addressing a ball that was "trundled" along the ground, as in lawn bowls. The wicket consisted of two stumps and a single bail. Bowlers used the underarm style exclusively but at varying pace. The ball was either rolled along the ground or, if a fast bowler, skimmed across the surface; pitching was not introduced until about 1760, which would have been after Romney retired. Legacy F S Ashley-Cooper says of Romney that "he was a most famous player, his name being found in nearly all the great matches of his time" and that "as a batsman and single wicket player he was very celebrated".[11] Personal life Romney lived mostly at Sevenoaks and was employed by the 1st Duke of Dorset as head gardener at Knole House, a post later occupied by John Minshull. By 1768, the Sackvilles still rewarded him with a Christmas gratuity of two guineas.[12] References ^ a b Ashley-Cooper, p.21. ^ Love, Cricket, An Heroic Poem ^ Haygarth, p.1. ^ Underdown, p.66. ^ a b c d e Ashley-Cooper, p.36. ^ a b Ashley-Cooper, p.51. ^ a b Ashley-Cooper, p.52. ^ Ashley-Cooper, p.53. ^ a b Ashley-Cooper, p.68. ^ Waghorn, p.26. ^ Ashley-Cooper, p.84. ^ Underdown, p.70. External links CricketArchive profile of Val Romney From Lads to Lord's – Val Romney Bibliography F S Ashley-Cooper, At the Sign of the Wicket: Cricket 1742–1751, Cricket Magazine, 1900 G B Buckley, Fresh Light on 18th Century Cricket, Cotterell, 1935 Arthur Haygarth, Scores & Biographies, Volume 1 (1744–1826), Lillywhite, 1862 James Love, Cricket, An Heroic Poem (ed. F. S. Ashley-Cooper), Richards, 1922 David Underdown, Start of Play, Allen Lane, 2000 H T Waghorn, The Dawn of Cricket, Electric Press, 1906 Persondata Name Romney, Val Alternative names Short description Date of birth 1718 Place of birth Sevenoaks, Kent Date of death 1 December 1773 Place of death Sevenoaks, Kent