How Did Cricket Start
John Sinclair Form 2A
| 1962 Summer Magazine Index | HOME |

How did Cricket start? Nobody knows. But there is a picture in a famous library at Oxford showing a monk bowling a ball to another monk who is about to strike it with a small staff, shaped like a club, called in the Saxon language a ‘crick’. The monk who is batting stands in front of a hole in the ground and the game was to get the ball into the hole or to catch it when hit. That was in England six hundred years ago. Later, as apparently there was trouble in seeing the hole, a small stick was stuck up in it to mark the position.

The next step was to fill up the hole and aim at the stick, and then, about two hundred years ago, we find the game beginning to shape as it is played today. At that time two sticks, or stumps, wore used with a six-inch bail on top. Bowling was underarm and the ‘crick’ had given way to a bat, curved at the bottom, with which the batsman swiped at the ball as if using a hockey stick. Runs were kept by cutting notches on the edge of a piece of wood.

In 1775, however, occurred the most important development of the game. Five men of Hambledon, the English village that launched the first cricket team, were playing five men of Kent. Hambledon, with their last man in, wanted fourteen runs to win. Kent put on their best bowler, but although he could get past the batsman, the ball would pass between the stumps and leave the bail in position. The Kent men made complaints, and so later the middle stump was added.

The next thing to change was the bowling. For fifty years cricketers had bowled underarm; then cam along a bowler who introduced the round-arm or over-arm style we know today. It was greatly opposed at first, but one team that did bowl over-arm thrashed an ‘All England’ team twice in three matches, it quickly became popular.

Over-arm bowling on the rough, uneven, surfaces of the cricket pitches of those days caused the ball to bounce away in all directions and players began to get hurt. This led to the introduction of leg-guards and batting gloves, which have been used ever since.

So the game of cricket developed, to become popular with the people of England and the British Colonies. Other countries play tennis, golf and football, but they have never taken to cricket. It is the most English thing in the world.

| 1962 Summer Magazine Index | HOME |