Monday, October 1, 2012

Cricket and the Olympics

Cricket is said to be the second most popular sport in the world. Yet it was not included in the London 2012 Summer Olympics. For those not familiar with cricket, and I am one of them, here is a small historical overview. For the cricket initiates amongst us, I hope you enjoy the bonds and shares in this article. Cricket scripophily is exceptional. 

from the Laroussse Universel en 2 Volumes 1922

500 years of cricket
Already in the 16th century people played an early form of cricket in England. The first famous cricket club was the Hambledon Club founded in the late 1760s. It was the Marylebone Cricket Club, established in 1787, that described and controlled the Laws of Cricket. The MCC would become England's governing body of cricket. By the 1800s cricket was played all over England. During the expansion of the British Empire in the 19th century, military and merchants introduced tennis, rugby and cricket too in the overseas territories. The first international match took place between the USA and Canada in 1844. In 1877 England and Australia contested each other. On a regular basis both countries would rival each other in a series of matches that would become known as the Ashes. 

Debenture of the Yokohama Country and Athletic Club
The Yokohama Country and Athletic Club
English merchants introduced cricket in the Far East in the 19th century.
Originally founded in 1868 as the Yokohama Cricket Club.
The YCAC still exists today, more info here.
1913 Certificate for 20 debentures of five Yen (Japanese gold currency)
Sold after 6 bids on Ebay, July 2011, for 55 Euro

In 1909 England, Australia and South Africa representatives founded the International Cricket Council, originally named the Imperial Cricket Conference. The ICC  became the international governing body and organises the Cricket World Cup. The ICC is now based in Dubai. Today the game is played in many countries, just to mention a few : India, Australia, West Indies, Pakistan, New Zealand, Southern Africa, Canada, Ireland, Kenya, Netherlands, Bangladesh, Zimbabwe, Sri Lanka and ofcourse England. 

Share certificate of the Hull Cricket Club
The Hull Cricket Club Ltd
Established 1872 in Hull (North-England) and still exists today.
1911 certificate for 5% non-cumulative preference shares of 1 Pound
printed by R. Johnson and Sons
double-click to enlarge image
Sold for 120 Euro in the Boone auction of March 2010

Women have been playing cricket for hundreds of years
The first recording of women playing cricket, 1745, mentions a match of the maids of Bramley versus Hambledon. The first famed women's cricket club was the White Heather Club, founded in 1887. The first women's international Test Cricket match took place between England and Australia in 1934.

Women's Test match between Australia and England in Sydney in 1935.
From left to right : Anne Palmer, Spear, Snowball and Partridge

double-click to enlarge image
source : Wikipedia, originally from the National Library of Australia

Cricket a sport with many formats
The types of play differ from each other in several ways including the length of the game, the number of innings and the number of overs (sets of 6 balls delivered by a bowler). Internationally played cricket formats are Test Cricket, One-day International and Twenty20 International. Test Cricket is played over five days. ODI and Twenty20 are forms of limited-overs cricket. The number of overs is in ODI now restricted to 50 and to 20 in T20. The ODI lasts about a day, and T20 about 3 hours. The first ODI match took place in 1971 in Melbourne. T20 was conceived in 2003.

The Hull Cricket Club Ltd
detail from the share above

One messy olympic participation
Cricket was scheduled as an event in the Athens 1896 Summer Olympics, the first olympiad games. However the event was cancelled because of an unsufficient number of participants. On the next games, the 1900 Summer Olympics in France, four countries were scheduled to compete each other: Great Britain, France, the Netherlands and Belgium. The latter two, dissappointed because they were not allowed to co-host the games with France, pulled out of the competition. 

Brussels Cricket and Lawn-Tennis Club
Later renamed Brussels Lawn Tennis Club and still a tennis club today.
Payment receipt of 50% of 30 Shares of 100 Francs, 1911
Offered at 50 Euro start price in the Boone auction of Sep 2012

These Olympics took place during the world's fair in Paris. Actually the games were considered as a part of the fair. Still, a cricket match was organized between France and Great Britain. The match took place at the Vélodrome de Vincennes on 19-20 August. Remarkably, the British were represented by the Devon and Somerset Wanderers, a touring club with primarily players of the Castel Cary Cricket Club. Even more curiously was the fact that the French team, formed by the French Athletic Club Union, consisted mostly of British expatriates living in Paris. It was "Great Britain" that won the match. A silver medal for the British team and a bronze medal for the French team. 

Share certificate of the Mill Hill Sports Limited
The Mill Hill Sports Club Ltd was located at Grahame Park Way, Mill Hill, UK.
The club housed a cricket club since the Twenties.
Also host to a football club, the Mill Hill Lawn Tennis Club and other sport clubs.
Until its recent closing in 2011, it was the home for
the Mill Hill Jazz Club and the Mill Hill Music Festival

Share certificate, 1914
Printed by Jordan and Sons, London.

It would take another 12 years before that match was formally recognized as an olympic one. The British were reassigned a gold medal and the French their silver medal. In 1904 the Summer Olympics were organized in St. Louis. A cricket competition was scheduled but cancelled, again, this time due to a lack of facilities. Since then, cricket has no longer been part of the Olympiads.

Stock certificate of the Wimbledon Cricket and Lawn Tennis Club
The Wimbledon Cricket and Lawn Tennis Club
Originally formed as Wimbledon Cricket Club in 1854. More info, see here.
"A" debenture stock, 1900
Sold for 385 Euro in the HWPH auction of Sep 2005

2012 Summer Olympics of London
So 112 years later, after cricket played its only olympic match, the Olympics of 2012 were organized in England, the cradle of cricket. Also here, this was a missed opportunity. The next olympiads will take place in Rio de Janeiro in 2016. These "summer" games will be the first that will be played on the southern hemisphere during the "winter". But the list of sports has been made up. No Samba cricket included.

Bond of the Soerabaia Cricket and Lawn Tennis Club
Soerabaia Cricket and Lawn Tennis Club
5% Loan of 100 Gulden (English: Guilder), 1934

Surabaya, Indonesia
Image source: Boone auction Oct 2009
unsold at 50 Euro

Why the Olympics and Cricket did not get along in the past
It is not so obvious to organize cricket matches. A Test match takes days to play. This would mean that a full ground needed to be reserved for so long. The shorter Twenty20 version, only recently introduced, makes it easier to setup a competition as it lasts only about 3-4 hours. Furthermore, there was no official international body recognized by the International Olympic Committee. That recognition came only in 2010. Too late for the London games and too late for the Rio Olympics. However .. there is hope for 2020.

2020 ? .. wait a minute .. that's another 8 years from now! Hm, I will need my DeLorrean to take me there. Where did I leave it ? Oh, I remember, there it is.

Franky McFly

If you know of other interesting cricket shares or bond certificates, please tell !

Reference links

The Shanghai Cricket Club
Registered 6% debenture, 1934
Source : Spink Auction 2013 June


  1. Article updated with image of Shanghai Cricket Club debenture .

  2. very knowledgeable article... I am very happy.. when i read this article.... thank for sharing..

  3. Hi Ranvir,
    Great to read you liked the article, thank you !