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The History of Cricket ... Cricket betting origins ... Cricket through the ages


The History of Cricket and the origins of the game of cricket are most likely in Northern Europe and were way before the 11th Century.

This was a simple game, with one player propelling an object – with a piece of wood or some form of a ball - and another player striking it with a suitable type of club. Historians have actually placed this game as beginning in the Celtic, Scandinavian, Anglo-Saxon, Dutch and Norman-French territories, but decisive evidence is lacking BUT even non-historians will recognise the link between this ancient pastime and the gladiatorial contests of the 21st Century.

Official Court documents from 1597 provide the first clear record of the history of cricket in more recent times. This document concerns a dispute over the ownership of a plot of school land. A 59-year old coroner, John Derrick, testified that he and his school friends had played "kreckett" on the site fifty years before – which would have been around the year 1550.

By the early 1600s, village cricket was played in the English counties of Surrey, Kent and Sussex and was soon adopted as a leisure pursuit and event in many schools.

The local Judiciary considered cricket a bad influence on young men, and in 1611 two men in Sussex were prosecuted for playing cricket on a Sunday instead of going to church!

A Dangerous Game ... Cricket was considered a dangerous game. The first documented accident that was fatal and that was related to cricket was in 1624, at Horsted Green in Sussex. Jasper Vinall died after being struck by a bat while trying to catch the ball. Its unclear from the records if this was an accident, or if the batsman simply put too high a price on his wicket.

Cricket matches between village and town teams are documented before the English Civil War (1642-1651). The game developed steadily after the war, as towns and city teams developed. The history of cricket also records how the sport first attracted gambling for significant sums of money way back in the 18th century.

The first Laws of Cricket were established in 1744. The most famous early club was Hambledon in Hampshire, which became the headquarters of the game for about 30 years until the opening of Lords and the MCC in 1787. The MCC has been the custodian of the Laws of Cricket ever since then.

English colonialism brought cricket to other parts of the world; to North America in the 17th century, to the West Indies, India and Australia in the 18th century, and to New Zealand and South Africa in the 19th Century.

The USA played Canada in the first ever international match in 1844.

The game has since developed into today’s club, county and international structure in the 20th century.

The International Cricket Conference (ICC) has become the global governing body, while the MCC remain the custodian of the rules.