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The origins of cricket are obscured, unrecorded and the source of much speculation. There are two major theories concerning the derivation of the word cricket.
One concerns the Anglo-Saxon word cricce, meaning a crooked staff, i.e. a staff with a club at one end. Developing this theory results in the supposed origins of the game being among shepherds hitting some appropriate object (a stone or pine cone perhaps) with their crooks and, at the same time, defending the wicket gate into the sheep fold.
The other theory traces the word `criquet’ to the Flemish or Dutch krickstoel, a piece of furniture on which one kneels in church. A low stool between 18 inches and 2 feet in length once generally called a `cricket’ in England, its profile is very similar to that of the long, low wicket in early cricket.
Other theories attribute the game’s origins to club-ball, where the striker defends a hole in the ground, or to a game played in the churchyard.
The first certain reference to cricket is contained in a document dated December1478 and refers to `criquet’ near St. Olmer, in what is now north-eastern France.
The first recorded cricket match took place at Coxheath in Kent, England in 1646. This match also produced the first record of betting on cricket.
The earliest bats were sticks and, probably, shepherds’ crooks. These gave way to clubbed sticks before the introduction of the batte, with its long ,thin shaft and curved thicker end not unlike a slightly straightened-out hockey stick. The clubbed design of these first bats was dictated by the type of bowling encountered, which was similar to that in the game of bowls - underarm and all along the ground. An early 18th century match in the Artillery Ground, London.
By the early 18th century the batte had developed into a longer, heavier, curved version of the modern item; it had a handle and a blade but was carved out of a single piece of wood. The bat used today consists of a willow blade with a cane handle, layered with thin strips of rubber and bound with twine. This is covered with by a tight rubber sheath - the grip. The `V’ shaped extension of the handle into the blade is the splice.
Earliest cricket was played with stones, pieces of wood and probably various other available missiles. The first `manufactured’ ball was made by interlacing narrow strips of hide and was first mentioned in 1658.
The first six-seamed ball was made in 1775 by Dukes, a family firm at Penshurst in Kent, England, who presented it to the Prince of Wales.
The first match between teams from different countries was played between Toronto Cricket Club and St. George’s Cricket Club of New York in 1840, the latter winning by ten wickets.
The first international match was played between the United States and Canada, involving players from the same two clubs who contested the 1840 encounter, in New York in 1844. It was played for a $1000 stake and won by Canada by 23 runs.
The first Test match was played between a touring English side and a representative Australian team. The match was played at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on 15, 16, 17, 19 March and Australia won by 45 runs.
In 1962 a pilot scheme, sponsored by Leicestershire at the instigation of their secretary, Michael Turner and featuring four counties, was held at Leicester and Nottingham in May. Each innings was restricted to 65 overs and no bowler could deliver more than 15 of them. Three matches were played. Leicestershire beat Derbyshire to reach the final against Northamptonshire who had beaten Nottinghamshire. In the final no limit was placed no limit was placed on the number of overs permitted to each bowler. In the final, Northamptonshire defeated Leicestershire on their Grace Road Ground.
The first balls in `instant cricket’ were bowled at Grace Road, Leicester by Les Jackson to Maurice Hallam, and, at Trent Bridge, Nottingham, by John Cotton to Mick Norman, at 11 am on 2 May 1962.
The first one-day international was a hastily arranged affair, played to appease the disappointed public on the final scheduled day of a rain aborted Test match between Australia and England at Melbourne on 5 January 1971. By coincidence, the match not only took place on the very ground where Test cricket had begun 94 years earlier, but also resulted in an Australian victory against England. More significantly it attracted 46,000 spectators, produced receiptsof $33,000, and began a revolution in International cricket.
The first international man of the match was John Edrich, the Surrey and England opening batsman who scored 82 - the first fifty in a one-day international.
The first ball in this match was bowled by Graham McKenzie to Geoffrey Boycott. The first bowler to take a wicket at this level was Jeff Thomson, who had Geoff Boycott caught by Bill Lawry. The first century in limited-overs internationals was scored by Dennis Amiss for England against Australia at Old Trafford on 24 August 1972. The first bowler to take five wickets in a one-day international was Dennis Lillee - for Australia against Pakistan at Headingley on 7 June 1975 in the first World Cup. A floodlit match in the 20th century in progress
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