The game of cricket has a long and distinguished history dating from the 16th century. It began as a children’s game in England, but by the 17th century cricket was a serious game played by adults. One of the greatest cricket clubs in England was Hambledon, in Hampshire.
Even though cricket had already been played for more than two hundred years, the rules of the game decided upon by the Hambledon Cricket Club at The Bat & Ball in the 1760s formed the basis of the modern game we all know and love.
Travel forwards 120 years with me to 1882, when a visiting Australian cricket team recorded their first Test win in England. The newspaper The Sporting Times published an obituary for English cricket.
In the return series played in Australia the following year, England won two of the three tests and the captain was given a small urn said to contain the ashes of a wooden cricket bail. This urn became an icon of the one of the greatest sporting rivalries in the world – The Ashes.
Journey ahead another 141 years to the present. The latest Ashes series began at The Gabba in Brisbane last week and for Australia the stakes were high. They haven’t held the Ashes since 2007 and the hopes of a nation rested on the shoulders of the Australian team. I was there with 38 000 other passionate followers of the game.
The competition was fierce and the players gave their all.
After two impressive innings of 7/401 and 295 by Australia, England’s task was enormous and although the players tried their best they succumbed to the pressure, scoring a mere 179 and 136 in return. Jubilation and celebration were the order of the day for those wearing the green and gold!
One match down, four more to win. Go Australia!