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History of Cricket in the US: The Sport's Important Roots Across the Pond

History of Cricket in the US: The Sport's Important Roots Across the Pond


These matches and the men who played in them, now misty with time, suggest a kind of sliding door moment, an opportunity for the sport of cricket to lay down its roots in the US just as modernity was taking hold.

The game was brought over by the British and is mentioned in the diaries of the politician and planter William Bird III in 1704.

A version known as wicket was widespread enough that George Washington was considered a participant in at least one game according to the diary of a Valley Forge soldier named George Ewing.

It struggled with baseball for popularity, to the point where Professor Tim Lockley, a social historian of the American South at Warwick University, told the Guardian newspaper: Cricket was by far the biggest sport during this period. Then the Civil War began in 1861, just as it was reaching its peak of popularity. Sport became a victim of that war.

The sliding doors closed on cricket, at least as a mainstream sport.

After the Union victory in 1865, a handful of upscale sports clubs around New York and Philadelphia held on to the game for a while.

Collegiate cricket flourished in the same way as it did in England's public schools.

The Philadelphian Club toured England in 1897, playing the MCC, Oxford and Cambridge Universities and most county sides, with their powerful all-rounder Bart King causing a stir when he almost single-handedly destroyed a full-strength Sussex.

The team returned twice more: in 1903, when King inspired victories over Lancashire and Surrey, and in 1908, when he topped the national bowling averages.




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