Friday, July 16, 2010
The early years of the 1800s were even more significant for cricket. County teams were beginning to be formed. The first Eton vs. Harrow school match was held in 1805. In 1806 the first match between the Gentlemen and the Players was held at the first Lord's cricket ground in Dorset Square. As I understand it, the Gentlemen were talented amateurs and the Players were professional athletes of the game.
The new Lord's Cricket Ground in St. John's Wood was officially opened in May 1811 and famous players of the Regency era are still remembered. There were 'gentlemen' amateurs like George Osbaldeston, Lord Frederick Beauclerk, and E. H. Budd who hit the first 'century' on the new Lord's ground. A 'century' is 100 or more runs in a single innings. The 'players' included famous names like William Lambert, Tom Walker, and William 'Silver Billy' Beldham.
The Napoleonic Wars created challenges for the game in terms of funding shortfalls and lack of players, but with the cessation of hostilities cricket resumed with the enthusiasm of its fans unabated. It has since spread all over the world, spawned a literature of its own, created heroes and villains, and become an obsession with many. Below is a cricket match held in Geneva in 1817 at the Plaine de Plainpalais:
It would be a mistake to ignore in any genre, set in any country or culture, a game so integral to the history and nature of its people. Do investigate cricket--its intricacies are well worth the study.
'Til next time,