Battle of Waterloo shares historical date with first recorded game of cricket

Tue, Jun 16, 2015 11:44 AM

Battle of Waterloo shares historical date with first recorded game of cricket
2015 marks the 200 year anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo in 1815, coincidentally the first recorded game of cricket was played in Belgium on the eve of the battle between the Officers of the Foot Guards and in the presence of the Duke of Wellington.

The game has special significance not only because it was the first recorded game in Belgium but also because it took place on the occasion of a pivotal moment in history amongst players and an audience of great historical significance.

The match was organized by the Duke of Richmond who was one of the finest players in England at the time and one of the three guarantors for Thomas Lord when he founded Lord's a few years before.

The Duke of Wellington was renowned for his calm on the battlefield and no doubt the Guards would have been heartened to see him watching cricket with a lady friend, knowing they would be facing the full might of Napoleon's army in a few days. It was also an opportunity to talk with his officers and formulate strategy ahead of the battle.

To celebrate the occasion Royal Brussels Cricket Club have invited the Guards Cricket Club and the MCC to join us to re-enact the original game and we will be joined by the Ambassadors of cricket playing nations as well as the Mayor of Waterloo and other politicians from Belgium.

Over the four days games have been planned, but the main event will be on 18 June with a timed game between the Guards CC and the Royal Brussels Cricket Club Chairman's XI. Then at 16:00 there will be a break for tea and an exhibition re-enactment of the original game according to the 1800 laws of cricket, with a replica 1800 bat created by Newbery will be displayed.

Nick Compton, Royal Brussels Cricket Club Chairman is excited for the event, "We are looking forward to a generating local publicity for cricket, as well as expecting visitors from around the world coming to see the Battle re-enacted. The battlefield is only 15 minutes from our ground and we consider the Prussians led by Blucher would have walked across the square on their way to join the battle," said Compton.

Cricket in Belgium is expanding and there are many positive stories to have come out explains Compton. "Now cricket is expanding rapidly in Belgium with the help of the ICC. We have 27 teams in four leagues, as well as ladies cricket in ascendance. Junior cricket is growing too as we introduce into the local schools and expand the competitions. Increasingly local authorities are opening up to cricket and recognize the value of the game to bring together youngsters of all ages, abilities and ethnic backgrounds to a common purpose. This celebration provides us a great opportunity to build awareness for the game in Belgium," said Compton.

More information can be found here.

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