The French Side of Cricket
In France, Cycling and Football win “the most popular” contest when it comes to Sports. Cricket seems to be the underdog of the Sporting totem pole with only one Olympic appearance and a smaller following in the Country. Although the stick and ball game has a growing interest, it has not yet reached the same all star levels as their counterparts. Increasing from a couple of hundred players to over 1,000, We may be looking at an upcoming contender in the near future. Events are seen on national teams with 30 leagues who have now joined the Cricket cause in France.
The quiet sport has an infamous side that contradicts its proper reputation. Cricket has a long history of seemingly meeting expectations. Looking at the hundreds of years Cricket has been in play, there are a few moments in time that have made the Sport edgier and more dangerous than the flying pucks of Ice Hockey. This may be hard to imagine from a known country club activity turned national Sport; however when you add in a dash of politics and a keen sense of rivalry…. anything can happen.
Getting to Know Cricket
Understanding the origins of Cricket is a great way to pique interest and get the ball rolling. As truth would have it, the history of Cricket is a bit of a mystery. Putting the pieces together over decades of time have still not presented any clear conclusions. There have been assumptions, beliefs and statements made by each side of the story. The Cricket truth you hear will depend on which country you are standing in. England has officially claimed they invented the game in the 1500s. On the other hand, France states it was their country who put the ball into play.
Surrey court papers first mentioned the sport being played in 1589. This legible proof has worked in England’s favor until France presented a letter written to King Louis XI dated in 1478 discussing details of a Cricket game. The young man who wrote the letter was said to be watching the game in curiosity. Sticks, a ball and wooden posts were not the typical way to spend an afternoon in Liettres, France. His presence was questioned by players which somehow turned into a brawl leaving several injured and one man dead.
Cricket in France and England
England has held the majority of Cricket events and historical ties, yet France is confident in their status as well. Looking for further proof or documentation will lead you to Sussex in 1611. Two men were prosecuted by law for choosing to play Cricket over attending Sunday services. 1709 marked the first official Cricket match between Kent and Surrey and London opened the Lords Cricket ground in 1787. There is mounting evidence that cricket was in fact a popular sport in England and France does not deny that fact. The President of the Lille Cricket Club has referenced that the game today is played as a sport of England. This does not mean it was invented there and French Cricket players intend to continue their claim on the game.
In the same town as the smoking letter of proof, Liettres will be hosting Cricket tournaments and events among other French cities. Whether they are bringing it to France or returning it to its home country, Cricket is the up and coming game of French sports. Each side of the Cricket coin has a plausible theory, yet unless we travel through time, the world may never know the true debut of Cricket.