Monday, April 09, 2012

History of Cricket

As many of you know I'm a cricket fanatic -everything stops when there's an international match on. So this month I thought I'd give you a brief history of the game. Don't vanish -it's not as boring as you think!
The earliest use of the word is in 1598 -crekett -  this could come from Middle Dutch or krick meaning a stick or old English cricc  meaning a stool. I've also heard it said the French invented the game and the word - although the idea of the French playing cricket is absurd.
The first mention of cricket in history is in Guildford in 1598 where it was played at The Royal Grammar School.
Collection of historical bats.
 Village cricket gained  in popularity and is played throughout the Civil War. In 1611 two men were prosecuted for playing on a Sunday instead of going to church. This is the earliest mention of adults playing the game.
Patronage of teams began in the 18th century as did gambling on the result. By 1725 rich patrons started their own teams in order to influence the outcome. 2nd Duke of Richmond, Sir William Gage, Alan Brodrick and Edward Stead  are the most notable among them.
Cricket spread to the colonies before it reached the north of England. It appeared in the West Indies and India in the first half of the century. It arrived in Australia in 1788 and had followed to New Zealand and South Africa by the Regency.
The Duke of Richmond and Alan Brodrick drew up the laws of cricket - called - Articles of Agreement - in 1728. In 1744 The Laws of Cricket were introduced and although modified are not a lot different today.

Print of an early game.
Cricket was abandoned during the Napoleonic Wars - the causes were lack of players and shortage of investment.
On June 17th 1815, on the eve of the Battle of Waterloo, British soldiers played a cricket match in the Bois de la Cambre park in Brussels. Ever since the park has been called, La Pelouse des Anglais, (the Englishmens's lawn.)
Strange to think only underarm bowling was allowed - I believe it was a woman who introduced 'round arm' bowling because she couldn't manage underarm wearing a crinoline!!
There - that wasn't so bad, was it?
best wishes


Elizabeth Hawksley said...

Come on, Fenella! Some of us like cricket! I certainly do. Maybe it's because my father was a Yorkshireman and a keen cricketer himself.

He was very upset when he heard that I'd booked myself into a hospital in Lancashire to have my first baby, and insisted that I have the baby in Yorkshire in case it was a son, so that 'he could play cricket for the Gentlemen' as he put it.

I was living on the Lancs/Yorks border at the time, so I dutifully switched. I did indeed have a Yorkshire-born son, but, alas, he's not into games (he's asthmatic) and the only thing he plays is the clarinet!

Fenella Miller said...

I know lots of women love cricket -but far more find it boring. Odd to think cricket went abroad before it got to your neck of the woods, Elizabeth.

Nicola Cornick said...

I love cricket too! I'd never thought it might be because I am a Yorkshirewoman, but who knows? Certainly the game has always been taken very seriously in my family and that of my husband. Thank you for the post, Fenella.

Christina said...

I'm not a cricket fan, I have to admit, but enjoyed your post Fenella! My father was a cricket fanatic and played for the Cambridge second team I think. Unfortunately he never thought to teach me the rules so I'm afraid I don't understand the game at all, which is a shame. But perhaps as we were living in Sweden he didn't think I'd ever need to know!

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