Cricket is a global passion, played everywhere from Test match arenas to village greens, tropical beaches and dusty back lots. Just look at the varied cricket events sponsored by Royal London: star-studded internationals for men and women; Britain’s club championship pairing 256 community teams, county cups for teens. It has a great history too…
The origins of cricket are not clearly documented but Cricket was first recorded in 16th-century England, and it was played in grammar schools, farm communities and everywhere in between. But things really took off when 18th-century nobles realised that not only was it a great sport but also an excellent opportunity for betting.
With sky-high stakes being wagered, it was deemed necessary to come up with agreed rules. The oldest surviving set of Cricket laws date from 1744 – printed on a handkerchief, naturally. It’s now in the MCC Museum at Lord’s in London.
The oldest permanent fixture is the annual Eton v Harrow match, played since 1805. A young Lord Byron turned out for Harrow in the first match, though history doesn’t record how poetic – or “mad, bad and dangerous” – his bowling was.
Some of the more interesting or key dates are listed below. Further details may be obtained by reference to texts included in Recommended Reading.
The first county champions, Nottinghamshire.
NB: At this time the press decided who were the champions.
County Secretaries officially acknowledged the championships.
EVENTS or RECORDS
Sailors recorded as playing cricket near Lisbon.
First international between USA and Canada.
First tour by England of USA and Canada.
First tour of Australia. 1876-77 First test matches played.
Australians travel to England. 1880 First test match played in England.
England beaten by Australia at the Oval. The Sporting Times reported “The body will be cremated and the ashes taken to Australia”.
England beat Australia in Melbourne. Some ladies burned a bail, sealed the ashes in an urn and gave it to the English Captain. On his death the ashes were left to the MCC, and this is the basis of the Ashes competition.
Imperial Cricket Conference established to administer cricket worldwide. 1965 The name was changed to the International Cricket Conference.
The Test and County Cricket Board was established to run test cricket, and the National Cricket Association to foster interest in coaching and the recreational game.
The MCC administer the Laws both at home and abroad. All three of the above form the Cricket Council, the governing body of the sport. There are also the Minor Counties Association, the Irish Cricket Union, the Scottish Cricket Union and the Welsh Cricket Association.
The International Cricket Conference renamed the International Cricket Council.