One of the best
sports England invented for spectators was cricket, because
the audience gets to sit around in the sunshine, drinking
beer and chatting with friends for days on end. And the
home of this great game lies in north west London.
Marylebone Cricket Club [map] (MCC) was founded in 1787
and since then has been the godfather of the sport, guarding
the laws and guiding its spirit. And they do this from
their Lord’s Ground [map] in St Johns Wood.
Although the ground is home to the Middlesex county side,
it also regularly plays host to most international teams
that tour the country to play one-day games or five day
test matches. In 2004, New Zealand and the West Indies
played there, and in 2005 Australia beat England there
in the first test of the Ashes series, which England went
on to triumphantly win at The Oval.
Cricket has been around in England for centuries; in fact
the first mention of the game being played dates back
to 1300 in a village in Kent. Since then it’s believed
that the game became popular amongst the lower classes
of society before being adopted by London’s aristocrats
and noblemen in the 1700’s. The game is now one
of England’s national sports, but this by no means
guarantees a win when playing in international competition.
The game itself is pretty straightforward – two
teams play each other and there are 11 on each side. One
side bats while the other fields, and the aim of the game
is for the batting side to score as many runs as possible
before the fielding team get you out. Over the years though,
technology has had a significant impact on the game and
this is often where the MCC come in.
To get more of an insight into the game and its long history
why not take trip to Lords Cricket Ground [map] where
you can watch a county game or an international showdown,
or have a look around the MCC Museum [map].
As the world’s oldest sporting museum, the MCC
Museum [map] is well worth a visit. Probably its most
prized piece is the Ashes Urn, which was created in 1883
and given to England when they beat Australia in the 1882/83
series. Since then the name has been used for the England
V Australia test which happens around every two years.
However the museum is also home to a number of treasures
of the game, including the kits of some of cricket’s
best players, as well as memorabilia commemorating the
game’s most famous player, W.G. Grace.
There are also tours available throughout the year for
anyone wanting to learn more about this home of cricket.