Rise of The Gentleman’s Game: Cricket

Primitive Village Cricket

Vintage engraving of people playing Cricket. The Graphic, 1900

By the middle of the 17th century, village cricket had flourished, and the first English “county teams” had been established.
primitive village cricket
Cricket became a popular sport in London and the south-eastern regions of England in the first part of the 18th century. Travel restrictions prevented it from becoming widely popular outside of England, but Women’s Cricket has been around since 1745, when the first game was played in Surrey.

Cricket played before 1799
On The Artillery Ground, Cricket
Experts agree that children living in the Weald, an area of dense woodlands and clearings in south-east England, during the Saxon or Norman eras may have originated cricket. In 1611, the first time that cricket was mentioned as an adult sport, a dictionary also referred to the game as a boy’s game. There is also the theory that cricket may have evolved from bowls as a result of a batsman’s attempt to deflect the ball away from its intended aim.

Vintage illustration of Boys playing a game of Cricket, Bowler and batsman, Victorian sports illustration, 1880s

The Lord’s Cricket Ground

The first Laws of Cricket were created in 1744 and later revised in 1774 to include innovations like lbw, a third stump, the middle stump, and a maximum bat width. The “Star and Garter Club,” whose members went on to create the renowned Marylebone Cricket Club at Lord’s in 1787, developed the codes.

The earliest cricket games
After 1760, when bowlers started pitching the ball, rolling the ball down the ground became obsolete. In response, the straight bat replaced the previous “hockey-stick” style of bat. Up until the founding of MCC and the inauguration of Lord’s Cricket Ground in 1787, the game was centered on the Hampshire-based Hambledon Club.

Cricket was first introduced to North America through the English colonies in the 17th century, and it spread to other areas of the world in the 18th century. Colonialists brought it to the West Indies, and British East India Company sailors brought it to India. In the early years of the 19th century, the sport reached New Zealand and South Africa before making its way to Australia practically as soon as colonization got underway in 1788.

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