Anyone for cricket? Whether you know the rules or simply fancy sipping a glass of Pimm’s and soaking up some sunshine, a visit to one of London’s top cricket grounds promises to be an enjoyable and very British summer pastime. However, before you head straight for Lord’s (London’s prime cricket ground), located within batting distance of The Milestone Hotel, take a look at our essential guide to cricket to brush up on everything you need to know about this quintessentially British summer sport.
An early history
Rumour has it that Brits were hitting wickets and running around grassy fields in medieval times, but the precise origins of the sport remain a mystery. Because of this, the first records to mention ‘creckett’, or ‘krickett’, have been found in early modern English court cases. During a land dispute in 1597, coroner John Derrick testified to having played the sport on the turf in question as a boy. While an unfortunate village member in 1614 was killed by a cricket ‘staffe’, and the culprit put on trial.
Growing in status
The sport started scoring points amongst England’s gentry when Charles I took to the throne, with a key attraction for the upper classes being gambling on the games. The press got on board, too, and newspapers began reporting on noteworthy matches.
Additionally, cricket gained international fans as the British Empire expanded. Sailors and traders affiliated to the East India Company took the bowling and hitting phenomenon home, and other territories, having been introduced to the game by the British, followed suit. At the turn of the 19th century, runs were being tallied in Australia and balls were being bowled in the Caribbean, New Zealand and South Africa. This quintessentially British sport had gone global.
The field today
The collapse of the British Empire sparked a sea of change for the sport, which is still on-going today. Individual nations seized ownership of how cricket was played in their backyards and the sport spread in terms of popularity and numerous international competitions sprung up. Today, the ICC Cricket World Cup gathers teams and enthusiasts from all corners of the world for a global competition every four years. The next world cup will be hosted by England and Wales in the summer of 2019.
The 2019 world cup will launch a nine team Test Championship, played over the course of two years, with a scorching final at London’s Lords set for 2021. Not to be forgotten in any guide to cricket, the English side also has historic heat ‘The Ashes’ to prepare for. This is an ongoing battle between England and rivals Australia, held every two years. The summer of 2019 will see The Ashes test match series commence on British soil, trailing the world cup.
Where to watch cricket in London
Vitality Blast occurs at The Oval in Kennington throughout July and August, and always promises to be an exhilarating event. The stadium’s new family zone is designed to give spectators under the age of 16 an entertaining matchday experience, directly behind the bowler’s arms. Premium seating is also available if you purchase a hospitality package and view the game from atop the exclusive roof terrace.
London’s Lord’s Cricket Ground, known as the home of English cricket, is another place to see world-class teams in action and enjoy a fun day out. Inside the infamous batting ground, onlookers can join the cheering crowd, sip the classic English summertime drink, Pimm’s, and soak up the thrilling atmosphere.
Guests at The Milestone Hotel can enjoy a thoroughly British day out with a trip to London’s Lords cricket ground.
Image Credits: Lead image © iStock/BrianAJackson. Cricket game iStock/Lance B. Cricket crowd © iStock/Image Source. Glasses of Pimms iStock/focalpix.