1776 – Essex v Kent at Tilbury Fort: Two Killed

Tilbury Fort planned to host a cricket match between Essex and Kent in 1776, but things did not go according to plan.   Apparently, the Essex team objected to one of the Kent players for some reason and a full-scale riot ensued.  Two were killed in the fighting, being the “fort’s Serjeant” and an “old invalid” as the London Chronicle reported in October of that year:

“A terrible affair happened this day at Tilbury Fort. A great match of cricket being to be played between Kent and Essex, the parties assembled on both sides. When they were met, a man appearing among the former, who should not have been there, the Essex men refused playing, on which a very bloody battle ensued, and the Kentish men being likely to be worsted, one of them ran into the guard-house and, getting a gun from one of the invalids, fired and killed one of the opposite party. On seeing this they all began running to the guard-house and, there being but four soldiers there, they took away the guns and fell to it, doing a great deal of mischief. An old invalid was run through the body with a bayonet; and a Serjeant who commands at the fort, in the absence of the officer, endeavouring shorewith his four men to quell them, was shot dead. At last the Essex men took to flight and, running over the drawbridge, made their escape. The Kentish men then made off in their boats, but search is making after them.”

Jonathan Catton (Curator, Thurrock Museum)
London Chronicle (31 October 1776 edition)
Denis Reed (Belhus Cricket Club)